Monday, 18 June 2012

Cherries still missing from the sports nutrition market

On the sports nutrition front, cherries and cherry products may have an application in speeding up post-exercise recovery and improving performance. The American College of Sports Medicine published an article in August 2011 in its journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise which suggested that cherry juice was able to reduce muscle damage caused by intensive strength exercise. The researchers stipulated that this effect was due to cherry juice's high antioxidant content attenuating the oxidative damage caused by this type of exercise.

At present, cherry ingredients are not commonly employed as functional ingredients by mainstream sports product manufacturers. For example, GlaxoSmithKline's Lucozade branded sports drinks, despite offering cherry flavour varieties, makes nothing of cherries' potential in the realm of post-exercise muscle recovery. Lucozade Sport Lite Cherry, launched in the UK in August 2011, only contains cherry flavouring, as does Lucozade Body Fuel Drink Cherry.

Cherry juice positioned as a functional product is being left to specialist producers. UK-based CherryActive, founded in 2005, for instance, offers CherryActive Concentrate made from Montmorency cherry juice, available bottled or in pouches. The product is primarily positioned at the sports nutrition market, although the company makes reference to joint health, sleep and other antioxidant-related health benefits. In addition to juice, CherryActive also offers freeze-dried powdered cherries in capsules and dried Montmorency cherries for snacking.

In the future, we should start to see more mainstream products in the sports drinks arena, such as, for example, sports drinks employing a significant proportion of cherry juice in order to appeal to people seeking sports drinks with a more natural positioning. Protein shakes with added cherry powder (from freeze-dried cherries) and snack bars with dried cherries and/or cherry powder are also likely to appeal to consumers interested in sports nutrition products.

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