US yoghurt business Powerful Yogurt is to launch a range of protein drinks as it continues to expand its portfolio.

The company, which sells protein-heavy yoghurt and a line of protein bars, is conducting a “soft launch” in independent stores in New York City this month, with a wider roll out to follow in January, pending listings, founder and CEO Carlos Ramirez told just-food.

“We have had very strong conversations with [health and nutrition retailer] GNC. They want to take the product nationwide and even internationally,” Ramirez said.

“Now we’re going straight to the big guys – we are talking to Wal-Mart, Kroger, Publix. I want to go mainstream with these products. When you see products out there that are not natural we have a proposal that is affordable, great tasting and all-natural.”

The drink has a Greek yoghurt “base”, which Powerful Yogurt said is one of the attributes that sets the product apart from its competitors.

Ramirez pointed to the “natural” attributes of the drinks. “It’s to compete with those muscle milks out there that are selling two hundred to three hundred million bucks and the product is really not that good for you,” he said. “You see products with 43, 44 ingredients, full of stuff that is not natural and doesn’t taste that good. We are trying to do a clean version.”

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The 355ml shelf-stable drinks come in three flavours – chocolate, blueberry acai and vanilla maple – and contain 20g of protein. They are available in packs of four.

Check back tomorrow for an in-depth interview with Ramirez, which forms part of just-food’s latest management briefing, ‘The prospects for protein’.