In other words, not everyone wants a product with 20 or 30 grams of protein in it, says Hoban, who joined forces with Peter Dacey and Bob Leary in 2014 to create the Miami Bay Beverage Company, the company behind trimino – a protein water with 7g of whey protein and 28 calories per 16oz bottle plus B vitamins.
Meanwhile, many mainstream sports drinks are very sugary, he says: “We’d see kids drinking Gatorade and Powerade, which have all this sugar in them, and we looked in the market for light, refreshing, really great-tasting chuggable protein drinks without sugar and saw this huge void in the market.
“At the same time protein water brands such as Protein2o also entered the market; we all pretty much started at the same time as there was a consumer need there. We grew more than 400% last year and we’re hoping to sell a million bottles in July.
“We’ve been really pleasantly surprised by how wide the footprint is, from Millennials, young athletes and middle-aged people of both genders, to diabetics.”
While the trimino co-founders (pictured left) experimented with stevia when they developed the formula, they ultimately picked ace K and sucralose (which is also used in Sparkling ICE), which delivered the best taste without any added sugar, says co-founder Casey Hogan.
Functional beverages and water/hydration are the fastest growing categories in beverages and we span both of them
trimino – which has just had a packaging refresh and formulation tweak (to remove artificial colors) – rapidly secured listings in 5,000 stores in 30 states, in stores from Shop Rite to 7-Eleven, underlining its mass market appeal, affordability and accessibility, says Connecticut-based Hoban (trimino typically sells for $1.99 n grocery and $2.25 in convenience stores).
With sales of carbonated soft drinks continuing to decline, he says, the beverage landscape is changing rapidly and retailers are looking at space allocation very carefully to make sure they are capitalizing on opportunities in bottled water, functional beverages, and sports and energy drinks.
“Functional beverages and water/hydration are the fastest growing categories in beverages and we span both of them. Some retailers are putting us in the protein energy set and some by plain water, and we do well in both, but ideally we’d like to be near the functional beverage set next to coconut water drinks in the cooler.
“We’re now in 100 7-Eleven stores in the Miami, Orlando, Tampa, and Jacksonville areas and we’ve just done a deal with [distributor] Drink King that will expose us to eight million potential supermarket, drug, and convenience store consumers in New York, Long Island and Northern New Jersey; we’re also going into Sam’s Club shortly.
“Our aim is to completely dominate the protein water market.”