woman eating chip

The Opportunity for Savory High-Protein Snacking

With consumers shifting toward healthier snacks to support weight loss and fitness goals after the lockdown, high-protein savory snacks present a key opportunity for manufacturers.


  • Although many protein snacks are sweet and indulgent, there is a growing demand for savory options. 
  • High-protein snacks need to deliver on taste and texture. 

Demand for Protein Continues to Rise

Among global new food and beverage launches, high/added protein claims have been rising steadily, growing globally at a CAGR by 18% between 2016 and 2020.1 Protein is proving to be particularly important in snacks due to consumers’ increased interest in healthy snacking. In addition, protein-rich snacks offer satiety and sustained energy—important benefits in a snack. 

However, many high-protein snacks in the market are sweet, indulgent snacks. High-protein savory snacks represent an opportunity for innovation to meet consumers’ growing demand for healthy protein in the savory formats they love. Savory snacks were in high demand last year due to consumers spending more time at home during the lockdown and increasing their snacking.

bowl of puff snacks

Consumers Looking at Healthy Options in Savory Snacks

Healthier savory snacks—especially those with protein—can play an important role in the post-pandemic period as many consumers try to get back on track with weight management goals. Mintel’s research shows that in the UK, nearly 2 in 5 consumers think high-protein chips/nuts/savory snacks are a good option for meal replacement.2 In addition, 1 in 2 say eating healthy chips/nuts/savory snacks is a good way to top up on nutrients like protein.3

Savory snacks with protein also help consumers keep their carb intake in check. Lower carb ways of eating (such as the keto diet) are continuing to influence consumers’ choices in snacks. For example, while salty snacks experienced a net gain in penetration in the U.S. last year, about 1 in 10 salty snack consumers cut back on their consumption, with 1 in 4 of them saying it was to reduce carb intake.4

High-Protein Savory Snacks in the Market

Some products already in this space that can address consumers’ interest in savory snacks with protein are nuts, seeds, and trail mixes. The addition of fortified inclusions like Glanbia’s CrunchieTM Milk Protein Bites can boost the protein in trail mixes even further while contributing a crunchy texture. 

Meat bars like those popularized by Epic and Krave in the U.S. are also positioned to meet this need. These single-serve, grab-and-go snacks provide a rich, savory alternative to traditional protein bars. In China, meat snacks (such as meat bars) are particularly popular, with 1 in 2 consumers eating meat snacks as a protein supplement.5

three girls hugging

High-protein chips like Quest Protein Chips are an especially popular format for savory protein snacks. This is because consumers can easily swap out their regular chips for an equally flavorful chip that’s better for them. Quest Protein Chips deliver 19 grams of protein per serving from milk and whey proteins for satiety, sustained energy, and workout support. Quest also offers all the traditional chip flavors consumers would expect—from Nacho Cheese to Ranch to Sour Cream & Onion. 

Snacking Solutions for Today’s Needs

High-protein savory snacks have a bright future ahead as more consumers shift toward better-for-you snacks and learn that these snacks can deliver a taste and texture that satisfies their cravings. For brands looking for protein solutions to make today’s most in-demand snacks, Glanbia Nutritionals offers high quality protein ingredients ranging from whey protein powders to extruded pieces like our CrunchieTM Milk Protein Bites for use as a snack and cereal. 

Our protein ingredients can be used to boost the nutrition of any snack while supporting an uncompromising sensory experience thanks to their clean flavor profile. Contact us to learn more about our high-protein Crunchie Bite solutions to develop your next poppable, savory snack!

Frequently Asked Questions

The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for an adult with minimum physical activity is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight. This means that someone with a low activity level who weighs 150 lbs. should be sure to consume at least 55 grams of protein each day to prevent a protein deficiency. This can be calculated by dividing your weight in lbs by 2.2 (to convert to kg) and multiplying by 0.8 grams: 150/2.2 x 0.8 = 55 grams).

However, certain groups of people have higher protein needs. For example, starting in their 40s to 50s, people need to increase their protein to 1-1.2 grams per kilogram to prevent age-related muscle loss (sarcopenia). People with very high activity levels (especially those who regularly lift weights or engage in endurance sports) may require 1.1-1.7 grams per kilogram. The USDA’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans suggest that 10%-35% of our calories should come from protein.

Protein-fortified bars, bites, cookies, and brownies are all good protein snacks. Protein snacking is growing more and more popular, appealing to people on many fronts. Protein snacks are a healthy way to tide you over until mealtime; they provide satiety to help with weight management, and they support muscle recovery after a workout. The sweeter protein snacks like protein cookies and brownies also offer permissible indulgence.

Protein from any source can support weight loss and weight management by providing satiety. This occurs because protein triggers the release of appetite-suppressing hormones in the gut. The best type of protein for weight loss, however, is something researchers continue to investigate. Certain bioactive peptides in milk have shown benefits in increasing fat loss while maintaining lean muscle.

The best protein for muscle gain is a high-quality protein with a Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score (PDCAAS) of 1.00. This shows it contains all the amino acids the body needs and is in the right proportion to build muscle. Dairy-based proteins have a PDCAAS of 1.00, with whey protein the best choice for right before or after a workout due to its fast absorption and casein, which is useful as an overnight slow-release protein.


1. Mintel, Global New Product Database, accessed August 2021. 
2-3. Mintel, Crisps, Savoury Snacks and Nuts – UK, January 2020.
4. Lightspeed/Mintel, Salty Snacks – US, April 2021.
5. Mintel, The Future of Salty Snacks: 2021, February 2021.

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