The power of protein

* 5 min read
2019 is here, and with most starts to the year a number of us have ‘betterment’ on the brain. Whether it’s cutting down on chocolate, partaking in Veganuary or signing up for a gym membership, a great deal of us are looking to create a healthier version of ourselves, or at least for the first month of year.

So, with wellness in mind, we take a look at a health trend which is sky rocketing, and has been for some time; protein. Protein has been subject to substantial growth over recent years, with thousands of new products flooding the market across all categories.

"The global protein ingredients market size was valued at USD 25.62 billion in 2016 and is expected to witness growth at a compound annual growth rate of over 7% from 2016 to 2025"

According to Grand View Research a key driver is the overall demand for protein snacking among consumers worldwide, particularly among shoppers with busy lifestyles that are time poor. Gone are the days when a quick snack meant a jumbo grab bag of crisps or oversized chocolate bar from the corner shop; these days, consumers are demanding more from snacking occasions, whether it’s on the go or at home.

Protein plant-based snacks derived from nuts, seeds and seaweed are no longer niche but increasingly mainstream. The adoption of plant-based diets is also rapidly gaining traction. Research conducted by IGD ShopperVista shows us that 1 in 6 shoppers are now pursuing or starting to think about committing to a vegan diet. Companies are taking note of this, take the US vegan fast-food chain by Chloe, who serve up favourite UK dishes such as fish and chips and roast dinners, with ingredients that are strictly plant-based. You may think that vegetarian and vegan diets lack sufficient protein. It’s true that many plant protein sources such as grains, nuts and beans are typically not complete on their own, meaning you may have to eat a variety of planet proteins to get your fill, however a well-planned veggie diet can supply you with all the protein and nutrients you need. Plants are also naturally lower in calories and typically contain more healthy fats, fibre and antioxidants which aid in the fight against disease such as heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and certain types of cancers.

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Some brands are even starting to craft protein into their mantra, take for example Pulsin. A company set up by three university friends that have the shared view that all people, of all ages, should be able to eat healthy foods without compromising on taste. From raw chocolate brownies to fruity oat bars, they provide a great way to increase your protein intake and enjoy some guilt-free snacking. An ever rising consumer demand for healthier food has helped bolster the growth of the protein segment.

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Other examples of health-focused options such as protein power balls make eating and walking easy, with minimal mess and waste. For those focused on cleaner eating and increasing protein intake, products like Snackamole’s avocado and chickpea dip with popped chip snack pack offers convenience and variety, whether you’re at home or at your desk.

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Arla is also responding to the trend by adding flavoured water with protein to its on-the-go protein range, which already includes squeezable yoghurt pouches, low sugar milk drinks and yoghurts with seed toppers. Ryvita also recently introduced two new added protein SKUs baked with pea protein which, coupled with its recent decision to sell only portion-controlled snack packs, taps in to both the protein and convenience trend.

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For those with more adventurous tastes, new protein sources like insects are set to become more conventional as concerns over the sustainability of livestock farming grows. British brand Eat Grub recently launched a range of mail-order insect-based snack products, including roasted crickets, insect based snack bars and protein powders, for those wanting to swap their desk drawer snacks for something a little more exotic.

Protein certainly has come a long way from its past placement limited to the traditional slimming and sports nutrition.

“More than half of all the products that contain ‘protein’ in the title sit outside of the slimming and sports nutrition categories and the on-the-go snacking/cereal categories are witnessing significant disruption from protein alternatives.”

As reported by the Grocer, consumers are continuing to increase their protein intake and retailers and brands are taking this on board by expanding protein influence in different consumer categories. A major driver for this, aside from the benefits of increased muscle mass and reduction of body fat, is that increased protein intake is linked to many other health benefits. Amino acids, which are the building blocks for proteins are required for healthy cells, bones and nail and hair growth, and also play a vital part for almost all functions within our bodies. It’s no wonder this trend continues to gain momentum, especially as societies continue to ever expand the sphere of betterment.  

We’ve had lot of demand recently from brands wanting to further focus on this trend. Our creative arm, Parker Williams recently completed work on Hi-Pro; a high protein peanut butter that uniquely comes from all-natural peanut ingredients. Challenged to give the product greater credibility, to create a more accessible positive brand shift to appeal to new consumers too, with a strong emphasis on fully embracing consumers who are opting for a high protein diet.

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The boom in protein has had a defining change to cereal, traditional snacking as well as food to go and many other category ranges, and it's one that is on the rise and certainly doesn’t seem to be showing signs of slowing, just yet.