Protein has been hot ingredient for a few years, but new data from Innova Market Insights found growing interest in protein content help boost the meat snacks market, where many products are naturally high in protein and have made increasing use of high-in-protein or source-of-protein claims. What’s more, nearly 15 percent of global meat snacks launches in the 52 weeks to the end of April 2015 used protein claims, skyrocketing to more than 50 percent in the United States.
Why is this so important? According to Lu Ann Williams, director of innovation at Innova Market Insights, even prior to the emergence of this enhanced interest in protein, the meat snacks market was showing good growth globally, reflecting the rising demand for more substantial snacks suitable for eating on the go.
With a few exceptions, including the United States and South Africa, the market remains relatively undeveloped, which creates opportunities for growth, particularly if the image of the products can be delivered as tasty, healthy, substantial and convenient snacks for all occasions, boosted by ongoing product and promotional initiatives.
Meat snacks are the fourth-largest savory snacks category in the United States after potato chips, tortilla chips and nuts/trail mixes. The market is dominated by jerky-style products and, despite being relatively mature, has shown good growth in recent years. Manufacturers have updated product ranges to focus on a healthier image, more convenient packaging formats and a greater choice of increasingly complex flavor options, particularly hot and spicy variants, often with an ethnic twist. There has also been ongoing interest in extending the use of different types of meat beyond the traditional beef and turkey, with launches including chicken and bacon products.
But not all proteins are created equally. Let’s face it, the importance of protein to human health is well-established, but the question remains as to what type of protein is the best. Some proteins are more effective for a given purpose than others. For example, animal-based proteins, such as whey, casein, beef and fish help build muscle, manage weight and increase heart health, while plant-based proteins also have research backing their benefits in sports nutrition and metabolic function. Natural Products INSIDER recently compared the science behind stand-by proteins such as whey and soy, in addition to up-and-coming sources, in its “Examining Popular Forms of Protein" Digital Issue.
Still hungry for more protein info? Download Food Product Design’s “Survival Guide: Protein" Digital Issue to discover market data for protein and protein considerations and their role in functional foods and beverages.