Opportunities for protein
The protein market is being transformed by current trends such as ‘snackification’, ‘deskfasting’ and ‘permission to indulge’. The very definition of ‘active nutrition’ has been turned on its head as consumers become increasingly more aware of the nutritional values of everyday food and drink.
Strengthened by the adventurous eating habits of the millennial generation, protein’s phenomenal rise in popularity has led to a proliferation of protein-fortified products on the market today. Indulgence has never been more accessible or acceptable thanks to protein ice-cream, gummy sweets and now even pronuts – a new wave of protein donuts to make guilty pleasures less guilty!
Bringer of satiety and builder of strength, protein is a key ingredient in new product development for many brands. As consumers begin to appreciate the many benefits of a protein-enriched diet combined with a healthy active lifestyle, they demand more choice, great taste and availability.
Leading the way in the protein revolution is Wheyhey, the world’s first protein ice-cream that packs in a massive 20g of protein per serving. Exploding onto the scene in 2013, the brand has proven to be ahead of the curve in innovation, accessibility and inspiring product development. Addressing the needs of consumers wanting a healthy, indulgent snack or treat, the brand has revolutionised the market, seamlessly crossing over between sports nutrition and mainstream with a great tasting, low sugar alternative that appeals to everyone.
In a digital age when product and brand marketing are becoming secondary to user-generated content, Wheyhey has gained prominence as a brand that excels at bringing their customers’ experiences to the fore. The result is a brand that enables direct relationships with consumers to show the people behind the products and create real-time, reactive participation in their brand story.
Damien Kennedy, one of the founders of Wheyhey shares his thoughts on the future opportunities and challenges for the industry to keep up with consumer demands for healthy, convenient and great tasting protein products.
• Living a healthier, more active lifestyle is a big influencer for many consumers today. What do you think the future will look like for mainstream protein consumption?
“The stigma surrounding protein as ‘only for body builders’ is fading very quickly. When we first started Wheyhey Ice Cream there was a mainstream misunderstanding when it came to protein. People often associated a protein product with the body building world, which is completely incorrect and we have worked hard to change that misconception. Second to water, protein is the most abundant component of the human body. However, this stigma has massively decreased in recent years as living a healthy active lifestyle is now considered by many to be the norm. Consumers are increasingly concerned with what they are putting into their bodies, which is fantastic news for us. With more consumers exercising regularly and recognising the benefits of protein for maintaining healthy muscles and bones, the demand for protein products is only going to surge.”
• The protein market is constantly evolving to keep up with consumer demands for taste, convenience and function. What exciting developments can we expect from Wheyhey for 2016 and beyond?
“We have some really innovative and fun concepts that we are working hard on, keep an eye out in the run up to summer 2016!”
• Retailers, ingredients manufacturers and branded businesses all need to play a role in addressing not only the health issues faced today, but the widespread confusion caused by ongoing negative media coverage of what we can and can’t eat. Do you think enough is being done to promote the many health benefits of protein across the industry?
“Absolutely not! Mainstream media is an absolute disgrace, demonising each macronutrient in a cyclical manner to create shocking headline stories, leaving the public confused and completely unaware of what a truly nutritious diet consists of. However, having said that, it is obvious that the public have become fatigued of these sweeping media stories. This is hugely beneficial to an honest and educated company like ours as the consumer is now actively seeking their own answers, to which we have them all!”
• We have recently seen Arla Foods Ingredients timely response to the opportunities created by the ‘snackification’ trend with the launch of a high-protein Snack Cake solution aimed at bakery companies. Do you think more innovative ingredient solutions are needed by the industry to continue to meet the consumer demand for protein-fortification?
“There is certainly enough innovation happening in the consumer category. The real issue is getting these products on the shelves. The UK is leagues behind the US and other pioneering regions like Scandinavia and Germany in its accessibility of protein-fortified offerings; however this will change as more and more protein-fortified products prove their sell through velocity.”
The range and availability of protein-fortified products on the market today is testament to the increasing demand from consumers for healthy protein-enriched foods and drinks, and the shift in diet, lifestyle and eating habits of today’s health-conscious consumers. In response to overwhelmingly conflicting dietary advice including that surrounding fats and carbohydrates, and continuing ‘war on sugar’, protein is taking centre-stage as the only macronutrient not to be vilified in the media. Watch this space in 2016 as the evolution of everyday protein products continues to astound and thrill us.