Ingredients take RTD protein beverages beyond sports
Functional ingredients supporting areas like immune health and healthy aging are broadening the appeal of traditional sports nutrition beverages.
With 15 g of plant-based protein plus nootropics like caffeine, L-theanine and L-tyrosine to support an energy claim, Soylent blurred some category lines with the launch of its Complete Energy. Ilana Orlofsky, senior marketing manager at Imbibe, acknowledged she wouldn’t be surprised to see more hybrid RTD protein entries that combine protein with energy or even hydration attributes, like Gatorade did with its sugar-free Gatorade Zero with Protein.
Arla Foods Ingredients’ Laima Liepinytė, business development manager for health and performance nutrition, added that with the aging population, more beverages will likely pair protein and calcium to address age-related bone and muscle loss. Arla Foods Ingredients recently launched a “Healthy Through Life” concept, which showcases the potential of its protein and milk mineral ingredients.
Collagen is another ingredient darling, especially on the carbonated protein front. Several “sparkling” collagen beverages have made it to market in the past year, and while Orlofsky pointed out collagen isn’t a very high-quality protein, steady interest persists thanks to its other perceived benefits. “A few brands really play up the beauty element and position their products accordingly, though other brands seem to expect that the novelty of a sparkling protein product may be enough to draw in consumers,” she admitted.
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