CytoSport, the creator of Muscle Milk, is swapping dairy for plant-based proteins in Evolve, its new line of vegan, plant-based shakes, powders and bars, according to Fortune.
Evolve's products are free from gluten and soy and are formulated with non-GMO pea protein. Flavor varieties include vanilla, chocolate and toasted almond.
"We realize that dairy proteins and the Muscle Milk brand has a wide audience that is a growing business for us, but we aren't going to reach everyone," CytoSport CEO Greg Longstreet said. "People are looking for different types of proteins and plant-based is something that's seeing fast growth. We think that five to 10 years from now, this is the future."
CytoSport's Evolve product line reflects the convergence of two major consumer food trends: demand for plant-based, alternative snacks, and protein-enhanced products.
For better or worse (and many nutritionists stand firmly in the "worse" camp), the term "protein" has become synonymous with "health" for many consumers. And while brands like Muscle Milk used to have a corner on the protein industry, consumers looking to add extra protein to their daily diet have evolved beyond the stereotype of body building men looking to bulk up.
Protein is no longer a niche ingredient, and CytoSport knows this. The average consumer, regardless of gender or whether he eats meat, is looking for easy ways to incorporate more protein into his diet. Since soy has fallen out of favor in recent years because of its ability to disrupt hormone levels, and dairy is disliked for its high fat levels, plant-based proteins have become the most sought-after protein source.
It will be interesting to see how this new product line does in comparison to CytoSport's classic Muscle Milk product. If it sees substantial sales, which the company believes is a possibility because the product has been marketed to appeal to both genders (Muscle Milk is typically geared toward men), other protein drink manufacturers may follow suit.