Packing protein into a gummy is a first for the market, said RAP marketing director Michael Sayles. Besides filling an empty niche, Sayles said the company’s new product, called RAP Protein Gummies, fills an unmet need in the market.
“Our delivery form is new to the protein category and offers protein consumers an alternative to traditional bars, shakes, and powders. There is a great deal of fatigue amongst protein-users, as consumer sentiment towards bars suggest that they are widely viewed as a poor tasting,” Sayles told FoodNavigator-USA.
More protein needed?
The modern American diet has been criticised by many food authorities as being long on fat and calories and short on vital micronutritients. While outright protein deficiency is rare in North America, a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition analyzing NHANES data found that average intakes were in the lower end of the accpetable range, and that almost no consumers exceeded the upper recommended intake limit of 35% of daily calories from protein. The study found most men consumed close to the estimated average requirement, while more women fell short. The authors also questioned whether protein intake targets are set too low to begin with. “Given the prevalence of being overweight or obese in America and the role protein may play in managing body weight, it makes sense to consider increasing protein intake recommendations even further,” the authors concluded.
Sayles said RAP (which stands for Rapid Acting Protein) is at the center of this development. The product fulfills a need for convenient protein supplementation while also piggybacking on earlier work that makes gummies a credible delivery system, he said.
“Protein bars, powders, and drinks are large markets that are experiencing double-digit growth in aggregate, while gummy vitamins have provided us with the runway to credibly deliver protein in a gummy. All of our research indicates that our product is highly incremental to the category and will not come at the expense of other protein alternatives. We believe we will bring new consumers to the protein category and increase the use of protein amongst those already in the category,” Sayles said.
Quick action is the key
The product is based on whey protein isolate, a high quality, complete protein that also rapidly digests because of its acidophilic nature. Whey floats in the stomach acids in long strings that are easily broken apart, whereas casein and other proteins tend to ball up, making for a longer digestion profile. Whey’s quick action makes it ideal for a healthy snacking alternative, Sayles said.
“The product is positioned to be a post-workout alternative and a better-for-you snack. RAP is a poppable snacking alternative. With 25 gummies per pouch, the product is convenient for the on-the-go consumption and is portionable throughout the day,” Sayles said.
Having a convenient protein alternative could be critical for getting the best out of a workout, said fitness consulstant Kacy Duke, who is working with RAP to popularize the brand. The product’s ratio of two parts protein to one part carbohydrate is ideal for post-workout replenishment, she said. Each package delivers 20 grams of protein, which recent research has shown to be a sweet spot for a post-workout jolt. Gelatin is structural component, and the products, which are offered in three flavors—strawberry, mixed berry and citrus—are sweetened with a combination of glucose, erythritol and sucrose.
"The first 30 minutes after your workout is the most critical window to replenish your body with protein and carbs," Duke said.
Sticking with whey
In recent years there has been a great deal of interest in and publicity about alternative protein sources, especially plant proteins. For the launch period of the new product, Sayles said the company, which is based in Oakbrook Terrace, IL, plans to keep it simple and stick with a proven alternative.
“We’ve explored other protein alternatives, but have no plans to use a different source at this time. We are seeing strong consumer demand for whey protein and will continue to focus on whey,” he said.
Sayles also said the company has taken into account the price swings that have characterized the whey market in recent years, which has been one of underlying drivers of the interest in plant-based sources.
“We have a great relationship with our protein vendor and have constant dialogue with them to monitor the protein market. We use a specialized, high-quality form of whey protein, which is not as commoditized as other sources of lower-grade whey protein,” Sayles said.