At the Summer Fancy Food Show in New York City last month, Marie Amazan acknowledged that a plethora of new plant-based products that better mimic the taste, texture and function of dairy milk have been introduced and attracted new users to the category in recent years. But she suggests that this is not enough to keep consumers coming back – especially if the tradeoff is lower nutrition and undesirable ingredients, such as carrageenan, to improve mouthfeel.
For example, she said many almond milks offer only about 1 gram of protein per serving and rely on gums and starches that consumers increasingly are concerned about to suspend particles for a creamier experience.
However, with the US launch of YoFiit’s chickpea non-dairy beverage, Amazan says, Americans don’t have to sacrifice nutrition and a clean ingredient deck for a plant-based milk and animal welfare.
“Our product has ten times more protein than almond milk, and at 10 grams of protein per serving it has even more than a cup of cow’s milk, which has only nine grams of protein,” she said.
YoFiit’s milk alternative also has less saturated fat than cow’s milk and other healthier fats, including 1,000 mg of omega-3s from flaxseeds, which will help consumers who follow the typical American diet balance out the high levels of omega-6s they typically consume. In addition, because chickpeas are the base, the beverage is packed with fiber – another upward trending ingredient that consumers are seeking – and safe for people who are allergic to peanuts and almonds.
YoFiit’s milk alternative also is free from many of the ingredients that consumers don’t want, but which are hard to avoid in the dairy-free beverage category, such as sugar, starch carrageenan and multiple gums, she said.
“We didn’t want to use any ingredients we didn’t have to,” and after three years of researching the company found a way to create a natural emulsion that mimicked the mouth feel of cow’s milk but without the extra ingredients, she explained.
YoFiit offers function beyond convenience in bars
At the same time YoFiit is launching into the crowded non-dairy beverage category, it is entering the even more crowded nutrition bar segment with the introduction to the US market of three stock-keeping-units.
The trio of bars stands apart from the competition because they offer consumers more than an convenient snack, they also offer benefits for gut health – an emerging concern among many Americans, Amazan said.
“We never want to do me-too products. We always want to do something where it is additive to what the market has currently. And for these bars there are multiple angles we can think about. One is that they are filled with prebiotics and probiotics” to boost digestibility and sustain a strong gut flora and immune health, she said.
With the prebiotics come an extra dose of fiber that brings the bars’ content up to 11 or 12 grams, which Amazan says helps provide sustained energy. For this reason, the bars also are low in sugar at only 5 grams each, which will help consumers avoid the high and crash that can come when they consume candy bars.
In terms of sugar reduction, YoFiit is not the only company to cut back in response to consumer concern about added sugars. But it is unique in that it doesn’t use sugar alcohols, glycerin or artificial sweeteners to adjust for the lower sugar amount. Rather, it lets the flavors of the dates, fruit and brown rice that bring the sweetness stand out – a decision that Amazan says many consumers have told the company they appreciate.
The company hopes to develop brand loyalty and boost sales by dividing their bars into different day-parts, Amazan said.
“What we want to do here is take the guess work out of it. So, if you want something that will fill you up and sustain you throughout the first part of the day we offer Morning Fibre, which is a nice cinnamon apple flavor that is like oatmeal in a bar and gives you a good foundation to start your day,” she explained.
The Midday Energy bar is a blend of “energy boosting plants,” including goji berries and quinoa, with a touch of dark chocolate to fend off the temptation of a sugary sweet in the afternoon, Amazan said.
The last bar, All Day Protein, is more like a meal replacement, Amazan said, pointing to its 15 grams of protein, 12 grams of fiber and a “nice iron level” that is particularly good for women.
Acknowledging that there is tough competition in the bar segment, Amazan is confident the trio will be a “game changer” because they “really focus on what is going to be deliverable for consumers and, at the end of the day, provide a combination of benefits that no one else does.”