Two of the hottest trends driving food product development efforts are the macronutrient protein and the dining daypart of snacking. When the two are combined, many marketers are finding success. That’s because there’s an ongoing shift in the way Americans eat, with today’s consumers increasingly eating more mini meals, or snacks, over the course of the day in order to reduce the chance of hunger pangs, which can lead to impulse eating of empty-calorie foods.
For many, grazing is an all-day activity. Because today’s consumers are making health and wellness a priority, they have greater expectations of foods positioned as snacks. Noteworthy levels of protein are attractive, as published clinical studies show protein has the power to assist with weight loss and weight management by helping control hunger. Protein also provides lasting energy, aids in sports recovery and maintains muscle mass with aging.
According to the International Dairy-Deli-Bakery Assn.’s “What’s in Store 2016” report, 53 percent of shoppers are now opting for smaller snacks. Further, 56 percent of Americans snack three or more times a day, up from approximately 20 percent in the 1990s. Protein is increasingly a driver of purchase, with one-quarter of shoppers seeking protein information on product nutrition labeling.
According to research compiled by DuPont Nutrition & Health, consumers believe it is important to consume protein throughout the day, in particular during key snacking times. These are mid-morning, mid-afternoon and right before bed.
Many food and beverage manufacturers are formulating with ingredients that give their products a protein boost in efforts to appeal to these consumers. A “good source of protein” claim is possible when the product contains at least 5g of protein per serving. An “excellent source of protein” claim is possible when a serving contains 10g or more per serving.
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