Collagen as an edible ingredient has mostly been used in powder form to promote bone and skin health. In the US it’s a rare find, but Bulletproof is further exploring the use of collagen protein in its latest coffee launch.
A logical step
Food and beverage brand Bulletproof – which made its name with the launch of its fat-infused coffee in 2014 – debuted its RTD coffee line last year that included an Original+Collagen Protein Cold-Brew option. It also sells Chocolate and Vanilla-flavored powdered collagen protein in pouches that is often used in applications similar to protein powder.
The team says additional RTD coffee flavors made with collagen protein were the next logical step, leading to its launch this month of Vanilla Latte + Collagen Protein and Dark Chocolate + Collagen Protein.
These new collagen flavors bring the Bulletproof Coffee line up to six, with a seventh flavor in the works for an early 2019 launch.
Michael Campi, director of marketing at Bulletproof, told BeverageDaily “Consumers [have] noticed that it’s hard to incorporate the benefits that are in collagen protein into your normal diet, unless you're drinking a large quantity of bone broth … Lots of people have not enough collagen protein in their body, and there's been a lot of trends going around about the hair skin and nail benefits. Collagen protein was kind of an easy idea for a line extension and it’s simple for consumer to understand.”
Taste above all else
Campi shared that while the concept was an easy decision, the execution was a little trickier. Because collagen protein is made from a gelatin, it has to be processed from water molecules to break apart the amino acids, giving it an atypical texture.
But the end result was a ‘creamier mouthfeel’ from the new flavors that the early customers have preferred to the original. Bulletproof uses only natural flavoring and high-intensity natural sweeteners like monk fruit and stevia in its coffee.
“We believe that customers should never have to sacrifice taste for performance. Good taste is always what we want to accomplish in our drinks,” Campi said.
Each new coffee flavor contains 15g of protein and 0g of sugar incorporating three main ingredients: mold-free coffee, Brain Octane oil, and grass-fed butter.
Brain Octane benefits
According to Campi, Brain Octane oil is a Bulletproof original that he describes as a refined coconut oil that helps the body produce ketones, which is a preferred energy source over carbohydrates. If the body doesn’t use the energy from ketones, it gets rid of it rather than storing it as fat the way carbs do.
Bulletproof sells the oil on its own and recommends pairing it with items beyond coffee, like tea, smoothies, salads and more.
“Unlike sugars or carbohydrates that spike your blood sugar and can lead to a crash, Brain Octane oil is rapidly absorbed by your body and converted into brain-boosting, fat-burning ketone energy … it's a flavorless and versatile oil sourced from 100% pure coconut oil, and is triple-distilled using only water, heat and pressure (no chemical solvents). Use it in Bulletproof Coffee, smoothies, salad dressings or drizzle it over anything,” Bulletproof said.
In its early days, Bulletproof initially attracted a niche audience with a strong interest in health and wellness optimization. Campi believes that, with the new RTD launches, the brand can expand towards a mainstream audience.
It can tap into the wider ‘natural’ wellness trends that young people have been adopting in food, drink and fitness. The consumer expects taste, performance, functionality and environmental sustainability out of their beverages, sparking innovation and competition to keep up with demand.