Has sports nutrition lost its protein bar?

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It had always been clear cut in my previous four years of food and drink journalism. But now I didn’t know if these products had been created to be sports nutrition bars which appealed to the everyday health-conscious consumer, or were they intended to be a healthy snack with the added benefits of a sports nutrition bar?

I think I decided that any bar with a protein content of more than 15 grams was safe to describe as ‘sports nutrition’ and I continued with my article, hoping the brands I was writing about would be happy with the way I was categorising their products.

That was about a year ago. It was only recently when Nutrition Integrated​ founder Nick Morgan posted on LinkedIn his article entitled ‘The Death of Sports Nutrition?’​  that I picked up the phone to discuss this issue.

He so eloquently explained the same predicament I had faced but as he sees it as the founder and director of a data insights company for the sports and active nutrition industry.

“If a brand sells a 20g protein bar but has no history or heritage to sports nutrition does that mean it should be categorised as sports nutrition?,” ​he wrote. “That risks applying a stereotype not reflective of the consumer or why they buy the bar.

“Similarly, if a traditional sports nutrition brand offers a 20g protein bar, but communicates it as healthy snacking/confectionary – is that still sports nutrition? It probably depends on who is buying it. Albeit, if the product is no longer positioned as sports nutrition, why would the product be defined based on the brand not the proposition?”

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