Missed opportunities: Australian snacks and cereal industries could have made millions more in sales with protein claim

By Douglas Yu

- Last updated on GMT

Pic: ©GettyImages/Rimma_Bondarenko
Pic: ©GettyImages/Rimma_Bondarenko
A new Nielsen report has revealed that Australian snack and cereal manufacturers could have earned a lot more money last year had they added protein claims to their packaging.

The consumer research firm said that, with demand for high protein foods growing, especially among biscuits and nutritious snacks, packaging plays a “vital role”​ in informing consumers.

“The effect this protein trend has had on sales is clear,”​ it added.

“In Australia, there has been a sales boost of 22.3% of items described as containing protein against 2% of total grocery growth… Similarly in the US, protein produce with ‘high protein’ on its packaging saw a 157% increase year-over-year.”

Data indicated that, in Australia, sales of snacks that did not use protein claims on pack grew by 3.2%, compared to a 5.8% sales increase experienced by those that used the claim. Overall, snacks that claimed a protein content equal or greater than 5g per serving grew 4.5% in sales.

Nielsen noted the country’s cereal category experienced a similar trend.

Those making a protein claim grew by 1.4% in sales, versus a 3% sales decline by those that did not.

Missed opportunities

Nielsen compared nutritious snacks and cereal with other high-protein foods, like yogurt, and noted that none of these categories really took the best advantage of the protein label.

It reported that only 38% of snack manufacturers and 44% of cereal manufacturers made use of the claim.

However, the percentages of items in these categories that actually claimed protein are significantly lower: nutritious snacks at 17% and cereals at 18%.

“With the missed opportunity calculated based on assumption that not claiming items could be growing at the same rate as claiming, lost opportunity varies from AU$2.2m ($1.63m) in nutritious snacks to AU$6.9m ($5.12m) in cereal,”​ it said.

Yogurt, which has been transformed as a new way of snacking by many dairy companies, lost out on the most in dollar sales by comparison.

According to Nielsen, 77% of yogurt products are qualified for claiming protein, yet only 19% adopted the label, resulting in a lost opportunity of over AU$50.1m ($37m) in sales.

“As Australian shoppers continue to seek out various products to satisfy their growing health and wellness interests, protein will continue to be a key purchase driver in grocery,”​ said Nielsen.

“Manufacturers need to meet their consumers’ needs and wants with beneficial and relevant product information on packs.”

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