Protein is increasingly sought-after due to its perceived health benefits; higher protein consumption is being linked to overall wellbeing. In the food and nutrition space, a growing number of manufacturers are including protein in products previously not associated with it in consumers’ minds (eg breakfast cereals and pasta). They are also highlighting the high levels of protein in products that are already considered to be a good source.
Health concerns drive increased consumption
Euromonitor International’s Health and Nutrition Survey 2022 reveals that the top two reasons given for following a high-protein diet are “to improve my fitness” and “makes me healthier”. Popular diets such as Keto – which advocates consuming higher amounts of protein over carbohydrates to aid in weight loss – are another driver of increased protein consumption. Advocates say that as eating more protein keeps blood sugar levels more stable, it keeps one fuller for longer, assisting in weight loss as it decreases the need to snack on unhealthy foods. Low-carbohydrate, high-protein diets also push that higher muscle mass demands more energy, further aiding to weight loss as it creates a calorie deficit.
Price plays a key role in protein selection
Food products that contain higher levels of protein typically carry a higher unit price. Middle- to upper-income consumers that specifically seek out protein are prepared to pay more for the higher percentage of protein in the product. These consumers are also more aware of the physical benefits (in both health and appearance) of consuming higher protein versus carbohydrates. Lower-income consumers will shop on a budget so cannot necessarily afford to pay a premium for a product that has added protein.
At the global level, the majority of consumers prefer eggs and chicken/poultry as their main source of protein, followed by fish/seafood. These products meet health and wellness demands as well as being more affordable than some other sources such as red meat. The majority of the world’s population consume protein, and in particular plant protein such as beans, based on its ability to satisfy hunger for a longer period at an affordable price. Both beans and eggs are more affordable options than fresh meat, processed meat or meat and seafood substitutes.
Protein may help Middle East and Africa combat malnutrition
Across the world’s regions, the Middle East and Africa offers the biggest potential in terms of future growth. With the magnitude and severity of malnutrition in sub-Saharan Africa, food companies have partnered with NGOs and governments in a quest for a Zero Hunger future. Many companies are looking to fortify local staple food products with added protein, vitamins and minerals in order to increase the nutritional value of the product and keep consumers fuller for longer.
Opportunity through outcome-specific protein
An increasing number of high-protein products, even those not usually associated with the macronutrient, are seen on supermarket shelves. The range is extensive from snack products to breakfast cereals, all with a focus on protein inclusion. Brands are also increasingly highlighting the inclusion of protein on product packaging as a form of marketing, appealing to the consumer desire for higher protein content. According to Euromonitor International’s Product Claims and Positioning, Australasia and North America are seeing an increase in “high in protein” claims when it comes to selecting packaged food products, which is in line with the growing consumer demand.
There is an opportunity for increased innovation in terms of proteins that address a specific need such as energy balance, weight loss, muscle repair and satiety – all areas of growth potential for manufacturers to drive future sales of protein-based products.
To read more, please see Euromonitor’s report Protein-Meeting Lifestyle Demand.