Sarah is a Research Manager for Mintel Food & Drink and a global analyst with specialty in the categories of dairy and beverages. She joined Mintel in 2009 after working for the business press.

After years of focusing on energy and performance, “recovery” may be the new buzzword in the sports and energy segment. New products are focusing on what happens after exercise rather than during the activity itself. A number of recent sports and energy products have addressed post-activity recovery.

The concept of a recovery drink may resonate particularly well with consumers in today’s post-recession atmosphere. The word is used frequently in today’s news media, as we search for signs of financial recovery. And “recovery” provides a necessary balance to the image of energetic activity. Mintel’s Inspire consumer trend-spotters suggest that many of today’s products such as recovery drinks, lower-alcohol beers or discount lines from high-end fashion designers are popular because they provide a sense of balance against the trends on the opposite extreme.

That said, consumer research shows the recovery concept is popular, even if the need for the products is only imagined. Nearly half of US consumers who purchase nutrition and energy bars, for example, use them to aid recovery after exercise, and 39% use them to help build muscle, presumably in conjunction with a workout program.

The idea also carries over to sports drinks. However, fewer consumers currently use the drinks for that purpose. Nearly a third of sports drink consumers in the UK, for example, say they believe sports drinks are good for rebuilding energy after sports and other physical activities.