It’s no longer just sweaty men pumping iron who are reaching for protein products. Thanks to popular eating plans such as the Paleo diet and a growing awareness that high-protein meals stave off hunger and aid weight loss, more consumers are seeking protein-rich foods. And manufacturers are quickly answering the call. According to market research firm Mintel, foods and beverages with a high-protein claim represented 19 percent of global product launches in 2012.
The U.S. led the way, claiming three times more of these introductions than any other nation. A good portion of these new products use plant-based proteins made from sprouted brown rice, peas, hemp or lentils to appeal to the growing number of vegans seeking to fortify their diets. In addition, sleek formulations help protein ingredients blend in, well, anywhere, from juices to chips. This translates to retail opportunities to capture protein-hungry shoppers in nearly every aisle.