- Contract Manufacturing
- Production and Development
Historically, sports nutrition products such as ready-to-drink formats (RTDs) were consumed by athletes and sport professionals. The protein rich drinks are used to support muscle building and regeneration. However today, these products have reached the mass market and are consumed by weekend sports enthusiasts and lifestyle users as well. While for sports enthusiasts protein content is still important for muscle building and regeneration, lifestyle users consume these products not
only for sports but also as a convenient refreshment, a quick meal replacement, to support weight management efforts or simply as a healthy snack. At present, this group constitutes the fastest growing market segment. Apart from protein content, these consumers are looking for great taste, innovative texture and new ingredients. Packaging formats are also important.
“In the sports product market, high protein low fat powder products or RTDs are still in highest demand,” says Verena Claus, Product Manager at nutrineo, the health food unit of Uelzena Group. “We are able to enrich these products with certain minerals, vitamins, etc. Life style users increasingly demand additional functional ingredients that support a special diet or nutritional need. Also, we see a beginning demand for protein drinks based on plant proteins, e.g. soy or pea proteins. Consumers also want to chose between convenient RTD products or powder products they need to dissolve in water or milk.”
Based in Uelzen, halfway between Hamburg and Hanover in Northern Germany, the team of nutrineo is offering its expertise for companies interested in this fast growing market. “Companies that consider entering the market with ready-to-drink products can approach us with whatever problem they want to have solved,” adds Claus. “We can do brainstorming, explore marketing and technical feasibility, clarify health claim opportunities and also take care of packaging, labeling, etc. Our competence is based on six decades of experience of the Uelzena Group, a supplier and innovative problem solver in the food and milk processing industry.”
nutrineo develops protein drinks formulations with different flavors - from fruit to chocolate and latte macchiato - and variable compositions to support the build-up, maintenance and regeneration of muscles.
As an example, nutrineo developed a ready-to-drink product for Real Nutrition Co, a UK-based sports and active nutrition company. To date, the company is selling its products as sachets and bars. nutrineo developed ready-to-drink formulations, conducted preliminary tests, sources the raw materials and contracted a filling plant from our network.
Apart from these multi-component concepts, nutrineo also offers functional mono-component concepts, e.g. pure whey protein shakes. Upon request, we will also develop weight gainers, recovery drinks or isotonic beverages.
nutrineo’s team of nutritionists, food chemists, product development experts and experienced purchasers is able to offer the full service package from brainstorming to filling and distribution, but also tailor-made solutions based on selected services. In-house expertise is complemented by external partners from science, law, market analysis, packaging design, logistics and other fields.
Moreover, thanks to the financial strength of the Uelzena Group, nutrineo does not charge upfront payments to start a collaboration. “Offering both full service as a one-stop shop and selected expertise for certain steps is quite unique in the market,” adds Uwe Radke, Managing Director of Uelzena. “As we create private label products, customers can focus on sales of a high-quality product under their own brand names.”
1. Market analysis
This step is based on nutrineo’s sales & marketing expertise, customer feedback and data from huge commercial trends and market databases.
The concept is drafted in a structured process. The team collects and evaluates the market analysis results, availability of raw materials, and technical requirements. At the end of the process the team comes up with a conclusion on how the product can look like, whether production, storage, etc. is both technically and economically feasible and in whether the customer can obtain a health claim for the product in certain markets.
3. Store check and product analysis
The team then analyses available competing products, distribution channels, pricing, legal aspects, etc., including a tasting to come up with a preliminary recipe.
4. Procurement of raw materials / selection of partners
Raw materials are purchased for comparison and evaluation. In parallel, nutrineo’s central buying department is assessing and selecting suppliers and, if necessary, partners for filling and packaging.
5. Production of test samples
Based on the raw materials and the desired recipe, the team develops first test samples to refine product characteristics and perform first tastings.
6. Product development
Once the recipe is fixed, the product is manufactured in a pilot plant, starting with 10 liter batches to test homogenization, heating, stability, etc. This step includes various tastings and approval by the customer.
Test production is done on pilot production equipment to assess critical production parameters and to test minimum durability, filling etc. with 3,000 to 5,000 liter batches.
8. Packaging design
This step is run in parallel with external partners according to the customer’s needs, packaging, branding, etc.
9. Consumer tests
With external partners, nutrineo also offers consumer tests to adjust, if necessary, taste and texture, packaging, design, etc.