Protein is on the mind of more and more consumers who view snacks as both a treat and a healthful choice. Research from Mintel shows that 94% of U.S. adults snack at least once daily and half (50%) snack two or three times per day. As snacking becomes more of an ingrained part of the American diet, it will be increasingly important for snacks to deliver nutrition benefits, including high-quality protein.
According to Nielsen, over half (55%) of U.S. households agree that “high protein” is important to keep in mind when deciding on food purchases. Additionally, there are more than five million Americans following a high-protein diet. That’s a full six percent of all U.S. households with someone trying to achieve high intake targets for protein.
Fortunately, recent innovations have opened the door to delivering ample servings of complete proteins, as well as other attractive health benefits, in a myriad of snack applications. This development has food manufacturers looking beyond just bars and shakes to deliver high-protein snacks.
DEMAND FOR HEALTHY SNACKS IS DRIVING GROWTH IN SNACKING CATEGORY
According to a 2018 Food Insight study, a majority of consumers (69%) said they sometimes snack at least twice daily. The snacking business grew globally in 2017, according to Nielsen, and healthy snacks are driving this growth. Separately, a report from Hexa Research expects sales of healthy snacks in the U.S. to reach $5.3 billion by 2025 on rising demand from younger market segments.
While conventional snacking slightly declined in recent years, the $17 billion health and wellness snacking category has increased, according to a 2018 Mintel report. This may be due to changing patterns in the American diet.
According to the 13th Annual Food and Health Survey by the International Food Information Council (IFIC) Foundation, more than one third of Americans followed a specific eating pattern or diet in the past year. Restricted carbohydrate and intermittent fasting were among the top diet patterns mentioned in the survey. This trend could drive consumers to seek more high-protein food sources, including snacks.
U.S. SENIORS BENEFIT FROM MORE PROTEIN THROUGHOUT THE DAY
Individuals seeking to increase the amount of high-quality protein they take in throughout the day may turn to snacks to get additional servings of the macronutrient. Studies suggest that ingesting protein in even amounts throughout the day may result in better physical performance and overall satiety, which may, in turn, promote a generally more healthful diet. This may affect seniors, in particular, and motivate them to get a healthy serving of protein at and between meals.
Recent research suggests that older adults who evenly distribute intake of a total of 75 g to 90 g of protein throughout the day may reduce or delay age-related sarcopenia (loss of muscle mass). However, the research also suggests that this muscle-building response is reduced at lower protein intake levels throughout the day, all the more reason for older consumers to reach for a serving of high-protein chips, crisps, or even cookies.
In fact, according to Nielsen, Americans aged 65 and over are among the most well-informed demographic groups regarding the protein content of high-protein foods. Perhaps surprisingly, millennials (age 18-36) ranked above even their older counterparts in their knowledge of high-protein sources. When it comes to shopping behavior, families with children ages six to 18 years old and senior couples are the most likely to consider protein as a “must have” or “good to have” item in their cart. These data suggest that consumers across a diverse range of age groups are learning about protein’s benefits and making purchase decisions based on that knowledge.
MANY U.S. CHILDREN NOT EATING ENOUGH PROTEIN FOODS
2015 data from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) suggest that many U.S. children are not receiving the number of recommended daily servings of protein foods. Just over 20% of boys and nearly 25% of girls ages one to three years in the U.S. did not meet the recommended daily intake of protein foods. Furthermore, nearly 40% of boys and girls ages four to eight years did not meet their recommended intake per day.
Perhaps the most concerning trend is with older children, especially teenage girls. The CDC estimates that over half of boys and over 60% of girls ages nine to 13 years did not meet the recommended servings of protein foods per day. Among adolescent females ages 14 to 18, over 75% did not meet their per-day recommendation of protein foods.
The IFIC suggests that children’s diets include healthy portions of protein-rich foods at intervals during the day to feel satiated and encourage positive snacking habits. High-protein foods are often also rich in vitamins and minerals that support bone growth, muscle growth, mental acuity, and overall health. Recent innovations have made it possible for food manufacturers to make snacks that contain the nutrition of high-quality protein foods and can satisfy even the pickiest young eaters.
SEEKING THE COMPLETE HIGH-PROTEIN SNACK
The surge of high-protein products on the market indicates that consumers are becoming more educated and discerning about which protein sources they choose. Data from Innova Market Insights indicate that the number of products with protein claims doubled between 2014 and 2017. The research firm suggests that 10% of new food and beverage products contain a protein claim.
A new product from IDF offers an easy-to-integrate solution to give snacks the protein content that today’s consumers seek. Hydrolyzed CHiKPRO® Broth Protein Isolate Powder can provide a protein boost to snack applications. The powder is a significant source of highly digestible protein, essential macronutrients, and minerals, while being low in fat and carbohydrates.
Hydrolyzed CHiKPRO Broth Protein Isolate Powder also contains collagen, known for joint health. The new ingredient delivers collagen along with a complete amino acid profile for muscle growth. The ingredient shares the top protein digestibility-corrected amino acid score (PDCAAS) of one with casein, whey, and egg. Because of its high-quality amino acid profile, every gram of IDF’s original CHiKPRO and the new Hydrolyzed CHiKPRO counts toward the label daily value.
Furthermore, Hydrolyzed CHiKPRO Broth Protein Isolate Powder is free from common allergens, making it an ideal protein alternative for the increasing number of consumers avoiding whey, soy, and gluten.
Snack makers looking to capitalize on the protein trend should consider adding the Hydrolyzed CHiKPRO Broth Protein Isolate Powder to innovative crunchy snacks and other alternatives to the traditional protein bar. The versatile, semi-soluble powder will be approved for use in FDA, USDA, and supplement applications. Visit IDF.com to learn more.