mom and child in kitchen

The Next Protein Bar Consumer Target: Kids

Parents’ growing interest in healthy, nutritious snacks for their kids is creating new opportunities in kids’ protein bars. Explore strategies for developing kids’ protein bars that parents will love.


  • Parents are looking for healthy snacks that keep their children fuller for longer.
  • Kid's protein bars fortified with other nutrients have high growth potential. 


Parents Seek Reliable Nutrition in Kids’ Snacks

Mintel reports that when purchasing snacks for their kids, 37% of parents consider nutritional benefits to be important, while 69% choose snacks that will keep their kids fuller for longer.1 Kids’ snacks with protein can meet both of these needs. And with kids’ bars already a staple in many households, adding or boosting protein content is a clear opportunity to address the concerns of today’s health-conscious parents.

Not only is protein trending globally as a healthy, must-have nutrient, but parents also understand the special importance of protein for children’s growth and development. Protein is made up of amino acids—the building blocks of life. Protein supports the growth of muscles, skin, nails, and hair, is essential for hormone production, and provides energy and satiety.

Kids’ protein bars are relatively new in the market, with products available primarily in the U.S. This indicates a high potential for growth and expansion as the interest in healthy eating and the habit of snacking continue to rise globally. Protein bars for kids can resonate with parents who want a convenient option that ensures their kids are getting balanced nutrition each day.

Dive into our latest Concept Book to explore innovative snacking ideas to build healthy nutrition habits early in life. 

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Communicating Protein Quality

Consumers seeking protein snacks for themselves look for high protein claims, as well as grams of protein. The same messaging is also used for kids’ protein bars. However, for parents who may be skeptical of protein bars targeting children and who lean toward providing their kids with naturally protein-rich foods like meat, dairy, and eggs, highlighting protein quality can be a useful approach.

One example of leading with protein quality can be found in Chobani Complete, which is positioned as an advanced nutrition yogurt. Chobani Complete’s on-pack communication emphasizes that it’s a complete protein and contains twenty amino acids. Educating parents on protein quality is a way to boost interest and trust in the emerging kids’ protein bars segment.

In looking at kids’ high protein bars launched between September 2015 and August 2020, whey protein isolate was the most frequently used protein ingredient at 42%, followed by soy protein at 27%, and pea protein at 23%.2 Brands featuring high-quality, complete protein sources like whey protein can take the opportunity to call out the advantage of their ingredient.

child holding bar

Protein Plus Formulas

Protein plus is especially interesting for kids’ formulations where parents might be looking for more than just protein. Kids’ protein bars that offer protein plus multivitamins or protein plus fiber can convince parents that this snack provides total nutrition. ThinkKIDS Protein Bars take this approach by delivering 7 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber per bar.

The promise of balanced nutrition can also extend to limiting sugar and fat. Besides front-of-package protein and fiber claims, ThinkKIDS also calls out 4 grams of sugar and 3.5 grams of fat. This signals to parents a responsibly formulated, truly better-for-you bar. Claims of no artificial ingredients and non-GMO, as well as minimizing allergens and keeping ingredient statements simple can help reinforce this message.

Raising the Bar with Healthy Ingredients

With high protein and healthy snacking trends showing no signs of slowing, the future looks bright for the emerging kids’ protein bars segment. For brands interested in tapping into this opportunity, Glanbia Nutritionals offers total ingredient and formulation support. Our Bar Solutions include functionally optimized dairy- and plant-based proteins, vitamins and minerals, bakery ingredients, flavors, and more. Get in touch to find out how we can help you in the development of your kids focused bar. 


1-2. Mintel, Targeting health-minded parents with kids’ protein bars, September 2020.

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