The formulation is made from pea, hemp and pumpkin seeds, providing and 20g of protein per serving. It also contains a flaxseed, enzymes and probiotics blend to help with digestion and discourage bloating.
What is low FODMAP?
In 2005, researchers in the Department of Gastroenterology at Monash University in Australia identified a group of short-chain carbohydrates found in food that are either poorly absorbed in the small intestine or impossible to digest. The Monash team named these carbohydrates FODMAPs, an acronym which stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, and Polyols.
High FODMAP foods include everything from lactose to sucrose to onions to garlic—common staples in the Western diet—making a diet that avoids these extremely hard to follow for many. Although very restrictive, the low FODMAP diet can be a game changer for those who are able to commit to it. For example, the diet has been shown to significantly reduce abdominal pain and bloating in individuals suffering from IBS.
Monash University offers low FODMAP certification for products and an app to help consumers find low FODMAP ingredients and products in their area. With an estimated 10-15% of the world suffering from IBS, food manufacturers like HUM are increasingly seeking this certification.
“A Low FODMAP Diet is now backed by a strong body of evidence for the treatment of IBS,” Dr. Marina Iacovou from Monash University told NutraIngredients-USA in a previous interview.
“There is some evidence for managing IBS-symptoms associated with other conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease and endometriosis, but it does not treat the underlying medical condition of these conditions. There is also some evidence for its use in athletes and breastfeeding mothers who have infants with colic,” added Iacovou.
Dreaming of a no-bloat protein
Before developing Core Strength, HUM reached out to their customers and found that 70% use protein powder and, of that group, 80% prefer a plant-based product.
“We contacted over 1,000 customers to help us formulate their dream protein powder. The insights were very clear and we identified major pain points that we solved with Core Strength by offering a clean, plant-based formula that is non-bloating, easy to mix and versatile in flavor,” explained Alex Caspero, HUM Registered Dietitian. “An overwhelming majority indicated that they wanted a plant-based protein powder that's easy to digest and non-bloating. Generally, protein powders often contain typical ingredients such as whey, soy, almond and artificial sweeteners, which can contribute to bloating. Therefore we specifically formulated Core Strength to omit ingredients that cause bloating and had it certified as low FODMAP by Monash University.”
The pea, hemp and pumpkin seeds contents make it possible to fit in all 22 amino acids—a factor that made formulating especially tricky.
“Our biggest challenge in formulating Core Strength was to make sure that this product delivered all 22 amino acids. With plant proteins, it means you really have to combine more than one plant source to achieve that. We also wanted to avoid plant proteins that left a gritty, unpleasant texture or aftertaste - a major pain point for plant proteins out there in the market today. After many rounds of testing, we chose a perfect ratio of pea, pumpkin seed and hemp seed proteins that offered all the amino acids and a very smooth texture and taste,” explained Caspero.
Despite gut health being a major focus for consumers, the low FODMAP concept is still occupies a small niche. Caspero told NutraIngredients-USA that he hopes this new offering will bring more awareness to the diet.
“Education and innovation has always been at the core of the HUM brand. Our team of registered dietitians is very familiar with Low FODMAPs and the goal is to empower consumers with knowledge so they can find a product that really meets their needs.”
Caspero added that the presence of certified low FODMAP offering in sports nutrition has been pretty low and competition sparse.
“That said, we really hope this product can raise awareness in the sports nutrition industry to pay more attention to low fodmap needs. We’ve heard so many customers voice that their digestion concerns are not being addressed—and oftentimes exacerbated —by many of the offerings out there today,” said Caspero.
For active consumers and athletes, finding low FODMAP offerings is quite an undertaking. Caspero told us he hopes this new product will make it easier for those who want to fuel their workouts without discomfort.
“From the early feedback we have already received, we truly believe that low FODMAPs will play an increasingly important role,” Caspero said.
When asked about plans for any future low FODMAP offerings, Caspero said gut health is very important to HUM and their customers, so they’re not ruling it out.
Investor interest in the low-FODMAP diet is on the up and up, with Fody recently securing an $8.5 million financing round led by investors District Ventures Capital and Export Development Canada (EDC). In early 2020, FODY's British competitor Bay’s Kitchen also secured a six-figure investment.