We are experiencing a “sportification” of our diets, as the lines between sports nutrition, weight management, and mainstream snacking are blurring. Whereas carbohydrates and fats should be consumed within limits, protein is seen as something you can’t get enough of. The everyday consumer pursuing a healthy lifestyle embraces added protein in nutrition bars, whether used as a meal replacer or not. Nevertheless, it should not go at the expense of flavor or texture, as taste remains the key purchase driver. Chocolate and cocoa are excellent ingredients to mask the protein taste, and to maximize the taste experience.
Protein fortification in snack bars is key. However, consumers increasingly prefer plant-based proteins over animal-based proteins, due to ethical and environmental concerns. Soy and pea protein are the most commonly used plant-based proteins in protein bars, due to neutral flavor and attractive textural properties.
Both mainstream and smaller brands are tapping into this growth opportunity, and we see new product launches containing plant-based protein, for all types of nutrition bars. In terms of positioning, some players actively claim vegan front of pack, whereas some only mention it back of pack. Hereby some market examples: