Launching the ingredient at Food Ingredients Europe (FIE) in Paris yesterday, UK-based Volac cited evidence that 75 per cent of nutrition bars were currently bought by women, and said this offered manufacturers new opportunities regarding product development and positioning.
The company said its Volactive (Ultra Whey 90) ProCrisp ingredient would allow the production of low calorie bars with a great taste and crunchy texture, which it identified as “purchasing motivations” for women.
“While the established sports nutrition bar segment continues to grow, a more mainstream consumer is emerging as the future of the category,” the company said in a statement.
Healthy food choices – including weight management and satiety solutions, plus convenience – meant that consumers were demanding more nowadays from nutrition bars, Volac said.
Extruded and dried
Discussing Volac’s new whey-based products, corporate communications manager Andy Richardson told DairyReporter.com: “Ultra Whey 90 is a high quality whey protein powder for the sports nutrition market, rather than bars and liquids. ProCrisp is a light and crunchy textured protein ingredient, so the latter is really suitable for nutrition bars.”
He added: “It looks like mini Rice Krispies, basically. It’s an extruded and then dried product, so you can use it to lend a protein element to sports nutrition bars.”
Suzane Leser, Volac’s Nutrition Manager for Lifestyle Ingredients said: “By adding whey protein into a bar, a balance of nutrients delivers an ‘all in one’ nutritional solution, whether as breakfast ‘on the go’ or an ideal guilt-free snack. This way, people can balance the intake of high quality proteins with carbohydrate, and potentially less sugar”.
Further acquisitions possible
Volac also published its annual results yesterday, which included details of over £20m spent on factory investments at sites across Europe and acquisitions.
For its financial year ending this February, Volac said it increased operating profits to £12.5m (£6.2m:2010) and increased turnover 37.5 per cent from £88m to £121m year-on-year.
Discussing the results, Richardson said: “We have more volume coming through, hence a higher turnover. And in terms of the markets we’re in, these are quite strong at the moment.”
“We really care about the benefits of dairy nutrition [and adding value to milk]. We’re finding that the demand for dairy products is growing, particularly for products around the whey protein side, although on the lactose side demand is also good,” he added.
Richardson said Volac would still consider bolt-on acquisitions to develop, “a truly European business based on our high-performance products. We’re always looking at viable options".