Protein Innovation Galore!

The benefits of protein have been widely known for quite some time – supporting muscle growth, giving energy and making you feel fuller for longer. Despite this, high protein diets have generally been the exclusive domain of body builders and high level sports men and women. But this has changed. There has been a recent explosion in high protein innovation on supermarket shelves as protein breaks out of health food stores and body building outlets. We’ve counted 6 mainstream brands bringing out a protein variant in the last 3 months!

different protein powder brands

So what is driving this explosion?

Consumers are becoming more health conscious and active, which in turn, is increasing their need for the benefits of protein. The rise of diets such as Dukan and Paleo focus on the health benefits of a high protein diet, which is increasing the demand for protein in more convenient and versatile ways

In conjunction with this, increasing membership of gyms and sports clubs (for example, private gym membership grew from 4.5m 2009 to 4.8m in 2013, while public gyms have seen growth from 2.86m in 2010 to 3.2m in 2013) has raised awareness of the value of protein in recovery and eating to support your exercise regime

PR and media showing celebrities working out with protein shakes to hand and claims of success with Dukan and Paleo diets has also normalised the high protein diet both for dieting and muscle building and recovery

Key success factors:

Brands have responded to this increase in demand by providing more consumer friendly products than the standard protein shake. They have made the high protein diet easily accessible to everyone through some basic steps:

Offering more convenient products. All the products we have seen offer a significantly higher level of convenience than making your own protein shake

Offering a better taste is a simple win against the protein shake for FMCG brands such as Eat Natural’s protein packed

Another easy win for brands is a straight forward product positioning – taking high protein products and packaging them together to create a protein pot, for example M&S and Pret a Manger both offer boiled egg and spinach protein pots

 eat natural protein pack cereal bars and protein pack with spinach and boiled egg


Promises for muscle growth and recovery abound. Following its assault on sports drinks, coconut water has added protein in its new product CocoPro for the “ultimate hydrating recovery drink”. White’s high protein porridge with soy protein and Arla’s Protein quark focus on muscle growth and repair. All these products offer a clear message for the more active consumer to understand and buy into. They are much easier solutions than mixing a protein powder and don’t have the body builder stigma. Enabling consumers to effectively support their exercise regime

Lasting energy is also a clear and compelling message. Weetabix Protein Crunch focuses on this, claiming to provide energy for busy mornings. Similarly, Weetabix On The Go Protein also leads with providing energy. Both clearly link to their overarching “Weetabix. Incredible inside” campaign and delivering the nutrition needed to perform at our best. A direct call to the active and busy consumer 

protein rich oats, cocnut water drink, yogurt and weetabix raspberry drink

Claims around being fuller for longer appeal to health conscious or dieting consumers. Nature Valley’s new Protein variant is there for “when hunger strikes”, Danio advertises itself as a “filling protein packed low fat snack”. For those trying to reduce unhealthy snacking this offer is very appealing and offers a solution where there is limited choice, especially as unhealthy snack NPD is currently outstripping healthy snack NPD

nature valley protein bars and danio yogurts

Now high protein food products are becoming common place, where else could protein go? It is already in hair care products and even hair styling products such as hair straighteners:

Hair products with keratin

What’s the next step? Washing powder? On irons? The power of protein doesn’t seem to be waning so could your brand take advantage and build some NPD muscle?