Premier Protein finds 'sweet spot' outside of sports nutrition

By Kacey Culliney

- Last updated on GMT

Premier Protein finds 'sweet spot' outside of sports nutrition
One year on from its European launch, Premier Protein has secured a stronghold in Germany thanks to a continued rise in everyday protein appeal and will now focus on building brand equity, executives say.

Part of Post Holdings Incorporated since 2013, Munich-based Active Nutrition International has three brands - PowerBar, Dymatize and Premier Protein - available across the DACH region (Germany, Austria and Switzerland) and the UK. Premier Protein, initially launched in the US back in 1999 into Costco, secured its first German supermarket listing in May, 2017 and now holds a prime position in the country's sports nutrition category with its Premier Protein 50% Bars that contain 20g of protein per 40g bar.

The brand targets everyday nutrition, rather than sports nutrition like PowerBar and Dymatize.

Liesa Klundt Senior Brand Manager Europe Premier Protein
Liesa Klundt

'Hitting the sweet spot'

Liesa Klundt, senior brand manager for Premier Protein Europe, said Premier Protein consumers are different to those choosing PowerBar (an endurance brand) and Dymatize (a strength and muscle-building brand).

“These consumers are not people focusing on protein as a functional food or in some sort of time-frame around, during or before sports, but rather people that have a very active life. An example would be a Mum that works part-time, brings the kids to the soccer game or piano lesson – she's basically always on the run. Then, in the afternoon she feels a little low in energy and she would maybe rather consume a bar high in protein, low in sugar and not too high in calories than eating a regular chocolate or muesli bar,” ​Klundt told NutraIngredients.

Christoph Schwarz, general manager for Active Nutritional International, said: “The brand is really hitting the sweet spot here. Before, you only had either weight-loss or muscle-building and I think that's the sweet spot of the brand - that it's exactly in between.”

Christoph Schwarz_General Manager
Christoph Schwarz

“...If you look at Premier Protein, it doesn't have a sportpositioning. It's not about in-game usage, it's about protein for every day​.”

And everyday protein, he said, is a significant growth area for all formats, particularly bars.

According to Mintel, 'high protein' or 'added protein' food and drink launches in Europe have tripled in the last five years, up 283%. Among those launched in the last year, 14% were snack, cereal or energy bars; 11% meal replacement drinks; 10% meat substitutes; 5% yoghurt and 5% pasta.

Schwarz said Premier Protein manufactures its European products in Europe because the market is very different to the US, namely in its preference for bars over drinkable protein.

“It was not that easy, like just piggy-backing on the existing portfolio and bringing it across [from the US], we had to re-develop the portfolio for Europe.”

Expansion beyond DACH and the UK?

Schwarz said Active Nutrition International will continue to monitor market trends and look into other format options for Premier Protein but for the time-being, will stay focused on evolving its bars and powders as the brand remains “fairly new”​ to Europe.

“At this point in time, we want to concentrate on creating brand awareness in the core market and depending on this, we'll see. We feel like the brand has high potential. We're not about driving huge sales, it's about building distribution with the portfolio we have and looking into new portfolio opportunities that we feel fit with the brand that we want to offer to our consumers.”

“...I cannot go into too much detail but definitely everything that's western continental Europe is very interesting for us when it comes to Premier,” ​he said.


Want to attend our Sports Nutrition Congress in September this year? ​Organised by NutraIngredients and hosted in partnership with the European Specialist Sports Nutrition Alliance (ESSNA), the SNC will offer a one stop shop for the latest must-have insights in the worlds of sports and active nutrition.
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Top levels speakers already confirmed to join us in Brussels include:

  • Florina-Andreea Pantazi, European Commission
  • Daniel Davy, Leinster Rugby
  • Orla O’Sullivan, APC Microbiome Institute
  • Robert Walker, SCI-MX Nutrition
  • Professor Kieran Clarke, University of Oxford
  • João Gonçalo Cunha, KickUP Sports Innovation
  • Pia Ostermann, Euromonitor International
  • Katia Merten-Lentz, Keller and Heckman LLP
  • Adam Carey, ESSNA Chair
  • Alex Zurita, London Sport
  • Professor John Brewer, St Mary’s University
  • Tom Morgan, Lumina Intelligence
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