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What Does “Personalized” in Personalized Protein Powder Mean?
One of the most common questions I get as a personal trainer is, “What’s the best kind of protein powder?”
With close to 10k options for sale in the US, understanding protein powders and meal replacements is completely overwhelming for most people. Nonetheless Americans spend $10B per year on protein powders and meal replacement powders.
However, the vast majority aren’t “personalized”, but in the last few years a few companies have started offering protein powders that are personalized.
So what does personalized mean?
Companies typically use the term personalized to mean one of three things…
- Your name is added to the item
- The item recommended for you is pre-made but selected for you because of some personal information
- Custom made to order
Let’s take a look at three personalized nutrition companies and determine exactly what “personalized nutrition” means to each of them.
Care/Of is primarily a personalized vitamin and supplement company that added protein powder to their catalogue recently. All of Care/of’s products are pre made then custom packaged based on customer quiz data. Care/of was founded in 2017 and is owned by Bayer AG Pharmaceuticals. Care/of lists 2 types of protein and 2 flavors on their website. Takecareof.com
Gainful sells personalized protein powder and non personalized pre workout supplements. All of Gainful’s products are pre manufactured then curated and custom labeled based on consumer quiz data. Gainful doesn’t say how many versions of protein powder they have but according to fitnessclone.com “there aren’t that many different blends.” According to a former employee they make 12 pre made blends. Gainful was founded in 2017 and is independently owned. Gainful.com
Trillion Nutrition sells several personalized products as well as non personalized supplements. Their personalized products include protein powder, meal replacement powder, collagen powder, snack granola, and breakfast cereal. According to the company website every personalized product is custom made to order and is available in over a trillion variations. Trillion was launched in late 2020 and is independently owned. trillionnutrition.com
Detailed Product Comparison
All three of these personalized protein powder companies use the same sales tactic. They each require you to complete a short quiz about your body type, health concerns, fitness goals, dietary restrictions, etc… then provide a “personalized” product recommendation. The process was easy, quick, and enjoyable in all cases.
After taking the care/of quiz I was recommended 4 supplements, whey protein powder, and a maca powder boost for the protein powder. The boosts are separately packaged in single serve sleeves and you add the boost to the powder yourself. The supplements are packaged in daily single serve bags with my name on them. The protein powder and boost are not personalized in any way other than being recommended to me based on my personal information. My protein was 100 calories per serving and included 18 grams of protein. You have to subscribe to monthly shipments to buy.
After taking the Gainful quiz I was recommended a blend of Whey protein Isolate, Whey protein Concentrate, and Casein. My protein was 120 calories per serving and 24 grams of protein per serving. Then I was asked to select up to 4 flavors to be included with my order. There are 6 options to choose from. Flavor isn’t blended into the protein, but rather packaged separately in single use sleeves so you can change the flavor for each serving. Gainful doesn’t offer any boosts. You have to subscribe to monthly shipments to buy.
After taking the Trillion Nutrition quiz I was recommended a blend of Debittered Hydrolyzed Whey Protein and Whey Protein Isolate, boosted with electrolytes, super greens, probiotics, and hemp powder. They offered me 25 flavor options. Everything is custom made for me and offered in 1lbs or 2lbs sizes. My protein was 115 calories per serving and 25 grams of protein per serving. You get a 20% discount to subscribe for monthly shipments but aren’t required to subscribe.
Care/of: $15 for 5 single serve packs. $3/ serving. Or $28 for 15 servings. $1.87 per serving. Plus $7 for 1 boost. Free shipping
Gainful: $49 for 28 servings. $1.75 per serving. Free shipping
Trillion Nutrition: $29.50 for 15 servings. $1.97/ serving. Or $53.50 for 30 servings. $1.78/ serving. Plus $8 for 4 boosts. Free shipping
Care/of: free shipping over $20
Gainful: free shipping
Trillion Nutrition: free shipping over $30
Care/of: forced subscription
Gainful: forced subscription
Trillion Nutrition: optional subscription. Save 20% by opting in for subscriptions.
Care/of: 30 day money back guarantee on initial orders then they’ll try to take care of any issue you have on subsequent orders but there’s no guarantee.
Gainful: all sales final, no returns
Trillion: 30 day money back guarantee on all orders
Macro ingredient blends:
Care/of: 2 options
Gainful: 12 options
Trillion Nutrition: over a trillion options
Care/of: 100- 140 calories per serving
Gainful: not disclosed for all blends but the blends I got were between 110-120 calories per serving.
Trillion Nutrition: not disclosed because each order is different but the blends I got were between 110-385 calories per serving
Care/of: 4 options
Gainful: 0 options
Trillion Nutrition: 15 options
Care/of: 2 (plus unflavored)
Gainful: 6 (plus unflavored)
Trillion Nutrition: 25 (plus unflavored)
Care/of: overall 9/10. Mixes well and has a smooth consistency. Sweetened with Organic Cane Sugar and Organic Monk Fruit Extract
Gainful: overall 9/10. Mixes well and has a smooth consistency. Sweetened with Organic Stevia Extract and Monk Fruit Extract.
Trillion Nutrition: overall 8/10. Mixes well and has a smooth consistency. Sweetened with Stevia Leaf Extract.
The Bottom Line
It’s exciting to see so much innovation in a decade’s old category. Each of the three companies has an offering that’s better than what you can find at your local nutrition store.
Personalized can mean selected for you from a small set of products or in Trillion Nutrition’s case it means custom manufactured from over a trillion possible products.
They’re all priced similarly, and are all more expensive than non personalized options. They all taste great, but Trillion lost a point because I personally don’t love stevia.
At the end of the day I’d either select a cheaper non personalized protein or if I’m going to spend the money for personalized protein I’d go for Trillion Nutrition because they actually custom make each order.