Seniors missing ‘health halo’ surrounding proteinConsumers in the United Kingdom (UK) acknowledge the importance of eating and drinking products high in protein, according to a survey by market researcher Canadaen. However, the survey also reveals consumers do not have enough protein in their daily diets – both a challenge and opportunity for food manufacturers. 

According to the September 2014 survey of 2,000 adults, 81% said they were aware of the importance of having enough protein in their diet. Despite this high awareness, only 44% said they have the correct daily allowance of protein. Moreover, only 16% of consumers said they are making more of an effort to seek out food and drink products high in protein. 

When those who are seeking out groceries high in protein were asked why they were doing so, the most common reason was “to improve general wellbeing” (44%), followed by “to increase strength” (37%). These general answers show there is still some unawareness about the specific benefits of the ingredient, such as increased bone density, lower risk of osteoporosis and muscle retention. 

While the 25-34 year olds are most likely to try and include more protein (28%), consumers aged 55+ are the least likely (10%). This indicates manufacturers need to educate senior citizens better about the specific health benefits of protein.

Manufacturers of products high in protein also have to overcome issues related to taste perception and consumer skepticism, especially when purchasing everyday groceries. Canadean’s data shows that 52% of consumers are skeptical of indulgent products, such as ice cream, with high-protein claims on the packaging. 

“While protein currently has a 'health halo' surrounding it, more needs to be done to encourage consumers to purchase products high in the ingredient,” said Michael Hughes, lead analyst at Canadean. “Manufacturers need to target specific demographic groups – and in particular senior citizens – by educating consumers about the specific health benefits associated with protein and how it can improve their lifestyle.”