protein powder

The Emerging Personalized Protein Powder Space

Consumers’ growing interest in healthier eating and personalized nutrition creates new opportunities in personalized protein powder. Here’s everything you need to know. 


  • Personalized protein powder is tailored to an individual’s nutritional needs and health goals.
  • RTM protein powder outpacing other protein supplement products growth globally.
  • Weight management is a key opportunity in personalized protein powder.
  • There are different metrics and strategies brands can use to personalize protein.

What is Personalized Protein Powder?

Personalized protein powder is a protein-based supplement powder formulated to meet an individual’s specific nutritional needs, health and fitness goals, and preferences. Based on questionnaire results, as well as biomarker, microbiome, and genetic tests, personalized protein powders vary in aspects such as:

  • Protein source
  • Macronutrient ratios
  • Vitamins and minerals
  • Added functional ingredients
  • Flavor

Weight management, muscle building, healthy aging, and overall wellness are some of the top reasons for using a personalized protein powder.

Opportunity in Personalized Protein RTM for Weight Management

Ready-to-mix (RTM) protein powders are hugely popular, accounting for more than half (53%) of sports and active nutrition product sales globally, with demand still growing.1 The $20.8 billion global protein powder market is forecast to grow at a CAGR of 5.2% from 2022 to 2027, outpacing even protein bars (+4.9%) and ready-to-drink (RTD) protein shakes (+5.0%).2

A key purchase driver of RTM protein powders is support in maintaining or achieving a healthy body weight—an issue of growing importance. About one in four US consumers uses portion control as a healthy eating strategy, while nearly one in five is limiting calories.3

Some Healthy Eating Strategies Used by US Consumers4

  • Limit or control snacking (29%)
  • Exercise portion control (26%)
  • Limit or control calories (19%)
  • Limit or control number of eating occasions (15%)

At the same time, launches of meal replacement drinks (known for their high protein and weight management claims) are down compared to five years ago.5 This points to a growing opportunity in personalized protein powder for weight management—a product that offers protein and portion control in the format consumers want, along with targeted nutrients and functional ingredients to optimize their weight management efforts.

group excercise

For health and fitness focused consumers who already include protein powder in their diets, a personalized protein option that allows them to more effectively achieve their goals (such as improving their energy levels or speeding exercise recovery by addressing nutrient gaps) provides significant added value.

Learn more about personalized performance from this short video on our latest MegaTrend webinar. 

4 Metrics Used in Personalizing a Protein Powder

In the US, the personalized protein powder market is currently made up of just a handful of companies. All of them rely on one or more of these four approaches to develop their personalized protein powders: 

1. Assessment

The broadest approach, assessment is based on questionnaires that ask about factors such as height, weight, gender, medical history, dietary preferences, and fitness goals. 

2. Biomarkers

Biomarker analysis is a more advanced approach that typically utilizes blood tests to determine the body’s nutritional status, including nutrient deficiencies and excesses.

3. Microbiome

Some personalized nutrition brands may include stool sample testing to evaluate the gut microbiome, which influences metabolism, energy balance, and nutrient utilization. 

4. Genetics

Nutrition can also be personalized with DNA testing (typically via a saliva swab) by assessing genes linked to carbohydrate metabolism, appetite regulating hormones, and more.

Personalized Protein Formulation Strategies and Examples

Besides using different approaches to collect consumers’ health data, companies also use different strategies to deliver personalized nutrition. One strategy is personalization by combination. Care/of recommends several individual products (based on assessment) that together address the consumer’s needs. This might include Care/of Creatine for high-intensity exercise, Plant Protein for muscle recovery, and Chia-Flax for added fiber.

woman drinking shake

Personalization of individual products is another strategy. Brands like Buddy Nutrition and Gainful produce a custom formulated and blended powder for each consumer. A Buddy Nutrition powder might include a custom protein blend along with the brand’s Carb Enzyme Boost, Turmeric Boost, and Multi-Vitamin and Mineral Boost in the consumer’s chosen flavor.

Looking Ahead

Personalized nutrition will continue to become more finely tuned as technology advances, particularly in genetic testing. Epigenetics (how genes are turned on or off based on environmental triggers) will likely also play a role going forward in the personalized nutrition space.

Though personalized protein powders are still a niche market, they represent a high growth opportunity due to consumers’ interest in weight management, as well as optimization of health and wellness through diet. Innova reports that one in four US consumers would like to use digital platforms (e.g., apps) to determine which diet suits them best,6 indicating a large potential market for customized diets and personalized nutrition products.

man and woman running

Succeeding in Personalized Nutrition Products

Succeeding with personalized protein powders relies on an understanding of consumers’ wide range of concerns—from weight management to exercise support to joint, gut, and skin health. It’s also essential to have good data collection tools and high-quality ingredients to meet consumers' needs.

Contact Glanbia Nutritionals to learn about our ingredient solutions and services for RTM protein powders, including our dairy-and plant-based proteins, bioactive ingredients, and custom premix solutions.

Frequently Asked Questions

Protein powders sold to consumers are regulated by the FDA as dietary supplements under the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA). As with conventional foods, misbranding and adulteration are prohibited in the manufacture of protein powders, and manufacturers are responsible for ensuring product safety and labeling meet the FDA regulations.

For any new dietary supplement ingredient (including a new protein powder), a manufacturer must submit a notification to the FDA for review before the product containing it goes to market. Under DSHEA, structure/function claims (such as “supports healthy muscles”) can be used to describe the benefits of a supplement as long as the manufacturer keeps on file scientific evidence supporting the claim. 

Protein contains essential amino acids that our bodies need to support a variety of functions—from muscle building to energy production to immune response. While most people get the bulk of their protein from a healthy diet, some groups of people are interested in the benefits of higher protein intakes—and protein powder helps them achieve this.

A protein powder offers a quick and easy way to take in more protein than one can usually get from foods. This is because a protein powder has been processed from the original food into a concentrated source of protein. Athletesactive lifestyle consumers, and seniors are just a few examples of people looking for extra protein for muscle support, satiety, weight management, and more.

Protein is an essential nutrient for workout recovery to repair and rebuild muscle after resistance or endurance exercise. The best type of protein for workout recovery is one that contains all of the essential amino acids in the proportion needed by the body. This ensures no amino acid is in short supply, which would hinder the protein synthesis process.

Protein quality is measured by its Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score (PDCAAS), with a score of 1.00 indicating a complete protein. Whey protein’s PDCAAS of 1.00 makes it a top choice for workout recovery, which is why it’s so often used in sports nutrition products. Casein, egg white, and soy protein are also very high in quality. 

Even among whey protein ingredients, however, there are some differences that can impact exercise recovery. For example, whey protein isolate (WPI) has benefits over whey protein concentrate (WPC) that include more protein, higher branched chain amino acid (BCAA) content, and less fat and lactose.


1-2. GlobalData, Global Sports & Active Nutrition + Meal Replacement & Protein Powder Supplements, January 2024.
3-6. Innova Market Insights, Trends Insider: Personalized Nutrition for Weight Wellness in the US – November 2023.

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