Consumers Maintain a Healthy Appetite for High-Protein Products

CHICAGO -- Introductions of food and beverages with a high-protein claim are almost three times higher in the United States than anywhere else in the world, according to new research from Mintel, a global supplier of consumer, product and media intelligence.

The United States is the largest market by far for high-protein products, accounting for 19 percent of the global new product launches boasting such a claim in 2012. India and the United Kingdom followed, at 9 percent and 7 percent, respectively, of new foods and drinks launched with a high-protein claim.

Protein awareness is higher and more sought after by U.S. consumers than elsewhere in the world and the opportunity exists for value brands to add cost-effective protein to products to entice a larger consumer segment,” said Nirvana Chapman, global food science trend analyst at Mintel. “Americans are looking for protein to aid in satiety, weight management and to boost muscle recovery and build muscle after a workout, making protein appeal to a broad audience in a great number of usage occasions.”

Foods boasting a high-protein claim span a wide array of categories -- well beyond naturally protein-rich foods such as meat, poultry and fish. Snacks, for example, dominate the high-protein category, accounting for 20 percent of new high-protein food and drink products launched in the U.S. in 2012, followed by meal replacement and other fortified drinks (17 percent), and spoonable yogurt (15 percent).

Mintel’s research revealed that demand for high-protein products is coming from consumers who are avoiding animal sources of protein for either health, environmental or ethical reasons. Products launched in the United States with both a high-protein and vegan claim have shown a steady increase since 2008, posting 54 percent growth in the past five years.

High protein also offers significant advantages to sports beverage formulations due to protein’s attributes of enhancing muscle growth and repair after exercise. According to Mintel, high-protein claims in meal replacement and sports beverages posted growth of 37 percent in the past five years.

Additionally, high-protein foods -- renowned for keeping consumers feeling full for longer -- are tapping into the wider satiety trend. Eighty-seven percent of U.S. consumers indicate that satiety is an important food attribute for them when choosing products. High-satiety products are likely to continue to grow, with meals and soups integrating high-protein content being the ideal categories for growth, Chapman noted.

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