Talking to NutraIngredients, Michael Hughes, lead analyst at Canadean, said: “Manufacturers should specifically focus on targeting older consumers through the promotion of muscle retention and non-adults through the promotion of muscle development.”
The market research organisation said the survey of 2,000 UK adults showed that although a high proportion of consumers (81%) recognise the importance of protein consumption, most of them admitted they do not have enough protein in their diet.
“This shows that despite the majority of consumers in the UK saying that they are trying to adjust their diets to eat healthier, most of them are not making wholesale changes,” said Hughes.
“This indicates they are trying to reduce portion size and skip 'dietary evils' rather than ensuring that they have enough of the good ingredients in their diet."
Not just for bodybuilders
According to the report, 20% of those who make active attempts to seek out groceries high in protein (3% of the UK adult population) do so for “muscle retention” and 16% to “increase muscle size”.
“Despite the association of protein with traits such as muscle development and strength, there was minimal difference between the proportion of men and women seeking out products high in protein, with women marginally more likely to be doing so (17% of females compared to 14% of men),” said Hughes.
No magic about it
Hughes added that transparency and ensuring that protein is not perceived as something that it is not, would be key to educating consumers.
“Manufacturers should promote protein around a holistic approach to health and wellbeing and avoid positioning protein as some kind of 'magic bullet' health solution. This may sound obvious, but too often certain ingredients can be caught up in media and consumer speculation and heralded as some form of cure-all ingredient for all health issues.”