An Introduction to Sports Supplement Manufacturing

Jun 11, 2024

Written By:
Melinda Elmadjian

Athletes and fitness enthusiasts are constantly looking to enhance their performance and normal recovery after exercise*. If you’re already in or looking to enter the world of supplement sales, this is a lucrative market to tap into. 

Emergence of fitness culture and growing interest in health and wellness has set the sports supplement market predicted to reach a mind boggling $8.92 billion globally in 2024. From protein powders to endurance enhancers and everything in between, now is the time for supplement brands to jump on the sports supplement bandwagon.

Private label supplements offer an easy and direct route to get your products to market. Choosing a reputable and experienced manufacturer ensures a team of professionals with decades of experience to guide you through the process of choosing, branding, and selling your sports supplements.

what are sports supplements and which ones are most popular?

What puts a product in the sports supplement category, exactly? Generally, sports supplements are formulated to support and enhance various aspects of athletic performance and normal recovery after exercise*. These supplements encompass a wide range of products, targeting specific goals such as supporting muscle building, endurance enhancement, and accelerating normal muscle recovery*. Their role extends beyond mere performance enhancement; they can also contribute to overall health and fitness by providing essential nutrients that might be lacking in a regular diet.*

While this goes with all supplements but is particularly pertinent to any product claiming to boost performance or help with weight maintenance: choosing high-quality products is paramount.*

Current trends in the sports supplement industry reveal that sports drinks take the lead in consumer buying patterns, followed by bars and powders. While protein drinks and powders are a staple for athletes and their demand continues to grow, runners up include endurance supplements and performance enhancers.

Popular examples include energy gels and hydration solutions that cater to long-distance runners and endurance athletes seeking sustained energy levels.* Performance enhancers, such as pre-workout formulas, provide the necessary boost for intense training sessions.*

Explore the ingredients and certifications for our top-selling private label  supplements. >>

popular ingredients in sports supplements: importance and benefits

Many sports supplements include a handful of similar key ingredients. Protein, one of the most in-demand ingredients, plays an essential role in muscle growth and repair.* Protein drinks and powders come in various forms that speak to different consumers, such as whey, casein, and plant-based proteins that boost muscle synthesis and normal recovery after exercise*.

Dimethylglycine (DMG) is less commonly known but is another key ingredient used in endurance supplements. Known for its ability to enhance oxygen utilization and support energy production, DMG is highly beneficial for athletes and gym-goers engaged in high-intensity or prolonged physical activities, such as endurance events.* Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) and beta-alanine similarly work to support endurance and help delay post-workout fatigue and improve overall exercise performance.*

These ingredients, among others, contribute to athletes’ and sports enthusiasts’ primary goals of supplementation: supporting muscle growth, increasing endurance, aiding normal recovery after exercise, boosting energy, and ultimately becoming better athletes.* By providing the body with the necessary raw ingredients, clean and high-quality sports supplements help athletes train harder, recover faster from normal activity, and achieve their fitness goals more efficiently.* 

how do you manufacture sports supplements?

Manufacturing sports supplements involves a meticulous process that prioritizes quality and efficacy. Ingredient sourcing is a critical first step, as the quality of raw materials directly impacts the final product. Reputable manufacturers ensure that ingredients are sourced from trusted suppliers and meet stringent quality standards.

Formulation precision is another key aspect of the manufacturing process. Developing an effective sports supplement requires a deep understanding of the synergistic effects of various ingredients. Expert formulation ensures that each component works in harmony to deliver the desired benefits without compromising safety.

Quality control measures are paramount in sports supplement manufacturing. Rigorous testing protocols are implemented at every stage of production to verify the purity, potency, and safety of the products. This includes microbial testing, heavy metal analysis, and stability testing to ensure that supplements remain effective throughout their shelf life.

private label sports supplements vs. custom formulations

If you’re looking to break into the world of sports supplements or grow an existing business, the two options available are private labeling and custom formulations. Each approach has its own set of advantages and disadvantages, and each caters to different types of businesses.

Private labeling involves partnering with a manufacturer to put your branding on ready-made supplements and then sell them under your business’s name. This approach is hands-down the fastest way to get your products to market, and requires a much smaller investment than custom formulations. Private label supplements are also more scalable, so recommended if you’re new to the supplement business and wanting to test the waters with a handful of products.

Custom formulations involve creating unique supplement blends from scratch, and offer greater differentiation and the potential for proprietary products. However, it also requires a significant investment of research, time, and money. If you are an established brand with a substantial customer base who needs a specific formulation not available through private label, this could be a viable and profitable option.

how do you find the right sports supplement manufacturer? 

When shopping around for the right sports supplement manufacturer, take your time and do your research. Key considerations include product quality, testing, and certifications, regulatory compliance, excellent customer service, and minimum order quantities that match your projections.

Quality should be a top priority, as this is how you will grow your business and build a loyal customer base. Look for a manufacturer with a proven track record of producing professional-quality products that meet industry standards. Ideally, opt for a partner who guarantees Truth in Labeling, ingredient sourcing transparency, and potent formulations that have not been watered down.

When interviewing manufacturers, evaluate where they source their ingredients, quality control processes, minimum order quantities, and whether or not their product offerings meet the needs of your target audience. If you’re selling to seasoned athletes, specialized formulas including DMG and BCAAs might be what you need. If catering to the average gym-goer, a high-quality plant-based protein powder might be better suited.

At the end of the day, transparency and open communication with the manufacturer can help build a trustworthy and long-lasting partnership.

related content: are private label supplements profitable?

break into the sports supplement market

Sports supplements represent a highly lucrative and competitive market, but success is absolutely within reach when you collaborate with the right private label manufacturer. By carefully selecting the products that resonate with your target audience and working with an experienced design team to create and label your supplements with compelling branding, you position yourself for success in this thriving industry.


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*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.