New High-Protein Snacks Coming from Michael Alfaro’s Master Foods Lab in 2024

New High Protein Snacks Coming from Michael Alfaro and Master Foods Lab in 2024

Functional foods are all the rage, and it seems as though every brand-owner and his mother is releasing their own bar or brownie. Nobody, though, is on the cutting edge of functional foods like Michael Alfaro and Master Foods Lab, a contract manufacturing house in the industry.

Back in February, we had Michael Alfaro on Episode #125 of the PricePlow Podcast, where we discussed all things functional treats. The day before that episode was filmed, we were treated to an on-site factory tour of Master Foods Lab, which you can watch on YouTube by clicking the link.

After that, though, we got to try some of the latest innovations:

Taste-Testing Michael Alfaro’s New High Protein Snacks

When the tour was done, Michael gave us a taste of things to come – a platter of products coming down the pike in the functional foods space:

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Here are the products mentioned in the tasting:

  • 3:30 – Cookie Sandwich / Oatmeal Pie

    The first product is an oatmeal sandwich product with a chocolate Nutella-based cream filling. The Nutella is an accent ingredient to give it a little hazelnut punch. The cream is created with collagen and the entire bar yields 230 calories, 16 grams of protein, 9 grams of sugar.

    Michael Alfaro: Master Foods Lab - PricePlow Podcast Episode #125

    Ben says the filling is perfectly moist and creamy. Alfaro notes that there are many different elements to functional foods – visual, mouth feel, and texture.

  • 5:30 – Birthday Cake Bar

    This birthday cake bar has natural sprinkles (no artificial dyes). Ben notes that it takes like cake batter. It’s full-flavored and sweet. Alfaro notes that most brands don’t really know what they want yet, necessitating some creativity. They send samples that hit the macros and ingredients, and get feedback on flavor, sweetness, and texture.

  • 9:15 – Japanese Crispy Treat (Dairy-Free)

    This next product is a bar made for the Japanese market, and has natural ingredients such as brown rice crisps, pea protein, goji berries, strawberries, and rolled oats. The frosted coating is made from white chocolate with freeze-dried strawberry powder. Alfaro notes that he sometimes has to toast ingredients to bring out the crunch in the product without becoming soggy with the wetter ingredients.

    This was one of Mike’s favorites, especially if going dairy-free. Having real strawberry powder mixed into white chocolate is a total treat.

    Lead times and line times?

    When asked about site operations, Alfaro says that his lead time is typically 6-8 weeks. As opposed to powder, which have longer shelf lives, order rates are a lot more frequent with functional foods (4-6 times per year). They currently only run one line at a time, but are looking at adding another for a bake line and a non-bake line

  • 12:15 – Peanut Butter Banana Blondie

    Core Moose Tracks Protein Brownie Close-Ups

    Master Foods Lab is the creator of the Moose Tracks Brownies and Blondies

    This blondie contains no physical bananas, just a banana flavor profile, along with peanut butter swirl and chocolate chunks. Alfaro says that Banana is tough to work with, and it easily becomes overpowering, ruining the taste. Ben notes that the blondie itself is extremely moist, and the chocolate helps counterbalance that with some harder texture.

    Mike loves it, and Ben laments the fact that they taste so good yet are somewhat high in carbs and fat. Alfaro notes that it’s cool to be in the functional food space, because you can have both better-for-you options and extremely healthy options — it’s really up to the brand.

    This one was shortly released after the filming of the video as the Moose Tracks Banana Peanut Butter Blondie.

  • 18:15 – Peanut Butter Bar

    This one is extremely dense due to the peanut butter inside the batter itself. Mike and Ben love this one as well. Alfaro says there’s a formula to a functional food launch – it’s about the brand as much as the formula. Ben says that even with the best formula in the world, it means almost nothing if not launched correctly. Alfaro says if the Quest Bar was launched today, he doesn’t believe it would have the same degree of success.

Something you can sink your teeth into

Master Foods Lab Crumb Cakes

Want to turn this Crumb Cake into a real product? Contact us — we have a few ideas!

Powders are all well and good. We all have our favorite protein powders and pre-workouts. Sometimes, though, we get bored of drinking protein. Functional foods and high-protein snacks offer a welcome reprieve from the liquid slog. The beautiful thing is that artists like the chefs at Master Foods Lab can tweak dozens of elements to create products for consumers with different goals.

There are plenty of products that really emphasize the “health food” aspect, and therefore try to get sugar and fat content as low as possible. Others lean into more dessert-like products, offering flavors and textures that are on par with typical desserts, but with some extra protein and maybe some better ingredients.

No matter what you’re after, it’s likely that Alfaro has, is, or will be working on it.

Got an idea? We’ll help you develop, beta test, and promote it!

If you have a high protein snack idea, contact us and we’ll help you put it together alongside Michael and his team, showing some progress along the way.

Until then, listen to Episode #125 with Michael Alfaro and sign up for our Master Foods Lab news alerts, we have more information coming:

About the Author: Mike Roberto

Mike Roberto

Mike Roberto is a research scientist and water sports athlete who founded PricePlow. He is an n=1 diet experimenter with extensive experience in supplementation and dietary modification, whose personal expertise stems from several experiments done on himself while sharing lab tests.

Mike's goal is to bridge the gap between nutritional research scientists and non-academics who seek to better their health in a system that has catastrophically failed the public. Mike is currently experimenting with a low Vitamin A diet.

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