Marketing Trends in Protein: Are You Capitalizing on the Opportunity?

Originally Published: May 20, 2016
Last Updated: May 20, 2016
Protein is proliferating the market, including those products marketed toward kids.

May 20, 2016—Global Food Forums, Inc.—The following is an excerpt from the “2015 Protein Trends & Technologies Seminar Business Highlights Report.” 


For a larger version of chart, click on image.

“There are really two main things driving the whole protein movement,” said Steve French, Managing Partner of Natural Marketing Institute (NMI). First and foremost, there’s the increase in consumer perception that protein is beneficial for energy, weight management and strength—not to mention consumers’ belief that they need more of it in their diets. In fact, 21% of Americans in 2014 considered themselves deficient in protein, compared to 11% in 2010.

The second thing driving the momentum is simple: “The plethora of new products available in the market.”

New product launches have increased dramatically, French said. In the U.S. alone, there were more than 900 introductions between 2013-2014, according to the GNPD, compared to 278 between 2005-2006. The subsets and niches in which these products appear are the most interesting aspects.

“We can look across many different types of categories. You can look at snacks, beverages, whey protein, breakfast products, products targeted to kids and products targeted to mature groups: protein is everywhere,” stated French.

Looking at the eclectic mix in the consumer packaged goods market data, French noted, “It’s all about pets, kids and snacks.” Pet-related protein products make up almost a third of the entire market, likely because dogs require twice as much protein as humans. French added, “Nutritional products, such as bars and drinks, also represent a significant opportunity.”

The biggest growth in the industry is happening with vitamins/supplements and wholesome snacks, while baby formula has experienced the biggest decline. French attributed these numbers to a protein product “life cycle.” Based on patterns that NMI has observed, French said bourgeoning sectors experience early success, but it then often turns to moderate growth, and ultimately flattens out or declines slightly. Yogurt and dog food fall at the end of this cycle; wholesome snacks are at the beginning; and other nutritional items in the middle.

“It’s all about market timing,” he said. “I’m not saying that yogurt isn’t opportunistic, but if you had a choice on where to put your resources, it might be in wholesome snacks and nutritionals—because that’s where the market has the most growth.”

“Marketing Trends in Protein: Are You Capitalizing on the
Opportunity?” Steve French, Managing Partner, NMI, Steve.French@, 215.513.7300, x214,,

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