Not Just for Gym Bunnies: Protein Goes Mainstream


Bringer of satiety and builder of strength, protein is now a key driver across FMCG. Dairy’s natural qualities make protein-led innovation an easy fit.

Quark-based Arla Protein was launched in January 2015. It is, says Arla’s Senior Brand Manager for yoghurt Samantha Dolan, “flying off the selves. We’re going to sell three times as much this year as thought.”

It was followed by Arla Protein chocolate milk drink, with 25g of protein. Other dairy protein drinks include For Goodness Shakes, Upbeat and Ufit. Confectionery and breakfast brands also want in: Mars High Protein shake launched in May while Weetabix added three protein variants to its On The Go drinks in July.

The target audience is well defined. “Gym bunnies are buying protein – they understand it,” says Dolan. “We advertised in gyms: TV is a waste of time because it’s a niche audience.”

This is changing. “Some products are beginning to target the mainstream,” says Hamish Renton, MD of HRA Marketing. “Upbeat is aimed at a wide audience.”

In Finland, where Arla Protein landed in 2012, protein is no longer just for the gym. “There’s no reason why the UK shouldn’t follow suit,” says Dolan, with opportunities growing for products like The Protein Dinks Co’s Collagen+Beauty drink.

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