With the continued consumer focus on health and wellness in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, a new term has crept into the public lexicon: Quarantine 15
Quarantine 15 refers to the average number of pounds some people were expected to gain during the recent lockdown. However, a recent report stated that 1 in 10 Americans have packed on more than 50 lbs. in the past year. Much of this weight gain has been attributed to stress, being sedentary, and poor nutrition.
There’s been an intense media focus on losing weight through various fad diets and celebrity-endorsed programs for decades. But increasingly, consumers are realizing that the key to optimum health isn’t just weight loss but rather better overall nutrition.
Food manufacturers have caught on to this trend by offering nutritional products that promote overall health and wellness while maintaining visual appeal, great taste, and clean labels. Here’s an example of some of the hottest protein-rich product trends we’re seeing this year:
- Immunity-Boosting Food
Due to public health concerns over the last 15 months, people have been interested in foods containing immunity-boosting properties to build their resistance against infection. This provides an excellent opportunity to educate the consumer on the immunity-boosting properties of whey protein.
Food manufacturers can capitalize on this trend by boosting the amount of whey protein in their formulations and introducing exciting new flavor selections to entice additional sales.
- Heat-and-Eat Power Bowls
Power bowls have been around for years, but these convenient heat-and-eat entrées have seen increased popularity in the past year. And why wouldn’t they? They’re the perfect antidote to in-home cooking fatigue and make a particularly satisfying meal for the work-from-home crowd.
These economical, quick-to-heat pre-packaged bowls come in a wide variety of flavor selections, sure to please every palate. They’re also packed with nutritional ingredients, including lean meats, ancient grains, and vegetables. Brands can give the nutritional value of these products some added punch by incorporating creamy sauces that contain whey protein.
- Focus on Low Carbs
If you follow nutrition trends, you’re likely aware of the Keto diet, which focuses on ingesting little-to-no carbs and a large number of fats for fast weight loss. But with more people discovering that weight loss alone doesn’t provide a complete answer to a healthy lifestyle, they need to augment their diets with healthy whey protein sources.
Incorporating whey protein into their low-carb nutrition plans will give users the best of both worlds: weight loss with the necessary muscle support to maintain strength and energy. This is especially true for older adults who begin to lose muscle mass after 50.
We may be moving into a post-pandemic world, but people continue to seek food products with functional ingredients that help boost health and protect the immune system. Although protein rich food products remain popular with consumers who are progressively focusing on nutrition, food manufacturers need to be aware of the market fragmentation between consumers who prefer traditional protein sources and those looking for alternative protein sources. The answer to satisfying both markets is to offer diverse products from both conventional and alternative sources as part of a balanced diet.
Brands can also take the opportunity to educate consumers about the variety of protein sources in their products, taking care not to overcomplicate things with the science involved. Consumers still like to keep things simple but appreciate transparency.
Additionally, brands should be careful not to make “magic bullet” claims that can be deemed misleading. It needs to be emphasized that protein can indeed boost their health in many ways, but consumers need to make fundamental changes to their lifestyle for overall success. Protein rich food products are just one piece of the puzzle, albeit an important one.
Customers still place high importance on other elements that have traditionally driven their food purchase decisions, such as:
- Convenience: Whether it’s a quick meal at home or in the office, a handy snack on the go, or a protein-packed shake at the gym, ease of preparation and portability are high on consumers’ minds
- Taste: Food producers need to reassure their customers that their protein products are vibrant, satisfying, and available in a wide assortment of flavor combinations to please all tastes
- Price: With fears of a recession looming, affordability will increasingly become an essential factor in making buying decisions, a reality that food producers need to consider to keep their products off store shelves and in shopping carts
Taking a proactive approach to creating and promoting healthy protein rich food products will not only keep sales high, but also help your customers beat Quarantine 15. If you have any questions about how to enhance your food and nutritional products with a diverse selection of the best quality protein on the market today, get in touch with Osage Food Products today. We’d be happy to send you a free sample to inspect and experience Osage quality for yourself.