BYU’s protein drink moves into local markets

Researchers at BYU have created the first drink that allows athletes to enhance their performance with a protein drink during a workout without negative side effects.

Athletes usually take protein drinks before or after a workout. Dr. Tannin Fuja, one of the chief scientists at Zoom Drinks who helped create the drink, said this is because “taking regular protein in the middle of a workout will give you cramping, bloating, and some people even throw up.”

Xojo, a protein drink created at BYU, is being promoted all throughout the state of Utah.  Photo by Ryan Peterson.
Xojo, a protein drink created at BYU, is being promoted throughout Utah. (Photo by Ryan Peterson)

However, Xojo, developed by BYU researchers and marketed by Zoom Drinks, is a new type of protein drink that is specifically designed to be taken during physical activity.

According to the official Xojo website, myxojo.com, Xojo “is the only NCAA-approved protein drink available that can be consumed during your workout — it won’t cause nausea or bloating, and it assists in hydration. With lower sodium and fewer calories than other sports drinks, it will help you function better, perform longer and recover faster.”

A team of BYU researchers created the drink three years ago and eventually reached out to Provindus Inc. to create a business partnership. Provindus created Zoom Drinks, a small subsidiary, specifically for BYU and the Xojo drink. Zoom Drinks has been marketing the drink within Utah for the past four months.

“We help prepare that bridge between science and business,” Fuja said. “We don’t get involved without solid science. We have been great partners with BYU.”

Zoom Drinks decided to publicly launch Xojo in Utah because of the state’s fitness background.

“Utah is the backyard for BYU and is a great place to start for a launch,” Fuja said. “Utah has a very young population that are healthy and active. This kind of product is tailor-made for Utah.”

Zoom Drinks plans to market Xojo nationwide and internationally, starting in California in about six months.

BYU Athletics has a direct interest in the marketing success of the drink because of the royalties received from its partnership with Zoom Drinks.

“BYU receives royalties on every bottle that is sold,” Fuja said. “A win for Xojo is money in the pocket for BYU Athletics.”

Ryan Peterson, vice president of sales and events, said sales within Utah are taking off.

“By our estimates, we are outselling Muscle Milk 3 to 1 in stores where we are located,” Peterson said.

According to Fuja, because of BYU’s existing agreement with Coca-Cola, he is not allowed to release what teams at BYU are taking the drink. However, Fuja did report that the teams at BYU and athletes all over the state and nation are enjoying the new protein drink.

“The feedback has been tremendous at a number of universities and high schools across the state,” Fuja said. “The benefit of being able to take protein during a workout is like having an octane booster to put in your car. There is a significant benefit to getting protein continuously during an aerobic exercise.”

Connor Alder, a high school golf recruit out of Chelsea High School in Alabama, said Xojo has significantly increased his stamina during physical activities.

“I shave off a couple strokes every time I drink Xojo on the course due to the energy I have from drinking it,” Alder said. “It helps me perform more consistent compared to other drinks I have tried.”

Xojo is now available in grocery stores such as Macey’s, Harmon’s and Fresh Market throughout the state of Utah. Xojo is also available for purchase online at myxojo.com. The drink comes in four flavors: white grape, pomegranate, red raspberry and lemon lime.

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