Anyway Protein tackles myths about plant-based diets and fitness, offers personalization to break into sports nutrition with a vegan offering

By Elizabeth Crawford

- Last updated on GMT

Source: Anyway Protein
Source: Anyway Protein

Related tags Protein plant-based Sports nutrition

Protein liquids and powders are one of the fastest growing segments within plant-based as more people adopt vegan and vegetarian lifestyles for ethical, environmental and health reasons – but breaking into the mainstream sports nutrition category will require brands to overcome significant stereotypes and a preference for whey and animal-based options.

Category newcome Anyway Protein is hoping to do this by offering a powdered product unlike any others on the market, busting common myths about plant-based proteins and promoting their product as part of a larger, well-balanced diet that supports fitness goals.

When Anyway Protein launched earlier this year, co-founder Billy Duffy told FoodNavigator-USA it was with a mission to make plant-based protein more accepted within he lifting community – which research by SkyQuest Technology Consulting shows is the leading application segment for protein powders.

“As long-time vegans and lifters ourselves, [my wife and I] have faced a lot of criticism about our lifestyle. Nonetheless, we will continue our pursuit of breaking the vegan stereotype,”​ he said, adding, “We have learned throughout the years that if someone says you can’t do something, it’s better to just do it anyway.”

With this mentality, Duffy and his wife created Anyway Protein – a simple, but far from basic, concept that allows users to personalize their protein shakes by separating protein from the flavor.

“Instead of offering another pre-mixed protein, we sell unflavored protein [pea-protein isolates] alongside delicious Flavor Powders. Our Flavor Powders give customers full control over the flavor of their shake. They can now choose the right amount of protein and flavor ratio needed in order to make their perfect shake,”​ Duffy said, noting, “a very small number of brands are doing this and we are the only brand that is exclusively plant-based.”

By avoiding the “one-size-fits-all” approach used by competitors who may add veggie powders, probiotics, digestive enzymes or other ingredients to their protein powders, Duffy said Anyway Protein avoided creating a product that either “costs way too much or taste bad” – ​a trap he says other competitors have fallen into.

Rather than try to be something for everyone, Anyway Protein focuses on simplicity – allowing consumers to personalize their shakes.

“We keep our ingredients simple,”​ Duffy said. “Our protein source is non-GMO pea protein powder grown from Canadian peas. It is easily digestible while also having an incredible amino acid profile. It’s also the least controversial (unlike soy).

“To overcome the texture issue, we add a very small amount of silicon dioxide, a widely used natural anti-caking ingredient that many powdered food and beverage brands use to offer a creamy smooth texture.

“That’s it for our protein powder – nothing else is added.”

As for the company’s two flavors – peanut butter and chocolate – Duffy said the company opted to combine natural flavors and monk fruit without erythritol as the key ingredients. They also include gum powders to ensure a well-blended protein shake, Duffy added.

“The great think about separating protein from flavor is that we are customizable to reach a variety of customers and cater to their unique fitness goals,”​ he said.

Myth-busting: Plant-based vs animal protein quality

In addition to offering a unique product, Anyway Protein is hoping to reach more consumers than those following a plant-based lifestyle or who are managing allergies and lactose intolerance, by talking about the nutritional value of plant-based protein and how it fits into a broader, healthy diet.

On its website, the company directly addresses the “common myth … that plant proteins are ‘incomplete proteins.’”​ It explains in a FAQ that plant proteins have all nine amino acids in varying amounts.

It also is upfront on the website about pea protein having lower amounts of the amino acid methionine, which is why the company says “it is important to have a wide variety of protein sources in your daily diet to meet your amino acid requirements.”

It also reassures consumers on its FAQ page that pea protein contains adequate amounts of BCAAs (leucine, isoleucine and valine), “which are the amino acids most directly related to muscle growth.”

Duffy adds Anyway Protein is not a meal replacement as many other protein powders attempt.

“A healthy diet needs to have a variety of foods throughout the day from varying sources – it should not all be ‘powderized’ into one scoop,”​ he said.

What is next?

While the company currently offers only pea protein with two flavors, Duffy said the company wants to add in the future a variety of protein powders, including soy, brown rice and blends, and offer a larger portfolio of flavor powders, potentially including mint chocolate, caramel, latte, strawberry shortcake and cookies n cream.


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