The Protein Opportunity

Customers are craving more protein, but don’t know how much they need

PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y. -- Despite consumers’ desire to eat more protein for dietary needs or simply healthier eating, The NPD Group finds those same consumers don’t fully understand how much they actually need.

Nearly two-thirds of consumers believe they either meet or exceed the recommended daily amount of protein. Of the 29% who say they do know the daily recommended amount of protein, the average amount identified by that group is 66 grams per day. The actual recommend daily amount is 46 grams for adult females and 56 grams for adult males, based on guidelines by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“Consumers say that they want more protein in their diets, but it’s clear that they lack an understanding of how much they actually need,” said Darren Seifer, NPD food industry analyst, in a statement released by the research firm. “This is an opportunity for food marketers to educate consumers on the recommended daily allowance and, at the same time, promote the protein in their products.”

It appears suppliers are starting to get the hint. What follows is just a sampling of the protein-rich products that have recently hit c-store shelves.

Oscar Mayer P3 portable protein packs

These hand-held trays including Oscar Mayer Selects meats, Kraft Natural cheeses and Planters Nuts pack at least 13 grams of protein.

The Original Protein Shot

One 3-ounce bottle contains 28 grams of specially formulated hydrolyzed protein using the company’s proprietary HydroMaxx protein blend. Flavors include Tropical Mango, Wild Berry, Berry Frost and Strawberry Banana.

Jack Link’s Sriracha and Burrito beef jerky

Meat snacks are a natural source of protein, and manufacturers such as Jack Link’s are expanding on the opportunity with more unique varieties.

Core Power high-protein drink

This beverage comes in 11.5-ounce bottles and has 26 grams of protein and 240 calories. Flavors include vanilla, chocolate and banana.  A light version has 20 grams of protein and 150 calories.

Protein 20 enhanced water

This water is available in lightly flavored Berry Splash and Lemon Splash. It is enhanced with electrolytes and 15 grams of protein to build and restore lean muscle, according to the company.

General Mills’ Nature Valley Protein bars

The latest addition to the lineup, Salted Caramel Nut Chewy Bar is made from whole grain oats, peanuts and almonds. The 1.42-ounce bar has 10 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber.

Sahale Snacks’ fruit and nut snacks

Nut + Fruit Mixes come in Berry Macaroon Almond Mix, Mango Tango Almond Mix and Raspberry Crumble Cashew Mix flavors. Products are available in 7-, 8- and 1.5-ounce sizes.

Pure Protein yogurt protein bars

The Blueberry Greek Yogurt Bar and Strawberry Greek Yogurt Bar offer up 31 grams of protein, as well as calcium thanks in part to the Greek yogurt-style coating.