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PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y. -- About half of all U.S. consumers purchase foods enriched with protein and 78 percent believe such foods contribute to a healthy diet, according to new research from The NPD Group.
Cereal and bread are the most likely protein-enriched foods to be purchased. Protein bars and pasta also rank high in consumer interest, according to NPD's Protein Perceptions and Needs report.
About one in five consumers say they have paid more for protein-enriched items, with protein bars being among the items most likely to command a premium, the research company noted.
“Going forward, food and beverage marketers should look for opportunities to fortify their products with protein, but it shouldn’t stop there,” said Darren Seifer, food and beverage industry analyst for Port Washington-based NPD. “Inform consumers about what a great source of protein your product is, and why it matters to their health.”
Aside from their willingness to pay more for protein-enriched products, consumers also want a greater variety of protein-enhanced options. In particular, consumers say they would like protein-packed versions of bagels and frozen foods.
“The challenge for the marketers of protein-fortified foods is to get noticed among the surrounding protein sources that are large categories and household staples,” Seifer said. “Look to make inroads via snack foods that are consumed as a snack or as part of a meal as a way to infiltrate consumers’ diets.”