Protein has always been part of the chatter among health-conscious consumers, but as consumers look for more “function” from their foods, the volume on the protein conversation is getting louder.

 

And why wouldn’t it? Protein has many major health benefits like stabilizing blood sugar levels and helping to build muscle, not to mention the diet benefits like speeding up metabolism and increasing fullness.  Healthy food marketing has to start listening.

 

Add that to the fast-growing concern over sugar and you’ve got a trend that appears to be here to stay. Consumers can already find hard boiled eggs and cheese sticks in convenience stores and rest stops, but that’s not enough given that today 50% of all eating occasions are snacking. So it’s only natural that protein snacks would go portable.

 

 

Health-conscious folks everywhere want an on-the-go protein that doesn’t require refrigeration or preparation. They also want an energy booster before they hit the gym or get on a plane.

 

And what they will no longer accept are the protein bars of yesterday that they know are really just sugar-filled candy bars masquerading as healthy.

 

Smart Marketers like Hershey and Kind are already all over this trend.  They know how to execute effective healthy food marketing.

 

Krave Jerky, recently purchased by Hershey, is just one of the many options now available to protein seekers. It might seem like a disconnect for the famous candy maker, but they have obviously seen the future and have no intention of being left behind. Krave has already created their own community (which we know millennials love) of athletes, Olympians and every day consumers with the promise of “these low fat, high protein snacks to improve their ability to exercise harder and longer. And the flavors are quite unique and on trend. Beef Jerky Sea Salt Original and Pork Jerky Black Cherry Barbecue Seasoned are just two examples of Krave’s artisanal flavors.

 

Kind bars has also seen the light and recently launched a new line called Strong and Kind. Unlike the original Kind bars, these are savory instead of sweet and have higher protein content. Like Krave, they come in a variety of bold, savory flavors like Hickory Smoked, Honey Smoked BBQ, Thai Sweet Chili and were clearly conceived to appeal to both men and women.

 

Although protein isn’t a new concept, it does have a leading role in the healthy food space.

 

And for consumers, it’s just another part of a choice to make healthy choices at every opportunity, even snacking. For marketers, it’s a choice to stay a relevant part of the health-conscious conversation-even candy makers.

 

Healthy food marketing never stops evolving.

 

Why are consumers so obsessed with protein and how can marketers take advantage of this fast-growing trend?