Franchises Can Beef Up Menus with Protein
Franchises Can Beef Up Menus with Protein

More Americans looking for their protein fix.

Do you even lift, bro?

That's a question more Americans may be asking, as protein - the fuel du jour of gym rats everywhere - is increasingly important to U.S. consumers, according to a new NPD Group report titled Protein Perceptions and Needs.

In fact, just under 80 percent said protein is part of a healthy diet, while more than half of adults said they want to incorporate more protein into their eating routines.

However, the best way to get protein is a matter of debate. Approximately half of consumers said good old-fashioned meat and fish was the best source while the other half chose non-meat sources.

“Consumers want more protein in their diets. In fact, the only issue that U.S. adults are now checking on the Nutrition Facts label on the back of foods and beverages is the amount of protein,” Harry Balzer, chief industry analyst at NPD Group, said. “While our interest in protein is growing, we’re looking for alternatives to meat. Many of us are looking to lower the cost of our protein sources, and animal meat is generally more expensive than plant-based protein, which explains the growth in Greek yogurt and other alternate protein sources.”

Darren Seifer, an NPD analyst and co-author of the Protein Perceptions and Needs report, said food marketers would be wise to play up the protein in their products to appeal to consumers. Lean protein in particular strikes a chord with the public.

“The study also found nearly half of primary grocery shoppers have purchased protein-enriched foods, and many are willing to pay, or have already paid a premium for these products,” Seifer said.

While burgers are an obvious contender, franchises that sell less well-known protein-rich foods should take this message to heart. As an example, Philly Pretzel Factory has gone out of its way to highlight that its eight-ounce pretzels contain 14 grams of protein, making them a popular snack at gyms.
“We need to let people know that we’re healthier than pretzels with cheese whiz at 2 a.m.,” Adam Terranova, Philly Pretzel Factory’s marketing manager, told Nation's Restaurant News. “If protein is important to you, then it’s a good thing.”