Special edition: Amino acids and protein

Axiom: Rice protein market growth ‘happening now’

By Maggie Hennessy

- Last updated on GMT

"We are only limited by our capacity," says Axiom CEO and president David Janow, of the potential in the rice protein market.
"We are only limited by our capacity," says Axiom CEO and president David Janow, of the potential in the rice protein market.

Related tags: Rice

Mounting interest in the benefits of rice protein from the technical and sports nutrition communities alike has turned to increased sales of Axiom Foods’ brown rice protein powder. 

And it can only go up from here, according to Los Angeles-based Axiom’s CEO and president, David Janow.

When asked about his growth projections for rice protein, Janow told NutraIngredients-USA, “I think it’s happening now. We’re growing now.”

Indeed, the company posted triple-digit growth for the third straight year and has doubled in size since last year. “We will probably double again one more time,” ​Janow added. “We are on track to do $35 to $40 million this year, and $90 to 100 million next year.”

Boosted credibility

Company progress has corresponded to the results of multiple clinical trials, including one presented in March, which indicates that administering rice protein isolate (more specifically, Growing Naturals’ Organic Rice Protein made with Axiom’s Oryzatein) after resistance exercise builds muscles, decreases fat mass and aids exercise recovery at levels comparable to whey protein isolate.

“The clinical trials added a level of credibility to rice protein, including brown rice protein,”​ Janow, who also owns Growing Naturals, said. “It was nice to see our specific ingredients showing these things that others don’t. It distinguishes us from other competitors.”

Axiom extracts protein from all layers of whole grain rice kernels, including the bran, germ and endosperm in a low-heat, hexane-free process to prevent protein denaturation and keep synthetic chemicals out of the manufacturing process. The product is also GMO-free and Prop 65-compliant.

Bars have always been a good fit for the product, and interest is also growing in the weight loss category in the wake of trials demonstrating rice protein’s weight loss effects.

The firm recently created a suspension-grade, grit-free rice protein, which broadens its appeal in the ready-to-drink (RTD) and powder markets.

“Powders and RTDs are big markets for us, especially because of the new products we have,” ​Janow said. “Rice protein is a grain, so there were always issues with grittiness in the past. But RTD has become a real area of growth because of better functionality and demand.”

Axiom's biggest challenge in the short term will be keeping up with growing demand. The company recently added new production facilities in Thailand and the Midwest, and plans to open another factory in Cambodia.

“The product is so unique, and the technical community is interested in doing more clinical trials and studies at different levels,”​ he said. “At this point, we are only limited by our capacity.”

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