MyProtein is a UK based sports nutrition brand, in fact they are “Europe’s number 1 sports nutrition brand.” The brand portrays and evidences a real effort for a quality, good value product. Here the impact whey vanilla protein powder is one of their most popular items, offering great taste and performance. In a sustainability sense, MyProtein doesn’t shy away from some transparency, looking to “exceed consumer expectations” with their work in responsible supply chains, philanthropic endeavours and recycling wherever possible in the production process. Engaging in youth charities, championing diversity and funding education for disadvantaged people, there’s a lot to say about what they do for local communities. Not only this MyProtein makes an effort to educate on the benefits of a more plant-based diet through their blogs page. They’re even acting on it by constantly increasing their plant-based product range. Although they say they cannot be fully plant based due to “customer demand for animal-based products”. I feel if MyProtein made a real effort in adverting these plant-based products, and made sure the quality is just as good, they could sway this demand in favour of plant-based products. As such a big player in Europe’s fitness nutrition industry I think they could flagship the movement away from milk-based protein powders, which could even benefit them financially as the world is moving to be sustainable. On a day-to-day basis they have also made an effort to remove all plastic bottles from their sites, and make sure that reusable coffee cups are provided to employees, boasting that this has meant 500,000 bottles a year and 1,000,000 coffee cups are no longer going to landfill. Overall, I feel MyProtein provides an inconsistent display of sustainability, shining in some areas, but lacking in other important ones, such as having recyclable or plastic free packaging. This leaves me with mixed emotions on how to feel about them, and limits my overall score.
Their whey protein is made from 96% milk concentrate with emulsifiers; sunflower lecithin, and soya lecithin. Lecithin are fats which are essential to cells of the body, but double up as emulsifiers so that the product mixes with water/milk. The remaining 4% is sweetener (sucralose) and flavouring. It is packaged inside of plastic bags, or plastic tubs depending on the size of product you select, and is not shipped plastic free. They claim their products are “as sustainable as possible” via complying with REACH (Registration, Evaluation, authorisation & restriction of Chemicals). This is an EU regulations company making sure that certain chemicals of harmful nature to both people and the environment are not used in the production process, or the actual products. I think this claim of being “as sustainable as possible” just because of conforming to some chemical regulations is a massive stretch. It does not tackle issues such as non-recyclable plastic packaging and scoops, this is something I believe needs to improve, and can easily be done. The efforts on the website to explain how they are environmentally savvy and doing their best to tackle are quite misleading when you take this simple fact into account. They are the biggest brand in fitness nutrition across Europe and all of their products are packaged in non-recyclable materials, which is a real shame and must result in a massive amount at landfill. This fact is a real oxymoron in the sense that their other stringent efforts in recycling and avoiding plastic waste are serious, but the actual product itself isn’t even recyclable. MyProtein should look to improve this, not just by going recyclable but even perusing plastic free packaging.
The suppliers send their contributions into the UK factories where the “latest automated technology” is used. They claim it is so proficient it’s the “best in Europe”, meaning same day dispatch is often made possible when making a purchase. Throughout the manufacturing process a series of “world-class testing” takes place, using advanced filtration, x-ray machines and near-inferred testing to make sure that the whey protein is of “100% purity”. Something that I thought was amazing about this process is that MyProtien operate under a “zero to landfill policy”, where all waste is instead sent to recycling facilities or converting it into RDF (refuse derived fuels) so that waste products can be used as a combustion fuel instead of being landfilled. To develop Whey, fresh milk supplied by the brand Muller is brought to the factories where it needs to be pasteurised. Pasteurisation removes harmful bacteria to humans by heating it. Enzymes such as Chymosin are added to the milk, making it curdle and separate into curds. The solid curds are removed and utilised in cheese making, the remaining liquid is whey. The liquid whey is then filtered through a series of micro filters to remove carbohydrates and fats. This removes most of the lactose and fat leaving you with whey protein isolate, and whey protein concentrate. Next utilising hot and cold air the water is removed from the whey concentrate leaving you, in the end, with unflavoured whey protein powder. This then has the sweeteners and flavourings added to it, then it is packaged and shipped. The production process is clean and has a “multitude of certified bodies” to back this, the product they make is of great quality. But the unfortunate fact is that it can take around 200L of milk to produce 1Kg of protein powder, whereas cheese uses about 100L of milk to make 12Kg. This influences the number of dairy cows needed to match demand for the product, leading to an increased effect on the carbon footprint of livestock. Therefore, I would suggest trying to instead use a trustworthy plant-based product instead.
MyProtein operates in the UK via their factories and warehouses, and across Europe through a series of suppliers all adhering to their strict supply chain policy for quality ingredients. They all undergo a “stringent approval process” before they are onboarded as a supplier. They have to meet a range of “Quality, safety, environmental and social standards” enforced by SEDEX or BSCI. These are both companies which work in the assessment and improvement of the quality of the supply chains, both emphasising the importance of consumer transparency as supply chains are getting more and more complex. Not only this, conforming to the EU and global standards of suppliers is also mandatory. This information made easily available by MyProtein is great to see, it seems they make a real effort to work with the best suppliers. My only qualm is that they could include the members of their supply chains, and information on where, who, and what it’s like in that work environment. This transparency, I think, would evidence a real flawless supply chain, but as it isn’t provided it is hard to really know if it is as good as they make it sound. So that they aren’t just plastering their website with certification bodies consumers won’t know anything about. In the UK there are three warehouses/factories from which products are shipped and finalised. It is good to see a business creating jobs in the UK, in fact they’ve created over 500 new jobs in the last 2 years in Manchester/Cheshire. Not offshoring production is great to see, as this means carbon miles aren’t added to the product, but also means local economies can benefit. The effort to work with the UK is something I really like, whether it’s through their job creation, or just philanthropy in general, what they’re doing in this case is something I really like.