Friday, November 16, 2018
 Volac Claims Creation of Clear Protein-Based Beverage Category  

By Ben Bouckley

UK ingredients firm Volac claims that its new range of whey-protein based clear exercise recovery drinks has established a new sports nutrition product category.

Mark Neville, Volac head of lifestyle ingredients, told at HIE Madrid 2010 that the firm had been instrumental in lobbying for an amendment to the EU additives directive 95/2/EC – pushed through in October – that now allows phosphoric acid (E338) to be used at higher levels in whey protein-based beverages.

The Official Journal of the EU stated on October 22: "To keep the proteins in suspension during the heat treatment of such drinks, the phosphates must be at levels that are higher than for normal non-alcoholic flavored drinks. Phosphates should be allowed in whey protein containing sports drinks."

Neville explained that, in part, this move allowed Volac to unveil its new Hydrapro prototype clear beverage range in Madrid, which by volume contains 2 percent fully soluble whey protein isolate and comes in peach and lemon and lime flavors.

However, Neville stressed that Volac had also overcome technical as well as regulatory challenges in order to unveil such a concept:“Technically it hasn’t really been feasible until now to formulate protein within a beverage effectively, and for it to stay like that.”

Muscle Recovery Goes Mainstream
Traditionally whey protein-based products (usually in powder forms that mainstream consumers regard with some suspicion) have been marketed to those keen on building muscle, since it contains high levels of the amino acid leucine, which triggers muscle protein synthesis.

But Neville explained that, with Hydrapro, Volac are focusing on “recovery rather than muscle building”, and asked if Volac was re-positioning itself to reflect a demand for more mainstream sports nutrition products, he added:

“The figures you see on sports nutrition market size vary enormously because people chop it up in different ways. But we see benefits of whey for a wider audience keen on exercise recovery rather than muscle bulking, and the UK is spearheading growth and innovations within Europe in this sector.”

Beverages Suit Sports Recovery
Meanwhile, Volac’s recent research into the preferences of 1,001 consumers concluded that 53 percent of respondents preferred beverages as a delivery method for whey protein, followed by powders (23 percent) and bars (18).

Said Neville:“Powders are very good for a certain sector of the market, it’s a niche sector where users understand protein very well, and what it will do for them.

He stressed that Volac’s success in integrating protein into beverages also meant unique physiological benefits. “Beverages go with sports recovery already, and we’re adding the benefits of muscle reconditioning in there. Also in a sub-optimal position for carbohydrates, the protein enables the carbs to get to cells better than without it, so the two work hand in hand.

“There are a lot of drinks now, for example Powerade Zero, Lucozade Lite that take out carbohydrates because consumers say they don’t want them in there, since the moderate exerciser just wants to rehydrate.

“They don’t want carbs, because they don’t want calories that they are trying to burn off. So if you replace that with some protein that is going to give benefits to muscles, rather than just a calorie load, that’s an advantage.”

Healthy Whey To Go
Additional benefits for whey protein claimed by Volac include better bone health and a stronger immune system, but Neville said that for the time being the firm is happy to market Hydrapro primarily on a muscle recovery basis.

“There’s been a whole raft of research done [on other benefits] but nothing that’s stuck with EFSA, so more work to be done there before we really educate the consumer further. Like everyone else we’re trying to understand what we need to do to make these claims.”

“Product efficacy is more than just health claims and EFSA, it’s about consumer acceptance, does it taste right, have a good mouth feel? This has to go alongside physiological benefits, which is why we feel whey protein is in a strong position."

Source:  Nutra Ingredients

Posted on Tuesday, November 30, 2010 (Archive on Tuesday, December 07, 2010)
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