Protein power

Many of us have found a new appreciation for health and fitness during lockdown. Whether that’s translated into rediscovering the joys of running, or pushing your fitness forward with home workouts, one thing’s for certain - in challenging times, maintaining health and fitness is paramount. With that in mind, this month Julia O’Reilly looks into the top offerings from brands that tie in perfectly with the latest trends in the protein and sports nutrition category


Brand Central

22 February 2021 | 0

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Even throughout the uncertainty of the last 12 months, fitness, wellness, and self-optimisation trends have been more pervasive than ever. Thanks to the impact of fitness influencers on social media and the growing popularity of home workouts, many of us have been reaching for protein-enriched products such as sports protein bars and sports protein powder to enhance our exercise experience.

That’s not to say that maintaining fitness throughout Covid-19 hasn’t been challenging. With our calendars out of whack, gyms and sports facilities closed, and many feeling unmotivated without a looming sun-holiday on the horizon, when it comes to keeping fit, many of us will take all the help we can get right now.

Enter sports nutrition and protein products. Designed specifically to help enhance performance in sport and fitness, sales of these products have been rising steadily in recent years, reflecting the market’s evolution from a niche area to a mainstream and highly lucrative business.

Meanwhile, protein as a key part of any diet and is perceived highly positively by younger consumers in particular, which in turn has caused a wide range of products and segments to promote their protein content, such as pre-packed meats, bread and even snacks and treats like ice cream.

While the onslaught of Covid-19 caused some disruption in the demand for sports nutrition in 2020, before the pandemic struck, the category was growing impressively due to the increased interest in fitness and wellness among Irish consumers. One report from Euromonitor Ireland found that more consumers are seeking to tone their bodies and achieve a more athletic appearance. The robust category soon saw a hasty rebound, however; the report adds that as lockdown measures eased in the summer, demand for sports nutrition enjoyed a welcome recovery.

The importance of following a healthy lifestyle and diet have been well covered during the ongoing health crisis, according to Euromonitor Ireland research. Indeed, it said it expects the mounting consumer focus on preventative health to significantly benefit food and beverages within the health and wellness category going forward.

Commitment to premium

Gold Standard Plant protein delivers 100% plant protein to repair and maintain muscle fibres without sacrificing macro nutrients

As the world’s number one selling protein powder brand, Optimum Nutrition has set the gold standard in sports nutrition over the years, helping millions of people in over 90 countries achieve their fitness goals.

While Optimum Nutrition’s look has evolved over time, it promises that one thing will never change – its commitment to premium, high-quality ingredients for developing some of the world’s best sports nutrition products.

Healthy snacking is a huge part of the food market and current trends show consumers expect more from their snacks with protein being a key call out. The protein bar category is fuelled by flavour extensions, but Optimum Nutrition’s consumers demand variety through format and texture. To accelerate the category, it now has a uniformed bars portfolio. Its eye tracking study has proven that its new packs have double standout at shelf versus old packs. Additionally, with over 50% of adult consumers preferring milk chocolate to dark, the company said all its new On Protein bars will have a milk chocolate coating.

The Fruit and Nut Bar is a brand-new flavour, enhanced inclusions, commitment to premium and different textures to rival confectionary products for the next level of protein bars:

  • Crunchy with roasted peanuts
  • Fruity with whole raisins
  • Crispy with a milk chocolate coating

As trends towards vegan, plant-based and flexitarian lifestyles continue to grow, so does the demand from consumers when it comes to choosing which protein powders they consume.

With 100% vegan ingredients, and carrying the Vegan Society Approval**, its Gold Standard Plant protein delivers 100% plant protein to repair and maintain muscle fibres without sacrificing macro nutrients. Gold Standard Plant is high in protein with 24g per serve; contains a complete amino acid profile and is free from artificial colours and flavourings. Now in a 100% recyclable biopolymer tub**, making it not just recyclable but carbon negative, it is furthering the message of sustainability that is a close consideration of those switching to or maintaining a plant-based lifestyle.

The Glanbia-owned company’s Gold Standard Plant protein is available in two flavours: chocolate and vanilla.

*(Source: Euromonitor International Limited; Consumer Health 2020 edition, Sports Protein Powder category, % retail value shares, 2019 data)

**(Source: New packaging available from March 2021)

One of a Kind

Kind Protein delivers 12g of protein from plants; 8 grams from peanuts; and 4g from soy crisps

While consumer behaviour has changed as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, growth in the protein category remains strong and the trend sets to continue into 2021 and beyond.

Kind launched its protein range in May 2019, coming to the market with three flavours. Just 18 months on, it is growing at 200% year-on-year (Y0Y) and is currently growing ahead of the category.

Health has become a priority for consumers with 80% saying that they will be making healthier food choices as a result of the pandemic and 66% stating that they are actively looking for products with more protein. The Kind Protein range fulfils these consumer needs, delivering 12g of protein from plants; 8 grams from peanuts; and 4g from soy crisps.

The first ingredient in all Kind bars is a food that the World Health Organisation classified as ‘nutritionally dense’ – peanuts. In Kind Protein, peanuts are the hero ingredient, delivering a protein boost from plants, not powders.

Kind Protein is currently available as a single in three great flavours: Toasted Caramel Nut, Crunchy Peanut Butter and Dark Chocolate Nut, with a multi-pack set to launch later in the year.

Energy boost

In Ireland, the Red Bull Energy Drink 250ml continues to be the number one energy SKU in the market*. Available in over 170 countries worldwide, more than 6.7 billion cans of Red Bull were consumed in the last year alone. According to the company, Red Bull with the taste of Watermelon is its most successful flavoured energy drink, while Red Bull Sugar Free and Red Bull Zero are just some of the Red Bull products available to Irish consumers.

Red Bull athlete and Irish surfer Conor Maguire

Founded in 1987, Red Bull established the energy drinks product category, promising to vitalise body and mind. It is appreciated worldwide by top athletes, students and in highly demanding professions, as well as during long drives.

Giving wings to people and ideas, Red Bull is official energy drinks partner to Connacht Rugby, also supporting Irish athletes Thomas Barr, Conor Maguire, Greg Callaghan and Conor Shanahan. An exciting year ahead, 2021 will see the launch of a unique new flavour edition as well as more iconic Red Bull experiences for consumers to enjoy.

For all the latest updates, check out or @redbullire.

*(Source: Nielsen ROI to 52w.e. 27 Dec 2020)

Workout buddy

Engineered to fuel the toughest workouts, Reign Total Body Fuel says it is the only performance energy drink on the market that incorporates natural caffeine, zero sugar, zero calories, BCAAs, l-arginine and B vitamins.

Reign Total Body Fuel comes in four different flavours: Melon Mania, Razzle Berry, Lemon HDZ and Sour Apple.

Caffeine – Best consumed before your workout, Reign Total Body Fuel contains natural caffeine, derived from green coffee beans, to provide you with sustained energy to perform at your peak throughout your workout.

Zero Sugar + Zero Calories – Stay on track of your fitness goals with Reign Total Body Fuel. It offers all the benefits of a performance energy drink, with zero sugar and zero calories.

BCAAs – Each can of Reign 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.

Super fuel

Monster Energy’s HydroSport is the ultimate energy drink for sport, giving players the fuel they need to play hard. Whether you want to get stuck in on the field, at the track, or on the court, HydroSport will help energise, refuel and recover. HydroSport contains 200mg of natural caffeine, electrolytes, BCAAs with zero sugar and zero calories. Non-carbonated, it is the perfect drink to grab and guzzle before the big game or at half time.

HydroSport comes in three great tasting flavours, lemon and lime (‘Striker’), dragonfruit (‘Hang Time’) and tropical (‘Charge’). It offers the following benefits:

Energy – HydroSport offers a serious caffeine kick, with 200mg of natural caffeine per 650ml bottle, it gives you the energy you need to give it your all on the field. Plus, with zero sugar and zero calories, you have all the benefits of a performance energy drink but built for sport.

Advanced hydration – It’s half time and you’ve been sweating and grafting. HydroSport will help you hydrate when you need it the most. Electrolytes are critical for rapid and sustained hydration and help maintain peak physical performance and electrolytes lost in sweat.

Recovery – After working to your limit, BCAAs (Branched Chain Amino Acids), along with magnesium, vitamins B3 and B6 may help to reduce tiredness and fatigue.

Fulfilling flavour

The Salted Caramel flavour boasts 20g of protein, low sugar and nine vitamins

Fulfil Nutrition, like many other impulse brands, had a challenging year with Covid-19. But as the trend towards healthy snacking continues to grow, shoppers are trading up to treat themselves with ‘better for you’ branded snacks.

Fulfil Nutrition remains Ireland’s number healthy bar of choice with 55% value share* and continues to raise the bar in innovation, adding a tenth bar to the range in 2020 with the new Chocolate Deluxe flavour. As innovation remains at the heart of Fulfil, the brand is on course to bring exciting new flavours to market in 2021 with the release of Chocolate Caramel in April 2021.

Chocolate Caramel is the third Fulfil flavour within the ‘soft chew’ confectionery taste state

Chocolate Caramel is the third Fulfil flavour within the ‘soft chew’ confectionery taste state. Fulfil identified the limited choice within this taste state and therefore developed a unique flavour combination that will sit alongside best-selling and consumer favourite Salted Caramel delivering the same great taste and benefits of 20g protein, low sugar and nine vitamins.

To keep up to date on all the brand’s latest news, follow Fulfil on Instagram @fulfil_nutrition & Twitter @fulfil.

*(Source: Nielsen Healthy Bar Singles <90g Value share to 52w.e 1 November 2020)

Packing a punch

Great tasting apple and raspberry flavour Fruit Punch contains B vitamins, carbohydrates, and electrolytes to enhance hydration and help maintain performance

Lucozade Sport is the original and number one sports drink in Ireland holding 61.8% of the ‘drink now’ sports category.*

As the official hydration partner to Irish rugby, Lucozade Sport is supporting a heavyweight TV and video on demand (VOD) campaign for the Six Nations across February and into March, which will be underpinned by a high reach social campaign.

In a significant move for the brand, celebrating its partnership with heavyweight boxing champion Anthony Joshua, Lucozade Sport has launched an Irish-specific Anthony Joshua Fruit Punch 750ml, inspired by the unstoppable determination of the world boxing heavyweight champion. A great tasting apple and raspberry flavour, Fruit Punch provides the same B vitamins, carbohydrates, and electrolytes as the current range to enhance hydration and help maintain performance during endurance exercise.

Lucozade Sport will invest in a massive campaign in 2021, including full POS Suite, branded coolers, social activation, VOD, and out-of-home (OOH) to support the pack and celebrate its association with AJ. Lucozade Sport Fruit Punch is available now, visit your local cash and carry or talk to your Lucozade representative for more information.

*(Source: One Shot Sports Drinks, Total Scantrack RoI, value in Euro, latest 4 weeks, week ending 27/12/20)

Energy drink revolution

The 2021 Irish Nocco range features four flavours – Ice Soda, Limon Del Sol, Caribbean, and Tropical

Nocco is a functional energy drink created by the Swedish-developed No Carbs Company. Since it launched in 2018 in gyms, the brand has continued to expand throughout sport and fitness, retail, and convenience. With an aim to capitalise on the demand for great tasting, on-the-go sports nutrition products, Nocco is a market leader in the performance energy category and, as a result, is now the fastest growing energy drink in the UK*.

As the pioneer of a new sub-category of functional energy drinks, the 2021 Irish Nocco range features four flavours – Ice Soda, Limon Del Sol, Caribbean, and Tropical – all of which provide benefits in support of an active, healthy lifestyle. Nocco is part of a healthier energy drink revolution, and as a brand which promotes a mentality of determination and ambition, it is encouraging its consumers to be the best version of themselves.

In the coming months and years, Nocco anticipates the rise of conscious-drinkers, who are greatly influenced by how a brand might impact their health and well-being. That’s why Nocco says it is excited to continue to expand across Ireland throughout 2021 and to grow its customer network.

For more information, contact your local sales representative or ring our customer service team on 1890989486 or email

*(Source: AC Nielsen GB Total Coverage Latest 52 Weeks w/e 16 January 2020)

Green goodness

The Green Farm range is 100% natural and its Protein Powered Chicken Bites help consumers to snack smart with 23g of protein per pack

Green Farm is a tasty, cooked meat choice that is always 100% natural. The range of chicken, turkey and beef is naturally high in protein so provides a nourishing addition to any sandwich, salad, stir fry or snack.

Green Farm has a rich heritage of keeping the health and wellbeing of the consumer as a key focus. A marked milestone on this journey was the removal of artificial flavours and preservatives from all Green Farm products in 2011. Since then, the brand has consistently delivered innovation in chicken, turkey and beef products, supported by recipe inspiration, to make eating well easy for the consumer.

The award-winning Green Farm range offers consumers great-tasting nutritious protein in a format to suit any occasion. The chicken, turkey and beef slices are a perfect filler for a wholesome sandwich while the chicken and turkey pieces are the ideal lean choice for a tasty salad or stir-fry. The latest development in the Green Farm brand is the launch of a snacking range. This range of 100% natural, Protein Powered Chicken Bites helps consumers to snack smart with 23g of protein per pack. Each pack contains a handy skewer making it an ideal on-the-go snacking option.





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