Upcoming Issue Highlights
Home Subscribe Advertise Sourcebook Free Product Info Home

Stronger Than Yesterday

Albion Minerals®
Muscle and Strength Muscle and Strength

The muscle and strength ingredient category is gaining traction as the consumer demographic expands.

Growing one’s muscles and gaining strength is no longer just for bodybuilders and gym rats. Building muscle has health benefits for everyone, as it can help to burn fat, protect the joints, and increase strength and endurance for better workouts. The popularity of strength training is skyrocketing as consumers learn the benefits it provides. Corbin Hohl, research manager, Glanbia Nutritionals (Chicago, IL), noted that “muscle and strength ingredients are taken to gain a performance benefit to support active people in achieving their fitness goals. These benefits are broad and include strength, endurance, hydration, energy, focus, sleep, meal replacement and weight maintenance, gain, or loss.”

Mark G. Walin, senior vice president of Business Development and Marketing, BIO-CAT, Inc. (Troy, VA) concurred, adding that benefits also include “Improved musculoskeletal structure (lean mass/muscle volume), improved muscle function (strength/power), enhancing performance (athletic/competitive/improving recovery from exercise), maintenance of lean muscle mass as part of active/healthy aging, and ultimately maintaining mobility (daily step count/balance, etc.) for continued positive quality of life in later life stages.”

Consumers are becoming increasingly aware of these benefits, leading to significant growth in the market.

State of the Market

According to Grand View Research, “The global pre-workout supplement market size was valued at $12.6 billion (U.S.) in 2019 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.3 [percent] from 2020 to 2027.” Likewise, the protein supplement market “was valued at $6.26 billion (U.S.) in 2021 and is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate … of 8.0 [percent] from 2022 to 2030. The market is gaining momentum owing to the increasing number of health-conscious consumers and fitness centers around the globe.”

Indeed, Vicky Davies, global marketing director, Performance, Active & Medical Nutrition, FrieslandCampina Ingredients (Paramus, NJ), shared that “the market for protein ingredients is now projected to surpass $114.6 billion in 2030,”1 which has led to an increase in innovation in functional foods, “from protein gels and powder sticks to clear protein ready-to-drink (RTD) products or tasty treats like high protein cookies or puddings.”

Davies noted that some of the main drivers for this demand include an aging population and an increased focus on achieving healthy, active lifestyles. “Today, consumers of all ages recognize that physical strength is a fundamental building block for good overall health and well-being.”

Trends/Consumer Concerns

“Muscle and strength supplements have been around for many decades and there have been some really great innovations along the way,” said Katie Emerson, MS, RD, LDN, manager, scientific affairs, Nutrition21 (Saddle Brook, NJ). “The demographics for this category have evolved to include a wider swath of consumers, from body builders to fitness enthusiasts to older generations who are facing the threat of losing muscle mass as they age.” She also noted that consumers these days are discerning, and clinical research behind ingredients is important to them. “Nutrition21 maintains a robust clinical research program and routinely publishes studies several times a year,” said Emerson.

Hohl agreed that the demographic for muscle and strength products has widened. “Glanbia Nutritionals would broaden the muscle and strength category to performance supplements and much of the growth has been in expansion of the use of these products by individuals pursuing an active, healthy lifestyle,” he said. “The mainstreaming of protein has been hugely positive to the category, as consumers recognize the health benefits of consuming it as part of a healthy diet. This has proven to be a gateway for the category, a trend that has been accelerated by the COVID pandemic and almost everyone being more concerned about health and wellness.”

Hohl also noted that “Many consumers are seeking to personalize their nutrition and as a result, are seeking to educate themselves on the category. As the internet opens access to information, consumers are utilizing many online resources, becoming more informed on dosage, sourcing and usage for supplementation.” Glanbia Nutritionals tracks consumer and category trends, said Hohl, in performance and active nutrition. One trend the company has noticed is the popularity of ready-to-mix and ready-to-consume products, “such as RTDs, protein bars and snacks driven by consumer demand for healthy, on-the-go products.” As a result, the company has several options in their portfolio.

“Historic ‘go-to’ ingredients have always been protein and creatine. More recently, creatine is re-emerging, but the approach to protein is changing,” explained Walin. “The developments in protein include more efficient and more bioavailable protein, resulting in increased BCAA (branched chain amino acid) release. Plant protein is also becoming more popular, and many companies are adding this option to their product offerings.” Lastly, said Walin, “HMB is up and coming due to its ability to work at the cellular level—inviting the body to better utilize protein availability.”

Walin also noted that the main concerns of consumers are efficacy and safety. “In this category, consumer expectations of noticeable results matter,” he said. “This is particularly true, given the investment required to support a new nutritional regimen accompanied with the expectation that it will help them reach their lifestyle goals.” Furthermore, “Today, consumers assume that if a product is on the market, the regulatory oversight has provided at least a modicum of safety review.”

Davies noted that the market is being shaped by the holistic health trend. “Consumers are increasingly turning to physical activity—60 percent now say they exercise three times a week.1 And they are doing so to support overall well-being. In fact, two-thirds of consumers conflate good movement with good health.”2

Companies in the industry have been responding to these trends with innovative ingredients for products.

Muscle & Strength Ingredients

“We have been creating these types of products for more than two decades, starting with our flagship ingredient, Chromax, and then expanding to include Nitrosigine, Velositol, nooLVL, and most recently, Lustriva,” said Emerson. Nutrition21’s Nitrosigine, launched in 2013, “is a Nitrosigine is a patented complex of bonded arginine silicate that is scientifically engineered to deliver benefits essential to peak sports performance. Nitrosigine is a powerful and safe non-stimulant ingredient that has been clinically studied for safety and efficacy in 30 studies. The use of Nitrosigine has been shown to promote nitric oxide (NO) production for improved blood flow,1 focus, and energy.”3,4

Velositol, launched in 2017, is a “patented complex of amylopectin and chromium that, when used with protein is designed to increase strength and power by accelerating and boosting muscle protein synthesis (MPS), a key to enhanced muscle growth, lean body mass, and quicker muscle recovery. Velositol also enhances insulinogenic function, which increases amino acid uptake providing fuel for working muscles, so you get the most out of your workout, even after your workout,” explained Emerson. The ingredient was involved in several clinical studies, one of which was published in 2021 in the Journal of Exercise and Nutrition. The study showed “significant muscle and strength benefits when Velositol was combined with 15 grams of whey protein isolate,” said Emerson.

“Prior research has shown that supplementation with Velositol combined with a 6-gram dose of whey protein increased rates of muscle protein synthesis compared to whey protein alone,” said Emerson. “The purpose of this most recent study was to examine if chronic supplementation with Velositol plus a higher dose of protein could impact resistance training adaptations, recovery, and biomarkers of safety.

“The double-blind, active-controlled study used 35 recreationally active men that were randomized to one of three groups: 2 grams of Velositol + 15 grams of whey protein isolate, 15 grams of whey protein isolate alone, and 30 grams of whey protein isolate alone. Subjects consumed their respective supplement immediately following resistance exercise on days when training occurred and at the same time of day on non-training days. At 0, 4, and 8 weeks of training, body composition, whole-body protein balance, and upper body and lower body performance.

“The study concluded that the addition of Velositol to a 15-gram dose of whey protein increased total squat reps, vertical jump power, and vertical jump height to a greater extent than when 15 and 30 grams of whey protein were consumed alone,” Emerson concluded.

Glanbia Nutritionals’ most recent ingredient is CreaBev Technology, which can enable creatine inclusion in RTDs, according to Hohl. “Creatine is not stable in water and rapidly degrades into creatinine, but with CreaBev Technology from Glanbia Nutritionals, creatine can be protected and utilized in both neutral and acidic pH conditions for [RTD] beverages,” said Hohl. The company also offers NutraSheild, which “ensures improved flavor and stability for various components in ready-to-drink beverages.”

Furthermore, said Hohl, “Flavor can be an intense challenge to overcome, especially from extract or concentrated materials. Utilizing an exceptional flavor portfolio targeted to labeling restrictions and target market is key in delivering on the organoleptic front. Foodarom flavors from Glanbia Nutritionals are a great way to deliver these flavors.” The company’s most successful performance ingredient, according to Hohl, has been “the ongoing evolution of whey protein including the development of whey protein hydrolysate and its many functional and biological benefits. Our newest ingredient innovation would be the application of KSM-66 Ashwagandha Root Extract (NutraShield), a Withanolide extract with improved flavor and solubility designed for beverages, gummies and bars.”

Suzanne Leser, director of Nutrition Communications, global marketing & innovation management, business unit nutrition & health ingredients, GELITA (Sergeant Bluff, IA), offered information on the company’s ingredient, BODYBALANCE. The ingredient is “a mixture of specific bioactive collagen peptides that support resistance training results by optimizing lean body mass gains and body composition,” she said. “Collagen is witnessing its strongest growth in the global sports and active nutrition markets.”

Leser added that “Today’s consumers know that resistance training is vital for their goals, but a helping hand is often appreciated. BODYBALANCE supplementation offers this: better shape in twelve weeks of resistance training three times a week, which was found highly appealing by all three groups studied by GELITA.” She elaborated, “Six product-specific human studies support the efficacy of BODYBALANCE. All trials showed remarkable improvements in body composition and strength across all age groups supplemented with 15 g of BODYBALANCE daily alongside resistance training.

Leser continued, “The highlight is a study performed only with women, involving 77 participants. Those taking BODYBALANCE gained on average over a pound more lean mass and lost two pounds more fat than the control group in 12 weeks—the best improvements in body composition seen so far in women from protein supplements.

“Proven quick and noticeable results are essential for motivating and keeping consumers enjoying our products. Customers formulating with BODYBALANCE have a real competitive advantage with joining this momentum,” Leser concluded.

BIO-CAT’s OPTIZIOME P3 HYDROLYZER, according to Walin, “is a proprietary blend of enzymes which helps optimize protein digestion,** providing more protein performance without having to consume more grams of protein.” He continued, “Under simulated in-vitro gastric conditions, OPTIZIOME P3 HYDROLYZER saw substantially more release of amino acids from protein, compared to other enzyme products.* Because of this, OPTIZIOME P3 HYDROLYZER not only allows consumers to get more from less, but it also allows companies to reduce waste (excess protein) and improve their claims on protein performance, while also supporting critical sustainability initiatives.” The ingredient releases 100 percent more amino acids from whey protein, and 228 percent more BCAAs from plant protein,* said Walin.

According to Davies, “FrieslandCampina Ingredients’ Plantaris has been specially designed to rise to the challenge of creating plant protein products that both taste great and deliver healthy nutrition. In fact, sensory panel tests show that products formulated with Plantaris taste better than competitive products5 and the high leucine content means it can also support muscle building and recovery.”

Davies added, “Emerging scientific research is also spotlighting the role of more unexpected ingredients in supporting our muscles. Research is increasingly highlighting the role of the gut microbiome in promoting good health in multiple areas, and muscle strength is no different. This link is known as the ‘gut-muscle-axis.’” She continued, “It’s a very much a new area of scientific research, but one that shows lots of promise. Muscle recovery after exercise has been shown to be influenced by gut microbiome intervention,6,7 which could be game-changing for sports nutrition and active aging.”

Davies explained, “Ingredients like our prebiotic Biotis GOS have been shown to stimulate growth of Bifidobacteria in the gut microbiome,8 to support a range of health benefits. What’s more, Biotis GOS can help brands tap into this emerging area of science to stay ahead of the curve, thanks to the fact it’s easy to formulate into solutions alongside high quality protein ingredients.”

Lastly, Davies pointed out that “Despite the soaring popularity of protein bars, palatability has been a major issue for many formulators.” She explained, “Bars with a high protein content (>30 percent) typically harden over time, reducing their shelf life. We developed an innovative protein ingredient, Excellion Textpro, which aims to tackle this issue. Using patent-pending technology, this ingredient has been developed specifically for use in high protein bars to produce a softer mouthfeel and reduce hardening over time.”

Innovation from ingredient manufacturers has given formulators a range of options to make quality muscle and strength products to meet consumer demand.

Advice for Manufacturers

“When weighing options for benefit, developers should consider price, availability, dosage, flavor, function and marketing impact,” said Hohl. “Glanbia Nutritionals can offer insights and guidance in all of these categories.” He advised formulators to “differentiate via branding and formulations. Make sure your ingredients are right for your product. Clean product formulation and transparency about the products are crucial.”

Walin noted that “Clinical substantiation is critical. By having, and marketing, clinical results connected to a product, marketers can differentiate from competitors with unsubstantiated claims. With the rise of the lifestyle nutrition segment, it will be increasingly important to maintain a robust pipeline of relevant innovation.”

Lastly, Davies stated that “The muscle and strength market is fiercely competitive—especially as companies respond to an aging and increasingly health-conscious population. To stand out in this market, I think it’s essential that brands demonstrate that they understand the multitude of reasons consumers want to support their muscles and reflect this in their products.” She continued, “For example, different formats suit different needs. An athlete might require an RTD that’s both hydrating and high in protein to help them perform at their best, whereas an older adult might require and equally high dose but in a smaller, more digestible format … Fundamentally, the products that will end up in consumers’ shopping baskets time and time again are those that deliver exactly what they need, when they need it. So much of that has to do with combining the right insights, with the right ingredients and the right formulation know-how.” NIE

*Derived from standard in vitro gastric digestion experiments that showed increased amino acid liberation by OPTIZIOME™ P3 HYDROLYZER compared to two top competitors.

**These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.


1 Precedence research, ‘Protein Ingredients Market – Global Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends, Regional Outlook, and Forecast 2022 – 2030’, 2022.

2 FMCG Gurus, 2021.

3 Results compared to baseline.

4 Perceived energy measured by the validated Profile of Mood States (POMS) questionnaire.

5 Internal sensory panel test of ready-to-drink applications using Plantaris™ Pea Isolate 85 A vs competitor products.

6 Scheiman, J. et al. Meta-omics analysis of elite athletes identifies a performance-enhancing microbe that functions via lactate metabolism. Nature Medicine, 25(7), pp.1104-1109 (2019).

7 Coleman N. Gastrointestinal Issues in Athletes. Curr. Sports Med. Rep. 2019.

8 Johnstone et al 2019.

For More Information:

BIO-CAT, www.bio-cat.com
FrieslandCampina Ingredients, www.frieslandcampinaingredients.com
GELITA, www.gelita.com
Glanbia Nutritionals, www.glanbianutritionals.com
Nutrition21, www.nutrition21.com

Extra! Extra!