3 Key Takeaway from the US Sports & Active Nutrition Summit
14-16 February 2022
15 Mar 2022
The US Sports & Active Nutrition Summit wrapped up on February 16th. After collecting our thoughts and reflecting as a team, we wanted to summarize key points for our industry partners and customers that couldn’t make it this year.
1. Mental wellness and mood enhancement top of mind
The Summit kicked off with a dive into CBD. Speaker Tim Hitchman, Ph.D., VP Operations, CV Sciences shared that 62% of CBD users reported using CBD to treat medical conditions. The top 3 conditions treated were pain, anxiety, and depression. While treating athlete pain and supporting injury recovery were discussed, Hitchman also raised the importance of stress management, resilience, and sleep in the athlete demographic.
The following day, Dr. Robert Wildman, Ph.D., RD, LD, CISSN, The Ohio State University, touched on innovation in protein and called attention to Milk Phospholipids. These healthy fats support cognition & mood and have supporting clinical evidence that suggests they help consumers: stay positive under stress, manage the response to stress, and stay focused under stress.
2. eSports has accelerated due to Covid
There was quite a buzz around eSports with an insightful presentation on the history and future of the category by Jason Chung, Executive Director of Esports/Assistant Professor, University of New Haven, and meaningful discussions via the panel. Chung reviewed the incremental and global growth of video gaming and eSports, which became vital sources of human connection when social distancing all but eliminated competitive social events. Gaming, recreational and competitive, offered a much-needed outlet for global audiences, particularly those of Gen Z at the peak of the pandemic. Chung also raise key benefit offerings to be explored beyond energy, which included cognitive health, sleep, dexterity, and eye health.
An interesting insight that came out the panel discussion betwixt Jason Chung, Gary Kleinan of SKinz.gg, and Dan Lourenco of Ghost, is the need for accurate segmentation of the market. Consider pre-workout, in the early days it was a one-size fits all product almost exclusively marketed to competitive body builders. But there is now a plethora of pre-workouts available instore and online, niche marketed to a wide variety of targets from the professional athlete to the hobby fitness consumer. The industry should apply the same outlook to eSport supplements and diversify product offerings to fit niche gamer segments. One could consider console vs pc, open world vs combat, and even more traditional demographics such as gender and age.
Another interesting point made in the panel is the need for brand authenticity. The consumer base for eSports is tight-knit, and any level of misrepresentation or ‘fakeness’ will be swiftly rejected by the base. It's far better to own the truth that a brand is new to the space, platform, game, or subgenre and simply looking to offer nutrition solutions that could support gamer lifestyles. Starting a transparent dialogue and engaging with players to develop products to their wants and needs will be better received than an aggressive launch with limited personal experience in the space.
3. Personalized nutrition primed for early adopters
Consumers are coming to expect tailored solutions from businesses. With the digital age, companies have made strides in those personalized offerings with some services and advertising, but their interest in personalized nutrition still signals a significant market gap. One interesting insight that shook out from the various speakers is that the angles at which to approach personalized nutrition are broad.
Ali Mostashari, Ph.D., CEO of LifeNome, highlighted these many angles. A company may choose to support personal biology but could focus on DNA, the microbiome, or proteomics. Or a brand could choose clinical history/physiology, and then support either private fitness tracker data or medical history. Beyond those options, one might consider lifestyle choices, behaviors, preferences, or geographic location. The options for personalization are broad so the next step for the industry is determining what kind of personalization are consumers most prepared to adopt.
One example of a company finding success in this space is Care/of. Diana Morgan, Head of Scientific & Regulatory Affairs, joined the “Personalized Nutrition” panel discussion. Care/of is an e-commerce business that offers vitamins and nutritional powders to consumers, but tailors offerings based on an online quiz. Operating as a subscription service, users indicate habits and health needs and receive personalized vitamins and powder products delivered to their door.
Did you miss the summit but are interested in learning more about any of these topics? Our team is here for you! Reach out to discuss speaker content, key takeaways, and ingredient solutions.