Fill 'er Up

According to the latest research from Mintel, introductions of foods and drinks making a high protein claim are almost three times higher in the US than anywhere else in the world, accounting for 19% of global new product launches in 2012. High protein foods are one of the most sought after nutritional choices among American consumers to meet needs from balancing diet, building muscle and weight loss, says the report.

This makes the US the biggest market by far for high protein products, as India and the UK follow with 9% and 7% respectively of new food and drink launches with high protein claims in 2012.

Nirvana Chapman, Global Food Science Trend Analyst at Mintel, said:

“Protein awareness is higher and more sought after by US consumers than elsewhere in the world... opportunity for value brands to add cost effective protein to products to entice a larger consumer segment... Americans are looking for protein to aid in satiety, weight management and to boost muscle recovery and build muscle after a workout... appealing to a broad audience in a great number of usage occasions... ”

Foods making high protein claims span a wide array of categories, well beyond naturally protein rich foods such as meat, poultry, and fish. Snacks, for example, dominate the category, accounting for 20% of the high protein food and drink new product launches in the US in 2012, followed by meal replacement and other fortified drinks (17%) and spoonable yogurt (15%).

The study also finds that demand for high protein products is also coming from consumers who are avoiding animal sources of protein for either health, environmental, or ethical reasons. Products launched in the US with both a high protein and vegan claim have shown a steady increase since 2008, posting 54% growth in the past five years.

Moreover, high protein products can offer significant advantages to sports beverage formulations, due to proteins’ attributes of enhancing muscle growth and repair after exercise. According to Mintel, protein use in meal replacement and sports beverages making high protein claims posted a 37% growth in the past five years.

The market is supported by a large number of US consumers who are actively seeking high protein products when selecting which meal-replacement products to buy, with 46% of all meal-replacement users in the US stating that high-protein is a very important selection attribute. Renowned for keeping you feeling full for longer, 87% of US consumers indicated satiety as an important food attribute for them when choosing products.

Nirvana Chapman goes on to say “A ‘Satiety Index’ (SI) is often used to measure the hunger-fighting power of certain foods. Foods with a high-SI leave people more satisfied after eating and ensure that they are likely to eat less for hours after. Protein in particular has been shown to have a positive effect on subjective satiety, with whey protein in particular having demonstrated a functional role in weight management and satiety. High-satiety products are likely to continue to grow, with meals and soups integrating high protein content being the ideal categories for growth.”

Globally, the percentage of food and drink products launched with a slimming claim in the past five years, that include whey protein, are trending upwards. In new product launches with a slimming claim, the research shows triple digit growth, up 140% between 2008 and 2012 globally.

The report concludes that manufacturers can capitalize on the upward trend towards products that combine whey protein, peptides, and calcium for weight loss. This trend is growing worldwide, with countries launching products claiming high protein, and European examples of consumers seeking high protein products.


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