According to the research firm Mintel, 27% of today’s food and beverage products boast high protein content, and 25% of US consumers report consuming more protein than the year before. Why is everyone jumping on the protein bandwagon? Because it gives them the nutrition they’re looking for in a world overrun by junk food.
Not only are consumers looking for protein, they also want the option to eat all day long. Gone are the days of 3 squares meals, overtaken by a trend toward all-day grazing. Consumers are eating when they’re hungry – not limiting their opportunity to satisfy their hunger to traditional meal times – and they’re too busy for (or have no interest in) cooking large meals. Plus, they know there are health benefits to grazing: elevated metabolism and energy levels, and, according to the Cleveland Clinic, lowered levels of artery-clogging LDL cholesterol.
With consumers favoring protein products more now than last year and no end in sight, food and beverage manufacturers have an opportunity to create convenient “graze-able” food that satisfies meal-like nutritional needs.
The Magic Equation
For snack-type foods and beverages to be used as more than treats (think of chocolaty granola bars or sugary flavored protein waters) they must be filling, nutritious and taste great – miss one of these characteristics and you’re not giving consumers the meal substitutes they’re looking for. Here are some examples of options that deliver all three:
Individually packaged protein-fortified shake mixes. People can easily carry these to work, add cold water or milk, and have a creamy shake that staves off hunger and gives them energy for the rest of their day. Popular flavors, like pomegranate or kiwi, make these even more appealing choices for satisfying hunger and nutrition needs.
Flavored water with protein. Flavored water is a great thirst-quencher, and when you add protein you’re adding value consumers will pay for. And it gives them a “two birds with one stone” solution: hydration and nutrition in one great-tasting package.
Better-for-you granola and granola bars. Everyone knows that granola is typically high in sugar and sometimes fat, too. But even if your granola product features higher amounts of these ingredients than consumers might like, adding protein in the form of protein crisps makes this favorite snack food a great grazing option. Protein crisps like Grande Custom Ingredients Group’s Grande WPCrisp™ add both a crisp, crunchy texture and a boost of protein.
Healthy cookies and muffins. The only thing better than baked goods are baked goods that aren’t completely bad for you! You can easily add protein to cookies and muffins in the form of functional whey proteins – these “gold standard” proteins are chock full of all the essential amino acids – and can even improve the texture of your bakery. Better yet, you can often substitute functional whey protein for some of the fat in the formulation and, in the process, make these favorite snacks even better for the beltline.
See a bakery substitution firsthand in our Grande Bravo® Application Impact Analysis:
If you want to give consumers the grazing options they’re looking for, look to Grande Custom Ingredients Group, both for our food science assistance and for the products that add functionality and nutritional value. We’re ready to tackle any challenge you have!