Non-meat Proteins on the Upswing

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Non-meat Proteins on the Upswing

By Kathy Hayden - 02/13/2017

Atkins? Paleo? Gluten-free? While dieters and athletes debate the virtues of different types of high-protein eating, protein suppliers are having their own debates. What’s the next protein-loaded super grain, like quinoa? Is whey the way to go, or are legumes loaded with more power? Nutritional Outlook predicts that in 2017, dairy proteins and plant proteins “may be headed toward new levels of tension.”

Each kind of protein has its pros and cons, but “after years of slowing growth, whey protein actually experienced shrinking year-over-year sales this past year,” reports Nutritional Outlook. “Plant-protein sales, on the other hand, continued to grow at a steady clip, both when used alone and in combination with animal proteins.”

As with most ways of eating, variety is the spice of life. For those who like to eat their plant proteins as opposed to drinking them, Chef Andrea Nordby adds protein-rich hemp and chia seeds in unexpected places. “We sneak them into dressings, crusts and use [them] as a base for fritters,” says Nordby, head chef at Boston-based Purple Carrot, a plant-based meal kit company. “We cook with a healthy amount of nuts, quinoa, tofu and tempeh too. While we certainly pay attention to protein when creating meals and have a measure we want to hit, we really focus on creating a balanced plate.”

Grocerant-Ready Ideas:

  • Seeds, nuts and legumes to beef up protein at the salad bar
  • More protein powder options at in-store smoothie programs
  • Power muffins, cookies and bars that include protein powders