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Health Lab targets RTD protein market

Health Lab is carving a niche in the ready-to-drink (RTD) protein shakes market with the company set to launch its own range of protein drinks targeted at women next month.

Health Lab was founded by Jessica Thomas last year after the former L’Oréal and Retail Zoo executive saw “a gap in the market for nourishing and healthy snacks that were conveniently delivered straight to busy women”.

“There are great numbers to support targeting women as they are still the main purchasers in all households, will pay a premium for healthier food options and are much more active ‘snackers’ than their male counterparts,” Ms Thomas told C&I Week.

“Although our products are popular with everyone, we do target women in our marketing and as a brand. I have been passionate about creating a brand that stands for much more than simply ‘healthy food’ and have used social media to connect, engage, empower and humour women.”

Product expansion

image003Since first launching, Health Lab’s range of protein balls, including latest flavours – coconut and lemon – have rolled out to more almost 1850 retailers across Australia including Caltex, On The Run, Food Works, Go Vita Stores, AFL, QT Hotels, About Life Stores, Hardy’s, New World and Drake Supermarket’s.

Ms Thomas says Health Lab is on track to roll into 3700 retailers by the end of the year and has also begun exporting to Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Korea and Dubai. Health Lab’s protein balls will also be available on Virgin Airline Domestic flights at the end of the month.

“As a brand we are focused on continuing to innovate and giving our customers what they want – so I believe expansion into other categories will be a natural part of our growth. We will be starting with expansion into drinks, but we really don’t see any limitations on where we could take our brand in terms of categories,” Ms Thomas said.

“My vision really is to impact the broader convenience sector as a whole; recognising the growing industry need to meet consumer demand for healthy food that is available quickly and on-the-go.

“From market insights, there is still huge opportunity in the P&C space to cater for and attract more female consumers. And although pies and $1 coffees may attract the tradies, they certainly aren’t attracting the ladies!

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More education needed in-store

Ms Thomas said it’s important for convenience retailers to educate consumers that there are healthier options available in the P&C channel.

“Today’s consumer is much more educated, savvy, influential and sceptical than ever before, especially with the introduction of social media. Customers are looking for brands to connect with, they will research products online while shopping, and they will tell their friends what they love and especially what they don’t!

“Price promotions and white labelling may work in the short term, but I believe the reason we are growing at the rate we are is because people are drawn to our brand, philosophy and the fact that we actually have a bloody good, natural, Aussie made and tasty product.”

Health Lab will be exhibiting at the C&I Expo on August 17-18. To register to attend click here.

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