“No” and “free of”: is it a new trend in sports nutrition?

Consumers in Italy and elsewhere in the European Union seem to have a particular appreciation for a series of “no” statements: “no GMO” (“GMO free”), “no artificial colors”, “no preservatives”, “no artificial sweeteners” and so on. On common foods, these series of “no statements” seemed to be effective and to link the products’ image with a valued concept of naturalness.

Especially in Italy where consumers, especially women with children, seem particularly wary of additives or anything “not natural”, even packaged foods such as breakfast cereals, which do not belong to Italy’s tradition and are relatively homogeneous across the European Union, often boast several “no statements”.

In the case of sports nutrition products, such claims (which are not regulated by Regulation 1924/2006) were not very frequent. “Aspartame free” or “lactose free” claims are rather common, but other claims (“preservative free”) were rare. Sports nutrition products appear to be targeted to consumers who favor technology over naturalness, and the products themselves appear the result of the mixing of several substances which are either chemically synthesized or produced in sophisticated ways, certainly not available straight from a tree branch. Even whey is not communicated with beautiful cows grazing immaculate Alpine lawns.

At least in Italy, a new trend may have begun. A major sports drink company has started a “No artificial” campaign, which can be seen across Italy, emphasizing the absence of artificial colors and sweeteners. This may be linked with their brand which targets children 8-12, whose mothers may be doing the purchasing and are particularly keen on natural products.

Whatever the reasons a new trend may have started.

The Sports Nutrition Team

Article available in Italian

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