Miami Beverage Company L.L.C. has introduced Trimino, a line of sugar-free, low-calorie functional protein waters.

Varied beverage formats

Protein beverages began with powdered mixes used by body builders. In recent years, advancements in ingredient technology made proteins suitable for ready-to-drink (R.-T.-D.) beverages, even clear waters.

For example, the Miami Beverage Company L.L.C., Branford, Conn., introduced Trimino, a line of sugar-free, low-calorie functional protein waters. The clear beverages are powered by 7 grams of whey protein and 100% of the Recommended Daily Allowance of vitamin B complex. At only 28 calories per 16-oz bottle, labels claim the product boosts metabolism and curves appetite.

“R.-T.-D. beverages offer the advantages of convenience and portability,” said Anne Poulsen, business development manager-performance health and nutrition, Arla Foods Ingredients, Basking Ridge, N.J. “While this category includes both refrigerated and shelf-stable beverages, demand is stronger for shelf-stable products that offer ease of distribution and storage.”

Both types of R.-T.-D. beverages may be tailored to meet a variety of consumer needs.

“They are a great base to which you can add other ingredients and bio-actives such as peptides to sports and health beverage products,” said Brent Petersen, associate director of research, Glanbia Nutritionals Ingredient Technologies, Fitchburg, Wis.

Mark McKnight, senior vice-president of marketing and sales for RiceBran Technologies, Scottsdale, Ariz., agreed that fortifying beverages with protein and other nutrients is becoming more popular.

“This is especially true as drinks are used as meal replacements to suit busy lives,” he said.

The company markets what it describes as a “shake and drink” beverage concept. The single-serve bottles contain a protein- and nutrient-enriched powder mix.

“The consumer adds the preferred liquid, which can be anything from milk to water, and shakes,” Mr. McKnight said.

The approach reduces the costs and environmental impact of shipping liquid.