US: PepsiCo targets women with mystery new protein product launch

PepsiCo is reportedly developing a novel protein-based product designed to appeal to women that “won’t show up on a shelf the way you envision it” – a development revealed by senior managers of its Nutrition Ventures arm at the Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo (FNCE) last week in Philadelphia.

Once the preserve of sweaty men pumping iron, protein has emerged from an image overhaul as the ingredient of choice for product developers targeting women keen to battle the bulge and stay strong as they age, according to many market researchers.

PepsiCo, which is tapping into this trend with its new PLAY (Protein, Liquid, Activity, You-time) initiative, says it is now testing product prototypes with consumers, but will not provide details of the product format (s) or launch date.

PepsiCo Nutrition Ventures VP Dondeena Bradley PhD said: “We are going to introduce a product that has protein in it, a complete protein and in a product that women will love. But it won’t show up on a shelf the way you envision it.”

A spokeswoman told FoodNavigator-USA that details are being kept firmly under wraps, but that formulators wanted to “make sure that we’re being throughtful scientifically as we want it to have validity in terms of the protein quality.”

It won’t be launched under the Pepsi brand, she added.

While many women eat reasonable amounts of protein at their evening meal, making their daily intakes look OK, they would be better off spreading their consumption across the day as our bodies can only process around 20-30g at one sitting and turn it into muscle, say researchers.

However, many women are not getting any protein at breakfast, and hardly any at lunch, said Marianne Smith Edge, MS, RD, LD, FADA, senior vice president, nutrition and food safety at the International Food Information Council (IFIC).

People often tend to think about lack of protein as being an issue for older people, and use terms such as frailty and sarcopenia, she said.

However, many middle-aged women are not getting enough protein – or at least are not getting enough at breakfast and lunch – and still think of it as something that’s most important for athletes and young people, particularly young men, she said.

“They also think that protein is less important as we age, when in fact it can help to prevent many of the issues we see in older adults. Men also think more about protein than women.”….

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Additional reading:

2012: the year that protein reaches its tipping point?