MLO Products (Fairfield, Calif.) was founded in 1964 as a manufacturer of sports nutrition bars and protein powders. Over 30 years later, institutional research into soy's healthful benefits would prompt MLO in a new direction. In 1997, the company branded GeniSoy and created isolated soy protein products for such research.

In 1999, the FDA concluded (and with specific parameters allowed health claims stating) that foods containing soy protein included in a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease by lowering blood cholesterol levels. Following this, GeniSoy made its products available as a vehicle for bringing soy's healthful benefits to consumers.

To the Xtreme

Over the years, GeniSoy has introduced a family of soy products developed to meet consumer demands for great-tasting, convenient and healthful products. The products are meeting with success. In 2002, sales blossomed 24% as several new product introductions built momentum for the company. Among GeniSoy's new product lines launched in 2002 were Xtreme Bars, a variety of soy nut-based Trail Mixes, and Praline Soy Nuts.

Not to be discounted in GeniSoy's 2002 success must also be a redesign of their packaging and a refocused effort on marketing, plus a repositioning of the GeniSoy brand in the soyfoods marketplace.

“We knew we had great-tasting and affordable soy products that consumers and retailers were looking for, but the packaging and image of the GeniSoy brand needed a facelift to garner the attention it deserved,” says Duke Field, vice president of sales and marketing for GeniSoy. “We also focused attention on extending our soy snack line and building distribution, and we are excited to see strong customer response in the form of an exponential return on our investment.”

Targeting consumers in need of a healthful, anytime snack, GeniSoy’s Xtreme Bars feature premium roasted soy nuts, 9g of soy protein and 19 vitamins and minerals per serving.
Despite the success, GeniSoy has made mistakes but also has learned from them. Recognizing that the brand had become known as “somewhat ambivalent in years past,” GeniSoy has a new, aggressive and experienced marketing team in place to revitalize the brand. The results show the efforts are working. In the fourth quarter of 2002, gross product sales for GeniSoy increased 74%.

Contributing to that success is an awareness of the consumer. Recognizing the role of soy in the vegetarian diet, many GeniSoy products are fit for vegans.

GeniSoy's line of products includes bars, shakes, soy nuts, soy crisps, and protein powders and shakes. In the products, GeniSoy uses only water-processed, isolated soy protein from non-genetically modified (GM) soybeans. The company notes studies touting isoflavones' antioxidant properties and the voluminous research demonstrating soy's ability to reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering blood cholesterol.

In addition, considering the trend toward lower-fat diets and the fact that vegetable oils are the richest dietary source of vitamin E, GeniSoy has opted to include vitamin E and selenium in its products. These are included to protect the body's cells and tissues from being broken down by oxygen. Such oxidation is believed to play an essential role in the development of heart disease, cancer and various other diseases.

Consumer awareness about soy's healthfulness and taste is expected to increase, and with it, GeniSoy's growth. New products are on the horizon in 2003; GeniSoy's distribution channels are expanding; and the company has significantly increased its marketing budget.

As Field notes, “With the growing body of health research pointing to soy as a way to enhance overall heart health, consumers are increasingly looking for simple ways to integrate great-tasting soyfoods into their daily diet, and GeniSoy is focused on developing products to meet that need.”