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Product Focus: Protein Snacks

March 15, 2016
Many food and beverage manufacturers are formulating with ingredients that give their products a protein boost in efforts to appeal to these consumers.

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.

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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.

Products to Watch

Portable, Poppable Peanut Protein

Hormel Foods takes peanut butter out of the jar with new Skippy P.B. Bites, which feature a crunchy center with a soft, non-sticky peanut butter coating. The snack comes in two varieties -- pretzel and double peanut butter -- meeting both creamy and crunchy preferences. The 170g containers retail for $2.89 to $3.19. Each package contains five to six servings, with a serving containing 160 calories, 10g of fat and 5g of protein. www.peanutbutter.com

Protein and Fiber Frozen Dairy Dessert

Nutricopia Inc. has developed what it describes as “a new way to look at ice cream.” Brio Nourishing Indulgence is labeled as a frozen dairy dessert, as its unique formulation does not allow it to be called ice cream, a standard-of-identity food. Brio has half the total fat of super-premium ice cream, 65 percent less saturated fat, 75 percent less cholesterol and approximately 25 percent fewer calories. A 4-oz. single-serve cup provides 6g of protein, 2g of prebiotic fiber and is loaded with healthful fats, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. At only 160-170 calories per serving, Brio comes in five varieties: Coffee Latte, Mellow Dark Chocolate, Spring Strawberry, Tropical Mango and Vanilla Caramel. www.brioicecream.com

PowerBar Gets Shaken Up

PowerBar, the original energy bar, extends its sport nutrition know-how into the ready-to-drink beverage category. Gluten-free PowerBar Protein Shake is described as being fueled by high-quality protein, as it contains the company’s proprietary protein blend of milk protein concentrate, calcium caseinate and whey protein concentrate. Sold in 14-oz. plastic shelf-stable bottles, the beverage comes in chocolate or vanilla, with a single bottle containing 160 calories and 30g of protein. Added sugars are a mere 2g as a result of being sweetened with sucralose and acesulfame-K. Each bottle also contains 2-3g of fiber from inulin and cellulose ingredients and is fortified with 24 vitamins and minerals. www.powerbar.com

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