An interview with Robert Kral Jr., VP Marketing & Procurement, Protein2o, Inc.
In case you missed it, we featured Protein 2o Wild Cherry Splash as a Phil's Food Reviews Pick of the Week! We caught up with Robert Kral Jr., VP Marketing & Procurement, Protein2o, Inc. to find out more about how this product was inspired and developed.
What inspired you to create your new product? Is there a particular niche or segment of the market you were focusing on?
Protein2o was created as a low calorie low carb alternative to the high-calorie, high carb protein shakes that flood the retail marketplace. We target the weekend warriors, the active or aspirationally active individuals who want the benefits associated with protein consumption but don't want to sacrifice the empty calories and often chalky taste typically associated with shakes.
What makes your product different and able to stand out against similar ones? How important has differentiation been in developing this product?
From the very beginning, it was important that Protein2o stand out as a clear beverage that looked as light and refreshing as it tasted. To us, that meant packaging that allowed the customer to see the product inside without it being hidden behind a label. We also focused on a Nutrition Fact Panel and list of ingredients that was easy for the customer to navigate. We are proud of the minimal ingredients in Protein2o not to mention the low calorie, carb and sodium content; it was imperative that the customer could easily access this information.
What was the process like of designing your package, and how do you feel the final result has impacted perceptions of your product?
We knew right from the beginning that the packaging needed to be more accessible than other protein containing beverages; we especially wanted a product that spoke to the mass consumer. Typically, ready to drink protein beverages focus on the “hard core” or “elite” athlete with 30g+ of protein and packaging that suits that core audience. Protein2o was designed with 15gm of the purest whey protein isolate in the world to appeal to a broader audience of consumers who are simply looking to add quality protein to their diets to supplement a healthy lifestyle.
Does your product have relevant health attributes? What are they?
Yes, absolutely! Protein is often associated with building and maintaining muscle but there are a myriad a functional benefits when consuming a high protein diet. Protein has been proven to help reduce cravings and help you feel fuller for longer, increase fat burning and preserve metabolism, improve brain function and sleep quality, lower blood pressure and it promotes a better quality of life as you age.
What sustainability efforts have you made with your product/packaging?
Protein2o packaging including the bottle, label and shipping case are 100% recyclable and our bottles are BPA Free.
Through creating a new product, what would you say were the most difficult parts of the process and what came the easiest?
The concept came very naturally; it was very clear (no pun intended) to see there was a gap in the marketplace for a new take on the protein drink. In terms of the challenges, it’s never an easy task to design packaging and a flavor profile to suit everybody’s preferences—you have to make hard decisions and hope you are correct. This is always a challenge to me because I want everyone to love Protein2o as much as we do!
Anything you would change if you were starting from scratch again?
Our team is constantly improving processes and tackling the daily challenges based on the learnings along the way. We’ve learned a lot since launching Protein2o over two years ago but we’re very proud of the product line today. There’s nothing easy about what we’re doing but we’re fortunate to have a team that’s dedicated to excellence. None of us are afraid to learn from our mistakes and improve from them.
Besides your product, what's one out on the market that you admire?
I’m impressed with Bai5. They found a gap in the marketplace for a light-flavored, low-calorie alternative to unhealthy soft drinks, and it’s pretty clear consumers were ready for it. We can appreciate how challenging it can be to compete against the Goliaths in the industry and it’s inspiring to watch a fellow startup grow to become a national brand.