Will We See More Enhanced Protein Formulas?

by Matt Weik

When you look at the industry today, protein makes up a huge part of the overall sales. It’s hard to refute that fact. But over the years, the protein market has been somewhat vanilla (pun intended) with not a lot of innovation other than new unique flavors and collaborations with companies outside the supplement industry (such as candy and ice cream markets). Slowly new innovation is hitting the market and it’s something I feel could be the future of the category. Will we see enhanced protein formulas being the next big thing?

Look at some brands like Cytosport and BSN. BSN has a protein powder (Isoburn) with a thermogenic in it to help not only add and support muscle mass but also help minimize and reduce body fat. Then you have a brand like Cytosport launching a protein powder (Sleeping Giant) that supports quality sleep as well as lean muscle mass (think of it as a night-time protein formula). Quite honestly, I like the idea of both of these products and have the BSN Isoburn sitting on my desk (I use it once a day) and the Cytosport Sleeping Giant in my pantry which I use at night. Are these types of products a good thing or a bad thing? Let’s take a deeper dive into my thoughts on enhanced protein formulas.

Enhanced Protein Formulas – A Good or Bad Thing?

I’m going to play both sides of the fence here as I see both positives and negatives to enhanced protein formulas. Let’s start with the positives. Innovation. Plain and simple. There’s nothing sexy or special about protein powders. Sure, you have different blends, different sources of protein, etc., but overall there’s nothing to truly hype when it comes to protein powders. The general public knows the purpose of protein and protein powder, and it’s fairly (dare I say) boring.

Having enhanced protein formulas can add a sense of excitement to a very bland category. What BSN and Cytosport have done should be commended. They are looking at the bigger picture and a long-term play. And personally, I don’t think they are done launching innovative and enhanced protein formulas. People who use protein powder could be using a thermogenic. Seems reasonable to combine them. People have issues sleeping at night and use sleep aids. They also use things like casein protein to help them stay anabolic during their fast as they sleep. Makes sense to combine them. It’s smart.

What’s next? Who knows? Maybe nootropics in protein powder? Different stimulant blends that would allow the protein to be used pre-workout to not only help breakdown and use the amino acids but to also supply an energy enhancement? CBD is getting hot lately. Maybe a protein powder that includes CBD?

When it comes down to it, anything is possible. But the deciding factor is if the product would be in demand and would consumers buy it? You want to strike when there’s a buzz surrounding new ingredients, new profiles, etc. But will the market accept such a product, especially one that is included with protein? That’s for all of you, as consumers, to decide. Personally, I’d like to see some newly enhanced protein formulas come out. As mentioned earlier, I utilize Cytosport Sleeping Giant and BSN Isoburn daily. So, my hand is raised for more innovation in the category. But not everyone is going to agree with me so let’s look at the other side of enhanced protein formulas.

Now, it’s time to flip the switch and change the direction. So, what’s not to love about enhanced protein formulas? Well, for starters, not everyone is going to want them. Protein is protein is protein is protein. Majority of people need it and want more of it. A percentage (probably small) of those people using protein do not need a sleep aid, a thermogenic, a pre-workout, etc. In the grand scheme of things, sales will probably be low on enhanced protein formulas in comparison to standard protein powders and protein blends (using various protein sources). This should be expected as you could consider this to be a niche type of product in the category.

Is the risk worth the reward? That is yet to be determined. I haven’t seen sales numbers on the Cytosport or BSN products I’ve mentioned but if I were to bet, I can guarantee they aren’t anywhere close to the sales of their Muscle Milk protein powders or their Syntha-6 protein powders. Both brands are large and they can afford to take some risks compared to smaller brands who taking a loss on products running PSD could crush their business and leave them with no money. Sitting on thousands of dollars in inventory and potentially needing to destroy the product if it runs date could completely dismantle a brand and cause them to go under.

Would it be wise to start will a small batch to test in the market? That would probably be ideal versus running a huge batch and then sitting on the inventory. But in the end, will these enhanced protein formulas last in the long-term? I don’t think so. Will they have some great initial sales following marketing campaigns building hype? Sure. However, at the end of the day, people are after the protein content. The inclusion of a fat burner or thermogenic is cool but not everyone is going to want it all year round. Same with other enhanced protein formulas (unless they include ingredients that help improve overall health).

What are your thoughts on the topic? Have you ever tried a protein powder that had enhanced protein formulas in it? Are they something you would consider trying? What would you like to see included in enhanced protein formulas? Let us know in the comments.

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