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The rise of protein…and it’s just getting started

Five ways to leverage protein to grow your business

Protein is hot … look around and you’ll see protein mentioned on grocery products, in advertising, in health and fitness blogs, and in the latest diets.

Historically, consumers have viewed protein as a key part of a healthy diet. Protein was the centre of the dinner plate, around which a meal is planned, and it was primarily sourced from animals and to a lesser extent vegetables and grains.

Over the past few years, protein has been sought out by people of all ages in new formats for consumption beyond the dinner plate. Let’s take a look at the factors behind this trend, and the potential for your business.

There has been an increase in the availability of protein options beyond traditional sources. Energy bars, diet bars and shakes have gone mainstream. Quinoa, known for it’s high protein content, is the new supergrain. And greek yogurt has reinvented the yogurt category.

What we know from research is that most consumers start their journey to healthy eating by cutting out negatives, such as trans fats, saturated fats, sodium, and sugar. As they progress further along, they look for positives, like fibre and whole grains. The result being a consumption shift towards grain based products.

More recently, as the benefits of protein have been noted by consumer influencers and through social media, demand for protein has increased.

Protein has been associated with many benefits – it helps young children grow, supports muscle development in active teens, aids women in weight loss, increases energy for boomers, and prevents memory loss among seniors.

Now for the ‘so what’, how can you leverage protein to grow your business?

1.Consider calling out unclaimed proteins that already exist in your assortment/product portfolio to let consumers know they’re there. This provides another reason for them remain loyal.

2. Market and merchandise proteins across different consumption occasions (i.e. breakfast, snack, lunch, dinner) to offer consumers protein options for every meal occasion.

3. Cross merchandise proteins and provide suggestions on how to combine proteins to boost total intake. For example, top off a protein cereal with greek yogurt, or add beans and chickpeas to a beef stew.

4.Seek out product innovation opportunities in product categories where protein currently doesn’t play a significant role. Consider the consumer acceptance of bringing protein to the product category, and the way the protein is added to the product. Both factors need to make intuitive sense to the consumer or else it will be perceived unnatural fit.

5.Investigate the opportunity to leverage emerging protein trends, such as the growth in plant based or clean sources of protein.

Moving forward, as consumption for animal, grain and vegetable based proteins by developing countries continue to grow, there will be a need for more packaged products containing protein to meet growing domestic demand.

Is there potential for a protein platform in your growth strategy?

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