The why on whey protein's rising prices

Wheyl-o there! 🐳

By now, you’ve probably heard that we’re changing the prices of your favorite protein powders! Heck, you may have already experienced the new prices already if you’re reading this after May 16. 😳

Yes, you deserve an explanation for this! At a time when many commodities are rising in price, we understand that it’s upsetting to see even your favorite supplements like creatine and protein powders follow the same trend.

We hope this 5-minute read can help you understand more about the whey protein situation globally and why we had to follow suit with a raise in prices.

The tough global supply chain issues, ever-rising costs, and continued inflation worldwide continue to hit the sports nutrition industry. This has been driving a trend of higher prices for practically all sports nutrition brands. 😲

 

Where does whey protein come from?



Whey protein is extracted from cow’s milk as a result of the cheese-making process.

The milk solids are collected, pressed, and cured into cheese. The remaining liquid is ultra-filtered and spray-dried, leaving a high-protein, low-carb, and low-fat whey protein powder. Simply put, whey protein is a cow-sourced dairy product. 🐮

Considering the Philippines doesn’t have a strong infrastructure for dairy production, we have to source our whey protein from one of the chief producers of dairy in the world—U.S. dairy companies. This means our raw materials are imported from top milk production states in the U.S., much like many other leading sports nutrition brands worldwide.

With the world’s growing interest in health and wellness driven by the pandemic, whey protein is one of the most in-demand dairy products in recent times. What used to be a niche product for the bodybuilding scene has become a regularly enjoyed food supplement for anyone who simply wishes to add more protein in their diet.

These days, demand for whey protein is continuing to soar worldwide and global supply is finding it difficult to keep up. ⚖

 

What’s driving the tight supply?



In the past, whey protein was a surplus product with wide availability. Humans all over the world demanded so much cheese (in fact, the world consumed 26 million metric tons of cheese in 2019) that there had always been an abundance of whey protein. It had been highly affordable and easily sourced as a raw material, being a primary offering of many dairy manufacturers internationally. 🧀

But much like many other commodities, the whey protein supply chain crisis happened when the COVID-19 lockdowns hit the majority of the world.

Lockdowns in top dairy-producing countries, such as the U.S., meant less manpower available to manage farms. It also led to manufacturing plants having massively delayed production schedules—some plants even had to shut down! This was the start of the scarcity of dairy raw materials, but it didn’t end there. 🏭

Restaurant closures and consumer behavior shifts during the lockdowns caused an unprecedented drop in cheese consumption. This led dairy manufacturers to further curb cheese production to focus on other dairy products, effectively reducing whey protein supply further. 🍴

To make matters worse, global milk production saw an unexpected dip due to the erratic climate changes that significantly reduced milk yield worldwide. Basically, cows were too stressed to produce the amount of milk that they used to, and this resulted in more scarcity on top of the already-existing issues from the lockdowns. ♻

Due to the severe scarcity of raw materials, importers were taught a big lesson: plan ahead and buffer up on supplies. China aggressively imported more dairy to help curb the emerging COVID-driven supply issues. For a year, most of the world’s dairy exports ended up with them. That certainly didn’t help the crisis happening in the dairy industry as little supply was left for other import-heavy countries.

These factors led to an increasingly tight whey protein supply situation, which eventually evolved to a sharp increase in whey protein costs.

On the other hand, whey protein imports have not been spared from the global freight crisis. International shipping has gotten extremely expensive with freight prices rising up to 10x compared to pre-pandemic rates. 🚢

Shipping container shortages, decreasing vessel availability, and insufficient port capacity have significantly impacted shipping lead times, too. Shipping from the U.S. to Manila used to be done in 30 days. Nowadays, it lasts 90 days or even more! ⏰

 

What’s happening to the rest of the market?


All of these factors combined have driven the cost of whey protein raw materials to almost double for the entire industry. And beyond the higher raw material costs, we’ve also continued to deal with price hikes on rent, utilities, labor, packaging, fuel, and other important resources. 📈

Previous retail prices can no longer keep up with all the rising costs at this point.

Other sports nutrition brands, both online and on shelves, have started updating their prices as well—even beyond the Philippines. We can expect more brands to follow suit not too far from now.

You’ve perhaps noticed that other things you regularly buy have increased in prices such as cosmetics, coffee, gasoline, even our beloved SPAM®! We’re not the only industry that has been impacted by the world’s ever-changing economy, and we’re surely not the last. 🌏

 

How does this affect the price of your favorite Wheyl protein powders?

Since Wheyl launched in 2017, your JUST whey protein and PRIME whey isolate have always been the crowd favorites. They were both designed to be simple, all-natural, and relatively affordable. Our mission has always been to keep offering our two flagship protein powders with those three factors in mind, which led us to shoulder as much of the rising costs the past few years. Regretfully, we’re at a point where we have to increase our prices already.

On the flip side, we decreased the price of your POD pea protein. Due to the success of our plant-based protein powder, we’ve had the opportunity to scale up its production, giving us an opportunity to save a few bucks on its manufacturing costs. We immediately thought of passing the extra savings to our beloved community, as a way to make up for the necessary increase in pricing of your whey protein powders.

Here’s a summary of the price changes happening this coming month, effective May 16:

JUST whey protein prices will increase by up to PHP200 per pound effective May 16, 2022.

One-pounder Five-pounder price per pound Price per serving
2020-2022
PHP599
PHP480
PHP32
2022 updated price by May 16
PHP799
PHP640
PHP42

 

PRIME whey isolate prices will increase by up to PHP100 per pound effective May 16, 2022.

One-pounder Five-pounder price per pound Price per serving
2020-2022
PHP799
PHP640
PHP42
2022 updated price by May 16
PHP899
PHP720
PHP48

 

POD pea protein prices will decrease by up to PHP100 per pound effective May 16, 2022.

One-pounder Five-pounder price per pound Price per serving
2021-2022
PHP899
PHP720
PHP48
2022 updated price by May 16
PHP799
PHP640
PHP42

 

Your FLUX BCAAs and KREA creatine monohydrate face no price changes.


What else are we doing?

We see the adjustments as significant. This is exactly why we’re not just sitting around and accepting the global supply crisis. We’re making it up to you in a myriad of ways!

From May 16 to May 23, we’ll be running a week-long sale on your protein powders and BCAAs. That’s 25% off on the new prices! We hope this will give you an opportunity to score your favorite protein powders at a good deal before the new rates take into effect!

Aside from that, we’re also releasing promising developments within the next 2 months.

You can look forward to new flavors and merchandise, website improvements that include an improved bundle builder, more flexible payment methods, a loyalty program, and an overall smoother user experience.

On top of that, you can expect more sizing options for your protein powders within the year. You read that right! The long-awaited bigger packaging will allow you to stock up on your ultimate faves with better prices. And the single-serve options will also be available to bring you more variety. All for your enjoyment!

We’re also looking to open up the Wheyl store just in front of our headquarters in Mandaluyong City, giving the community a home they’ll be proud to call theirs. 🏠

With all of these changes, we hope we’re able to prove our commitment to improve in every way possible as your partner in fitness.

Know that you are the fuel to Wheyl’s daily grind of delivering excellent experiences and fun fitness journeys. We only have you to thank for the tremendous growth we’ve had the past few years. As we navigate new waters, we sincerely hope that we can still count on your support, trust, and companionship. 💕

We’ve been swimming with you for 5 years. William the Whale’s JUST getting started. 🐳

Also, we're just an email a-whey if you have any question about this letter! Feel free to reach out to jason@wheyl.co or vergil@wheyl.co if you want to talk about this. Our doors are open to you!

Jason and Vergil

Co-founders

The why on whey protein's rising prices