Consumer interest in protein is on fire! According to the “2010 Gallup Study of Nutrient Knowledge and Consumption,” four in 10 consumers are making a strong effort to consume more protein; 55% of those trying to lose weight.
Two-thirds (65%) of adults believe protein helps build muscle, 39% to feel full and 34% to lose weight; 39% also think its beneficial for aging, reports IFIC’s “2011 Food & Health Survey.” One-third of adults bought a food/beverage specifically for its protein content, per Packaged Facts 2009 “Functional Foods” report.
Perhaps most exciting is that whey protein, well-known to sports nutrition enthusiasts, is now perfectly timed to be a highly marketable ingredient in the mass market—appealing to most mainstream consumers as a new and trendy protein source.
According to Sloan Trends’ TrendSense model, whey protein is projected to reach mass market status—Commercialization—in 2011. Medical Counts have shown strong and steady growth during the past decade—increasing almost 50%—reflecting a large and growing body of scientific support.
Although a flattening of Medical Counts may cause whey protein to flirt with crossing over into Commercialization over the next few months—or temporarily remain a very high level Popularization market—it still represents a grossly overlooked opportunity in the specialty and health food channels and among very health conscious and condition-specific consumers, beyond its sports nutrition connection.