Active lifestyle innovation for the gym-deprived consumer

With all gyms closed for the foreseeable future, workout-centric food development faces a change of emphasis, with dieting and snacking formats both potential avenues

24 March 2020
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image credit: Getty Images

Keeping active and staying healthy remains right at the top of the consumer agenda, perhaps now more than ever considering the ongoing pandemic. But the gym, for the foreseeable future, is not an option for those looking to maintain a healthy lifestyle in the UK.

And for the near ten million health and fitness club members across the country, eating healthy will become even more of a priority in their isolation, with personalised nutrition taking on a whole new meaning.  

So, with treadmills and cycling machines (for most) but a fond memory, and consumers now looking for innovative ways to keep fit, how can active lifestyle products follow suit?

For protein snack debutants Roar, it’s a case of entering into the well-established dessert market, with their range of high-protein, low-sugar desserts winning big at the 2020 edition of the World Food Innovation awards earlier this month.

Isolates for isolation?

image credit: Time Lock Photography

Launched by Bred’s Foods in December 2019, Roar positions its range as an everyday active lifestyle snack product, with their xylitol-sweetened range an alternative to the “unexciting” protein bar.

The desserts, which contain more than 20g of protein each, come in three flavours. The double chocolate - said to be a mix of chocolate pudding and chocolate sauce - is made with chocolate cookie pure whey protein isolate with oat flour, molasses and chocolate sauce. The ‘Jaffa break’, meanwhile, features a layer of chocolate sauce and pureed mandarin with a chocolate orange whey protein isolate and oats.

The raspberry blondie protein dessert has a cheesecake-like texture and contains white chocolate-flavoured pure whey protein, oats and a raspberry puree.

“With consumers incorporating new ways of eating into their fitness and sports routines, we wanted to create something simple, convenient and full of flavour,” said Gilli Appleby, marketing manager for Roar.

“We saw this as an opportunity to bring those who enjoy an active lifestyle a high-protein, low-sugar snack option, as well as a new way to enjoy a sweet treat that complements their diet.”

With traditional post-workout protein bars potentially losing some of their appeal, as the need for self-isolation and social distancing becomes greater with each passing day, format could become key for new market entries going forward.

And with better-for-you desserts gathering traction of late (a recent report from chocolate specialist Barry Callebaut found that 35% of 24-34-year-olds were more likely to purchase a low sugar option), Roar - which won best snacking innovation at the 2020 World Food Innovation Awards - seem right on the money.

Keto in a crisis?

image credit: Acti-Snack

Another interesting angle was highlighted only this week with the launch of Acti-Snack’s new nut and trail mixes, with one of their seven-strong range said to be the first accredited keto snack in the UK and Ireland.

Each of the mixes is designed to fulfil different requirements, including an athlete’s need to fuel up during training and the body’s need to recover, with their keto mix - available in salt and apple cider vinegar and buffalo BBQ flavours - perhaps arriving at the right time for a food niche that has potential in this new, gym-less world.

In short, the keto diet is designed to adapt the body to gain energy by burning fat rather than carbohydrates (a state of ketosis, as it’s called). By adopting this diet, studies have suggested that workouts become much harder propositions as the body alters its natural carb-burning process, while there are also said to be side-effects such as nausea and increased fatigue.

Indeed, the keto diet is often advocated without the need for an overly active lifestyle.

The keto concept really started to take off in the US around two years ago, but it has never quite caught on as strongly in the UK. However, with hordes of health-hungry consumers surely eager to attempt alternative weight-loss measures while barred from gyms, could keto and by association keto-friendly products find a new lease of life as consumers look for ways to stay ‘fit’ in the current crisis?

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