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Protein Powder: Where Does It Go From Here?

The global market for protein supplements has experienced tremendous growth over the last decade and is projected to reach $32.6 billion by 2027. Until now, the foundation of that growth has largely centered around whey protein supplements for aspiring athletes and bodybuilders. In recent years, however, innovation in plant-based protein, collagen protein and other novel protein sources, has set the stage for another surge of growth that should last well into the foreseeable future.

Nutracap Labs has made significant investments in order to provide you with a number of easy avenues to start or expand your supplement brand with options in private label protein powders our custom blended protein powders. The choice is yours but one thing is for sure……. there has never been a better time to explore the lucrative protein powder category.

Plant-Based Private Label Protein Opportunities:

Plant protein powders are sometimes accused of not being “complete” due to the fact that they are often deficient in one of the nine essential amino acids. As a private label protein manufacturer, we can overcome this by creating unique blends of different plant-based proteins that, when combined, provide high levels of all nine essential amino acids.

Another driving force for this segment has been the increasing number of athletes who recognize the healing and recovery aspects of a vegan, vegetarian, or flexitarian diet. More than ever, the sports market is receptive to plant proteins or multi-source blends that include plant protein.

These are just some of the factors that have made the plant-based protein supplement segment the fastest growing in recent years. Here is a quick summary of options;

Pea Protein: High in fiber and vitamins, research supports that pea protein has about the same effect on muscle growth as whey protein. In fact, pea protein is significantly higher than whey in the key amino acid arginine. Most people can easily digest pea protein with no unpleasant side effects, making it a great option for plant-based athletes. Growing region and processing method of the peas themselves can have a huge impact on the taste/texture of the final product. Choose your pea protein source carefully.

Brown Rice Protein: A common ingredient in private label protein powders, research has shown that it is comparable to whey protein in helping to increase lean body mass and muscle when consumed after a workout. It is rich in vitamin C and iron, and is well-tolerated by anyone not on a grain-free diet.

Seed Proteins: From the more exotic sources like sacha inchi, which is native to Peru, to domestically sourced pumpkin and even canola, seed proteins are quickly emerging. While seed proteins are much more expensive on a per/kilo basis, they can add important features to a protein blend due to the fact that they are high in certain omega fatty acids.

Algae Protein: Another alternate protein source being researched is algae – specifically seaweed. Seaweed does not require the resources that animals do, such as land, feed, or fresh water, and it can be grown and harvested in just two to three months. Seaweed is also very dense in nutrients beyond protein, and is high in fiber, lending appeal and benefit to almost any diet.

Animal-Based Private Label Protein Opportunities:

Favored for their high concentration of branched chain amino acids as well as their smooth consistency and ease of flavoring, the following animal sources are the most popular choices by athletes and every-day consumers alike for animal-based private label protein powders.

Whey Protein: Originally a wasted by-product of cheese production, whey protein is highly bioavailable, so it is quick and easy for your body to digest and use. An excellent choice for those who do not have a problem with dairy.

Egg White Protein: Low in fat and carbohydrates, egg protein can be a great choice for those looking to lose weight but still need to get enough protein.

Collagen Protein: The main component in hair, skin, nails, and connective tissue, sourced mainly from either cows or “marine sources” (fish). As there are currently no plant-based sources of collagen, so it is not a suitable protein choice for vegans or many vegetarians.

Three Tips for Creating Your Own Protein Powder

  1. Focus on the Consumer Need
    When a market grows very large in the way that protein powder has, trying to create a one-size-fits-all product can be dangerous because you’re up against large brands who try to dominate with huge distribution and low prices. Even if you do manage to grab a small piece of the pie, it’s often not that profitable. Your best bet is to find a specific niche and focus intensely on the needs of that consumer. For example, it may be a focus on muscle recovery, weight loss, or even stress. Targeting a smaller market is worthwhile if you can gain leadership in that segment.
  2. Innovate – Don’t Complicate
    Sometimes the best solution is also the simplest solution. We’ve seen something as simple as a flavor help a brand stand out in a crowded market. For example, using a premium Madagascar vanilla that “pops” just a bit more. Or being the first to add a new ingredient like the algae proteins mentioned earlier. These are simple focused “twists” that can be made to an otherwise stock formula that combine the advantage of customization and the ease of private label.
  3. Taste is Paramount
    Supplementation is a lot like exercise. People tend to do it more if they enjoy it. One of the most important and overlooked areas in protein powder development is taste. Creating the best tasting protein powder is not easy but this is where the right contract manufacturer can help you. At Nutracap Labs, we have a stock catalog of flavors that spans the universe. From rich dessert flavors like red velvet cake and snickerdoodle to fun light flavors like cucumber lime and firefly lemonade. Sometimes the quickest and easiest way to get noticed is to blow someone’s mind with a cool exciting flavor.

The protein powder category is tough, but with the right partner behind you, we’ve described a number of ways you can stand out and build your business. The ball is in your court. Call our account rep today and we can brainstorm some ways to quickly grow your supplement business.


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