Consumers Need Guidance on Protein

Consumers Need Guidance on Protein

November 26, 2014

There is little that can be done to stall price hikes for animal proteins; from foreign meat demand, to depleted herds, to high feed costs, the rise in price is seemingly inevitable. But a simpler-to-understand meat department and advice from retail dietitians regarding animal and alternative proteins may unlock more sales for stores. View this trend as a call to action to reinvigorate this anchor department – while pursuing new protein sales opportunities and education elsewhere in the store.

According to The Personalization of Protein, a new study by Acosta Sales & Marketing, across all generations, cost is the main reason to buy less meat – led by Boomers, who are the most cost-conscious. Health and wellness is the second-biggest reason – led by seniors 65 and older, and millennials.

“More than ever, consumers are diversifying their daily sources of protein, while also looking for quick, convenient products like protein bars and shakes,” said Colin Stewart, senior vice president, of Acosta, in a prepared statement. “At the same time, many still need guidance in making smart choices, which provides a golden opportunity for CPGs and retailers to educate and attract shoppers.”  

Retail dietitians can use their knowledge to empower shoppers who currently lack the knowhow to make safe, healthful, wallet-friendly shifts in their diets, and help shoppers build a deeper connection with the store. Here are some findings from the Acosta study that point out some of consumers’ misunderstandings, leaving clear the opportunity for retail RDs:

  • 30% of shoppers have no idea of the recommended daily protein amounts for adults.
  • Only 60% of Millennials and 48% of Seniors 65+ think people can achieve their necessary daily amount of protein without meat.
  • Unit sales of protein supplements have doubled since 2009 – Millennials use them as meal replacements most often. Nearly half of shoppers overall use protein shakes/bars to replace meals at least once or twice per week.
  • The most popular meat replacements are: nuts, cited by 64% of consumers, followed by beans/lentils (63%), dairy/eggs (56%), rice/pasta/quinoa (50%), and bars/shakes (21%). Moreover, nearly one-third of shoppers (31%) say they’ve bought meat alternatives such as tofu and texturized vegetable protein; Millennials (50%) led this finding.

In addition to addressing the above, here are some questions to answer: 

  • When is the best time to eat protein? Should we spread intake throughout the day or can we eat the RDA in one sitting?
  • How does protein quality differ between animal and alternative sources?
  • How does age, weight, physical activity, gender, etc. play into protein recommendations?
  • How does protein intake impact satiety and weight?