As the country makes a continued effort to follow the latest dietary guidance, The NPD Group finds that about half of all U.S. consumers purchase foods enriched with protein, and 78 percent believe that such foods contribute to a healthy diet.
According to NPD's "Protein Perceptions and Needs," cereal and bread are the most likely protein-enriched foods to be purchased. Protein bars and pasta also rank high on the list in terms of consumer interest.
About one in five consumers say they have paid more for protein-enriched items, and protein bars are among the items most likely to command a premium, the research found.
“Going forward food and beverage marketers should look for opportunities to fortify their products with protein, but it shouldn’t stop there,” said Darren Seifer, NPD food and beverage industry analyst. “Inform consumers about what a great source of protein your product is, and why it matters to their health.”
In addition to their willingness to pay more for such products, consumers also want a greater variety of protein-enhanced options -- bagels and frozen foods top the list of which consumers want a protein-packed version.
“The challenge for the marketers of protein-fortified foods is to get noticed among the surrounding protein sources that are large categories and household staples,” Seifer said. “Look to make inroads via snack foods that are consumed as a snack or as part of a meal as a way to infiltrate consumers’ diets.”