Muscle milks, protein bars and energy gels, while once sports nutrition products were solely used by bodybuilders and Olympic athletes, it seems today the appeal of these products has stretched out to the UK’s everyday exercisers. New research from Mintel finds that as many as one in four (24%) Brits have consumed a sports nutrition product* in the past 3 months**, rising to 42% of men aged 16-24.

With many consumers fuelling up on sports nutrition, there has been a sprint in sales of the products. UK consumers spent £66 million on sports nutrition food and drink products in 2015, up by 27% from 2013 when sales stood at £52 million. And it seems that rather than an occasional added extra, these products are now store-cupboard staples. Almost half (47%) of consumers who use the products say these are part of their everyday diet.

Setting the pace for consumption, Mintel research finds that young consumers and high-earners are the core users of these products. Over two in five (42%) UK consumers aged 16-24 have consumed sports nutrition products in the past three months, as have three in 10 (31%) of those with a household income of over £50,000. These groups are also the most likely to be keen exercisers – while 50% of Brits say they exercise for 30 minutes more than once a week, this rises to 64% of UK consumers aged 16-24 and 63% of those with a household income of over £50,000.