Dairy sector capitalises on protein's popularity boom

Innova Market Insights

Wednesday, 21 October, 2015

The food and beverage industry is capitalising on the soaring consumer interest in protein content. In the 12 months to the end of June 2015, nearly 4% of global launches used a high-in or source-of protein positioning, rising to nearly 8% in the dairy sector and 14% in the yoghurt category, according to data recorded by Innova Market Insights.

“Dairy products have always had an inherently healthy image and a perception of high protein levels,” reported Lu Ann Williams, director of innovation at Innova Market Insights, “so it is a sector that has been able to adapt relatively rapidly to this rising interest in protein, in some cases by simply changing its labelling and/or positioning.”

The US has led this rising interest in protein content, with over 17% of US dairy launches positioned on their protein content, more than double the global average. Yoghurt had the highest penetration, with over one-third of launches marketed on a protein platform, followed by milk drinks with just under a quarter.

US Greek and Greek-style yoghurt launches accounted for nearly 57% of total introductions and were joined by other traditionally high-protein fermented dairy products such as the Icelandic fermented dairy product skyr.

In the US milk drinks market, a key focus for protein beverages was performance, with introductions including an organic version of the market-leading Muscle Milk protein beverage, Morning Protein Smoothies from Sprout Foods, Plus Protein Dairy Beverages from retailer Safeway and TruMoo Protein Milks from Dean Foods.

In Europe, launches included Lactel’s Sporteus protein-enriched milk drinks positioned as sports beverages; the leading US protein shake Muscle Milk Protein launched into Germany; and Austrian dairy company Nöm’s extension of its fasten flavoured milk range with a fasten Protein Drink option.

“High-protein foods are one of the most sought after nutritional choices of the moment,” according to Williams, “and the dairy sector appears to be extremely well placed to benefit. Yoghurts and milk drinks are the current leaders in terms of activity, but there may also be opportunities in other products such as cheese, particularly soft and fresh products.”

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