Mar 27, 2019

Saffola Fittify Hi Protein Slim Meal Shake Review

There is a new trend in marketing these days - creating a new need. A decade ago, marketing was catering to the prevailing needs of consumers by positioning products/brands accordingly. This involved understanding consumers' needs (both expressed and latent needs), current alternatives used and the struggles consumers faced with those alternatives. The promotions - ad narratives, taglines and messaging all revolved around these aspects. 

But if you see the latest trends in marketing, it is all about creating new needs in the minds of consumers. Packaged food brands achieve them in two ways - one based on instilling fear and the other based on aping Western trends. Once the new needs are established, the product category gets created and new brands get launched. 

Since the last 3-4 years, Indian media has been abuzz with articles stating that Indians don't eat enough protein and publish statistics/research to substantiate those claims. This is the precursor to create a new product category in the market, which is protein supplements/shakes. Brands are jumping on this bandwagon big time.

The latest is this new Fittify Gourmet Hi-Protein Slim Meal Shake by Saffola, which the "food influencers" have started to promote it on social media.

There are multiple flavors of this meal shake. Let's look at Pistachio Almond flavor, which seems to be the favorite among the food influencers.

Whey protein concentrate (44.5%), Skimmed milk powder (26.1%), Inulin (chicory root extract), Thickener (INS 412), Garcinia Cambogia, Edible vegetable oil (sunflower oil), Almond Flakes (1.1%), Mineral premix (0.9%), Vitamin premix (0.3%), Quinoa (0.15%), Buckwheat (0.13%), Amaranth (0.12%), Sucralose, Turmeric (0.02%), Moringa (0.01%).
Contains permitted natural colour (INS 140) and added flavors (nature and nature identical flavoring substances)

The source of protein is whey protein concentrate, the first ingredient. When milk is processed to form cheese, the remaining liquid is called whey. This liquid undergoes several processing steps and then dried to form a whey protein concentrate powder.

Given that most commercial milk is adulterated and the cows raised in large-scale dairy farms are given antibiotics, growth hormones and what not, I don't consider "dairy products" procured from a commercial large-scale industry as a reliable nutrition source for protein (or calcium). I would urge all these protein supplement brands (that use whey protein isolate/concentrate as their protein source) to first prove that their supplements are free from antibiotics/growth hormones residues.

The flavor is called "Pistachio and Almonds" but the quantity of almonds is so less (1.1%). And I'm searching for pistachio in the ingredients list. In Goundamani's voice, "avan kedaikka maattaan". There are NO pistachios but there is green colour added in the form of INS 140 (and maybe a few drops of flavor). They are so confident that consumers wouldn't read the ingredients list that they chose to skip adding real pistachios.

Similar to their meal soup, the slim meal shake also emphasizes on five super foods but the percentages are so less here as well - Quinoa (0.15%), Buckwheat (0.13%), Amaranth (0.12%), Turmeric (0.02%), Moringa (0.01%). In SJ Surya's words, "irukku aana illa".

Last but not least, this meal replacement shake uses artificial sweetener - sucralose. All artificial sweeteners affect the gut bacteria, impairs appetite regulation and causes weight gain. I had shared more details in my earlier post on Brittania Nutrichoice Digestive Zero biscuits that use sucralose as the sweetener.

I avoid ALL products using artificial sweeteners. They come with a laundry list of repercussions such as weight gain, sweet cravings etc. They impact our gut bacteria, intestine and liver.

Meal replacement shakes sound all hip, cool and modern, but they are never wholesome. There is very little dietary fibre (2.9gm) in this drink, how can this be considered a meal? The product page in Amazon shows that 1 serving equals 3 bowls of dal, 1 bowl of curd, 1 bowl of spinach etc. Why not EAT those regular staple foods?

I'm NOT falling for such traps. Yes, protein is important and I'd rather eat my bowl of dal, nuts (including real almonds and pistachios) and seeds on a daily basis than gulp this pretentious drink.

From a price perspective, a pack of 12 servings costs Rs.1190. So per serving is around Rs.100. For the same price, one can easily buy a day's requirement of organic milk, organic fruits and vegetables. 

In my not-so-humble opinion, such meal replacement shakes are a lazy way to eat, one that doesn't require chewing, one that doesn't require any attention to be given to food (work/drive and sip your shake) and of course, one that doesn't need any time to cook. It is a shame that food bloggers who "cook" promote such unhealthy options.

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