Comax Flavors has released new primary research on consumers’ behavior, usage, and attitudes towards all protein products—including powders, drinks, bar, bakery foods and other related snacks. 

The nutrition and performance study was fielded in April 2020 with 1,200 U.S. respondents aged 18-70+; half were female and the other half were male. This is Comax’s 19th study of the company’s primary market research program.

ResearchAndMarkets anticipates the global Protein Supplements market to reach $32.6 billion by 2027 with a compound annual growth rate of 8.0%. 

“The nutrition and performance market continues to grow,” notes Catherine Armstrong, Comax Flavors vice president of corporate communications. “Activity in new protein sources such as plant-based proteins is fueling growth. We wanted to see how the market is changing and better understand consumers’ habits and usage among the general population.

Comax partnered with Amy Marks-McGee of Trendincite LLC to manage the market research program; and Costello Creative Group, to translate the data into creative, fun, and easy-to-read infographics. 

Additional Comax studies include alcohol, alternative dairy products, bread, coffee, condiments and dressings, confections, crackers, flavored water, ice cream, juice, sweet baked products, tea, and yogurt.

Nutrition and Performance Product Findings:

•    “Taste” is the number one driver of nutrition and performance product purchases among all generations with more than half (52%) of respondents citing it as the most important attribute

•    More than one-third (36%) of respondents cite “Flavor” as an important attribute driving nutrition and performance products purchase intent

•    Respondents look for “Plant Protein” as an “active ingredient” in their nutrition and performance products - Protein Powder (32%), RTD (22%), and Protein Bars (25%)

•    The top five Lifestyle Diets that respondents follow are “Keto” (12%), “Intermittent Fasting” (11%), “Gluten-Free” (10%),” Dairy-Free” (9%), and “Vegetarian” (9%)

•    Only a few respondents follow “Vegan” (5%), “Paleo” (3%), and “Pescatarian” (3%) diets while more than half (52%) of all respondents do not follow any lifestyle diet

Protein Powder Findings - Among respondents who consume “Protein Powder” N=300:

•    45% of respondents use Protein Powder to “Build Muscle" 

•    Half of all respondents use Protein Powder in “Dairy/Non-Dairy Preparations”

•    “Chocolate” (52%) and “Vanilla” (51%) flavors are popular top performers among half of all respondents

•    15% of respondents consume “Peanut Butter”; Gen Z (18%), Gen Y (18%), and Gen X (18%) are the heaviest users compared to Baby Boomers (7%) and the Silent Generation, who do not use at all

Protein RTD Findings - Among respondents who consume “RTD” N=300:

•    “Healthy” (43%) is the most important reason respondents drink RTD Protein Drinks

•    “Chocolate” (60%) and “Vanilla” (46%) are the leading flavors consumed by all respondents

•    Just less than one-quarter (23%) of respondents drink “Strawberry”

Protein Bar Findings - Among respondents who consume “Protein Bars” N=300:

•    “Convenient” (42%) and “Healthy” (41%) are the top reasons respondents eat Protein Bars

•    “Chocolate” and “Peanut Butter” Protein Bars are consumed by half of all respondents

•    “Chocolate” (52%) is the most popular flavor among all generations

•    “Peanut Butter” (50%) is the second most well-liked flavor among all generations

•    30% of respondents consume “Nut” flavors

Protein Chips/Tortillas/Puffs/Popcorn Findings - Among respondents who consume “Protein Chips/Tortillas/Puffs/Popcorn” N=100:

•    47% of respondents consume Protein Chips/Tortillas/Puffs/Popcorn because they perceive them as “Healthy”

•    “Cheese” is the most prevalent flavor among all generations, with 51% of respondents citing it

•    “Salt” (38%) is a well-liked flavor among all respondents with more than one-third citing it

•    More than one-third of respondents snack on “Garlic” (35%), “BBQ” (34%), and “Savory Herb” (34%) flavors

Protein Cookies/Wafers Findings - Among respondents who consume “Protein Cookies/Wafers” N=67:

•    “Healthy” is the main reason respondents cited eating Protein Cookies/Wafers (36%)

•    “Chocolate Chip” (46%) is the number one flavor of Protein Cookies/Wafers

•    Gen X equally prefers “Chocolate” (50%) and “Peanut Butter” (50%) as their first choice compared to “Chocolate Chip” (40%)

•    “Chocolate” and “Peanut Butter” are tied for the second most favored flavors with 40% of respondents citing each of them

•    “Snickerdoodle” and “Vanilla” are equally enjoyed by 30% of respondents

Protein Brownies Findings - Among respondents who consume “Protein Brownies” N=67:

•    30% of respondents cite “Healthy,” “Increase Energy,” and “Decrease Appetite” as the top three reasons they consume Protein Brownies

•    Shy of two-thirds of respondents consume “Chocolate” (60%)

•    “Chocolate Peanut Butter” (43%) is the second most well-liked Brownie flavor

•    One-third or more of respondents consume “Chocolate with White Chocolate Chips” (33%) and “Cookies and Cream” (37%)

Protein Cake Bites Findings - Among respondents who consume “Protein Cake Bites” N=66:

•    “Healthy” (45%) is the number one reason respondents consume Protein Cake Bites

•    39% of respondents eat “Chocolate” and “Cookies and Cream” Cake Bites, which are tied as the top two flavors

•    Gen Y are the heaviest consumers of both flavors compared to the Silent Generation who do not consume Protein Cake Bites at all

•    More than one-third (35%) of respondents consume “Chocolate Cookie Dough”

Generations defined: Gen Z born 1996 and later; Gen Y born 1977 to 1995; Gen X born 1965 to 1976; Baby Boomers born 1946 to 1964; Silent Generation born 1925 to 1945