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UK wasn't ready for Upbeat 5-years ago: Volac chief

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British consumers would “absolutely not” have been ready for a product like Upbeat - Volac's liquid whey protein concentrate, fruit juice hybrid - five-years ago, the company’s human nutrition chief has claimed.

Mark Neville, owner and director of human nutrition at Volac, told DairyReporter.com during a visit to the company's HQ near Cambridge last week, that its recently launched Upbeat brand and other similar protein-rich dairy drinks would not have proved as popular even a few years ago.

"Five-years ago, absolutely not," said Neville.

“Look at sports nutrition and its phenomenal growth," he said, "a key part of sports nutrition being protein, and that’s creeping into more and more mainstream articles, mainstream talk of consumers and I think it’s not until then that you can start to introduce something that people are going to grab hold of.”

The Good Whey Company, Volac’s consumer business, unveiled  Upbeat in March 2013 in advance of the product's launch in June.

Since hitting shelves across the UK, British consumers have “connected really well to it," said Neville.

“I’ve been really surprised with how good the consumer reaction to the brand has been,” he said.

“One of the things we are finding now is that the awareness and the demand for the product is ahead of distribution, which in some sense is a nice problem to have, but it is one that we’re rapidly looking to solve.”

Neville was meanwhile tight-lipped about the prospect of expanding the Upbeat brand, but admitted that the company has “more than ideas” and “a number of things in the pipeline.”

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