With retail sales of protein expected to reach $21.5 billion globally by 2025, manufacturers are incorporating the ingredient in everything from the standard shakes, bars and smoothies to the unexpected, such as, pancakes, chips and now with the launch of Fizzique even a sparkling water.
A first-of-its kind product, Fizzique takes protein in a completely new direction. Normally consumers reach for protein packed products to help them feel full longer or to help their muscles recover from a grueling workout and not because it is refreshing.
But Fizzique is just that – refreshing, according the company founder and CEO David Jenkins. He explained to FoodNavigator-USA that as a clear sparkling water that is lightly flavored in Strawberry Watermelon and Tropical Limon, Fizzique helps consumers quench their thirst and hydrate, and with 20 grams of whey protein isolate it also delivers on satiety as well as the other reasons shoppers seek out protein.
“Fizzique is so clear you can see your fingernail polish through the drink, and as such it is clearly refreshing and clearly unique,” he said, adding it is also a major disruptor of the $10 billion US protein market.
The idea for the drink came to Jenkins more than a decade ago when he combined a clear protein with sparkling water to create “a very rudimentary drink” that was also very “promising,” he said.
After working with protein and beverage experts, Jenkins created Fizzique with a whey protein isolate that is lactose free, caseinate free, soy free, kosher and free of artificial preservatives and flavors.
The beverage also claims to be “keto perfect” and low-gylcemic and as such targets two major consumer groups, Jenkins said. He added that the beverage is not just for athletes, but also “all of my neighbors” – meaning anyone who is looking for more protein and fewer carbs in their diet.
That said, Jenkins said he doesn’t want marketing to be “an uphill battle” so he will focus first on consumers who are fitness focused and already supplement with protein. He hopes to reach them where they work out as well as where they buy groceries.
The sweet life
While some consumers might be put off by the addition of sucralose to the ingredient deck, Jenkins said it is “only as much as would fit under your fingernail” and it tastes better than versions he created with monkfruit, stevia and other natural sweeteners.
“We wanted to use a trendy natural sweetener that would help us get into Whole Foods, but the flavor of the sweeteners was too predominate,” and after all the effort to create a protein drink that doesn’t taste like protein, Jenkins said he didn’t want to ruin the experience with off notes from the wrong sweetener.
He also worried about toxicity aspects of some sweeteners, as well as consumer perceptions of some options.
“Sucralose actually is the most approved sweetener in the world and everyone knows it,” so they don’t perceive it as a “chemical,” even though Jenkins says all food is chemical.
The patent-protected technology used in Fizzique could be used with other sources of protein, including plant-based, or even collagen for beauty-from within, Jenkins said. The beverage also could easily be formulated with different levels of protein to meet different consumer demands, he added.
But for now, he notes, he will remain laser focused on the current SKU to ensure it succeeds.
“We are in a lot of specialty stores and word is starting to get out after we sent out more than 700 sample kits. So now the phones are starting to blow up” as more people try the product and tell their friends, he said.