Monitor: Consumers turn to protein for convenience most often

Consumers look to protein products to boost their daily nutrition more than they seek support for sports or muscle building, new research shows.

Rick Polito, Editor-in-chief, Nutrition Business Journal

April 6, 2023

2 Min Read

Natural Products Industry Health Monitor, April 6, 2023

Distinguishing between sports nutrition and plain-old nutrition has grown increasingly difficult, and a new report from the Nutrition Business Journal makes it clear how far out of the weight room consumers have taken one sports nutrition staple. 

The research, featured in NBJ's Sports Nutrition and Weight Management Report, included a question asking consumers about their primary reason for buying protein products. The largest share, 27%, cited convenience, followed by 19% who said they use protein to support everyday activities. Building muscle and improving performance in the gym were well behind both. 


The report also explores how people prefer to consume protein (bars and drinks are popular) and where they buy their sports nutrition products (e-commerce growth is slowing), but the takeaway that protein is a matter of convenience is difficult to overstate. We see this in sales of sports nutrition bars, many of which feature high protein counts. During the pandemic, sales plummeted, with nearly half a billion dollars disappearing as consumers had less cause to eat on the go. That decline turned around as the world returned to normal in 2021, though sales in 2022 were still short of pre-pandemic levels. 

The migration of protein call-outs into consumer packaged goods that fall well outside of sports nutrition is also important to note. Protein now shows up in pancakes and pasta, while protein in snacks continues to gain traction. We've called protein "the last macro standing" as few consumers question its contribution to health, and the results in NBJ's survey show us how far from the weight room it now stands. 

Sports Nutrition and Weight Management Report | Nutrition Business JournalLearn more about the Sports Nutrition and Weight Managment Report and other NBJ reports here.

About the Author(s)

Rick Polito

Editor-in-chief, Nutrition Business Journal

As Nutrition Business Journal's editor-in-chief, Rick Polito writes about the trends, deals and developments in the natural nutrition industry, looking for the little companies coming up and the big money coming in. An award-winning journalist, Polito knows that facts and figures never give the complete context and that the story of this industry has always been about people.

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