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The breakfast pots targeting the morning protein gap

Ayem is the first product to come out of Danone’s innovation programme, launching with an eat that claims to be a breakthrough in food technology. 

4 December 2018
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Fancy a breakfast pumped with protein? That’s what a range of pots from new brand Ayem is promising, with the aim of filling the morning protein gap.

Made from a blend of almonds, milk, fruit and seeds, three flavours are on offer: a smooth almond blend that comes with sachet of dried fruit and seeds to sprinkle on top; pear, apple and almond; and blueberry and almond. The trio are available from Ocado for £2.49 apiece.

Each container is packed with 15g of protein from almonds and whey, as well vitamin D and omega-3 DHA from sustainable algae oil.

Ayem is the first brand to come out of Danone’s Manifesto Innovation Accelerator programme – and it’s coming with new tech.

Patents pending

The recipes are actually patent pending, as the combination of the almond base, a high concentration of protein and omega-3 DHA is a breakthrough in food technology, Ayem’s founder, Manuela Borella, tells Food Spark.

“The very high concentration in protein is what explains the unique texture of our product, and there’s no other product like it available in the UK,” she says, adding, “There are five patents behind our production processes.”

The mouthfeel combines the firmness of a chia pudding with the varied bite of a Bircher muesli.

“Traditionally, the only vegetal base that allows for a smooth texture is soy, but we believe almond provides a better and healthier option,” says Borella, who has worked at Danone for 18 years. “Ayem has a very satisfying, thick texture, which makes it very unique to other products on supermarket shelves.”

The use of algae generally presents challenges due to its unsavouriness on the palate, but this has been addressed, assures Borella, who promises instead a “pleasant smell and taste.”

Protein positives

Borella says she launched Ayem to bring a revolutionary offering to the breakfast market. 

“As a busy and health-conscious mum with four young children, I wanted to create a healthy breakfast product that would get minds and bodies off to a good start, helping hectic individuals and those looking to get the most out of the day ahead,” she says.

Protein is also essential to the healthy maintenance of the body and mind, she adds.

“It contributes to the maintenance of muscle mass and feeds bones, tendons, ligaments, skin and hair. Plus, as people get older, even more protein is needed because the body is less efficient at utilising what we take in.”

Suitable for vegetarians, Ayem is not only for the breakfast table, but can be eaten on the go, post-work or as an in-work ‘deskfast’ – either straight from the pot or spooned into a bowl topped with everything from fresh fruit, nuts and seeds to honey and agave nectar, suggests the company.

While Ayem was the first concept to market, Danone’s innovation lab is in the process of building up a raft of start-ups from inside the company, rather than using M&As to unlock growth. By working this way, the company hopes to unleash potential and talent from within the business and allow employees the freedom to pursue personal intuitions from idea to market.

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