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.
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.
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.
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.