What do Protein Consumers Look for?


Highlights from ‘The Protein Mindset Uncovering consumers’ perceptions and preferences of Proteins – a study by Kerry throws light on what consumers expect from the protein-rich foods they buy

As focus on health, protein consumption is rising, especially post Covid 19, it is not just wellness brands, but mainstream food and beverage brands too that began to look at ways to add protein rich food to their product profile and boost products’ health credentials.

Kerry, the food technology company that works closely with several leading food and beverage companies released a white paper on the Protein Perception. The study highlights the aspect of ‘On Pack Protein Claim’. This is a key area that is increasingly being discussed in the alt-protein and vegetarian food space. The highlights of the study published in VEGAYU thrown light on what the customers’ perception of proteins is and what do they expect from labelling. Kerry Group, international nutrition and taste company initiated the survey done on more than 6,300 consumers across 12 countries in North America, Europe, Asia and Latin America.

Extracts from Kerry’s white paper on ‘The Protein Mindset Uncovering consumers’ perceptions and

preferences of Proteins’
KerryOn Pack Protein Claim

With a high focus on health, protein consumers are increasingly demanding transparency, nutritional and ingredient information on their products. These discerning consumers are highly sensitive to ingredient declarations and have a rising awareness of clean labelling and “natural” claims. In fact, two of the strong purchase drivers of protein-enriched foods and beverages among this group continue to be clean label and on-pack “better for you” claims. Moreover, claims on pack related to sustainability and environment are gaining traction and becoming more important for wellness consumers. Brands have a renewed opportunity to develop new products or reformulate current offerings with simpler, more natural ingredients that are more transparent.

Five Opportunities to Deliver Product Differentiation with Proteins

  • Attract consumer interest in proteins across broader food categories

Diversity is key to success. This study highlighted that consumers are looking for protein in a more diversified range of offerings—specifically, in high-frequency food and beverage applications including breakfast cereals, breads, juices, and coffee

  • Capitalize on the Power of Plant Proteins

With consumers embracing the sustainable and health benefits of plant-based alternatives, plant proteins are no longer a niche and are reaching mainstream traction. The taste and texture of plant-protein products are essential to drive further growth in the category. Several plant protein sources such as oat, pea, rice, sunflower and hybrid formations (plant + dairy)—offer a fertile playground for product development.

  • Protein Quality: Deliver and Educate

While protein quality is consistently a top driver of consumer purchasing, other quality dimensions such as PDCAAS and EAA profile have not yet reached mass knowledge. Nonetheless, these are important to a niche set of high-frequency protein consumers, meaning that there are opportunities to educate and inform consumers about the different protein quality dimensions. This in turn can cut through the clutter of the protein marketplace and trigger premium positioning for both innovative reformulations and new products. Moreover, this will also boost consumer appeal and loyalty.

  • Exceed consumers’ “clean label” and “better for you” expectations

Clean labels are an important priority to consumers, with over 75% of consumers today wanting better ingredients in their food and beverages (organic, non-GMO, natural/no artificial) 4 . Five Opportunities to Deliver Product Differentiation with Proteins continued Exceed consumers’ “clean label” and “better for you” expectations 4. 75% of consumers today want better ingredients in their food and beverages The industry must deliver not only on the amount and quality of proteins, but also on cleaner, healthier product formulations.

  • Differentiate with sustainability and traceability

With 49% of global consumers prioritizing sustainability today, this has become a defining trait of emerging brands and products.5 Delivering more sustainable food and beverage product is a key focus for manufacturers.