Sometimes the greatest innovations are fueled by the simplest of necessities. This was certainly the case for 29-year-old Nathan Carey of Santa Barbara, who struggled to maintain a healthy diet after breaking his right arm during a weight-lifting accident in 2010. Carey’s commitment to health during his recovery period led him to develop ProYo, a high-protein frozen yogurt snack packaged in a convenient four-ounce squeeze tube.
“While I was in physical therapy, I noticed people were spending a lot of money on high-protein shakes and protein bars, but I could tell by their facial expressions that they weren’t enjoying them,” Carey said. “Many of these products were laced with sugar and stabilizers and weren’t actually that healthy.”
After consulting nutritionists and testing more than 20 different types of proteins, Carey established a ProYo board of advisers (which included Balance Bar cofounder Richard Lamb) and began distributing samples of the product at area athletic clubs, hospitals, and Twin Cups, a drive-up coffee and frozen yogurt bar he had recently opened on Calle Real. ProYo received great responses from parents, children, and people who had difficulty eating enough protein due to illness or loss of appetite. They were impressed with ProYo’s convenient packaging and the quality of flavor compared to other high-protein snacks they had tried in the past.
Carey’s product enters the frozen yogurt market at a time when consumers are demanding functional foods that are both healthy and delicious. Each four-ounce tube of ProYo contains just 160 calories and packs an impressive 20 grams of protein, three grams of fiber, 200 billion live probiotic cultures, and 20 percent of an adult’s suggested daily calcium requirement. The “Anytime Frozen Treat” is low in both sugar and fat and is produced with rBST- and rBGH-free milk from grass-fed New Zealand cows.
Four new ProYo flavors – Vanilla Bean, Blueberry Pomegranate, Banana Vanilla, and Dutch Chocolate – were introduced last weekend (March 8-10) at the Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, California. They will be available for retail this summer in natural food stores along the West Coast, sold individually or in three packs.