Improved performance

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A response to the health and wellness trend is often cited as a reason food and beverage manufacturers are interested in the sports nutrition category, but there is another reason — consumers participating in the category tend to have higher educations, more income and, more importantly, more disposable income. In a market that has been dominated by the value trend for the past few years, consumers of sports nutrition products stand out as a lucrative target market.

The main demographic that sports nutrition used to cater to comprised bodybuilders and extreme athletes, according to the market research firm Euromonitor International. But growing consumer awareness and education made sports nutrition accessible to the mainstream consumer and sales of sports nutrition products are growing as products are diverging to meet the needs of these athletes.

Every two years the trade association Running USA, which represents businesses participating in the running industry, conducts a survey of the group’s core customer. Published this past April, the 2013 survey, which incorporated responses from more than 30,000 runners, showed that today’s core runners are highly educated, with 76% having earned a college degree, and affluent, with 73% reporting a household income of more than $75,000.

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