This significant shift indicates a growing consumer desire to adopt healthier lifestyles based on better nutrition.
‘Let food by thy medicine and medicine be thy food’ was coined by Hippocrates (460-370 BC) thousands of years ago but is as relevant today in acknowledging the role that nutrients play in disease prevention and management.
Protein offers a significant health halo that appeals to consumers pursing a healthier lifestyle, but also to combat any future health implications and to stay less vulnerable to disease and illness.
Satiety is another key reason why consumers turn to protein when they snack. Consumers feel fuller for long, which not only makes for a satisfying snack, but also supports a healthy weight.
The most prolific reason behind the protein shift is post-exercise support: a decision not only taken by supreme athletes. Post-COVID and the realisation how fragile our health is, exercise has become an essential strategy. According to Global Data, 43% of global consumers are exercising at home more frequently since the start of the pandemic.
Protein snacks are a quick and easy way to support exercise recovery after regular workouts, be they at home, on the streets or in the gym.
With the global protein snacks market valued at $3.83bn in 2021 and expected to follow a CAGR of 9.3%-10.1% to 2032, it’s a space that all forward-thinking producers cannot afford to ignore.
In fact, along with the functionality, protein adds premiumisation, and FMCG Gurus insights shows that 55% of global consumers are happy to pay a premium for high protein claim.
Protein snacks take many forms, from bars and beverages to chips and cookies – and run the gamut from animal protein to plant-protein offerings. But while consumers prioritise convenience and nutrition, they are still exceedingly choosy when it comes to taste.
According to Myprotein internal data, chocolate is the clear winner, be it unadorned or paired with orange, peanuts or caramel.
The UK sports nutrition brand has revealed the top 10 protein bar flavours based on the average number of bars sold per month and its average customer rating.
Appealing to newcomers
Myprotein also calculated which flavours are most likely to appeal to newcomers, by analysing their data of those driving the highest percentage of new consumers and grouping them into flavour profiles.
Chocolate orange grabs the attention of newbies most, thanks to Myp’s Chocolate Orange Impact Protein Bar and Hotel Chocolat Chocolate Orange Layered bar, each of which have seen 42% and 44% of sales from new customers, respectively.
Birthday cake has also piqued newbies’ curiosity, with Myp’s Birthday Cake Layered Bar and Vanilla Birthday Cake Layered Bar seeing 31% and 97% of new customer sales.
Finally, matcha makes the list of newbies’ favourite flavours, with Myp Matcha Layered Bar experiencing a 35% of sales from new customers.
“If you’re new to the world of protein bars, it can be quite daunting; the variety to choose from, the different goals they’re intended for and the information surrounding them can make the whole thing overwhelming,” said MyProtein inhouse nutritionist Jamie Wright.
“The options available today though are a world apart from the glorified bricks and tooth breakers from the past, so you’re starting your relationship with protein snacks and bars at the absolute best time there’s ever been.”
What to look for
When choosing a protein bar, Wright said there are a few key traits.
“Content is an obvious one – you want it to provide enough protein to help you repair and rebuild after a workout. Aiming for between 15g-20g per bar is a good starting point,” he said.
“On the calorie content side, most regular protein bars will fall between 200-250 kcals per bar. If it’s way above this and still providing the same amount of protein, then you may want to look elsewhere as this means it’s typically more chocolate bar than protein bar and probably isn’t what you’re looking for.
“When it comes to finding a high-quality bar, you’ll want to have a protein bar with minimal sugars and a saturated fat content of lower than 5g per serving. If it also contributes to your daily fibre intake then that’s an added win and usually indicates a higher degree of quality.”