The German company this week bagged best chocolate at the yummex Middle East Innovation Awards for its low carb, high protein Chocolate Crossies.
Edeka and REWE
Fitmeals is hoping to emulate the UK success of Irish vitamin and protein bar brand Fulfil for the German market.
Speaking to ConfectioneryNews at the yummex trade fair in Dubai, Andreas Serwotka, co-founder and sales manager at Fitmeals, said: "There's big demand in healthy products right now in Germany…
"Germany is way behind the UK [in functional snacking] - the players in the UK are much bigger and have many more innovations than we have. We trying to bring something like this to Germany."
Fitmeals chocolate products are expected to hit store shelves in Germany this quarter. The company has gained distribution for its 60 g Chocolate Crosse in major retail chains in Germany such as Edeka and REWE, at a RRP of €2.99 ($3.58).
"It's more expensive [than conventional confectionery], but if you compare it to protein bars, it's more or less the same price,” said Serwotka.
Targeting mass market retail
The company is targeting mainstream retail rather than specialty channels. "At least in Germany we're seeing [protein snacking] is really getting a mass market. We're also selling to gyms and nutrition shops, but the big business is done with retailers,” said Serwotka.
He said the company still has a lot to do in Germany, but is exhibiting at yummex to gauge interest in the Middle East where it is looking for distributors.
From muesli to snacks
The Nuremberg-based company began with protein mueslis in 2015. It is now focusing on snacking and chocolate after facing stiff competition from fellow German firm MyMuseli.
"We're trying to make healthy snacks. We started with muesli because it seemed like the best entry to the market, but we never planned to stay with the mueslis - it was always a plan to get into snacking.”
Fitmeals continues to sell its mueslis, but is now focusing on its chocolate products and expanding into other snacks.
Serwotka and his cousin cofounded Fitmeals. They both studied business administration and spent around 15 years in the fitness industry. Fitmeals marks their first move into the food industry.
"At the beginning, we produced the mueslis ourselves, then we tried to outsource it to another company, but it didn't work as well as expected. We found a new investor - he's already producing, so he helped us to set up production ourselves,” said Serwotka.
Sugarfree with maltitol
Fitmeals’ award-winning Chocolate Crossies are fortified with 30 % pea protein and sweetened with maltitol.
The producer uses xylitol for its mueslis, but its chocolate products are sweetened with maltitol.
"We had a couple of muselis sweetened with stevia - but we had a lot of customers complaining that they don't like the stevia taste,” said Serwotka.
Fitmeals will soon launch pralines with a protein cream filling sweetened with xylitol and a maltitol-sweetened chocolate coating.
"The muselis are still made with soy protein, but now every new product is based on pea protein,” said Serwotka.