Product Differentiation and Visual Appeal in Powdered Sports Drinks

Health trends and the sports drinks category

Increased health consciousness during the last couple of years has led consumers worldwide to follow healthy living and fitness trends. According to a survey conducted by Mintel, in 2021, 65% of respondents in the UK and 57% in Germany exercised at least twice a week.

This consumer shift towards a more active lifestyle has impacted the sports drinks category, as the consumer base for sports nutrition products expands.

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The global number of nutritional and meal replacement drink launches grew by 14% in 2021 compared with 2020.

Source: Mintel GNPD

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The rise of powdered drink formats

Among the different sports drink formats, powders are a major and appealing format in the European market. They are easy to prepare and customisable according to the level of recovery or performance needs. Other dilutable formats, like tablets, provide consumers with convenience and functional benefits.


of UK sports drink users say that sports drink formats that can be diluted before use (e.g. powders) are appealing.

Source: Mintel

EU sports drinks launches in 2021 by format:

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Source: Mintel

The value of colour in powered sports applications

According to Mintel, the Global Sports drinks launches in powdered format increased by 18% in 2021 vs 2020 and therefore, product differentiation can be a crucial factor to stand out in the market. As mentioned in our previous blog Evaluating Colour’s Impact in Food and Beverages, research shows colour’s impact on purchase intent, preference, and flavour perception. In the sports drinks category, colours can signal the flavour profile and its functional attributes such as energy boosting, vitamin-fortified or high endurance support.

For powder formats, plating characteristics are critical if you want the colour to be visible in the powder. However, standard natural colours do not possess plating characteristics in their powder forms. For example, colour from beta carotene or beetroot would not mix homogeneously due to its particle size, and the coloured powder would end up looking like a salt and pepper mix. A plating-grade natural colour that simulates a synthetic lake is an ideal solution for dry drink mixes.

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Standard red beet with salt and pepper mix effect
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Microfine™ solution with a homogenous colour
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Our Microfine™ delivers intense and homogeneous natural alternatives to synthetic lakes in powder products and bright shades in solution. This advanced natural colouring solution uniformly blends in sports drinks powders or tablets and coats the product with an evenly distributed colour. They also provide quick solubility after the powdered beverage has been hydrated.

MicrofineTM in action

Watch this video to discover the advantages of MicrofineTM in beverage applications:

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If you have any questions regarding our MicrofineTM solutions or need support in your next product development, feel free to reach out and request a consultation. We would love to talk colour with you!

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