Laïta Nutrition opens up new perspectives in sports nutrition

By Jim Cornall

- Last updated on GMT

Pic: Laïta Nutrition
Pic: Laïta Nutrition

Related tags Sports nutrition Sports nutrition products Protein plant-based Dairy alternatives Dairy

Laïta Nutrition is the nutrition division of the Laïta dairy cooperative and is focusing on the sports nutrition market to satisfy a range of target consumers.

In a market dominated by powdered products, Laïta Nutrition has chosen to offer a liquid product, a market in which the company has experience.

There are three types of high-protein, ready-to-drink finished products, all developed with one ambition: making protein more readily available.

The company offers two high-protein drinks, one made with plant proteins and the other with cow's milk proteins, and a performance shot made with amino acids.

Laïta Nutrition said they offer opportunities for traditional stakeholders and those who wish to enter the sports nutrition market and reach out to consumers with more of a lifestyle focus.

Initially focused on bodybuilders and athletes sports nutrition has gradually opened up to more consumers who see sport and nutrition as a way of adopting a healthy lifestyle. The company said a new market is emerging with an adapted product-response to meet the different needs and expectations of this new kind of informed consumer.

Major trends are developing at the same time - some of which have been strengthened by the Covid pandemic - and are shaping innovations in this market.

Laïta Nutrition said since there is a new collective awareness of health issues a holistic approach to sports nutrition has emerged, with a market shift from the search for performance and muscle gain to the search for health and well-being through physical activity and food. 

It added that, also, the trend for on-the-go consumption is driving new dynamics, as is the desire for natural products and technicality. The plant-based protein market is worth around €10bn ($10.7bn) worldwide, with an expected growth of around 7% over the forecast period. 

The FAO estimates that global demand for protein will increase by 40% by 2030.

All of these trends present a challenge for dairy companies, who must reinvent themselves to innovate and offer new solutions to their customers, Laïta Nutrition said.

It said while milk protein powders are historically the category with the highest volume, consumer demand for alternative proteins is driving the emergence of a more diversified offer based on plant proteins.

Also, on-the-go consumption calls for different consumer products. Work to develop on-the-go, ready-to-use formats opens up new avenues for brand innovation.

Laïta Nutrition said taste remains a very important factor. The world of sports nutrition is mainly dominated by three flavors: vanilla, chocolate and strawberry, but the company said consumers are looking for diversification. This is also a challenge for the sometimes bitter-tasting plant protein products.

Laïta Nutrition is launching three drinks to provide the energy and protein the body needs. The strategy is to retain existing bodybuilding and/or CrossFit consumers and to reach a wider target of customers through a lifestyle-based approach.

The high-protein plant-based drink is a legume-based product designed for consumption before, during and after exercise.  It is packaged in a 300ml bottle: a format that is already present on the market and is very popular. However, there are currently few vegetable alternatives with such a high protein content, that are enriched with vitamins and minerals and, what is more, sugar-free.  At 20g/bottle (6.7g per 100ml), this is a particularly protein-rich in plant-based protein.

The chocolate hazelnut flavored drink does not need to be stored in the fridge as it has a long shelf life in a UHT sterilized bottle.

To target seasoned athletes who want to promote muscle growth and improve their performance, Laïta Nutrition is also offering a 70ml shot. It is composed of water and amino acids to ensure optimal performance. Beta alanine, for example, increases muscle mass. Caffeine improves concentration and reduces fatigue, while taurine helps muscle contraction and thus improves performance.

The other product is a high-protein drink made with cow's milk proteins. Laïta Nutrition said thanks to their functionalities, milk proteins bring flavor, fluidity, naturalness and performance to high-protein drinks, and it is offering a 200ml bottle made with cow's milk proteins: 25g/portion (12.5g per 100ml).