In sports nutrition aisles of natural products stores, protein powders are relatively similar to those of previous decades: lots of protein, but little else. Current differentiators include packaging and protein source (pea protein versus whey protein, for example), but in a saturated market with so much choice, that’s not enough. To truly differentiate—and compete with an ever-expanding portfolio of foods now offering added protein—powder brands will need to offer more than just high-protein content. They’ll need to offer superior delivery and absorption for the athletes who depend on them. They’ll need to tap into the excitement surrounding protein, and truly innovate. One of the ways to do this is through enzymes.
Enzymes represent an opportunity for protein supplement and powder brands to revitalize a mature market. In fact, market research from National Enzyme Company (NEC) found that out of over 200 protein powders reviewed, only a handful included enzymes, demonstrating a clear hole in the market for such products.
According to Natural Marketing Institute (NMI), most sports health consumers base their purchase on product quality (64 percent). Half of them will even choose quality over price. What does “quality” mean? NMI said sports nutrition enthusiasts’ top considerations are safety, clinical support, natural ingredients and digestibility.
Proteolytic systems can expedite digestion, promoting optimal release of amino acids and hydrolyzing the proteins commonly used in muscle-building products (Int J of Sport Nutr and Exerc Metab. 2006;16:129-152). In fact, in vitro research from NEC showed that, when compared to endogenous enzymes, adding 50 mg of its branded BioCore AminoTap® PS to a whey protein isolate boosted branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) and glutamine release by approximately one and a half times; adding 250 mg of the blend bumps the release to approximately two and a half the times in simulated gastrointestinal (GI) fluids.
Learn more about improving protein absorption and digestibility in INSIDER’s Protein Innovation Digital Magazine.
This article was submitted by National Enzyme Company and written by Melissa Kvidahl. Kvidahl is a freelance writer with 10 years of experience covering the natural products industry, from food and beverage to personal care, from research developments to market trends. Her work appears in a number of industry publications, including Natural Products INSIDER, Food Insider Journal, Natural Foods Merchandiser, Delicious Living and more. She lives and writes in New Jersey. She can be contacted at www.melissakvidahl.com.