Virtual—The Naturally Informed eventActive Nutrition: Mastering the Markettook a look at consumer research—and at where scientific research was lacking—in order to find unmet needs in this market, and the opportunities they present.

Doug Kalman, Ph.D., R.D., VP of Scientific Affairs, Nutrasource, and Abbie Smith-Ryan, Ph.D., Director of the Applied Physiology Laboratory, University of North Carolina, held an entire session on unmet needs. Kalman pointed out that the sports nutrition market doesn’t just cover professional athletes, or even just weekend warriors—he listed 10 different perspectives from which to consider the market. And within those categories, there are people from all different races, genders, ages, living situations, health statuses, and religions, all with their own unique—and often unmet—needs. For instance, he said: “I recently did a Pubmed search on ‘nutritional needs of the female athlete,’ and out of 789 papers that had that in their mesh titles, there was only one paper on the nutritional needs of the female athlete, and it was published in 1984.” He also discussed needs for vegetarians and vegans, educational needs for high school coaches, needs for Muslim athletes who adhere to Ramadan and the attendant fasting, and more.

Smith-Ryan followed up with a deep dive on the needs of female athletes, discussing the impact of menstruation, the impact of the hormonal cycle, and how nutritional needs and physical ability can change throughout the cycle. She also noted the effects of contraception—or, really, the lack thereof, because most research only includes women not on contraception, meaning that we don’t know much about the health and needs of the 65% of women aged 15-49 who are taking contraception, creating yet another opportunity within the sports nutrition market.

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Another unmet need: suncare. Zev Ziegler, Head of Global Brand & Marketing, Health, discussed Lycored’s consumer research: “44% of respondents said most of their usual physical activity took place outdoors. U.S. consumers said they had exercised outdoors more since the pandemic. And when it came to active lifestyle health concerns, 63% said damage to the sun, above 53% who said muscular injury and 51% who said illness/immune health. But only 34% of respondents who used sunscreen regularly reapply it.”

Karin Hermoni, Ph.D., Head of Science & Products, Lycored, noted that ingestible suncare is meant to supplement a suncare routine, not replace it. “What is the best way to do that? With a supplement that provides full-body benefits,” she said. “Carotenoids accumulate in the body and the skin, ready to combat inflammation and redness as they appear.” She also took a deep dive into the science behind Lycored’s wellness extract, supporting its use for suncare.

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