Specialised in the formulation and manufacturing of complex nutritional products, Laïta Nutrition is the nutrition division of the Laïta dairy cooperative and is affirming its expertise in the sports nutrition market. The company is focusing its innovation activities on this specific segment, and opening up new perspectives to satisfy a wide 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 solid and extensive 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.
Connecting with contemporary consumer trends, these innovations are an easier alternative to the usual tub of protein powder, in terms of both practicality and taste!
They offer interesting opportunities for both traditional stakeholders and those who wish to enter the sports nutrition market and reach out to seasoned consumers with more of a lifestyle focus.
Visit stand L129 at the Vitafoods Europe trade fair on 10-12 May for a sneak preview.
Sports nutrition: an opportunity for brands and manufacturers
If there is one sector that is constantly evolving, it is the sports nutrition sector. Initially focused on bodybuilders and athletes, it has gradually opened up to ordinary consumers, who see sport and nutrition as a way of adopting a healthy lifestyle. 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.
- On the one hand, there is a new collective awareness of health issues with the democratisation of sport and fitness. 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.
- On the other hand, the trend for on-the-go consumption is driving new dynamics, as is the desire for natural products and technicality:
o The plant-based protein market is worth around €10 billion worldwide, with an expected growth of around 7% over the forecast period.
o The FAO estimates that global demand for protein will increase by 40% by 2030.
o In this period of increased awareness of plant-based alternatives, the market for vegan drinks is more promising than ever.
All of these trends present a challenge for dairy companies, who must reinvent themselves to innovate and offer new solutions to their customers.
- At the top of the standings: milk protein powders are historically the category with the highest volume. However, 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.
- Taste remains a very important factor. The world of sports nutrition is mainly dominated by three flavours: vanilla, chocolate and strawberry. Consumers are looking for diversification. This is also a challenge for the sometimes bitter-tasting plant protein products.
Three turnkey innovations to fuel growth in this market
Laïta Nutrition is launching three drinks that 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.
A high-protein plant-based drink: the sustainable alternative
- This legume-based product has been 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.
- For the flavour, a successful bet with a chocolate hazelnut drink that makes a change from the classics of the market. It has a smooth, creamy texture. It does not need to be stored in the fridge as it has a long shelf life in a UHT sterilised bottle.
- Laïta Nutrition offers a practical product for consumers looking for a healthier diet with a desire to protect the environment, such as the vegan target group.
- So a dairy cooperative has its place in the plant-based beverage industry! Dairy companies are driving new strategies for the nutritional and dietary transition.
“We are first and foremost a dairy cooperative. The expertise of our health division is in the formulation of complex products. Here, this know-how is applied to the sports nutrition market. As a formulator, we have developed strong expertise that allows us to adapt to all ingredients. We have worked considerably on the selection of raw materials and actively study new ingredients that can be tested in our formulas. This is the case with the plant proteins used in one of our sports nutrition formulas, for example, while maintaining the functional and organoleptic stability of the finished product.” says Mr Lucot, Marketing Manager at Laïta Nutrition.
Stimulating pre-workout shot with amino acids: an energy boost
- To target seasoned sportsmen and women who want to promote muscle growth and improve their performance, Laïta Nutrition offers 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 product has an unusual flavour. Laïta Nutrition's aim was to position its product to stand out from the crowd and bring diversity to sports enthusiasts.
High-protein drinks made with cow's milk proteins
- Thanks to their functionalities, milk proteins bring flavour, fluidity, naturalness and performance to high-protein drinks. They are a choice ingredient in sports nutrition.
- Laïta Nutrition offers a 200ml bottle made with cow's milk proteins: 25g/portion (12.5g per 100ml)
Laïta Nutrition’s strategy is based on customisation by offering its formulas in a range of flavours. The company has worked on the organoleptic qualities of its products to make taste and pleasure a key focus to attract more lifestyle-oriented consumers, among others. The company's know-how:
1. Strong technological expertise
Thanks to its strong technological expertise, Laïta Nutrition can develop unique manufacturing processes allowing its client companies to adapt formulas to consumer needs, for example in the area of plant-based products.
In Ploudaniel, Laïta Nutrition specialises in the manufacture of ready-to-eat liquid products. Each product is sterilised and then packaged aseptically, guaranteeing a safe, long-lasting product.
2. Complex nutritional formulas
Laïta Nutrition has an extensive R&D team of engineers and technicians to produce models and prototypes of products containing plant-based proteins.
Laïta Nutrition’s Ancenis site has an MSD drying tower and produces milk powders for the nutrition market.
3. Mastering specific processes, traceability and food safety
Laïta Nutrition controls the products, processes, and traceability in order to guarantee the healthy quality and food safety of the products. Identification and control of the various risks in Laïta Nutrition's activity ensures that the company’s products meet international safety standards. The industrial facility in Créhen consists of a drying tower and a packaging workshop. This high-tech facility meets the highest international food safety standards: hygienic design, cleanability, foreign body risk management, etc.
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