ProYo, which contains 20g of protein, live probiotic cultures, added fiber, no artificial colors or flavors, and just 160 calories, was launched in March 2013 at the Natural Products Expo in Anaheim, California.
Following a successful regional launch period, Nathan Carey, the owner of Twin Cups, which manufactures ProYo, now hopes to meet increasing national consumer demand drummed up by recent media exposure.
“By the end of the year, we should be in grocery stores and gyms throughout California,” Carey told DairyReporter.com.
“We will expand our geographic reach nationally by 2014 to meet customer demand."
Plans to extend the ProYo range, which currently includes Dutch Chocolate, Banana Vanilla, Vanilla Bean and Blueberry Pomegranate variations, are also afoot.
"We will also create new flavor combinations, and have three product line extensions in the works," said Carey.
“Sorry, I can’t reveal what they are yet,” he said.
“Couldn’t have come at a better time”
Carey began developing ProYo at his frozen yogurt and coffee stand in Santa Barbara, California following a severe multiple arm fracture, which he suffered while lifting weights at the gym.
“During my recovery, I wasn't able to use my hand to eat. But I needed protein in my diet, and I wasn’t satisfied with many of the available options,” he said.
The development and launch of ProYo, according to Carey, “couldn’t have come at a better time.”
“Nutritious desserts are one of this year’s top 10 trends in organic and natural foods, according to the Sterling Rice Group,” he said.
“ProYo joins the fast-growing frozen yogurt retail category at a time when consumers are looking for function foods that are tasty, low in calories and deliver health benefits such as protein, probiotics and calcium.”
On the back of this demand, Carey expects others to follow ProYo into the niche high-protein frozen yogurt category.
“…as other companies see our success, they may try to copy us,” he said.
More than just 'male-friendly'?
When developing the ProYo brand, Carey decided to clad the product in black packaging following a “conscious choice to make it ‘male-friendly’.”
“I learned at my smoothie stand, that when men understood the health benefits of yogurt, they were sold. So our packaging uses a lot of black, and of course, explains ProYo’s health benefits front and center,” he said.
Despite the brand’s core orientation, Carey believes that ProYo appeals to a much broader range of consumers.
“People are sold on the benefits of protein. Studies show that for a post-workout recovery, a dose of protein is recommended. High protein diets are also linked to weight loss.”
“Our demographic reach is broad, kids love it because it tastes like ice cream, men and athletes love its high-protein content, women and moms live it because it’s low in calories and nutritious. Seniors and people who have difficulty eating enough protein due to illness or loss of appetite are also enthusiastic about its creamy texture and outstanding flavors that other high protein products often lack,” Carey added.