FiE 2017: Javelin world champion calls for more natural nutrition options


05 Dec 2017 --- Elite athletes are calling for the development of natural sports nutrition solutions, where they can eat less and keep more of the benefits that are in the food inside. This was a key learning from an interview with Germany’s javelin world champion and European Men’s Athlete of the Year 2017, Johannes Vetter, who would like to be able to add more solutions to his intense dietary regimen.

Speaking exclusively to FoodIngredientsFirst at FiE 2017 in Frankfurt last week (see picture), Vetter noted the benefits of nutrition from natural sources. “What I see here at FiE and what everybody saw the last few years is that everyone wants to stay healthy. They want to have the right nutrition from nature and from natural sources. That’s what I’m seeing,” he notes. 

Vetter was present at the Innova Market Insights booth at this year’s FiE, as part of a new marketing campaign for the market research firm. The company has highlighted the mainstreaming of natural sports nutrition that meets the demands of so-called “weekend warriors.” 

Click to EnlargeFor Vetter, the benefits of natural nutrition go to the elite stage too. “I think we are searching for supplements and foods that athletes can better keep in the body and get more of the vitamins and proteins to better perform,” says Vetter. “It is important that the muscles can keep more of their mass. For example, you can eat less and keep more of all the benefits that are in the food. It is not about having to eat more and more in order to get the right vitamins and nutrients.” 

Last summer, 24-year-old Johannes Vetter won gold at the 2017 World Championships in London, with a personal best of 94.44 meters. This German record throw also ranks him second on the all-time list for the javelin. He currently trains under Boris Obergföll and is a member of LG Offenburg's track and field squad. He was previously with SV Saar 05 Saarbrücken and Dresdner SC.

Nutrition is key to Vetter’s training regimen, which has been back in full swing for six weeks following the off-season period (September/October). Competition will begin again in May, so it is a long road of preparation.

“It is really important to know what you eat and how much you eat. At the moment I am in a low carb phase, as since I started training after my off-season. It is currently my seventh week of training and I have to reduce my carb intake as a result,” he says. 

Training is particularly intense and requires a healthy lifestyle, which includes good nutrition. “So at the moment it consists of a lot of vegetables and fruits, proteins and not many carbs, in order to lose some fat at the moment,” he notes. “Of course with the training nutrition I had six weeks of taking creatine and protein too, as well as BCAAs [branched chain amino acids]. I would be taking in one protein shake per day and the last six weeks I have been taking creatine 1-2 times per day to get some more nutrition for a healthy start in the gym,” he adds. 

Click to EnlargeVetter offers some insight into how his regimen changes throughout the year, with creatine and mineral intake varying somewhat, depending on the phase of training or competition. “Creatine makes the muscles really tight and strong and in competition I need to be relaxed and I need major flexibility in my chest and shoulder for the best technique. So I reduce the creatine intake at that time,” he explains.

In the summer competition season, however, mineral intake is key for the javelin champion. “In the summer, I take more magnesium, because it is hot and I’m sweating a lot, so I need to take in minerals, also for the nervous system. For sweating in general the nerves need to be relaxed and you need to be fast,” he adds. 

Vetter’s success illustrates how a whole lifetime of dedication, including the managing of dietary intake is required in order to be the best. His rise is dramatic, as he describes. “I started to do track & field at the age of 6 and I started javelin at the age of 14-15. In 2014, I threw 79.75 meters. Then I changed to my current coach Boris Obergföll and we changed a lot in terms of my technique and my career became increasingly international. In 2015, I reported 85.40 meters and got the seventh place at the World Championships in Beijing. One year after that, I took fourth place at the Rio Olympics and threw 89.57 meters. This year I became world champion with a throw of 89.89 meters but I also threw 94.44 meters (a national record) in this year as well,” he adds. 

He is optimistic going into next year too. “There is no time for fear. I think we have a lot of reserves and we want to take all that energy in,” he concludes, as Tokyo 2020 draws ever closer on the horizon.

By Robin Wyers

To contact our editorial team please email us at

Innova Market Insights


The Innova Database is the product of choice for the whole product development team. See what food manufacturers are doing around the world in a way you never thought possible.

Track trends, competitors, ingredients and flavors. It contains excellent product pictures, search possibilities and analysis. Get the world of new products on your desk, set e-alerts, examine category activity, find new ideas, be inspired.

In today's fast moving environment this is a resource you cannot afford to be without.

Related Articles

Food Ingredients News

Rabobank report: What can the dairy sector learn from the dairy-free alternatives boom?

25 May 2018 --- A new Rabobank report examining how more consumers are going dairy-free at the same time as the sector is exploding with innovation, says that now is the time for the dairy industry to reflect on the success of alternative dairy products and to consider applying those lessons.

Food Ingredients News

Pick up a praline: Pecan Deluxe plugs nut-based opportunities

24 May 2018 --- Pralines already feature in several popular ice cream and dessert brands globally and despite somewhat limited availability, the flavor is proving to be very popular. According to Pecan Deluxe Candy, this may be down in part to one trend that Australia can call its own – a growing interest in nut butter which merits the highest online search rating in the world.

Food Ingredients News

Dairy-free, freeze-dried Space Ice Kream set to make its debut in Europe

23 May 2018 --- Space Ice Kream, promoted as the world’s first dairy-free, freeze-dried ice cream is set to hit grocery and online stores in Europe later this year. Having launched already in several retail locations across the US, and online at and Amazon, the company are planning a  large increase of our production capacity and sales later this year. Space Ice Kream will be available for sale in Europe starting June 1, 2018. 

Food Ingredients News

Millennials take a fresh look at frozen: Inside an unlikely comeback

17 May 2018 --- Frozen foods are making a comeback and millennials are largely responsible for this, spending 9 percent more per shopping trip for frozen foods last year than other groups, according to an RBC Capital Markets report. Reuters quote David Palmer, an analyst at the firm noting that sales volumes have grown for the first time in five years and it’s the convenience of frozen foods that are driving sales in the space.

Packaging & Technology News

Tipa innovates compostable solutions to flexible packaging's sustainability problem

17 May 2018 --- Israeli-based company Tipa asked, what if flexible packaging could behave just like organic material? Amid large-scale headlines around plastic, such as Nestle committing to 100 percent renewable packaging by 2025 and major UK players forming the UK Plastics Pact, this question has become even more relevant. FoodIngredientsFirst speaks to Daphna Nissenbaum, Founder of Tipa, who deliver fully compostable flexible packaging for the food industry. 

More Articles