With a background in research and development within consumer healthcare nutrition, NutraIngredients caught up with Ryan ahead of his appearance at this year’s Summit, where he will take part in the panel discussion on innovation in sports nutrition.
Ryan, thanks for taking the time to talk to NutraIngredients. Firstly, could you outline the case for active ingredients’ role in the mental aspect of sport? For example, their role in improving sleep quality, mood, anxiety or sharpening decision making? Is the science strong/convincing or does more work need to be done?
“It depends what ingredients you are looking at, take caffeine for example, the vast amounts of research clearly show a benefit in mental performance/concentration.
“For other newer active ingredients, I would say it’s up to the individual to do two things, evaluate and form their own opinion on the research available.
“Secondly and perhaps more simply, try it for themselves! There are definitely a handful of ingredients I swear by to adjust my mood/energy levels however, everyone is unique and with that response and tolerance levels can vary greatly.
“I do get excited when I see ingredients being presented for mental performance, it is a shame there’s such limited scope for being able to talk about some of these ingredients on a product’s label/marketing information.”
What ingredients or product innovation do you think could make a real impact in the sports nutrition industry?
“I think mental performance is huge and I think there are a few other mainstream trends that will continue to grow i.e gut health. I have a particular interest in seeing the understandings of both nutrigenetics and nutrigenomics bubble to the surface of mainstream sports nutrition and personalised supplementation.”
From a retail perspective, where do you see the biggest opportunity? Can these products innovate their way onto regular shelves or are they best in specialised / health and nutrition stores?
“I think there is little difference between the two platforms these days with regards to product format and suitability.
“A good specialist store will be able to offer a much more personalised and informed shopping experience, often stoking a wider variety of products for different goals/need-states however, mass retail will always dominate with being more accessible.”
With consumers looking to switch to a plant-based diet, do you see manufacturers basing formulations around plant ingredients such as nuts, seeds, grains and botanicals?
“Quite possibly. I suppose as long as function and sensorial experiences aren’t impacted, why wouldn’t you choose to make the product more accessible?”
What are your thoughts as to the influence personalised nutrition may have on shaping sports nutrition? Do you see services that cater to individual dietary requirements arriving soon?
“It’s inevitable, many want to feel like they have a bespoke experience or tailor-made solution to their training goals/objectives.
“Also, the aforementioned growing awareness that our unique DNA sequencing means that the same meals/food groups/macro-splits could have very different results on different individuals.
“In addition, the fact it may be possible for the individual to eat a certain diet to achieve better health and longevity by being able to switch genes on and off.
“As for the later part of the question, services have been around for quite some time now from online surveys to blood tests. I guess my real interest is will/when this become the norm that we expect our own bespoke sports nutrition products.”
This year’s event caters to both industry and academia with an industry ticket costing €299 and an academic ticket costs €149. The stage is set for big industry names to fill the (virtual) room, and top-level speakers on the stage. But don’t take our word for it! Take a sneaky peak at the agenda for the summit and then register!
With two weeks to go until the main event kicks off, reserve your place, and get involved with the fastest growing Sports Nutrition community out there!