Atkins’ expands beyond dieters to fitness enthusiasts with launch of Lift bars, drinks

By Elizabeth Crawford contact

- Last updated on GMT

Source: Atkins
Source: Atkins

Related tags: Nutrition

Iconic low-carb diet brand manufacturer Atkins Nutritionals is expanding beyond its core weight loss and management consumer to reach the growing number of fitness enthusiasts and “protein-seekers” with the launch of Lift protein bars and drinks. 

“Lift is a product line that is different [from other Atkins’ products] in the sense that it is positioned to a lifestyle consumer – so someone who may or may not be actively concerned about weight loss,”​ like most of Atkins’ core consumers, the company’s chief marketing officer Scott Parker said.

He explained that while a significant portion of people who currently buy Atkins products are in this lifestyle group they are only a small subset of the overall lifestyle and fitness consumer set.

The larger group of lifestyle-consumers or protein-seekers differs from the company’s current user in that they tend to be more active and younger. They also are more gender balanced than the female-dominated weight loss shoppers to whom Atkins currently caters, Parker said.

Low carb, low sugar helps brand standout

Atkins’ line of four Lift protein bars and three protein drinks also are different from competing products in the fitness and sports nutrition space in that they offer a “unique combination of high quality protein without all the baggage that comes with sugar and excess carbs,”​ Parker said.

The 2.1 ounce Lift bars pack in 20-21 grams of protein and 16 grams of fiber but only 4-5 grams of carbs and only 3 grams of sugar.

A 2.4 ounce Clif Bar, by comparison, has about 10 grams of protein, 43 grams of carbs and 22 grams of sugar. Likewise, a 2.14 ounce Chocolate Coconut Vega Sport bar has 15 grams of protein, 29 grams of carbs and 19 grams of sugar. A 2.1 ounce Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Quest Bar comes in closer to Atkins’ bars with 21 grams of protein, 4 grams carbs and less than 1 gram of sugar.

Parker added that consumers are starting to notice the high amount of sugar, carbs and calories in sports nutrition bars, which means they are ready for a new version of the product.

“There is a growing realization among a large segment of people that consume fitness bars that the products they are consuming, and have been told are good for them and may taste good, actually are lacking in protein and are loaded with sugar, excess carbohydrates and calories. As a result, sometimes these products that are positioned for active lifestyles are being viewed as self-sabotaging,”​ he said.

Similarly, the three Lift drinks offer 20-21 grams of protein, 1-2 grams net carbs and zero sugar or fat and only have 90-100 calories per 16.9 fluid ounce serving.

High quality protein

The bars and drinks all are made with 100% whey protein, which on the surface deviates from the trend towards more plant-based protein.

However, Parker said, the company selected whey because it is the “highest quality, most bioavailable protein.”

This also makes it more expensive for the company, but the cost is worth it to the brand to maintain a track record of high quality offerings, Parker said.

Classic flavors but an open mind

While Atkins may be bravely entering a new category, it sticks to tried and true flavors for its bars and drinks.

The bars come in Chocolate Brownie with Almonds, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Peanut Butter with Chocolate Chips, and Salted Caramel Crunch – all of which went over well with consumer taste-testers, Parker said.

However, he added, if consumers really want a savory option in this line, the brand would be open to developing it.

The drink flavors are similarly predictable, but well-loved flavors with Lemon, Orange and Berry. But, Parker said, unlike other products in the protein drink space Lift drinks are not creamy so they have a cleaner mouth feel and because they are not as sweet as some competing products they are more crisp and thirst-quenching.

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