Based on ADM’s Outside Voice “Unfolding Citrus” study, which includes insights from over 7,400 citrus beverage consumers worldwide, there is reportedly an “explosion of citrus-flavoured sports drinks in Asia-Pacific (APAC)”.
In particular, interest in red citrus fruits such as grapefruit and blood orange, lime varietals such as Tahitian lime, key lime and finger lime, as well as Asian citrus varietals like yuzu, calamansi and kumquat, is said to be growing among consumers in the region.
“In this culturally diverse region, there is a strong curiosity among different consumer segments for various Asian citrus fruits. Our research found that consumers in Malaysia have a relatively high interest in citrus fruits, especially Ruby Red grapefruit, pink grapefruit, and yuzu.
“In the Philippines, there is a curiosity for citrus across the board. This increased attention paves the way for sports beverages to deliver the next generation of citrus-flavoured experiences,” Sarah Lim, APAC marketing director at ADM, told NutraIngredients-Asia.
When it comes to sports beverages, consumers are said to be searching for products that support their mood and focus, sustained energy and hydration, as well as immune function and digestive health.
They are also looking for tasty, less sweet, and more nutrient-dense products that can boost sports performance and help them feel full longer.
Notably, the functions of citrus-flavoured sports drinks tend to be associated with beneficial properties of the fruits. For example, lemon and lime may be perceived as ingredients that help one stay sharp and focused.
“Citrus fruits are also known to be high in nutrients like vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that is often linked to immunity support. As consumers increasingly shift towards healthier lifestyles with more intention and mindfulness, those looking to obtain certain desired effects may seek sports beverages containing citrus flavours,” said Lim.
At the same time, the research findings indicated that consumers are paying closer attention to their emotional well-being, with 84% of respondents considering physical and emotional well-being to be equally important.
“Citrus flavours can evoke a positive sentiment, as they may be deemed to be uplifting, refreshing and energising. They are often viewed as ‘better-for-you’ because of their perceived associations with positive nutrition and well-being.”
Opportunities in sports drinks category
According to ADM, the sports drinks market in APAC is expected to expand at a CAGR of 9.6% over the next five years.
“While sports nutrition was once a category consisting of basic protein shakes with one-note flavours like vanilla or chocolate, developers must recognise that it’s now evolved rapidly with exciting new flavours like botanicals and citrus, and convenient consumption formats like gummies and stick packs.
“The appeal of sports beverage products can be enhanced by purposefully pairing functional ingredients with innovative flavours and formats to fulfil demands in the coming years,” Lim shared.
Flavours derived from botanicals can make sports beverages “more appealing” due to their associations with being sustainable and natural.
“ADM’s vast portfolio of botanical extracts offer holistic nutrition opportunities. Developers can turn to our ‘better-for-you’ ingredients containing natural-source caffeine, such as guarana or yerba mate, for sports performance support.
“Guarana is an excellent option in the active nutrition space, as it helps to stimulate energy and performance. Yerba mate, on the other hand, is increasingly popular among consumers seeking sustained energy and for containing antioxidants commonly linked to green tea.”