by Matt Weik
Plant-based protein has taken off over the last few years for those looking for a whey protein alternative to help them take in more protein daily. Additionally, the RTD market continues to produce new beverages that add convenience to supplementing your protein intake. Combine the two and you have the brand Soylent with their line of RTDs which included the new Soylent Bridge.
Sure, you could scoop out a protein powder and mix it in a shaker bottle for less money (per serving), but for those on the go, it’s hard to beat the convenience of a grab-and-go RTD protein shake or meal replacement when all you need to do is open the bottle and drink it. However, what many brands are finding is that their consumers wants and needs are changing from a heavy meal replacement to a lighter version that can be used more like an “any time of day” protein shake.
As the name implies, Soylent Bridge was created to “bridge” the gap between meals. This could be due to hunger or simply to fit in extra calories and macronutrients to help them meet their daily requirements.
The brand also has a plant-based meal replacement RTD that does extremely well on the market – for a plant-based meal replacement. However, consumer feedback showed that while consumers liked the meal replacement RTD version they carried, between meals they were sometimes hungry and looking for a healthy choice to fit their nutritional needs. They mentioned a lighter version of their meal replacement would be a viable option compared to their calorie-heavy meal replacement. The Soylent meal replacement RTD is made up of 400 calories, 21g fat, 37g carbohydrates, 3g fiber, 9g sugar, 9g added sugar, 20g protein (plant-based protein), 26 essential micronutrients, and 500mg omega-3s.
Ask and You Shall Receive
I’m always one to believe in gaining consumer insights and making adjustments based on the feedback gathered, so it’s refreshing to see that Soylent Bridge was created thanks to such feedback. Going directly to the source is, in my opinion, the best way to gauge if a product or idea would do well on the market and if it’s worth investing a huge lump of money into production.
When asked about the insight they found from going to their current consumers, the Soylent CEO said, “They wanted a lower calorie, slightly lighter option when you want to keep going between meals, and we were able to come up with a formulation that’s a complete mini-meal that’s not quite as thick and shake-like. So, Soylent Bridge has 15g of plant-based protein [soy protein isolate], 10g fat, 3g sugar, and 180 calories; whereas our core 414ml ready to drink product has 20g of plant-based protein, 21g fat, 9g sugar, and 400 calories.”
I went on their website to get more information about the product so I could fill in some gaps with the profile and here are my additional findings: the product has 10g carbohydrates, 3g fiber, 2g added sugar, and 36 essential nutrients.
At the time of writing this, the Soylent Bridge RTD only comes in chocolate flavor but I can only assume that should this flavor take off and warrant flavor extensions, they will consider at that point. I have not tried this product yet, so I do not have any clue as to how it tastes but it can be found on their website for $2.16 per bottle (one-time purchase) or with a subscribe and save option that would drop the price down to $2.06 per bottle. Honestly, I don’t think the pricing is horrible but then again we are talking about a plant-based protein so the cost shouldn’t be anywhere close to even a whey protein concentrate.
One trend that I see taking place in 2019 is the continuation of healthy snacking and I would categorize this Soylent Bridge RTD as such. Yes, you could say it’s a plant-based protein shake but its profile and macros could also toss it in the healthy snacking category. People want healthy snack options that can be consumed in between meals and Soylent went out and created their own version based on what their consumers said they would want and use. I feel this is something that a lot of sports nutrition brands could be taking notes on.
From my time working with various brands, both as an employee and as a consultant, I’ve seen first hand that brands think they know what consumers want without even asking. It’s as if they toss a bunch of ideas in a hat, pick something, and then run with it. Then after several months, they are left wondering why it never took off and want to blame the sales team. Brands need to be out there speaking with their consumers and gaining insight as Soylent did before creating Soylent Bridge.
Are you looking for a healthy in-between meal protein source? Would you consider trying the Soylent Bridge or have you already? Let me know in the comments.
Source: Food Navigator USA