protein powder

The Emerging Personalized Protein Powder Space

The trend toward the personalization of products is creating high growth opportunities in health and wellness—particularly in the nutrition space. Here’s a look at the emerging segment of personalized protein powders and how they’re addressing consumers’ most important concerns.

High Growth Opportunity in Personalized Protein RTM 

Personalized protein ready-to-mix (RTM) powders are currently a niche market but represent a high growth opportunity due to the increasing demand for personalized foods and beverages. Protein powders remain hugely popular, making up just over half (51%) of retail sports nutrition products sales globally.1 The $11.1 billion global protein powder market is expected to see steady growth ahead at a CAGR of 8.1% from 2019 to 2024.2

In the U.S., nearly half of sports nutrition product consumers purchase protein powder.3 Of these, more than 3 out of 4 do so to maintain a healthy body weight.4 For health- and fitness-oriented consumers who already include protein powders in their diets, protein powders that offer the exact benefits they need with additional targeted nutrients and functional ingredients represent a huge added value. 

woman working out

Personalization Today: The Four Approaches

The U.S.’s $13.5 million 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 assessment approach is the broadest approach and is based on questionnaires that ask about things like height, weight, gender, medical history, and personal goals. 

2. Biomarker

Biomarker-based services typically utilize blood tests to get an accurate assessment of nutrient needs. 

3. Microbiome

Brands targeting gut health-conscious consumers may utilize stool samples to evaluate the gut microbiome.

4. Genetics

DNA testing, often via a saliva swab, is used by some brands to assess genes linked to health or fitness.

Types of Personalized Protein Powders

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, for example, 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.

man drinking protein shake

Personalization of individual products is another strategy. Brands like Buddy Nutrition and Gainful take this approach to produce a custom-formulated and blended powder for each consumer. A Buddy Nutrition powder might be blended from, for example, the brand’s Carb Enzyme Boost, Turmeric Boost, and Multi-Vitamin and Mineral Boost, in addition to a custom protein blend. The powder would also include the consumer’s chosen flavor.

Looking Ahead

Personalization will continue to become more finely tuned as technology advances, particularly 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. 

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

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

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1-2. Euromonitor, Sports Nutrition in World, February 2020 (excludes meal replacement and nutrition drinks).
3-4. FMCG Gurus, The Evolution of Protein – USA – 2019, October 2019.
5. Euromonitor, Sports Nutrition in the US – 2019, September 2019.

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