Who Are the Weekend Warriors?
Weekend warriors: those die-hard athletes who work 50-60 hours a week, yet still find time on the weekend to train for that triathlon or ride their bike a hundred miles. Times are changing, and a shift has occurred where Canadians have re-focused on their health & well-being, and envisioning themselves as an athlete or at the very least someone who is active and looks the part.  These changes have even prompted the sports nutrition industry to be more broadly defined as active nutrition.
Bars are a category that is pushing the envelope to appeal to a broad swath of active consumers. A steady two in three consumers now say they consume snack, nutrition and performance bars. Consumers are turning to bars for simple enjoyment, perceived health benefits or specific functional outcomes. The emergence of snacking as an eating style has also contributed to their success, with 75% of bar eaters seeking them out as snacks, more than half turning to bars for a treat, and 43% using bars for meal replacement.
Protein and Active Nutrition
Protein has been the rising star in the world of active nutrition, and especially with bars, as a source of energy and improved performance. Typical sources of protein include whey, a complete protein with all nine essential amino acids that is also low in lactose. Another source of protein rising in spotlight is collagen, an abundant protein in the body that gives structural integrity to tissues like skin, bones, muscles and tendons.
In addition to whey and collagen, plant-based protein sources are rising in demand as concern arises regarding the sustainability of traditional proteins, as well as a desire to include more plant-based foods in their diet. Commons choices are soy protein, lentils and chickpeas, but pea protein is becoming the go-to protein source because it has a clean flavor and mixes well in powders. Newer sources of plant-based proteins are also emerging, including pumpkin seed, chia and hemp-based proteins products.
With an increasing number of choices, the Bars category holds potential not just for weekend warriors but for all consumers alike.
Written by Neysa Davies, Senior Marketing Insights Manager at Tree of Life Canada
- Mellentin J. Ten Key Trends in Food, Nutrition and Health 2018. New Nutrition Business.
- Mintel Reports. Snack, Nutrition and Performance Bars, US April 2018