Launched in December 2020, ffit8 is the first in China to introduce the concept of probiotic protein powder to the public.
Containing whey protein, milk powder, and bacillus coagulans, it claims to maintain immune function, intestinal health as well as relieve stress, mood-boosting and aiding sleep.
The company first released its protein bars on crowdfunding site (Xiaomi YouPin) in March 2020, sold over RMB20m (US$3m) in October.
According to ffit8’s founder, Zhang Guangming, the company is focused on developing protein-based products for China’s younger generation of consumers who were lacking protein in their high sugar and carbohydrate-rich diet.
While protein powder is commonly available in China, Zhang said consumers mostly associated it to fitness, for gaining muscle mass, reducing fat, as well as a nutritional supplement for the elderly.
Protein powder is rarely consumed outside these groups of consumers, so ffit8 set out to create a product to reach out to the wider consumer group.
“We added probiotics for added health benefits, while ensuring protein levels are met. We hope that ffit8 products can cover more groups and benefit more consumers,” Zhang told NutraIngredients-Asia.
Each bottle (12g) of the probiotic protein powder contains about two billion CFU of bacillus coagulans, supplied by Sabinsa (USA).
Bacillus coagulans has been studied for its ability to regulate systemic immune function, promote nutrient absorption and maintain intestinal health by regulating intestinal flora balance. It has a survival rate of up to 95%, ensuring that the live bacteria reach the gut.
In the development of its probiotic protein powder, Zhang said taste and application were its priorities.
“We tried to achieve a balance between nutrition and taste. We collected feedback during R&D to ensure that the taste of the product is better than that of the protein powder in the public perception.”
In addition, the company wanted to eliminate the association of typical protein powder in large barrels, so it created a capsule-like product which dissolves within eight seconds.
Zhang recommends a daily dose of one capsule, which can be consumed alone or dissolved in any liquids including water, tea, coffee, or porridge.
The bottle is small and convenient to carry, making it easier for consumers to have on the go.
The powder contains four types of protein, whey protein concentration (Saputo, Australia), whole milk powder (New Zealand NZMP), whey protein isolate (Columbia, USA), and milk powder concentrate (New Zealand NZMP). Together, the proteins have a digestibility of up to 99%.
According to Zhang, its probiotic protein powder has 59 times the concentration of the protein, alpha-lactalbumin compared to milk alone, which can help relieve stress and aid sleep.
The protein contains nine essential amino acids, as well as 10 vitamins, and four minerals.
The probiotic powder is sold on most e-commerce and social media channels in China including JD, Xiaohongshu (Little Red Book) and Douyin (TikTok).
Zhang told us ffit8 will continue to research and create protein-based health foods for younger consumers, and innovate China’s protein category.