The protein trend has been reigning supreme for a while, and with more new product launches in the category, it’s not showing any sign of waning anytime soon.
In fact, the protein packaged food and beverage category is projected to grow at a steady 5.6% for the next three years, bringing sales to a predicted $39bn, according to Markets and Markets research.
“There are many [consumers] who are looking for innovative ways to get their protein in,” Peggy O’Shea Kochenbach, manager of public relations and a registered dietitian nutritionist for Whey 2 Be!’s maker Action Brand Management, told FoodNavigator-USA.
“[We] saw a need in the marketplace for a high-quality protein cookie that also tastes great. There are other protein cookies on the market, but most do not feature the nutrient-powerhouse whey protein,” she added.
Plant vs. dairy debate
As the name implies, Whey 2 Be! uses whey protein as the product’s primary protein source —at a time when plant-derived proteins are gaining momentum and popularity.
Because of the category’s maturity, market experts such as Imbibe’s Laura Dembitzer argued that consumers today are more discriminating about the protein source and nutrition source of the products they buy. “It is not just about the total protein content, but it is about where is the protein coming from,” Dembitzer said.
According to Kochenbach, whey protein fits the bill. “Whey protein is one of the most highly bio-available types of protein, meaning it is easily absorbed and utilized by the body,” Kochenbach said.
“Once more of a niche focus for athletes, the perceived health benefit of protein has broadened and today consumers across many demographic groups are looking for new and interesting ways to boost their protein intake.”
In fact, another differentiator that Whey 2 Be! is promoting is its ‘cold-pressed’ whey protein. “The best-quality whey protein is cold processed,” Kochenbach argued. “When protein is heated it can start to break down and lose functionality.”
Route-to-market and distribution
The new brand, founded in Fall 2016, recently launched its first five flavor varieties: Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Chocolate Chip, Peanut Butter, Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip, and Cran-Orange White Chocolate, all with 20g of protein per package (10g per serving).
They sell for a suggested retail price of $2.99 per package at two grocery chains, TOPS Markets and HEB Supermarkets. “We have several more grocery and convenience store chains, as well as foodservice distribution, on the immediate horizon,” Kochenbach said.
“We are excited to get our delicious protein cookies out to consumers and have several additional and innovative whey protein items that will be launched over the next year.”