protein-powder-scoop

The protein revolution

Share this:

Protein, protein everywhere – in powders, balls, bars, cereals, shakes and even popcorn. Jane Wolfe takes a look at what’s behind the boom in protein products

It is no longer just bodybuilders and professional athletes who want an extra protein fix – protein is being recognized for what it is, and always has been: an essential nutrient for everyone.

In the UK a daily average protein intake of 55g for men and 45g for women is advised, but the National Diet and Nutrition Survey indicates that consumption is already around 45-55% up on these figures, so why would we need a top-up?

“We find that because carbs and fats are cheaper and often easier to consume on-the-go, protein can be a neglected food group,” says Ethan Salathiel, founder of Whey Ahead, producer of certified organic whey protein powders. “And when you’re talking about muscle replenishment, particularly with the fitness phenomena, it’s the one you perhaps need to focus on a little bit more.”

Liam Sherriff, MD of Natural Nutrients, which recently launched a low-sugar Protein Popcorn, agrees: “When I was a personal trainer some of my clients would be eating as little as 35-50g a day which, when you’re active, is nothing. We’d often double the intake, resulting in them getting leaner, stronger and feeling fuller for longer. I do think there has been a fear of protein as a nutrient, but this is diminishing. People are beginning to understand the metabolic, as well as the recovery, benefits. There’s been more exposure about protein, and now women – who I think are the biggest growth demographic – have realized that protein is not just for men.”

Weight loss is a big target sector for protein products; according to Mintel, the top two reasons for UK consumers upping their protein are to help maintain a healthy weight and to help lose weight.

Salathiel believes that the surge in demand can be linked to social media.
“I think what has propelled it is some of these hashtags such as #fitnotskinny, and women becoming more engaged on social media channels. They are body conscious, but with a healthy outlook, so they are looking to fuel the body in the right way.”

Pacing protein
Nick Morgan, nutritional expert for Bounce and founder of nutrition consultancy A Word on Nutrition, sees the issue as being about the quality of the protein and pattern of intake. “What you really want is regular protein throughout the day: 20g at breakfast, lunch and dinner would be brilliant. The total is important, but really for the benefits – whether it’s exercise-related or for satiety or general body regeneration – it’s the spread and frequency during the day which are probably of most interest, and that’s where the challenges are.”

Indeed Mintel research has found that protein intake is still often heavily skewed towards the evening meal, with less than a quarter of UK consumers eating protein at breakfast and only around 20% having protein-based snacks between meals.

“You can’t process a large amount of protein all in one go,” says Morgan, “and you can’t store it either. You need to keep feeding the body with an external supply of protein for it to be able to carry out regenerative processes. So having 60g all in one go in one evening isn’t going to compensate for not having protein throughout the day.”

This is where the raft of innovative high-protein breakfast cereals, shakes, snacks and soups, which are still coming to market, come into their own – offering a convenient protein boost away from the main evening meal.

The demand for plant-based protein is also on the up due to a huge surge in veganism and the increasing recognition of the health benefits of a plant-based lifestyle. “The main consumer drivers centre around an increasing level of health consciousness combined with growing concerns around the environmental and sustainability issues of meat production and indeed animal welfare matters,” says Tony Reeves, MD of Hempco Europe, whose retail brand Planet Hemp offers a line of hemp seed products.

He adds that hemp seed production is carbon negative and that hemp can be grown without herbicides, pesticides or fungicides, and thus complies with requirements of organic farming.

“Even in the last year we have noticed massive demand for vegan and vegetarian – I think those two sectors and diets are definitely going to create the next five years of trends in the marketplace,” says Sherriff. “What’s really interesting is that there seems to have been a great shift in the last 12 months and now it’s less about animal welfare and more about sustainability. I don’t think protein is going to go anywhere for a while, but I think there’s going to be a massive kickback on sustainability and that could end up affecting manufacturing processes.”

The need for transparency
One problem in this sector is the issue of protein spiking, whereby some companies mislead consumers as to the quantity and quality of the protein in their products. “I think labelling is a big issue,” says Salathiel. “There’s such a lack of regulation. There’s a worry that the commerciality of it is overtaking the ethics. The honesty and the transparency of labelling is hugely important. That’s why we went down the organic certification route, and all our products are independently batch tested too.”

“There’s a problem in terms of people just loading products with protein for the sake of it, but inaccurate protein content claims are probably more of a concern,” adds Sherriff. “I think third-party testing will become a massive interest for consumers in the next few years, and this will give people like us the opportunity to base our marketing around our transparency.”

Mintel’s white paper Protein Fever highlights another problem with the formulation of some high protein products: ‘When developing protein supplements or high-protein food and drink products, the protein content is often boosted by incorporating a protein isolate, concentrate or hydrolysate. These are all highly-refined and processed forms of their original protein source that provide a concentrated source of protein. One of the criticisms of these ingredients is that a lot of the nutrients that protein comes bundled with, such as the fibre, fats and minerals, are lost or reduced during the processing.’

However, Salathiel believes people are becoming more educated about the additives some brands put into their products. “In many ingredient lists you find xantham gum, aspartame, soy, lecithin and unpronounceable jargon. We sprung up as a natural and organic alternative to those brands because there is a huge gap. People are looking for a more healthy and sustainable approach – it’s not about a quick fix.”

More targeted formulations are likely to develop in future, as the 45-plus segment rekindles its love of fitness, and the increase of osteoporosis and arthritis sees people looking for nutritional muscle and bone health solutions.

“The link with protein and ageing is crucial,” says Morgan, “but for me it’s targeting 30-40-year-olds who want to be healthier; they want to exercise and be proactive but they’re not driven by performance goals, rather by health optimization. This is a really interesting area – it’s a reframing of sports nutrition. These consumers are a bit more mature, well educated, and have a little more disposable income. This active nutrition group is really very vibrant and potentially a big market and product opportunity space.”

 

Product Listings

Amazing Grass Protein Superfood

Kinetic Natural Products Distributor
Tel: 08450 725825
E-mail:  [email protected]
www.kinetic4health.co.uk

New Amazing Grass Protein Superfood is an organic, all-in-one protein nutrition shake. Each serving promotes lean muscle, aids in digestion and satisfies hunger by providing 20 grams of plant-based protein, from pea, chia, quinoa and hemp; 7 alkalizing greens – wheat grass, barley grass, alfalfa, spirulina, chlorella, broccoli and spinach; and counts as two servings of fruits and veggies with beetroot, carrot, sweet potato, goji, acai, raspberry, banana and more. With a satisfying texture, this superfood combo is a convenient way to get whole food nutrition with three amazing flavours your taste buds will love: Original, Vanilla and Chocolate Peanut Butter.

 

Amazing Grass Protein Superfood

Kinetic Natural Products Distributor
Tel: 08450 725825
E-mail:  [email protected]
www.kinetic4health.co.uk

New Amazing Grass Protein Superfood is an organic, all-in-one protein nutrition shake. Each serving promotes lean muscle, aids in digestion and satisfies hunger by providing 20 grams of plant-based protein, from pea, chia, quinoa and hemp; 7 alkalizing greens – wheat grass, barley grass, alfalfa, spirulina, chlorella, broccoli and spinach; and counts as two servings of fruits and veggies with beetroot, carrot, sweet potato, goji, acai, raspberry, banana and more. With a satisfying texture, this superfood combo is a convenient way to get whole food nutrition with three amazing flavours your taste buds will love: Original, Vanilla and Chocolate Peanut Butter.

 

TREK Protein Energy Chunks

Natural Balance Foods
Tel: 0345 8625340
E-mail:  [email protected]
www.naturalbalancefoods.co.uk

TREK Protein Energy Chunks Chunks – a range of three great tasting protein-rich and healthier snacks that are ideal for grazing and eating on-the go.

Presented in a 60g pack of bite size-chunks, TREK Chunks contain 12g of protein and are made from cold-pressed, natural ingredients (dates, protein crunchies, gluten-free oats and raisins), selected for being wholefoods that provide sustained energy, are also gluten, wheat and dairy free, with no added sugar or syrups. The combination of protein, wholefood ingredients, minimal processing and free-from credentials, make TREK Chunks a healthier alternative to scientifically engineered sports nutrition products developed in a lab.

 

PERK!ER Quinoa Bars

PERK!ER Foods
Tel: 01753 911591
E-mail:  [email protected]
www.perkier.co.uk

PERK!ER’s range of innovative Quinoa bars are packed full of nutritious energy. Bursting with the goodness of superfoods, our range of delicious snacks have been carefully crafted to ensure they contain the nutrients your body needs to thrive every day. PERK!ER’s Quinoa bars are a natural source of fibre, contain 5g protein per bar and are rich in antioxidants to boost your immune system and provide you with healthy glowing skin and hair. With eye-catching packaging to encourage impulse purchase. Free-from gluten, wheat & dairy. Suitable for Vegans. Available from: CLF, Marigold Health Foods, SUMA, THS, Queenswood. RRSP: 99p.

 

Pulsin Protein Powders

Pulsin
Tel: 01452 729000
E-mail:  [email protected]
www.pulsin.co.uk

Pulsin’s protein range boasts four different natural vegan protein powders including Pea, Rice, Hemp & Soya and three natural whey proteins, meaning you can choose a protein powder whatever your diet or preference! All our protein powders are natural and unflavoured, giving you the freedom to develop your own recipes – they are great in either sweet or savoury foods.  Our proteins are the perfect addition to smoothies, porridge bowls, juices, and your favourite recipes. Just one serving is a big step towards your recommended daily protein intake, helping you power through your day and keeping those hunger pangs at bay.

 

Organic Whey Protein

The Organic Protein Company Ltd
Tel: 01273 921630
E-mail:  [email protected]
www.theorganicproteincompany.co.uk

Perfect for smoothies and a great way of adding extra protein to recipes, our organic whey protein tastes great just mixed with water or milk too.  Each serving contains all the essential and branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) naturally present in the whey, making this a perfect vegetarian protein source.   It also provides an impressive 44% of your daily calcium intake and our whey protein is tested for heavy metals too.  In keeping with our commitment to higher welfare farming, we give 25p to Compassion in World Farming for each pack produced, with thousands raised to date for this great cause.

 

The Protein Ball Co

Tel: 0207 117 2631
E-mail:  [email protected]
www.theproteinballco.com 

 

Here at The Protein Ball Co we are a family run business and pride ourselves in rolling the most delicious + nutritious protein snacks. We hand roll each ball in Worthing, West Sussex, and a lot of love goes into everything we do. We’re led by husband and wife team Matt & Hayley Hunt who since launching have now rolled over a million balls! Our all-natural snacks use three clean protein sources: Whey Protein, Egg Protein and Rice & Pea Protein. We have six tasty flavours and are gluten free, wheat free, vegetarian and contain no soy, GMO’s or added sugars.

 

Profusion Organic Proats & Profusion Organic Protein Boosted Muesli

Profusion
Tel: 0208 547 2775
E-mail: [email protected]
www.profusionorganic.co.uk

Start your day right with Profusion’s range of protein boosted breakfast cereals. Profusion Organic Proats combine oats, rice protein and milled linseed for a rich creamy texture and great tasting porridge. Our Protein Boosted Muesli is made with a delicious mix of organic oats, rice protein, nuts, seeds and fruit for a deliciously sweet and nourishing muesli. Each 50g serving contains 8g (Muesli) or 10g (Proats) of plant based, vegan protein to kick-start your morning and provide sustained energy release, keeping you fuelled for longer. Try with your favourite nut milk, blended into smoothies and shakes or as a post workout boost.

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

TOP