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Seeing the full UK potential of protein?

Seeing the full UK potential of protein?Once a market dominated by macho looking black and silver sports nutrition jars, protein is finding its relevance and role across many categories.  Protein brings so many benefits for so many consumer types, it really is just at the beginning of it’s lifecycle.

According to Innova’s latest data shared at the Bridge2Food ‘protein summit’ in Rotterdam, 20% of UK people have increased use of protein in past 2 years.  It is also one of the only categories which can claim to be seriously bucking the trend of prices coming down to actually being able to command a price premium of between 55% and 65%.

So how do you get ahead in protein? What’s driving the increasing interest? Reduction in carbs? weight management? energy provision? better food quality? What’s the big trend? All will play a role, but the time seems right now, to start making the connections of the protein to benefit areas, rather than just new named protein types which often leave consumers bemused and mystified.

The sports nutrition marketing is now worth £300m with estimated growth of 32% over the last year, compared to other health and beauty categories like haircare, which grew 2%

So where could some gaps and opportunities exist?  Doesn’t it come down to health enhancement and improved personal performance?  The protein category will not grow purely because of new varieties.

IRI figures suggest the £28m protein-enriched dairy drinks market has grown by 67% in value with 1 in 5 people in the US drinking one each week

Defining the  health benefit beyond just being a protein will be key. For example whey is high in saturated fats yet is the best tasting protein source, Hemp is less bloating, it is high in good fats, helps lower cholesterol and is a natural plant based protein source.  Could this be a better option for our aging population?  It also comes at a lower cost than quality sources of animal protein.

Protein is satiating, so could high protein solutions help address the obesity challenge preventing people snacking on fewer unhealthy fatty snacks full of empty calories? Protein of all types and sources are now being built into snacks in a quest to deliver valuable sources of goodness in convenient and accessible channels and formats.

Studies have shown 66% of shoppers who come in to find a protein based product are leaving the shop with nothing. This means the growth will come from adapting products make them more

Lastly, there needs to be more education and action around Sarcopenia.  Over the age of 40, muscles deteriorate 1-2% per year which results in reduced strength and mobility.  Who would know that? Key to addressing this vital muscle loss is protein.  Doesn’t that mean that protein is therefore key to retaining independence long term?.  Unless you are a biologist or a sports nutrition fanatic, people just don’t understand how protein and muscles work together.

Solutions are out there and under development., but new opportunities are rife it would seem.  Much more work needed to get messages and innovative new product and service launches right first time.  Protein is not as simple as it first appears.

Source: Thrive Unlimited and The Grocer

About Claire Nuttall

Claire has over 20 years experience working in the world of branded and own label innovation, helping brands and businesses inspire and realise real commercial innovation success. Thrive is a real, practical innovation partnership for brands and businesses globally. The key to their success is creating incremental brand and business value, by collaborating to create commercially robust, inspired innovation. The business model pivots around working with trade, retailers and consumers at all times, hence bringing together such a unique blend of founding partners & collaborators from a mix of brand, commercial and high level retail backgrounds. Prior to Thrive, Claire spent 12 years as a Partner and Director of Consumer Brands at Dragon Rouge, joined 1HQ for 2.5 years as a Senior Partner and Director of Insight & Innovation before leaving to set up a new Brand & Innovation agency Thrive in 2012. Claire has driven major game changing Strategy, Insight and Innovation for clients including Nestle, Kerry Foods, M&S, Unilever, GSK, Carlsberg, Premier Foods, Bacardi, Twinings, ABF, Sainsburys, Burtons Foods, Campina, Asda, amongst many others. Claire has also led pioneering health projects around the future of food and drink and how brands can best develop to appeal to new and emerging audiences or create new categories for growth. She has worked with societal and attitudinal trends in food and drinks and health for over 15 years and regularly contributes to conferences and thought pieces on opportunities for breakthrough.

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