Gym enthusiasts looking to build muscle and keep to a plant-based diet are about to have some new beverage options to refuel with after their workouts. That's because Muscle Milk, the performance snack and shake brand PepsiCo bought from Hormel back in 2019, is introducing two new plant-based protein drinks to its product lineup starting December 2023. The Muscle Milk Plant Protein Shakes will, according to Food Dive, be released in Caramel Vanilla and Chocolate flavors, contain up to 30 grams of plant-based protein, and deliver all nine amino acids (histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine), which are essential for muscle growth and recovery.
The Muscle Milk products already on the market feature proteins derived from cow's milk, which naturally contains all of the amino acids needed to synthesize it. And while there are some plant-based dairy alternatives that are similarly rich in nutrients, such as soy milk, according to a study from the Journal of International Society of Sports Nutrition, they tend to lack some of the amino acids required to deliver the full benefits of protein consumption. Marissa Pines, PepsiCo's senior marketing director, told Food Dive in an interview that the new offerings aim to tackle that issue with its innovative formulas that fully meet consumers' needs.
The Demand For Plant-Based Protein Is On The Rise
Pines also explained that the company's decision to enter the plant-based market with performance-marketed protein drinks was a "future-proofing" move meant to anticipate the preference shifts of consumers rather than "solving a leaky bucket problem." The USDA's report from 2022 illustrates that milk consumption has fallen steadily since the 1970s, and consumers are replacing them with plant-based alternatives.
A recent report published by The Brainy Insights suggests that the demand for plant-based protein sources is on the rise due to "an increased awareness of healthy diets" and an uptick in vegan and vegetarian lifestyle choices. The report predicts the global market for alternative protein will grow from the $14.2 billion it was in 2021 to $33.75 billion by the end of the decade. North American consumers seem most responsible for driving this demand, as they accounted for 43 percent of the market's total revenue in 2021.
Considering the fact that athletes and health-conscious individuals seem to be leading the charge towards plant-based lifestyles, and are considered the primary demographic for Muscle Milk products in general, the shift to plant-based protein offerings certainly makes sense for the brand as it anticipates the rising demand from their market base. Though, eventually, they might need to rework the product name.
Read the original article on Tasting Table.