A Guide for Food and Beverage Manufacturers

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How Food and Beverage Manufacturers Can Level Up in the eSports Market

The esports market, forecast to reach $2.17 billion by 2023,1 has become a global phenomenon with international tournaments, professional gamers, sponsors, merchandise, and more. Gamers, known for their brand loyalty and strength as influencers on social media, remain a largely untapped market for food and beverage manufacturers. Learn how products like G FUEL—The Official Energy Drink of Esports—are addressing the unique needs of gamers and how your company can get in the game, too!

The Growing Esports Market

According to MarketsandMarkets Research, the esports market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 18.6% between 2018 and 2023, largely driven by growth in sponsorships and advertisements at gaming events.2 Key stakeholders in the esports market include video game publishers, event venues, media outlets, and online streaming companies. As the number of esports spectators continues to increase, advertisers are taking notice.

Gamers: Who Are They?

It’s important when marketing to gamers that companies don’t rely on stereotypes to understand their target consumer. As video games have gone mainstream, the young, male “core gamer” has become a much smaller proportion of the total. Gaming has also become multi-generational, with Gen X and Millennial gamers now raising children of their own.

The Entertainment Software Association, which assesses gamer demographics each year, found that 45% of U.S. gamers are women and the average age of gamers is 34.3 For male gamers, 17% are under 18, 16% are 18-35, 12% are 36-49, and 11% are 50+ years old. For female gamers, 11% are under 18, 13% are 18-35, 8% are 36-49, and 12% are 50+ years old.

Gamers are known for being brand loyal, more likely to buy premium products, and valuable as influencers on social media—all great reasons for food and beverage companies to take a close look at this market.

Gamers are known for being brand loyal, more likely to buy premium products, and valuable as influencers on social media—all great reasons for food and beverage companies to take a close look at this market. Video ads, especially on YouTube, are an effective way to reach gamers.

What Are Gamers Looking For in Foods and Beverages?

An energy claim on a food or beverage is no longer the key to grabbing a gamer’s attention. In fact, if the energy is associated with high amounts of sugar or caffeine, then the product could actually be a turn off since a serious gamer can’t afford to have a caffeine or sugar crash.

The product benefits most likely to appeal to gamers include:

  • Sustained energy
  • Mental focus
  • Satiety
  • Convenience

Approaches to delivering sustained energy include sugar-free formulas, the use of fiber, and caffeine levels somewhat lower than those found in energy drinks. To support mental focus, products with some caffeine in them are generally expected, but Theanine is increasingly being used in conjunction, to provide focus without the jitters.

Foods and beverages that provide satiety, especially from protein and fiber, are important for long gaming sessions. This goes beyond sustained energy and focus and makes a strong case for meal replacement products targeting gamers.

Since convenience is critical for anyone who’s in the middle of gaming, product formats such as powdered drink mixes, ready-to-drink (RTD) beverages, and bars—anything snackable—tend to work best.

Spotlight on Products

G FUEL Energy Formula is a powdered drink mix for gamers that promises energy, focus, and endurance. It uses a wide variety of ingredients including an “energy complex” of caffeine and the amino acids taurine, L-citrulline, and L-carnitine plus a “focus complex” of tyrosine, ATP, and bacopa leaf extract. It’s also fortified with several B vitamins and antioxidant fruit powders. For gamers who want even more convenience, G FUEL Energy Crystals provides an edible, dissolve-in-your-mouth format.

Mountain Dew Amp Game Fuel is an RTD beverage that offers alertness and accuracy to gamers and includes ingredients such as caffeine, theanine, ginseng, and B vitamins. Packaging features that address the needs of gamers include textured ink for a better grip and a resealable lid that can be opened and closed with one hand.

German company Runtime makes an RTD beverage for gamers called Performance Drink that contains green tea extract, branched-chain amino acids, B vitamins, and isomaltulose instead of sugar. Runtime also offers gamers a meal replacement powder, under the brand name Next Level Meal, that can be prepared in just 60 seconds in a shaker bottle.

Game On

The esports market is an exciting and growing opportunity for food and beverage manufacturers. To get in the game, turn your beverage or snack into a functional product just for gamers with a custom nutrient premix from Watson. A custom nutrient premix can include amino acids, vitamins, botanicals, and more. Learn how a custom nutrient premix can take your products to the next level!

How Major Manufacturers Are Targeting Gamers (with Real-World Examples)

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A Guide to Winning in the ESports Market in 2019

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