The US-based meal replacement shake specialist ViSalus has dived into the cereal category for the first time with its ViCrunch Protein Super Cereal. It has launched the cereal alongside two flavor toppings – Chocolate Macadamia Granola and Tri-Berry Puffs – so consumers can customize their breakfast.
ViSalus said it plans to compete in a cereal sector that has lacked innovation in the past century.
“Over the past 100 years, there has been little innovation in the cereal category,” said Ryan Blair, CEO of ViSalus. “We are challenging breakfast foods that have high sugar, salt and fat content by offering a nutritionally dense cereal that tastes great without ingredients that have a detrimental impact on human health.”
Speaking to BakeryandSnacks.com, Audrey Sommerfeld, senior vice president (SVP) of product development for the company, said ViSalus is targeting health.
“With the global obesity epidemic, our first priority is helping people get to their desired weight. We also encourage healthy eating and lifestyle, and with that also wanted to ensure the product had broad appeal,” she said.
Plugging a ‘healthy’ gap
The patent-pending cereal has a formulation that uses evaporated cane sugar and stevia, enabling an end product low in sugar content. ViSalus would not give away information on how it had reduced the sodium and fat content.
Sommerfeld said that while other brands do offer protein- and fiber-rich cereals, most on the market tend to be high in sugar; even those marketed as ‘healthy’.
“ViSalus offers a high protein, high fiber cereal with only 3g of sugar, yet tastes delightfully sweet and delicious. We also have created this cereal without wheat or wheat gluten, which is a cornerstone of many cereal brands, along with soy,” she said.
The product contains no wheat or wheat gluten - making it suitable for consumers with an intolerance - but she noted that there may be traces of wheat in the oats used in the formulation.
Being new to cereal hasn’t hit the product, ViSalus says
Asked if the company had any fears about operating in a new sector – very different from its comfort zone of meal replacement shakes – Sommerfeld said that ViSalus had leveraged its knowledge in flavors.
“We may be new to cereal, but we are not new to focusing on flavor. Our Vi-Shape Nutritional Shake mix is the ‘shake mix that tastes like a cake mix’, and we have brought that passion for flavor and nutrition to our cereal,” she said.
ViSalus has been working on the cereal concept for a long time, she added.
The product has a patent pending on it and will be available in the US and Canada as an ‘add on’ to the company’s Body By Vi kit. However, Sommerfeld said that there are hopes to expand the product globally in the future.
CORRECTION 24-7-13: This article originally said the cereal was 'gluten-free'. This has been changed, as the product contains no wheat or wheat gluten, but may contain traces of wheat in the oats used.