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Protein maintains versatility, broad consumer appeal.jpg

Protein maintains versatility, broad consumer appeal

In the ever-changing sports nutrition category, protein is the constant.

The fitness and sports nutrition segments are extremely susceptible to fads. However, one constant has stayed strong throughout the decades: protein concentrates. Claims surrounding protein became incredibly important to athletes in the 1990s, and now, they are resonating with average consumers, giving brands plenty of new opportunities.

Brands entering the marketplace need to first determine the type of product application that fits their audience’s needs. The easiest and traditional applications for the organoleptic properties of protein concentrates are bars and shake mixes. If a brand goes the route of a shake mix, it is imperative they utilize a protein concentrate that is ready to drink (RTD) because the manufacturing process of shake mixes does not have a kill step, such as baking. When inquiring about the RTD status of a supplier’s protein concentrate, brands not only need to confirm that they have a kill step, but also that their kill step is validated. The presence of a sterilization method does not guarantee effectiveness and quality, but the validation of the sterilization method does. A process may be applicable in one situation but not another; validation determines its usefulness and gives meaning to its results.

For brands looking beyond traditional applications, the organoleptic properties of protein concentrates—especially flavor and texture—must be taken into extra consideration during product development. Bars and shakes cater to these challenges of protein concentrates, but other applications do not. For flavor, formulators can sometimes work with the flavor profile of the protein concentrate to their advantage. For instance, pumpkin seed protein has a nutty roasted flavor and pairs well with a cold brew coffee. When the flavor profile of a protein concentrate works against them, formulators can use deflavored proteins, as well as flavoring and masking agents. complete accelerated shelf-life studies using heat to approximate full shelf life, but in less time. This gives some idea as to how the product will perform over time.

This article was excerpted from the Sports nutrition: Protein – digital magazine. Click the link to read the full copy.

Rikka Cornelia is the product manager for Martin Bauer. She has a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of California, Irvine.

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