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Protein strong, but supply could be shifting

With carbohydrates demonized and fat a non-starter, protein is being called “the macronutrient last standing.” Protein has few detractors and shows up in everything from cereal to sports drinks.

Still, demand has complexities. Plant-based sources look strong. Vega sales grew by 50 percent last year, and the company got picked up by WhiteWave last month for  $550 million deal. Garden of Life was up 30 percent. Whey, while still the biggest share of the protein market, is more complicated. Once considered a byproduct, interest in whey for protein powders exploded. But supply followed demand, and we’ve seen prices drop markedly over the last year. It peaked at 70 cents a pound in August of 2014, but it sold at 41 cents a share at last check.

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