Style sheets must be enabled to view this page as it was intended.
Nutrition for athletes

Since the 1980s, more and more people have begun to take part in high-intensity sporting activity, with the rise in popularity of marathons, half-marathons and triathlons.

Providing athletes with nutritional products designed to meet their needs

  • Sports and other physical activities may push the body to extreme conditions, and sportsmen and athletes have very specific nutritional needs.
  • Proper nutrition is critical to prepare for, maintain and recover from high-level sporting performance.
  • From elite professional athletes to dedicated amateurs, millions of people across the continent consume sports foods and drinks (also called foods for intense muscular effort) to provide the nutrients and fluids they need as they play competitive sport or are involved in other intense muscular effort. 
  • Sports and physical activity represent a way of life for millions of Europeans, both on a professional or amateur level.
  • About 20 million EU citizens have entered a marathon or a triathlon, and there are 62 million footballers registered in Europe.
  • Specially-formulated products that ensure an appropriate and effective supply of fluid and nutrients can play a useful role in helping athletes to meet their nutritional needs.

SNE Questions & Answers on Sports foods

Specialised Nutrition Europe (SNE), EU Specialty Food Ingredients, the European Vegetable Protein Association (EUVEPRO) and Food Supplements Europe (FSE) came together to develop a Call requesting appropriate adaptations to general EU food law to ensure the safe use and appropriate labelling of sports food in the EU.  

What we do

  • SNE members produce sports foods which are specifically designed and formulated to meet the expenditure of intense muscular effort and can improve exercise performance capacity.
  • Our scientifically designed sports foods can help prepare athletes for exercise, improve the efficiency of exercise, and enhance recovery from exercise.
  • They can also help athletes in certain circumstances to tolerate heavier training to a greater degree; by helping them recover faster or helping them to stay injury-free and healthy during intense training.

A closer look at our products

Our products provide sportsmen and athletes with the right nutrition to support their needs before, during and after exercise.

They can be divided into four different categories:

  • Carbohydrate-rich energy food products: products high in glycemic carbohydrates essential before, during and after exercise for providing energy and refueling glycogen storage.
  • Carbohydrate-electrolyte solutions: drinks providing carbohydrates as the major energy source and effective in maintaining or restoring hydration status.
  • Protein and protein components: high protein and essential amino acids products ensuring endogenous synthesis of proteins, muscle maintenance/gain, and glycogen synthesis when combined with carbohydrates.
  • Enriched foods with supplements such caffeine or creatine: some dietary ergogenic aids improve exercise performance capacity and/or enhance training adaptations or allow an individual in certain circumstances to tolerate heavier training to a greater degree by helping recover faster or helping to stay injury-free and/or healthy during intense training.



About 5% of turnover is invested in research:

the food industry average is 0,53%

The annual turnover of the specialised nutrition industry across the European Union (including exports) is around €24bn


The specialised nutrition industry is a world leader:

each year, exports total around €8bn