Whether you live for the gym or you’re still trying to figure out what fitness routine works best for you, the importance of having a post-workout meal cannot be denied. This is especially true for those who take on any form of intense exercise that requires a source of protein to aid in recovery, such as cardio, weightlifting, sports, and interval training. Ideally, we should all have the time to plan for a protein-rich post-workout meal, but most of us know that is not always a reality. Especially if you’ve ever tried to squeeze in a workout right before you make a mad dash to whatever you have planned next in your busy schedule. Sometimes, there’s not even time to run home and blend up a protein shake.
Sure, there are protein bars and ready-made shakes, but if you are cutting back on dairy, your options are limited to high-sugar, accidentally vegan protein bars or plant-based options at your local vitamin and supplement store, which, unfortunately, not all of us have the privilege to live close to.
In 2013, CytoSport, Inc., the maker’s of Muscle Milk, a dairy-based protein shake, saw a demand for cleaner, plant-based protein-to-go and debuted Evolve, a shelf-stable to-go shake. Each shake is soy-free, dairy-free, gluten-free, contains only 10-11 ingredients, and contains 20 grams of plant-based pea protein per bottle. Until recently, it has not been available nationwide but soon, you should be able to find it in the same refrigerated section as other protein shakes.
In addition to this widespread distribution, Evolve will be adding two more products to their line this spring: plant-based protein bars, four-bottle tetra packs of their Evolve shake, and protein powder. While there are many protein powder options available, such as Sun Warrior, Garden of Life’s RAW protein, Vega One, and even Trader Joe’s own pea protein, bars, and to-go shakes are still a rarity. CytoSport’s Muscle Milk line can be found in 7-11s and just about any grocery store across the country. So, if the Evolve line sees the same widespread distribution, it will mean easier access to plant-based protein for everyone.
CytoSport CEO Greg Longstreet told Fortune, “People are looking for different types of proteins and plant-based is something that’s seeing fast growth. We think that five to 10 years from now, this is the future.” We don’t think he’s wrong by any stretch of the imagination. The plant-based protein market is estimated to reach a value of $5.2 billion by 2020, and increasingly the market is being dominated by clean, pea protein. Earlier this year, Roquette, a French, family-owned company, announced it will build the world’s largest pea processing plant in Canada, the largest global investment in pea protein to date. It was also just recently that meat processing giant Tyson Foods Inc, announced its investment in plant-based company Beyond Meat (their recently launched Beyond Burger contains a whopping 20 grams of pea protein per patty) as well as a venture capital fund dedicated to new breakthroughs in the plant-based food space. Whether it is through meat-free options, snacks, powders, and even dairy-free milk, pea protein is slowly taking over the market.
It looks like CytoSport has it figured out — animal-based protein is going out of style and the future of food is, without a doubt, plant-based.
Lead image source: Cytosport