New shape of active nutrition environment
Long gone are the days when protein powders and bars were synonymous with body-builders and gym-junkies; social media has created a substantial paradigm shift in not only how we view protein products and supplements, but their myriad uses outside of traditional shakes and bars.
This shift is largely credited to changing consumer health attitudes. Frequent media coverage, new research and prominent celebrity endorsements are having a profound effect on the way everyday consumers view their nutrition, health and general way of life.
The influx of digital platforms has led to a transformation in the way brands and consumers communicate. Brand marketing is nowadays all about engagement with the audience; consumers are encouraged to, and expect to talk with brands through social media shares, likes, pictures, hashtags… the list is endless!
With more positive messages prevailing the media on an almost daily basis, and award-winning Sport England’s ‘This Girl Can’ campaign having firmly won the hearts and minds of the everyday active consumer, the changing landscape has seen an escalation in the numbers of health & fitness bloggers, personal trainers and active nutrition lifestyle influencers who are all too happy to get active online for the greater good of the many.
This new wave of online lifestyle coaches are creating their own category of active nutrition – not only are they posting pictures and video’s to Instagram of HIIT (high intensity interval training) sessions, yoga, cycling and running but there is an invasion of food images emerging to promote healthy eating, positive lifestyle choice and clean eating messages.
What is clearly evidenced by the growing social media activity is the shift in mentality of consumers. Today’s digital generation is engaging with health and wellbeing as never before through the power of social sharing. No longer the mainstay of body-builders showing off muscled ripped physiques, we are now seeing everyday active people posting images of healthy, toned bodies under the hashtag ‘strong not skinny’, and endorsing the many benefits of protein for maintaining strength, stamina and a more general all-round health & fitness image.
The application of protein powders, drinks and bars being included across a range of meal options is widely accessible through the sharing of recipes, pictures, life-transformation diaries and brand endorsed personalities. A quick lunchtime surf through Facebook revealed a cheesecake recipe made with an popular whey protein dairy drink to help us all stay feeling upbeat on a wet Wednesday afternoon. Not to mention the endless dinner inspirations and 101 different ways to make protein balls!
So what does all this mean for the ever changing and vastly diversifying protein ingredients market?
The many variations this new wave of health bloggers and active nutrition consumers are demanding is already in play across retail outlets; from popcorn to coconut water and cereals to snacks, protein is a fundamental ingredient that consumers are starting to demand when choosing their weekly shop.
Protein powders are no longer bought for the sole purpose of making a shake; the social revolution is inspiring us all to get creative with a certain competitive edge to create the next trending recipe. NPD professionals should now be allocating a portion of the innovation process to regular reviews of social media for their next inspirational product development.