Savvy shoppers search for balance: Is protein’s reign over?

By Nikki Cutler

- Last updated on GMT

health food / marilyna
health food / marilyna
The protein-craze may be losing its muscle as savvy shoppers are looking to balance their diets, says a health guru who spoke at Food Matters Live in London recently.

Kate Percy, health writer and founder of healthy snack brand Go Bites, led a health and nutrition seminar at the show and told delegates that she can see consumers becoming better informed about balanced diets and this may be the trend to look out for in the coming years.

 “As consumers educate themselves more about their diet requirements, balanced nutrition will be something to look for,” ​she explained. “We’ve had new protein products every week but I really see a renewed interest in balance as people become more savvy and aware of the benefits of what they are putting in their bodies.”

Functional food for all

She said people’s growing awareness and interest in their health is providing a lot of opportunity for the growing functional foods and drink market. She pointed out that the sports nutrition market is forecast to grow 8-10% year-on-year until 2021 to reach €15bn but added that body builders only make up about 5% of that market now as the everyday consumer becomes interested in functional foods.

As such, she added that the mainstream brands have cottoned onto this surge and there has been a 29% increase in traditional products carrying some sort of sports claim in the last two years.

Jo Dell, category development controller for sports nutrition brand Sci-MX Nutrition, agreed consumers are likely to move on from the protein craze of the moment and start looking for more than just that one macro nutrient. She added that Sci-MX’s new range of EatFit ready meals caters to that need for balanced healthy meals.

“Something like 60% of innovation launches have a protein content claim on them at the moment. But for us it’s about ‘active nutrition’ and providing foods to go alongside exercise.”

Catering for the mainstream

But with all these new consumer coming to the market, Dell added that it’s important for brands to take responsibility for ensuring these mainstream consumers understand the importance of exercise alongside consumption, especially if the products contain high proportions of macronutrients.

“I think the way you label products is important, for example our Pr2Go range is exactly that, it’s for people on the go.”

She added that it’s an “exciting time” for sports nutrition brands as consumers look to consumer functional foods throughout the day.

She agreed with one delegate who said healthy food and drink options still come with a very high premium, making it harder for consumers from all backgrounds to afford to join the market.

Dell suggested that sports nutrition pack formats are likely to change soon in order to appeal to more mainstream consumers and address this pricing issue.

“What we don’t see in this category is a lot of multipacks. I think as formats evolve in this category we will see that in the future.”

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