Protein holds steady in 2017 but consumers become more sophisticated with their demands

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Protein shows no sign of petering out in 2017 with many consumers still listing it as an “ideal attribute” for fortification across categories and an ever-growing list of sources from which manufacturers can choose, according to a product development firm.

“Manufacturers continue to rebrand and roll out new products that prominently feature protein claims and the protein content continues to increase with each new launch,” Laura Dembitzer, marketing director at Imbibe, said during a recent presentation.

She explained that the ingredient continues to have a prime position in manufacturers’ formulating and product development toolboxes in part because, according to Mintel, 25% of consumers say it is their ideal ingredient for fortifying their favorite products.

What’s more, the ingredient market is set to reach $43 billion by 2024, according to new research from Global Market Insight, and manufacturers are understandably eager to get a slice of that pie,  she said.But as the trend matures, it is no longer enough to simply call out “protein” on labeling in marketing. Now, manufacturers need to carefully select the best protein for their target audience and communicate its unique benefits, Dembitzer said.

“Certain consumers re going to be more discerning about the source of protein in their products. It is not just about the total protein content, but it is about where is the protein coming from,” she said.

For example, she said, “why protein is going to be considered the gold standard — especially among sports nutrition consumers.”

She explained that whey protein comes in two different forms — as a concentrate and an isolate, the latter of which s more concentrated and therefore more expensive.

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Article written by Elizabeth Crawford of