The product features protein and fiber and is designed to women “stay on track with their weight-management goals”.
Each bottle contains 180 or 190 calories depending on the flavour, 10 grams of protein, 5g of fiber as well as vitamins A, C, D and E and calcium. Kellogg’s said consumers using Special K products to replace some meals should be able to lose six pounds or one inch off their waist in two weeks.
Susanne Norwitz, director of brand public relations at Kellogg's, told NutraIngredients-USA.com that the Special Kbrand, "continues to expand its weight-management portfolio that includes eight varieties of cereal..."
Kellogg’s entry into the area comes at a time when the leader in the category, Unilever’s Slim-Fast, has seen sales half in six years to around $300m in 2008.
The brand that Unilever acquired for $2.3bn in 2000 shed 25 percent of its sales in 2008 alone as competition from the likes of over-the-counter weight loss pharmaceuticals such as GlaxoSmithKline’s alli gained market share.
In 2000 Slim-Fast was growing by 20 percent annually.
Special K Protein Shakes hit the shelves on May 1 and have supermarket distribution as well as an online group at Yahoo! has been established so women can discuss the product.
"We hope that through these online forums, Special K women will be encouraged to reach out to one another where they connect the most to help each other find the shakes in stores and enjoy this new and highly desired product," said LaKesha Hatch, Special K brand manager at Kellogg’s.
Kellogg’s, which notched sales of $13bn in 2008, said it had already been forced to increase production as initial demand for the milk chocolate, vanilla and strawberry versions had been strong.
"These new shakes already are a huge hit among consumers and may be tough to find for a few months,” Hatch said. “In the meantime, we are increasing production to meet consumer demand."
The global weight management sector is valued at more than $7bn and increasingly ingredients are being offered by suppliers that have been clinically backed to promote satiety or increase metabolism, or influence body shape through fat burning or more.