Consumers Hungry For Protein, Want More Choices

A new report from the NPD Group finds that nearly 80% of U.S. consumers want more protein in their diets and look to a wide range of sources to meet their needs. Interestingly, about half of consumers say non-meat sources are best and the other half consider meat and fish the best source of protein.

CHICAGO—A new report from the NPD Group finds that nearly 80% of U.S. consumers want more protein in their diets and look to a wide range of sources to meet their needs. Interestingly, about half of consumers say non-meat sources are best and the other half consider meat and fish the best source of protein.

Consumers willing to look beyond meat in order to meet their protein needs are motivated by health-related reasons, according to the “Protein Perceptions and Needs" report. What’s more, the reasons often mentioned as barriers to getting more protein are that many sources of protein contain fat, are high in calories, or are too expensive.

Some of the perceived barriers could be at play for the beef category, which is not seeing the same consumption increases seen with other protein sources, such as eggs, chicken, yogurt, and nuts/seeds. The challenges for beef might be more about perception, since nearly half of primary grocery shoppers view animal protein as the best source of protein. Check out “The Changing World of Meat" slide show from Food Product Design's FoodTech Toolbox to explore shopper perception, attitudes and behaviors regarding meat and poultry and examine the meat consumption patterns of today.

While there is widespread agreement among consumers that protein is necessary in a healthy diet, there is much confusion over the optimal amount of protein that should be consumed on a typical day. NPD finds that more than 75% of primary grocery shoppers say protein contributes to a healthy diet, but almost as many say they are unsure of the recommended daily amount.

“It is important for food and beverage marketers to highlight wherever possible that their products are a good source of lean protein. In fact, the protein study we conducted showed certain messages about protein resonated more than others," said Darren Seifer, NPD food and beverage industry analyst. “The study also found nearly half of primary grocery shoppers have purchased protein-enriched foods, and many are willing to pay, or have already paid a premium for these products."

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