The protein industry has boomed in the last few years with things like protein shakes, muscle milks, protein bars and energy gels are now readily available.
Whereas, these sorts of things in past times were seen to be solely used by bodybuilders and Olympic athletes, they are now an everyday part of UK gym goers’ routines, much like juice cleanses in the UK have become much more mainstream too.
Protein powder especially is a popular nutritional supplement. All in all, protein is an essential macronutrient that helps with building muscle, repairing tissue and making enzymes and hormones. The use of protein powder may also aid weight loss and help to tone muscles.
A recent study has found that as many as one in four Brits, that equates to 24 per cent, have consumed a (sports) protein nutrition product in the last 3 months. These statics stretches to 42 per cent for men aged 16-24 years of age.
Therefore, it is clear to see that with such a surge in the popularity, there has been a massive rise in the demand for protein products. On average, UK consumers spent £66 million on sports nutrition food and drink products back in 2015. This is up 27 per cent from 2013 where the sales stood at £52 million.
It is also very clear that these products are not just added extras for people, but are now store cupboard staples. Almost half of consumers (47 per cent) who use protein-based products for fitness say that they are not part of their everyday diet, with many consumers preferring to get their protein from food sources such as meat, poultry and dairy (source: Straw Spreader).
It is young consumers and high-earners are the key demographic for these products; in fact, over two in five UK consumers aged 16 to 24 (42 per cent) have consumed protein products in the past three months.
Furthermore, three in 10 (31 per cent) of those who hold a house-hold income of over £50,000. These particular groups are also the most likely to be keen exercisers. 50 per cent of British people say they exercise for 30 minutes more than once a week, which rises to 64 per cent of UK consumers aged 16 to 24 and 63 per cent of those with a household income of over £50,000.
Top Sports Nutrition Products are Protein Based
In today’s usage, the top sports nutrition products favoured by Brits are, in fact, protein based. Over the past three months, around one in ten (9 per cent) of British people have eaten protein bars and also another 9 per cent said that they used protein powders.
However, it is not just sports nutrition products which are bulking up the UK’s diets with protein. According to statistics found by the Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD), the number of food products launched in the UK featuring a high-protein claim rose by a whopping 97 per cent between the years 2014 and 2015 and an enormous 498 per cent between 2010 and 2015.
Outside of the realms of just sports nutrition products, 25 per cent of Brits have consumed high-protein food and drink in the last three months, rising to 35 per cent when you consider people who exercise at least once a week.
Many consumers are in agreement in terms of the benefits of these products, over one third, equating to 36 per cent, of adults believe there are at least three separate advantages to eating or drinking high protein products.
Why are people using protein products?
There are actually a number of reasons as to why protein products are so beneficial and why people choose to use them. The leading factors among those who do regularly use high-protein products is to make sure that they are getting enough protein in their diet – this is around 41 per cent of people asked.
A further 37 per cent said the main reason they used protein products was to just generally support a healthy lifestyle. 36 per cent claiming that they are using it to keep fuller for longer. What is more, a quarter (25 per cent) of consumers who do use these products say that they do so to lose or maintain their weight.
Whilst consumers who claim that they do see no benefit when using high protein products remain in the minority at just 29 per cent, it deems that not all consumers agree on the power of protein. Over one third (37 per cent) of Brits have said that the current fascination in our society with protein diets are just a fad.