The Alternative Protein Movement
Health and wellness have become a major focus globally. This coupled with the focus on the environment and our impact on it is driving the food industry in a new direction with the demand for protein alternatives leading the way.
It is no longer just about salt, sugar and fat and more about the positive attributes of ingredients, such as nutritional benefits or sustainability.
Protein Alternatives Gain Popularity
Proteins have become an important consideration for many consumers. A study by the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) in 2015 showed that globally, 59% of consumers globally are actively seeking foods that are high in protein, plant-based protein sources.
Proteins perform many functions in the body. As well as helping our body to grow and repair, they are essential for maintaining good health. In recent years, consumers have become more aware that plant-based protein sources offer similar or sometimes superior functional properties to animal-based proteins.
Consumers are seeking alternative proteins from a variety of foods and beverages. Two of the main categories are non-animal meat products, known as meat substitutes, and high-protein nutritional beverages.
Whether it be veganism, flexitarian or vegetarianism – the market for meat alternatives eating is growing.
From burgers to sausages to cutlets, the consumption of meat-free products is rising at an unprecedented rate. But recreating an authentic meaty taste in plant-based alternatives continues to pose a challenge for food and beverage producers.
Aside from plant-based protein alternatives, the protein beverage market is also growing at a rapid pace and the variety of product offerings has increased. Product formats span from protein shakes made with whey or plant protein, to mainstream hydration drinks with high protein content.
These drinks appeal to a vast range of consumers, from young athletes and muscle builders to the elderly, who are all seeking benefits such as muscle toning, sustained energy and nutritional support.