The brand is dropping the word ‘yogurt’ from its name as its new product launches expand out of this category. In July 2016, the Miami-based company launched Powerful Oatmeal, with 20g of protein per serving, exclusively at Walmart.
The product is now expanding to Powerful’s other 5,000 points of sale, mostly in states east of the Mississippi, which already stock its two other products: Powerful Yogurt and Powerful Yogurt Drink.
“Since our launch [in 2013], we have doubled our sales year-over-year—so we’ve had a really nice sales trajectory, and most of that growth we’ve seen is because protein is becoming mainstream,” Sarah Goldthwait, Chief Commercial Officer at Powerful, told FoodNavigator-USA.
Beating the odds in the competitive protein arena
Protein is a crowded category that has experienced much momentum in the past years, with no signs of slowing down. New product launches this year indicated that protein is still hot, and projections by Markets and Markets research forecast a steady 5.6% compound annual growth rate in the next three years, bringing sales to around $39.08 bn.
In this tight competitive arena, Powerful has made it far. As a start-up, Powerful Yogurt exhibited (and debuted) at its first Expo West in 2013. “Going back to Expo West this year for us was like our fourth anniversary, it felt very good,” Goldthwait said.
Only 50% of new US firms make it to their first five years, according to Gallup, and while more than a third of new yogurt launches back then featured protein claims, Powerful is poised to beat the numbers with expanded distribution deals and new products lined up —“a lot of the companies we launched with are no longer in business,” Goldthwait said, “so we felt in some ways like an old-timer at our fourth show.”
The Powerful Oatmeal product was launched at Walmart in July 2016. In Goldthwait’s words, Powerful Oatmeal’s launch was “totally demand driven,” designed per input from retailers.
“The demand was there, but none of the companies in the oatmeal space were meeting it, so we were able to capitalize on that hole in the hot cereal offering,” she said. After the test launch to make sure the company can meet Walmart's volume (it's largest retail partner), the product is now expanding to the other 5,000 points-of-sale the company has partnered with.
Black, bold, packaging not just for ‘bros’
From the beginning, Powerful wanted to differentiate itself by being a sports and fitness-oriented product sold in mainstream markets.
“Since our launch. We have had a presence in more sports nutrition specific retail outlets, but what we quickly saw was that the mainstream market was just hungry for high protein, great-tasting, made with natural ingredients line that we were offering,” Goldthwait said.
With its original yogurt product, no additional protein needed to be fortified or added—the 20g of protein per serving marketed on pack occurs naturally from the yogurt. Flavored with natural fruit juices and keeping a simple ingredient list, the product would’ve been perfect for the natural sector.
But founder and CEO Carlos Ramirez wanted to create a new category—opting with black packaging and bold lettering, it was a natural product geared more for the fitness crowd. It stood apart in multiple categories—a non-powder, natural protein source in the sports and fitness set, and a bold fitness-oriented yogurt in the mainstream grocery set.
It was originally dubbed as a ‘bro-gurt’ brand targeting men, but Goldthwait says the branding is actually relatable across gender divides, and was key in propelling the brand to stand out in the dairy aisle, a ‘rogue insurgent’ placed next to legacy name brand yogurts made by international companies.
“It was more of a mindset difference, we’ve heard since day one that women resonate with the packaging, men resonate with the packaging—we don’t really see it as gender-specific messaging or tone, it’s geared towards people that are very determined,” she said.