Ascent gets Whole Foods distribution
Sports nutrition brand Ascend is going nationwide. The company announced Friday that it had gained distribution in 400 Whole Foods Market stores across the country for its Ascend Native Fuel Whey Protein and Ascent Pre-Workout starting in August.
“Whole Foods Market is a perfect fit for Ascent’s mission to help our customers naturally improve their athletic performance by providing a purer, less-processed protein product. Our partnership with Whole Foods allows them to find their favorite protein product, on their terms, while doing all of their weekly shopping,” said Paul Vraciu, general manager of Ascent Protein.
The company’s Ascent Native Fuel Whey Protein Powder is available in four flavors — chocolate, vanilla bean, cappuccino and lemon sorbet —and is sold in both 2-lb. bags and 15-count single-serve packets. The Ascent Pre-Workout Clean Energy and Hydration Fuel is available in 30-serving bags and 15-count single-serve packets in watermelon and raspberry lemonade flavors. Ascent said that its products are meant to support clean-eating athletes meet their nutritional goals through real food ingredients and no artificial flavors or sweeteners.
As part of the launch, Ascent said it would be hosting in-store events in stores throughout August and September, kicking off in conjunction with the CrossFit Games and starting with an in-store event in Madison, Wis. From Aug. 1-3. In September, the company will host an in-store workout at an Austin, Texas, location on Sept. 8 with CrossFit Games athletes Katrin Davidsdottir and Brent Fikowski, followed by a product demo.
Familiar juice maker breaks into energy drinks
Juice maker Welch’s is expanding its horizons beyond juice. The Concord, Mass.-based company is entering the energy drink space with its Welch’s Sparkling Plus Energy drinks, whose launch it announced Wednesday. The product pairs Welch’s juice with organic coffee extract to offer consumers energy, the company said.
“We saw a need in the market for an energy drink that actually tastes good,” said John Walston, Welch’s senior brand manager. “Welch’s Sparkling Plus Energy delivers a great, bold taste and it’s a product you can feel good about buying because as always, 100% of our profits go back to our small family farmers. The energy drink category is expanding, and we are excited to evolve our portfolio with a new product offering outside of the juice aisle.”
Welch’s said the new products will be available in 16-oz. cans in Sparkling Grape and Sparkling Fruit Punch varieties for a suggested retail price of $2.19. The company said the new product is aimed at a male audience in the current limited rollout markets of New York City, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. The company said it would be expanding to more markets in the future.
ProBar’s latest launch goes with the gut
ProBar, maker of plant-based organic foods, is introducing a new line to make bring probiotics to its consumers’ busy days, the company announced Tuesday. The new ProBar Live line contains four flavors, all of which are infused with live probiotics.
“Our new PROBAR Live bars take this dedication to the next level, with a fresh take on plant-based protein bars by infusing the functional benefits of probiotics into every bite,” said Jeff Coleman, founder and CEO of PROBAR. “In our pursuit to deliver the cleanest nutrition panel possible, we’ve also focused on real food, like nuts, nut butters, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds and date paste to let the true flavors of the ingredients shine through without adding unnecessary sugars.”
The ProBar Live bars are currently rolling out to the refrigerator section of Whole Foods stores nationwide, with more retailers to follow this year, the company said. ProBar said it’s necessary to refrigerate the bars to maintain freshness and the best texture, as they’re made without preservatives or emulsifiers. The four ProBar Live flavors — peanut butter, peanut butter chocolate chip, coconut cashew and almond butter — contain between 310 and 320 calories, as well as 10 grams of plant-based protein and 1 billion colony-forming units of probiotics, the company said.
The products, which also are available on Amazon.com and the ProBar website, are USDA Certified Organic, gluten-free and Non-GMO Project Verified.