Abbott launches Ensure Max Protein targeting consumers over 50 who still aren’t getting enough protein

By Mary Ellen Shoup contact

- Last updated on GMT

New data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) shows that despite the prevalence of protein products, adults 50 and over aren't getting enough of it.
New data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) shows that despite the prevalence of protein products, adults 50 and over aren't getting enough of it.
Abbott has launched Ensure Max Protein, a 150-calorie beverage with 30 grams of protein and all nine essential amino acids, the highest protein content in its Ensure line of nutrition drinks.

The next highest protein content in Abbott’s Ensure portfolio is Enlive nutrition drinks with 20 grams of protein per serving.

Positioned for on-the-go consumption, each Ensure Max Protein comes in two flavors, milk chocolate and café mocha (with 100mg of caffeine), and will be available nationwide at most major retailers and online for a suggested retail price of $9.99 for a 4-pack.

Ensure Max Protein also contains 1 gram of sugar per serving and 22 vitamins and minerals including vitamins C, D, and E, as well as calcium.

“We are introducing Ensure Max Protein for the adult who is 45+ looking to stay active and strong with age,”​ Molly Cornbleet, Abbott director of public affairs, global adult nutrition, told NutraIngredients-USA.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Abbott is featuring actress Kate Walsh, age 50, as part of its marketing strategy to appeal to their target demographic. "As we age, our bodies change and so do our nutritional needs. In the last several years, I have made it a priority to understand exactly what my body needs to function at its best," Walsh said.

Protein deficiency in 50+ crowd

Products with protein continue to be a hot trend. According to IRI New Product Pacesetters 2017 report​, 36 out of the 76 of the identified Pacesetter food brands are touting protein attributes, mostly in the dinner and breakfast sectors.

Despite the abundance of protein-fortified products in the market and an apparent consumer obsession with the nutrient, data from the National Health Survey (NHANES) from researchers at Abbott and the Ohio State University found that adults over 50 are still not consuming enough protein.

According to current dietary guidelines, the average 150-lbs person should consume 54 grams of protein per day, but this guidance does not account for other factors like aging and lifestyle, Abbott said.

“Your protein needs change based on things like age, activity level or illness – and current recommendations don’t take that into consideration,”​ the company said.

Of the adults not meeting their protein intake, roughly 60% were skipping at least one meal a day, according to NHANES. The data also showed that missing protein may also show reveal other dietary gaps when using the USDA’s Healthy Eating Index: including greens and beans, dairy, seafood, plant proteins/total protein.

“When you hit age 40, you can start to lose up to 8% of muscle mass per decade and your body starts to change the way it absorbs nutrients so protein becomes even more important to health with age,”​ Cornbleet added.

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