30 May 2018 --- Although whey protein continues to enjoy mainstream sports nutrition popularity in the form of powders and bars, more complex branched-chain amino acids (BCAA) are making a “come back,” according to sports nutrition developer Aminolabs. The company speaks to NutritionInsight on its “next-generation” BCAA product that is said to be Europe’s first multiphase BCAA blend with a fast/slow release ratio using Smart LP bead technology.
“In the past, sports nutrition and active lifestyle markets have been all about protein: protein powders, snacks and bars. So, it very quickly bypassed the BCAA and amino acid trends. Now, the consumer is looking for something new. In that way, we came onto the market promoting a slow and a fast release powder. Basically as a complete workout for the consumers. So, you can use your BCAA before, during and after your workout. BCAA is typically consumed as tablets, capsules or powder,” Geert de Vos, Sales Manager of Sports Nutrition at Aminolabs, tells NutritionInsight at the “World of Private Label” (PLMA) international trade show, which closes in Amsterdam today.
As opposed to whey which is largely made up of the amino acid leucine, BCAAs are commonly made up from leucine, isoleucine and valine. They promote protein synthesis, boost lean muscle growth and are said to enhance recovery. BCAAs have had somewhat of a revival in recent years among the bodybuilding and fitness community, according to Aminolabs, and arguably have more research behind them than other supplements in terms of sports nutrition. The effect of a few grams of BCAAs on BCAA plasma levels is much larger than 30 grams of whey protein, thereby having a more immediate impact on protein synthesis and protein degradation, the company states.
The product is coming at a time when almost everything you can find on the market for sports nutrition is a plain powder with the regular BCAA 211 variant, de Vos explains. However, the company has “made a combination of the regular BCAA 411 variation with a palate. This is a small palate size lipid encapsulated molecule. We have combined the regular BCAA with this palate formulation and then given the overall product a nice flavor. We are experts in masking bitter tastes.”
“Overall, this combination offers the consumer a combination product of a fast and slow release: that is the main innovation.”
The technology is coined Smart LMP bead technology. LMP or Lipid Multi Particulates are a propriety technology and are said to improve the performance of nutritional actives in three main domains: Modified release, taste masking and bioavailability enhancement. Aminolabs asserts that “these powerful ballistic BCAA beads provide a second wave of aminos throughout the training and recovery process.”
At the moment, the “next generation” BCAA is only being used in powders, but de Vos suggests that soon it will be suitable for bar and capsule applications.
Aside from the “next generation” BCAA, Aminolabs are: “Producing powders, capsules, tablets and protein bars. The most innovations come from the capsules and powders, but the area we are really looking into is protein bars.”
Concerning capsules, Aminolabs offer Duocap capsules that are capable of combination and dual release and immediate and controlled release option. In this way, the inner capsule of the delivery system can contain powder, while the outer capsule can be either a liquid or semi-solid formulation.
Regarding protein bars, de Vos says that the company is leading in terms of texture. “We are doing very novel things in terms of the texture of the product. We have a breakthrough technology which means that our protein bars are some of the softest on the market, and come as close as possible to regular candy bars.”
Speaking to NutritionInsight at Vitafood Europe 2018, Innova Market Insights analyst, Florencia Moreno Torres considers the sports nutrition market: “There’s still room for growth in three areas in sports nutrition,” says Florencia Moreno Torres, Analyst at Innova Market Insights. “The first one has to do with flavors and the fact that there is so much innovation and competition in the market. Consumers won’t just settle; they’re looking for novel and improved flavor profiles. Secondly, everything that has to do with transparency, clean label and sustainability if possible.”
“The third point is convenience,” she says. “We know about busy lifestyles but we are also talking about mini-bites, products you can open and close easily and reusable products, which also fits in with the aspect of sustainability.”
At the show, Innova Market Insights noted a 14 percent average annual growth in sports nutrition launches featuring plant protein (global, 2013-2017), but also a continued CAGR of 10 percent in whey protein over this period.
The “next generation” BCAA from Aminolabs also touts clean label claims: non-gmo, vegan, zero banned substances, gluten-free, kosher and free of preservatives.
By Laxmi Haigh