The European Sports Nutrition market is expected to grow 7.5% a year over the next seven year from US$500m in 2002 to reach US$876.52m by 2009.

According to research released today from Frost & Sullivan, the European market currently represents 60% of the value of the market in the US, but its population is two and a half times the size of the US. "The potential for further expansion with in Europe is substantial," the report said.

The increase in consumption is being driven by the growing penetration of sports nutrition products into the mainstream food and drink market

"Sports nutrition products were launched to provide a performance product based purely on its functionality within the body. This has changed dramatically in recent years with successful products needing to combine both functionality and a desirable blend between taste and texture to meet consumer demands. There is still room for improvement that would drive consumer expenditure, and products that combine desirable taste and texture should build market share against countline goods," explained Frost & Sullivan food programme manager Anna Ibbotson.

However, Ibbotson went on to warn that manufacturers must approach the European market with care.

"The most important factor to recognise when addressing the European market from a sales perspective is the regional, economic, cultural and legislative differences that exist within the member states.  Marketing plans that treat European countries as a United States of Europe where regional differences can be ignored are likely to fail or show very inconsistent results," said Ibbotson.