Kerry’s The Protein Mindset report finds protein to be a major driver for consumer health and wellness in Asia Pacific

New global research from Kerry, the world’s leading taste and nutrition company, has uncovered that most protein consumers in Asia Pacific are motivated by health and wellness, with 52% associating protein with “healthy diet”, and 48% regarding protein as “generally healthy”. APAC consumers also see protein as boosting skin health and beauty, as well as immunity.

“The Protein Mindset: Uncovering Consumers’ Perceptions and Preferences of Proteins” details how consumers around the world increasingly perceive protein content and quality as fundamental drivers of their food and beverage purchase choices.

The report also found that consumers are willing to pay a premium for protein fortification, with 84% in APAC willing to pay a higher price and more than half open to paying at least 10% more.

When it comes to purchase considerations for protein-rich food and beverages, the research revealed that quality of protein is the top purchase driver for 60% of APAC consumers, significantly above the global average, followed by taste (60%). The amount of protein per serving ranked third at 55% — also above the global average.

Consumers in APAC prefer to consume their proteins in favourite breakfast foods and indulgent snacks, with granola and cereal bars, yogurt and breakfast cereals topping the list, while drinkable yogurt, dairy-based milk and nutritional beverages are the protein–preferred beverages in the region.

In terms of types of protein, plants are accepted by consumers globally as a source of ethical and sustainable protein, but its appeal is particularly high in both Asia and Europe.

Jackie Ng, strategic marketing director of applied health and nutrition at Kerry Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa, remarked on the findings: “Emerging plant-based food and beverage products have grown significantly in consumer appeal in Asia, where 75% of consumers regard plant protein as a more sustainable source, and associate it with better quality and being more nutritious. Dairy proteins come second, as it continues to enjoy high acceptance across all regions but has a greater degree of appeal in Asia, with 60% of consumers saying dairy protein ‘tastes better’, is ‘more nutritious’ and ‘better quality’”.

This timely report highlights the crucial rise in market acceptance of added protein in consumption of everyday foods and beverages, as well as indulgent snacks and treats. On–pack claims of “better for you”, “healthy halo” and “clean label” were identified as crucial to creating protein-based foods and beverages that will resonate with consumers. Also discussed are the top current opportunities for innovation in product development, and the ways in which Kerry can support food and beverage manufacturers as they apply this research directly to their product development efforts.

Soumya Nair, global director of consumer research and insights, commented on the release of the findings: “Accelerated by COVID-19 and consumer focus on health and rising interest in proactive — versus reactive — nutrition, rapid change has occurred recently in food and beverage markets around the world as broader awareness of the many benefits of protein increasingly drives purchase decisions among mainstream consumers. This extensive Kerry research puts protein foods and beverages squarely under a microscope to understand where the opportunities lie for brands to innovate.”

In preparing this report, Kerry surveyed over 6,300 consumers across 12 countries within North America, Europe, Latin America, and the Asia-Pacific region. Those who qualified for the research study included health and wellness-conscious consumers, and those who prioritise products with added protein when making food and beverage purchase decisions. The study explored the appeal of 23 different sources of protein (animal, dairy and plant-based) and the relevance of protein fortification across 30 different foods and beverages. Country–specific findings with more detailed targeted analyses are available to Kerry customers upon request.

Nair concluded: “There is little doubt the protein revolution in food and beverages offers exciting and dynamic opportunities for all product developers. This timely report provides a range of insights to consider incorporating within their short- and long-term product planning and development processes.”

Kerry’s “The Protein Mindset: Uncovering Consumers’ Perceptions and Preferences of Proteins” report is available for download here.