- The Agropur Dairy Cooperative of Quebec has expanded its biPro brand of protein water products for the Canadian market, according to FoodBev.
- The 500-milliliter bottles come in lemon, berry and orange with caffeine, are flavored with stevia, have 90 calories and contain 20 grams of protein from whey protein isolate.
- The individual bottles are being sold in certain stores in Quebec and the four Atlantic provinces for the suggested retail price of $3.49.
Protein water products such as biPro, Trimino Protein Infused Water and Protein2o show that protein — once only available in smoothie or powder formats — shows no signs of leaving the food and beverage category. And Agropur's move into the market seems like a natural fit since it has been making protein powders for more than 30 years.
The key to the growing protein trend is likely the current change to create products that mask the often chalky taste. Agropur, for example, markets its biPro line as a drink that "refreshes and quenches thirst as effectively as plain water," but doesn't contain the calories in some high-protein, dairy-based beverages. According to Natural Products Insider, about 25% of beverages across several categories contain protein, including carbonated soft drinks, bottled water, tea, non-dairy milk, coffee and nutritional drinks.
Consumers may not always know how much protein they need, but many are probably aware that it's an essential building block for the human body. Protein is being added to snacks, ice cream, candy and all types of products today. According to Research and Markets, the global protein ingredients market might reach $48.77 billion in 2025. Meanwhile, the U.S. protein drink market is projected to hit $6.7 billion by 2019, which is up from approximately $4 billion in 2015, a research report by Global Insights noted.
People who want to be healthy often look to increase their protein intake — and that's particularly true when it comes to very active individuals who want to recover from their workouts without added calories, fats or animal products. Makers of protein water are well aware of this distinction. Andy Horrow, president of Chicago-based Protein2o, told Forbes that the company's product is a "lifestyle protein" because it can see consumers through from after a workout to their next meal. "...[P]rotein satiates you, giving you a sense of fullness, so you don’t go around looking to snack on the closest thing with unnecessary calories," Horrow said.
Other protein water products on the market include Trimino, Fizzique, Optimum Nutrition, Clear Protein, CoCo Libre, Isopure and FitWhey. Some are unsweetened, some contain cane sugar, erythritol and/or stevia extract, and a few — including Trimino, Protein2o, Clear Protein and Isopure — contain the artificial sweetener sucralose. The amount of protein per serving varies by product from seven to nearly 40 grams.
While popular, most of the companies in the protein water segment are smaller businesses, so they will have to find a way to break into the larger market to stay competitive.