Marketing Expert View – Whey

In this article, a member of our expert food marketing team takes an in-depth look at the presence of whey in the food and drink industry. Whey protein is experiencing a renaissance. This is not just in the dairy commodity markets where whey has been delivering good returns and even been supporting the cheese price, but scientifically as well. Whey powder formulations, long the preserve of bodybuilders looking to refuel their muscles after strenuous repetitions with heavy weights, are entering the mainstream.

Endurance athletes are discovering the restorative benefits that whey delivers after a long run, swim, ski or cycle, particularly in combination with a fast acting carbohydrate such as dextrose. In the US, sports nutrition brands like American Whey, MGN, Body Supreme offer product as does Supra Whey in Germany, Pro Star in Singapore, Kiyota in Japan, Proteinfabrikken in Sweden, My Protein and Maximuscle in the UK and SNT in India.

Whey is unique in delivering all of the 9 amino acids needed by the body to keep muscles in working order. This is important with an ageing population as muscle mass declines markedly from age 40. Whey, combined with regular light exercise, can help retain muscle mass, meaning individuals are active and healthy for longer as they head into the later years. Likewise, bone density is crucial in later years and whey as a good source of both calcium and protein and therefore can help retain bone mass. Whey, as a protein source, has a very high satiety rating ensuring its status as a diet food. Whey shakes are increasingly recognised as a low calorie and an effective way to snack by nutritionists, who having a growing appreciation of the nutritional benefits of whey.

Now dairy ingredient experts Volac, who supply many of the UK and European leading sports brands with whey, have launched a new consumer brand, The Good Whey Co. This is targeted at a mainstream, slightly female audience and away from the macho sports nutrition branding that dominate so much of consumer whey sales. The branding is simple and friendly, and the idea is for consumers to incorporate one portion of whey into their daily diet instead of a confectionary snack, rather than seeing whey as a functional food to be taken immediately after intense excise. Volac wants to move Whey from the gym bag to the kitchen cupboard. The website is easy to access and the tone of the brand inaccessible, simple and clear. Early signs are impressive over 20,000 consumers have signed up for free samples of the brand.

Volac’s move is a smart one, the pricing is good and the flavour profiles of the product range don’t disappoint with a creamy, flavoursome finish, which importantly avoids the astringent mouth feel and chemical taste of some sports whey formulations.

Whey feels like it is coming if age. No longer just the preserve of the sports performance consumers, whey is now recommended for the far larger and more mainstream healthy lifestyle group of consumers. If you would like to speak to us about whey and how we can help, contact our food and drink marketing team today!

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