Consumer demand for sustainable products and knowledge of the health benefits of protein has driven the need for protein from plants, such as pea, hemp, rice, oats and beyond. A decade ago, soy-based veggie burgers were the primary plant protein-rich food found in a typical grocery store. Fast forward to 2019, and products made with plant proteins have evolved to include a wide variety of flavors, textures and formats for every eating occasion.
Indeed, consumers have a seemingly insatiable appetite for protein. Consumers associate protein with a healthy diet, helping maintain muscle during aging, recovery from exercise and greater feelings of fullness.
The 2014 Food & Health Survey from the International Food Information Council (IFIC) found 58 percent of consumers are influenced to purchase a product based on its protein content. By 2015, interest in protein had grown to the point where IFIC’s online Food & Health Survey found more than half of Americans surveyed were trying to consume acertain amount of protein per day or eat as much protein as they could. Food manufacturers can capitalize on this trend by giving consumers what they want: front-of-pack labeling that calls out “good source of protein” or “high in protein” versus listing the amount of protein in grams per serving on the front of the pack.
Interestingly, consumers are not focusing solely on typical sources of protein such as meat, fish, poultry and dairy. In 2014, research by the NPD Group found almost half of primary grocery shoppers bought protein-enriched foods including cereal, bread, protein bars and pasta. The same survey revealed consumers were clamoring for more options including bagels and frozen foods. The door is wide open for plant proteins as roughly 66 percent of U.S. consumers believe meat alternatives are healthier than meat, according to a 2017while Mintel protein report, while 20 percent of shoppers are willing to pay more for these foods.Need proof? Data by Persistence Market Research reported the plant protein market is rapidly growing and expected to reach roughly US$16.3 billion by 2025.
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