2015’s Protein Preference – Whey, Soy or Pea?

Apr 2, 2015 by

The United States (U.S.) is one of the global leaders in protein product launches. In 2012, 19 percent of all global protein product launches were U.S. products. According to Mintel, products labeled “high protein” or “vegan” posted 54 percent growth from 2008 to 2012. In 2012, Information Resources Inc (Chicago) in its New Product Pacesetters reported 30 percent of their products were highlighted as a good source of protein. It’s a massive market that continues to expand.1-2

Image: nutrasciencelabs.com

Protein Consumption: Primary Drivers

Recent data from Innova Market Insights shows the primary drivers for the increasingly growing interest in protein consumption are:3

Weight Management. Protein, along with fiber, is recognized as promoters of satiety. High protein diets are in vogue. Mintel notes 87 percent of American consumers are looking for products that offer satiety.4

Diverse Target Audience. Protein products are now being marketed towards active people who put emphasis on fitness and health, not just athletes. According to Partnership Capital Growth, about 70 percent of American adults are concerned about their weight and 53 percent are actively doing something about it.

Diabetes on the Rise. The number of diabetics is also on the rise and protein plays an important role in the management of a healthy, diabetic diet. According to an NBC report, 9 percent of the American population has diabetes and one-third can be marked as pre-diabetics.

Sarcopenia on the Rise. The protein market also satisfies a growing aging population. It has been noted that sarcopenia, a disease that is associated with loss of protein mass and muscle function, is on the rise. Prevalence of this disease increases with age. Currently, approximately 45 percent of older Americans suffer from sarcopenia. As the aging community grows, this number is likely to grow as well.5

Personal Preference. According to Mintel, the demand for high protein products is also coming from consumers seeking vegetarian sources of protein. There is a growing trend of consumers who want to avoid animal sources of protein for ethical, environmental and/or health reasons.6

Supplement business owners can cash in on this growing protein market. There is a variety of protein powders that can be customized for your target audience. Two major protein sources include:

Whey Protein

More studies have been done on whey protein than any other protein sources. According to a study, whey protein plays “an anti-obesity and muscle-protective role during dieting by increasing thermogenesis and maintaining lean mass. In addition, whey protein has been shown to improve glucose levels and insulin response, promote a reduction in blood pressure and arterial stiffness, and improve lipid profile. The collective view of current scientific literature indicates that the consumption of whey protein may have beneficial effects on some symptoms of the metabolic syndrome as well as a reduction in cardiovascular risk factors.”7

Compared to pea and soy, whey protein has all the essential amino acids in higher proportions. It has all 20 amino acids and all the 9 essential ones. 8

Soy Protein Powder

Soy protein is equal to that of meat, milk and eggs. Studies show that soy may help lower cholesterol, and it, too, has anti-obesity properties. In addition, soy fiber may be useful in the management of type 2 diabetes. It is generally known that diets high in fiber help reduce or delay the absorption of carbohydrates thereby controlling plasma glucose concentration. Some studies also show that soy may help to reduce the absorption of fat.9

Soy is an attractive protein option for women as it has been shown to alleviate certain symptoms of menopause, promote bone and cardiovascular health. Soy is an economical source of protein but some consumers may find it hard to digest and/or avoid it because of the allergens it contains.10

Whey and soy are popular protein powder choices, but based on consumer trends in the last few years, we might see pea protein stand out as the popular preference amongst consumers in 2015. Here’s why.

Pea Protein Powder: Popular Consumer Preference in 2015

According to the famous Dr. Oz, protein made from peas is a great way to curb your appetite and shed inches off your waistline. With more people choosing to become vegan or vegetarian, pea protein is soon becoming a popular alternative to whey and soy.11

Pea protein powders create product differentiation so your product will stand out against other more common varieties. According to Jonathan Greenhut, former Chief Executive Officer of Nutricap Labs, now known as NutraScience Labs:

  1. Every 30 gram scoop gives 25 grams of protein
  2. Soy protein may give some people digestive health problems. Some may experience an upset stomach after consuming soy protein.
  3. Pea protein is great for vegans and those who are lactose intolerant.

Pea protein can be blended with chocolate or vanilla to produce delicious flavors that appeal to consumers.

Protein Consumption on the Rise

The International Food Information Council Foundation’s 2013 Food & Health Survey shows 57 percent of those surveyed said they were trying to consume more protein. Consumption of protein was seen as part of a balanced diet according to 76 percent of those surveyed, while 62 percent said they consumed protein to maintain energy. About 56 percent said they consumed protein to build muscle mass; 51 percent for satiety and 31 percent used protein for weight management.12

There’s a massive market for protein. Supplement business owners can offer their customers a range of protein powder choices that will help them meet their protein needs. Protein powders are convenient to take and come in a variety of delicious flavors. Contact a supplement manufacturer today to learn more about creating a custom, high-quality, premium protein supplement product.



  1. https://cargillsaltinperspective.com/portable-protein-products-grow-at-breakfast-3/
  2. http://www.mintel.com/press-centre/food-and-drink/us-consumers-have-a-healthy-appetite-for-high-protein-food-the-us-leads-the-way-in-global-launches-of-high-protein-products
  3. http://ausfoodnews.com.au/2014/06/18/no-holding-back-the-protein-trend-in-us-and-europe.html
  4. http://www.mintel.com/press-centre/food-and-drink/us-consumers-have-a-healthy-appetite-for-high-protein-food-the-us-leads-the-way-in-global-launches-of-high-protein-products
  5. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3988678/
  6. http://www.mintel.com/press-centre/food-and-drink/us-consumers-have-a-healthy-appetite-for-high-protein-food-the-us-leads-the-way-in-global-launches-of-high-protein-products
  7. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23167434 – protein
  8. http://www.asciencejournal.net/asj/index.php/IJHN/article/view/357/pdf_77
  9. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11312815
  10. http://www.ijnpnd.com/article.asp?issn=2231-0738;year=2013;volume=3;issue=1;spage=64;epage=69;aulast=Asif
  11. http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/curb-cravings-pea-protein-powder
  12. http://www.foodinsight.org/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=spavtJtVkzM=&tabid=1482

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