MyProtein to extend ready to drink range

OLIVER Cookson, founder of online nutritional supplements company MyProtein, is well on the way with plans to roll out a second product in his new ready to drink range, before the first has even been officially launched.

The company is due to launch an isotonic drink – the first in a line of new ready to drink products that will take on the likes of Lucozade, owned by GlaxoSmithKline, and Coca Cola’s Powerade – at the end of this month or early in August.

The company has invested around £100,000 in product development and marketing of MP Max One Isotonic, with a 500ml bottle available in Cool Berry or Orange Zest for 89p.

But Mr Cookson is already developing the second product in the new One range – this time a ready to drink milk-based protein product called Promilk, which he expects to launch in August or September.

Each carton will include 38g of what Cookson calls “high-quality protein” and will come in milk chocolate or strawberry cream flavours. A price point has yet to be decided.

He said: “With most of the products we sell you have to add water to a powder. The ready to drinks market is worth £900m a year and there are some big names in there.ISOtonic drinks

“Most of them come from a confectionery background but we offer something different as we are coming from a sports nutrition background. We can focus on the core aim of the product.”

The company, which only sells its product on the internet, is also planning a real push into Europe. Currently, sales in mainland Europe stand at around 4% or total sales but Mr Cookson wants to push that figure to 10% over the next two years.

“The UK is our core business so hopefully they will both grow relatively,” he added.

The company, whose year end is in September, is expecting to turnover £11m this year, significantly up on the £4.7m it made in 2008.

It employs around 50 staff and Mr Cookson expects to take on another five people as the business expands over the next six months.

He said: “Our target for the year was £10m but we are already 15% above our target for the year to date, and we expect that to continue because we’ve been through the worst of the economic climate.

“Who knows what would have happened in a good climate. We’ve not really seen the impact as a company, but we have seen a few suppliers go to the wall.”

The company, which Mr Cookson set up with £50 in 2004, recently won the SME Business of the Year trophy at the Northern heat of the National Business Awards and will now go to the national finals in London.