Solae survey shows consumers prioritise protein for weight management

By Ben Bouckley

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Nutrition

European consumers see protein in its various forms as a key weight management nutrient, according to a new research survey from soya ingredient specialists Solae.

According to the Health & Social Care Information Centre’s 2009 statistics, 1.6bn adults across the world are obese, and given this figure Solae believes that weight management “represents one of the largest and most dynamic growth opportunities in the…health and wellness market”.

Solae’s survey covered 5,300 weight managers across 5 European countries and 11 in total, and sought to understand customer motivations and food intake, while examining the product attributes that attracted them to buy relevant foods.

Interesting study findings showed that weight loss, health, improvements in physical appearance and energy are the ‘key motivators’ for weight managers, who are “most interested in satiety-enhanced versions of “everyday food that they already consume regularly”.

Protein gets thumbs-up

But the keynote finding was perceived benefits for protein in promoting satiety, according to Solae: “Across all countries, 78 per cent or more of weight managers rated protein’s ability to sustain energy levels, and control hunger as very or somewhat important to them.”

However, weight managers did not perceive that any one protein source stands out when it comes to delivering unique benefits, although 75 per cent of UK participants agreed that” consuming a balance of animal and plant proteins is a healthy approach”.

Nonetheless, Solae maintains that soya protein has specific advantages in regard to satiety and energy, where this aids weight management, while it stresses its ability to cut the risk of heart disease and reduce LDL cholesterol levels as part of a low saturated fat diet.

Cereals, soups and snacks favoured…

Reinhart Schmitt, managing director, Solae Europe, said: “Consumers are increasingly looking for ways to easily manage their weight through convenient foods and beverages.”

“Our data indicates that today’s consumer understands the important role protein plays in helping them manage hunger. As a high-quality plant-based protein, soya protein can play an important role in helping food manufacturers develop great-tasting, satisfying food products targeting this growing segment.”

As for food types favoured by consumers, While results varied slightly by country, breakfast cereals, soup, yogurt, bread or bread-type products ranked highly as categories where added satiety benefits would be of interest to weight managers,”​ said Solae.

Not surprisingly, taste was the Number 1 product attribute in 10 of the 11 countries when choosing weight management foods, while UK-specific attributes rated “quite highly”​ included foods that sustained energy levels and promoted satiety.

Related topics: Market Trends, Proteins

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