Protein is the next big thing in the sports nutrition category according to GSK, which has launched two new products - MaxiNutrition protein bar and Cyclone milk - into the fastest-growing impulse lines of the sector to capitalise on its potential.

Currently valued at more than £300m, and expanding rapidly due to massive growth in the ready to drink and protein bar formats, the sports nutrition category represents "a massive opportunity to be unlocked by savvy retailers", says GSK’s marketing director, Rachel Deans. "Consumers are increasingly time poor and they are looking for healthy on-the-go options that deliver real health benefits. 

"Protein is vital to a healthy lifestyle and we’ve seen the sports nutrition market explode in the US - a staggering 37% of the population use protein products versus only 17% in the UK, but we are starting to catch up."

GSK is claiming a world first for the Cyclone milk, as it contains creatine, which up till now has been difficult to stabilise, but now comes in ready-to-drink solution in two flavours, chocolate and strawberry, rrp £3.49 for 330ml. Each bottle contains 30g of protein and 3g of creatine to aid muscle growth and recovery.

The protein bar is being launched in chocolate caramel and summer fruit flavours - rrp £1.79 per 45g bar - and provides 10g of protein.

"We have embarked on a large-scale education programme with consumers, addressing the common misconceptions behind protein products," says Deans. "We now have a growing market and opportunity which is why MaxiNutrition has a range of products to meet the rising demand for portein that supports everday wellbeing and sporting performance. In addition on-the-go formats are the real growth area and that’s why these two launches are of such critical importance to retailers."

The launches will be supported by pr, heavyweight digital (20-second lifestyle ads to be seeded across digital and social channels), in-store sampling and POS.

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