Protein perfection

For many consumers, the Covid-19 pandemic has reinforced the importance of exercise and maintaining fitness levels in order to improve not just their physical but also their mental health. Protein/sports products have therefore gained an ever-larger audience in recent years, and stocking up on impulse as well as larger formats will ensure you don’t disappoint a dedicated custom base


Brand Central

14 February 2022 | 0

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It’s no secret that Ireland has undergone a mini health and wellness revolution in the last decade. Just as protein content, energy values, and nutritional profiles have become more important to Irish shoppers, the nation’s retailers have been keeping their shelves stocked with all the top products. While initially impacted by Covid-19, a report from Euromonitor, titled ‘Sports Nutrition in Ireland’, said the pandemic will ultimately heighten consumer interest in health and fitness. The report, which was published in October 2021, predicts that sales of sports nutrition will increase this year, as consumers enjoy the return to playing competitive and team sports and training in gyms.

In a report entitled ‘A year of innovation in snack bars, 2020’ Mintel also reports that added protein content continues to trend in snack bar launches.

Impulse plays an important role for sales of both energy/protein bars and sports/energy drinks moreover. Research by Shopper Intelligence shows that 53% of consumers said about sports drinks that: “I sometimes buy it just because I feel like it at the time.” This contrasts with 33% of consumers who gave the same response in the context of the total store. In-store triggers can therefore play an important role in “creating a craving” in-store and driving sales. More in-store POS, secondary displays and promotions in sports/energy drinks will therefore prove effective, according to Shopper Intelligence.

With that in mind, over the next few pages, we outline the leading players within protein, and particularly, the protein bar, snacks and sports drink sectors.

Fulfil your potential

Fulfil Crispy is a lite bite bar at 37g with 10g protein, nine vitamins and low sugar

Fulfil Nutrition, like many other impulse brands, has had to deal with the challenges presented by Covid-19. However, sales in 2021 were very strong indicating that consumers are not only looking for healthier options, they want to indulge as well and Fulfil is the perfect blend of both. Fulfil Nutrition is not only Ireland’s number one healthy impulse bar brand with 61% value share but is also the number two impulse bar overall, outselling nearly every other chocolate bar brand.

Since day one Fulfil Nutrition has performed well due to its product offering, as a great tasting bar with benefits that have resonated with Irish consumers, as well as its complete range of flavours that have sustained its popularity.

Fulfil Crispy is available in two flavours, Crispy Caramel and Crispy Peanut & Caramel

Fulfil Nutrition launched the 55g Chocolate Caramel in 2021, providing the same great taste, low sugar, and nine vitamins as the popular and best-selling Salted Caramel. The brand has also introduced a new product range, Fulfil Crispy, which is a lite bite bar at 37g with 10g protein, nine vitamins and low sugar available in the two flavours Crispy Caramel and Crispy Peanut & Caramel.

Keep up to date with the latest news @fulfil_nutrition on Instagram and @fulfil on Twitter.

*(Source: Collated ROI EPOS nine retailers c1700 stores 52 w.e. 2 Jan 2022)

Oat to watch out for!

Pro-Oats is the newest member to the ever-growing Avonmore Protein Milk range.

Available in a 500ml carton, it contains 27g protein and 23g gluten-free oats and is perfect for those who exercise in the mornings, seek to hit their protein goals, and grab breakfast on-the-go, all in one carton.

Pro-Oats has a lovely vanilla flavour with a smooth texture and has gotten off to an amazing start since its launch in November 2021.

Raising the bar

Cali Cali is raising the bar with the next generation of protein bars

Cali Cali launched almost three years ago, with a healthy crisp and sauce range inspired by the flavours of the west coast of the US. Now, with an enviable product range and loyal customer base, the Irish brand is launching a new range of its Cali Cali Superbars.

The two newly launched flavours are Chocolate & Salted Caramel and Chocolate Coconut & Goji Berries, joining the existing flavours of Chocolate & Himalayan Sea-Salt and Chocolate & Peanut. While health benefits are front of mind with these products, so are taste and texture. The bars are bursting with natural flavourings and are light and fluffy – great with coffee or for munching on- the-go.

The tasty Cali Cali Superbars are high in vitamin D which is crucial for immunity boosting, high in protein, gluten-free, and vegan-friendly. The Superbars have been created without sugar alcohols, which are found in most protein bars so every element of the health journey has been thought through and implemented to create a truly superior product. Avoiding synthetic ingredients and focusing on real ingredients, the Superbars use real Belgian chocolate, which is sweetened with all-natural chicory root to deliver all the flavour of a chocolate treat but with ‘super’ benefits.

Cali Cali Superbars retail at €2.59 per bar and are widely stocked across Ireland in retailers such as Tesco, Dunnes, Centra, SuperValu, Applegreen, Spar and Circle K to name a few.

For more information, visit or follow on social media @calicalifoods on Instagram, Facebook and Tik Tok.

South African star

Irish Biltong can also be added to favourite dishes and is delicious in salads, soups, omelettes and in a variety of beef dishes

Irish Biltong is one of the finest, high protein health snacks on the market that is low in both sugar and fat and is highly nutritious. In fact, Irish Biltong has an amazing 69% protein content, the highest known protein content available in biltong snacks in both Ireland and the UK.

The Irish Biltong Company is a family-owned business owned and managed by Noreen Doyle and her husband John from their farm in County Kildare. Both Noreen and John come from farming backgrounds with John’s family having a tradition in the meat industry for over 65 years. Irish Biltong is distributed on the Irish market by Ampersand which drives sales of the brand within the convenience and forecourt sector.

Biltong is an air-dried meat snack that originated from South Africa hundreds of years ago, but in recent times it has entered sporting circles to healthily boost players’ protein intake.

Biltong is made by marinating beef in a special spice mix, allowing it to air dry before it is cut into thin strips to be eaten as a healthy snack. John takes great pride in every batch of Irish Biltong that he makes. Irish Biltong is made from only the finest cuts of Irish grass-fed beef, all from local farms including their own which ensures full traceability from start to finish on the production. From dry aging the beef, hand curing, air drying, tender hooking and hand cutting the Irish Biltong, the product is produced with the greatest of pride with the oldest of traditional techniques known in the industry.

Irish Biltong comes in two flavours, Original and Chilli. Retailing at €3, the gourmet snack is packaged in convenient, ambient, 25-gram re-sealable food grade bags and is sold in-store on hanging clip-strips that can be multi-sited around the store. It’s perfect as a ready-to-eat snack for the health-conscious consumers on-the-go or for recovery after training.

For more information, contact your Ampersand representative or the direct sales line on 01 4130150.***

Positive sustainability step

Lucozade Sport will introduce bottles made from 100% recycled PET across the range into the Irish market in 2022

Lucozade Sport, the original and number one sports drink brand on the island of Ireland has launched new look bottles with a reduced plastic sleeve. The new reduced plastic sleeve will allow bottles to be correctly identified and sorted into the correct recycling stream by recycling facilities to process used bottles more easily into new bottles.

Lucozade Sport has committed to ensuring its bottles are made from 100% recycled plastic, and will introduce bottles made from 100% recycled PET across the range into the Irish market in 2022, saving a significant amount of virgin PET.

Lucozade Sport has invested in a substantial through-the-line launch campaign across the Six Nations championship

The move will help bring the business closer to its goal of making all its plastic packaging sustainable by 2030.

“This is a really positive step on our sustainability journey,” said Philip Keenan, Lucozade Sport marketing manager, Ireland. “The new design enables recycling facilities to easily recognise the PET bottle and allows them to be recycled into new bottles. In addition to this step, across 2022, we will transition into having all our Lucozade Sport bottles made from 100% recycled PET. To support this significant initiative, we have invested in a substantial through-the-line launch campaign across the Six Nations championship, leveraging our Irish Rugby partnership, to highlight our new bottle design and encouraging our consumers to recycle their bottles.”

The move follows a £7.8m (sterling) investment by SBF GB and Ireland into making its packaging more sustainable.

Juicing up energy category

With the energy category continuing to experience rapid expansion, Monster Energy is primed to continue to capture this growth for retailers.

Contributing to this success were three innovations which led the energy category for 2021: Monster Monarch, Monster Nitro Super Dry and Monster Ultra Fiesta Mango. In particular, Monster Ultra Fiesta Mango capitalised on the continued growth of the ‘zero sugar’ energy segment across the Island of Ireland in 2021.

That innovation will continue in 2022, with two exciting new flavours launching across the Island of Ireland in February, following their unprecedented success in other markets.

The two new flavours include Ultra Watermelon: anew blend of flavour and energy inspired by those endless summer days you hope never end” in a zero-sugar package; light and refreshing.

Monster Energy Khaotic is another exciting addition. Back in the day – 2005 to be specific – Monster Energy shook up the energy drink game by combining the refreshing and great taste of real juice, with an industry-leading energy blend to launch what was then known as Monster Khaos. The brand says it proved to be an instant classic with fans and athletes alike, who loved the awesome combination of fruit juices and performance. In fact, it started a trend which left rivals scrambling in Monster Energy’s wake; leading to a further four more ‘energy + juice’ flavours being released after Khaos blazed the trail.

Fast forward a decade, and Monster Energy has decided it was time for a makeover for the classic blend that kickstarted a revolution. Enter Monster Energy Khaotic.

While at its core the Monster Energy DNA hasn’t changed, there have been a few epic tweaks which bring Khaotic right up to date for 2022. A lightened flavour with a specially mixed orange juice blend, brings a crisp and refreshing citrus taste. Monster describes it as a “perfect follow-up to the smash hit that revolutionised the market ten years ago”.

Workout buddy

Engineered to fuel the toughest workouts, Reign Total Body Fuel incorporates natural caffeine, zero sugar, zero calories, BCAAs, l-arginine and B vitamins.

The range comes in six different flavours: Razzle Berry, Orange Dreamsicle, Melon Mania, Lemon HDZ, Sour Apple, and Peach Fizz.

Best consumed before a workout, Reign Total Body Fuel contains natural caffeine, derived from green coffee beans, to provide sustained energy which allows individuals to perform at their peak throughout a workout.

Your customers can stay on track of their fitness goals with Reign Total Body Fuel. It offers all the benefits of a performance energy drink, with zero sugar and zero calories.

Each can of Reign also contains the highest quality BCAAs (leucine, iso-leucine and valine). These essential amino acids are not produced in the body and are therefore crucial components of a balanced diet. BACCs, along with l-arginine and B vitamins may help muscle recovery after a hard-hitting workout.

An absolute joy

Jo’s Absolute Nutrition offers Chocolate Protein Balls, Chia & Coconut Energy Balls and Rawlo’s (a raw caramel coated in dark chocolate)

With a recent Bord Bia report on ‘Snacking Today in Ireland and the UK’ showing the growing importance of health in the snacking category and demand for great tasting snacks without the guilt of traditional, indulgent products, Jo’s Absolute Nutrition’s range and place is the market is a win-win for both retailers and consumers.

Jo’s Absolute Nutrition launched its protein and energy ball range in 2015, coming to the market with three core flavours, Chocolate Protein Balls, Chia & Coconut Energy Balls and Rawlo’s (a raw caramel coated in dark chocolate). Handmade in its gluten free bakery in Rathcoole, Co. Dublin, Absolute Nutrition has since added Peanut Butter Bombs & Caffe Mocha Bliss Balls to its convenient two-pack range.

Jo’s Absolute Nutrition products are handmade in the brand’s gluten free bakery in Rathcoole, Co. Dublin

According to a recent Mintel report on ‘Consumer Snacking Habits in Ireland’, 58% of Irish consumers are snacking twice or three times a day, with only 16% saying that they do not snack on a daily basis (Source: Mintel, 2019).

Absolute Nutrition’s convenient range boasts award-winning flavours. All the products are high fibre, gluten free, vegetarian and ideal for on-the-go or an indulgent treat using the finest nutrient dense ingredients such as almond, peanuts and high-quality cocoa.

To keep up to date on all the brand’s latest news, follow Absolute Nutrition on Instagram and Twitter @absnutfoods. Absolute Nutrition is a proud member of both Love Irish Food and Guaranteed Irish.

Cookies in the zone!

In the Zone plans to get into the heart of the GAA community through launching an Ambassadors Club and supporting players through employment opportunities

An exciting new Irish protein cookies brand will hit shelves this month, endorsed by the GAA and GPA.

East Coast Bakehouse has announced the launch of a new Irish protein brand called In the Zone, created in partnership with the GAA and GPA as The Official Players Choice.

The new range comprises of four tasty variants, two high protein low sugar cookies – Soft Bake Double Chocolate flavour and Soft Bake Cookies & Cream flavour, both with 20g of protein, as well as two high protein biscuits with 10g of protein – Crunchy Double Chocolate flavour and Crunchy Salted Caramel flavour.

The range is designed to target health-conscious consumers, who don’t want to compromise on great taste.

Sean Murphy, managing director of East Coast Bakehouse says the group is “incredibly excited” to launch a new Irish protein brand, and proud to have the endorsement of the GAA and GPA.

“It is no secret there is continued growing demand for high protein snacking options, but the majority of these protein snacks are imported into Ireland,” Murphy says.

“We are confident that there is a significant opportunity for Irish retailers to support a great tasting Irish protein brand, with product proudly made in Ireland.

“We’ve had a fantastic consumer response already, and we look forward to building momentum with a strong consumer launch plan to drive brand awareness and product trial,” he adds.

In the Zone plans to get into the heart of the GAA community through launching an Ambassadors Club, bringing players on board at all levels across the country to support the launch. The brand is also looking to support players through employment opportunities.

The In the Zone launch follows a strong pipeline of innovation from East Coast Bakehouse, building on the success of its Enrobed range and Vegan range launched last year.

In the Zone is stocked nationwide in SuperValu and Centra stores now (RSP: €2.50).

For distribution, contact

Shopper Intelligence: In-store visibility is key

The energy/sports drinks category continues to see huge growth over time and the key to its success is display and visibility in-store. Shoppers shop this category impulsively and immediate ‘cravings’ are often created in-store by simply seeing the category. Availability of the key big brands are also important to shoppers However, what shoppers are telling us is that they don’t find this category particularly easy to find or shop. Is improving this the key to sustained future growth?












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