Editor's spotlight: Startup Focus

Protein power: Startup stomps out misleading messages

By Nikki Hancocks contact

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: female, Sports Nutrition Summit, Sports nutrition, protein bar, startups

A startup founder who wants to banish the masculine and feminine stereotypes in protein marketing says sports nutrition products should be made more accessible by removing gender-focused health claims.

Anna Sward, cookbook author and founder of the website and product range called Protein Pow, spoke at NutraIngredients' Sports Nutrition Summit in Amsterdam earlier this month, and discussed the need to remove male and female stereotypes in the sports nutrition industry.

She says she was inspired to create her brand when she realised how often protein powders which are fundamentally the same would be marketed to men and women with completely different health messages.

"I've seen a product being sold to men based around the notions of power, strength and muscle and the same product being marketed to women for weight loss and toning," ​she said.

"I started to think 'why do we need to be sold that idea of being unhappy with our body in that way.

"The industry should lead, not mislead. There's so much smoke and mirrors in the industry that isn't helpful when you look at young girls that are told 'this is the ideal female physique and you need to lose weight'."

Protein Pow began as a website​ dedicated to inspiring people to use protein powder in their daily cooking as a healthy ingredient and the brand has evolved to include a small range of 'cookie dough' protein bars which can be eaten straight out the pack, baked, or added to desserts.

Each bar contains around 200 calories, 12g of protein, 9g of fibre, and 4.5g of natural sugar.

She says these well-balanced nutritional values and fairly short and simple ingredients list makes her range more accessible to the mass market.

The fridge effect

Another big USP for her bars is the fact that they are chilled items. This allows them to be categorised separately to the other protein bars and potentially makes them more likely to be picked up by your everyday consumer.

She also argues that the fact the bars are chilled also creates the feeling that they are a fresher and more natural substitute to those that can last for years on the shelf.

Nick Morgan, owner of Nutrition Integrated ltd, also gave a talk at the summit​ and said one big protein bar trend in the US is the chilled probiotic protein bar. 

He says this is a trend he can definitely see coming to Europe as people start to seek out protein bars with additional health benefits.

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