PepsiCo is making a strategic move into the plant-based category by introducing Muscle Milk Plant Protein Shakes, a ready-to-drink product designed to cater to the growing trend of plant-based living. This expansion comes as consumers increasingly incorporate plant-based products into various aspects of their daily lives.
The Muscle Milk Plant Protein Shakes, developed by the snack and beverage giant, is positioned as a unique offering in the plant-based protein market, formulated to meet the needs of athletes and active individuals. Each bottle boasts 30 grams of plant-based protein, containing all nine Essential Amino Acids typically found in animal-based proteins, along with a modest 3 to 4 grams of sugar, 170 to 180 calories, and essential nutrients like vitamin B12 and iron.
Marissa Pines, a Senior Marketing Director for PepsiCo’s Gatorade portfolio, noted that while Muscle Milk has traditionally focused on the performance category, the recent surge in plant-based consumption has prompted the brand to expand its reach into this space. Observing that consumers are integrating plant-based products into muscle-building routines, PepsiCo aims to bridge the gap by offering a plant-based solution that delivers complete protein and muscle recovery benefits.
“We wanted to make sure that we had something for that group, especially as we anticipate it’s going to continue to grow,” Pines explained. This strategic move is aimed at future-proofing the brand in response to evolving consumer preferences.
Muscle Milk Plant Protein Shakes will initially be available in Caramel Vanilla and Chocolate flavors, with a planned rollout in December 2023 and expanded availability in early 2024.
PepsiCo’s acquisition of Muscle Milk from Hormel Foods in 2019 has proven fruitful, with the brand experiencing double-digit growth in 2022. According to data from Circana, a Chicago-based market research firm, sales for Muscle Milk increased by an impressive 19% to reach $425 million for the 52 weeks ending August 13, 2023. Additionally, unit sales surged by 8.7%, signaling that heightened demand, rather than price increases, fueled the brand’s success.
Despite its robust growth, Muscle Milk’s revenue remains a small fraction of PepsiCo’s massive $86 billion generated in 2022. In pursuit of continued expansion, PepsiCo is actively exploring new avenues for Muscle Milk to provide protein solutions to health-conscious consumers. This strategic endeavor marks another step in PepsiCo’s commitment to adapting to changing consumer preferences and expanding its presence in the dynamic beverage and snack market.