Growth in the sports nutrition market has slowed dramatically since the introduction of VAT in October.

The government applied VAT at the standard rate of 20%, making a considerable difference to the affordability of the products. A typical 1kg tub of protein mix can retail for more than £50.

Nielsen data suggests sales growth across the category has slowed in grocery from 35% before VAT came in, to 7%. “Many brands and retailers are having to invest heavily in promotions to drive sales,” said Mark Langley, general manager of GSK Maxinutrition.

Suppliers have also been hit by the increased cost of whey protein concentrate WPC 80.