Paleo Diet Driving Shift to 'High-Protein' Marketing Frenzy
Remember when it seemed every new packaged food launch led with info on anti-oxidants and high fiber? Move over acai berries, protein is in! According to industry analysts, the hottest claim on the rise continues to be protein.
Protein has gotten a power boost of its own by "Paleo" diet trends and the return of low-carb eating. While we need to be clear that not every packaged food making a protein claim would fit into those diet categories, nevertheless buzz makes a trend and the food companies are on it. The protein claim works especially well for snack and convenience brands, offering consumers a way to easily and conveniently raise their protein consumption, and offering producers a way to boost the perceived value and appeal of their products.
The protein appeal also has a wide demographic reach, touching those with active lifestyles, busy moms, and boomers seeking to maintain healthy bones and muscle mass.
More than nuts
This week, Kraft Foods Group plans to launch Oscar Mayer P3, a somewhat sleekly packaged combo pack of meat, cheese, and nuts. Of course, with Oscar Mayer emblazoned on the top, and a three-compartment plastic pack within, it's not hard to wonder if this is Lunchables for the "cool kids" - and perhaps that's just what it is. The packaging features a bold design that could certainly appeal to young adults as well as help drive male appeal.
Tony Vernon, chief executive officer of Kraft Foods Group, sees P3 as a natural way to update the Oscar Mayer brand and lift sales. "Protein, whether it's peanuts or meats or cheese — we happen to be the leaders in each of those categories — we feel great about what we can do there."
Protein to start the day
Manufacturers want to be sure to stay top of mind for consumers who are continually reminded that protein for breakfast keeps them energized and fuller longer.
Tyson just unveiled its first line of breakfast food, which it describes as - you guessed it - high protein. Tyson says its new "Day Starts" products are "high protein" breakfast options for "busy families." The breakfast sandwiches, which look similar to something you might get at McDonalds , are surely high protein with egg, cheese, and meat. (Of course, the biscuit means this might be high protein, but it's not low carb.)
When rolling out its 2014 plans, General Mills gave top billing to its strategy to spiff up some "sleepy" cereal brands with a high-protein boost. Ian Friendly, EVP/COO for General Mills U.S. Retail, said the company hopes to reignite sales of its Fiber One and Nature Valley cereal brands by infusing them with the "protein benefit" consumers are seeking.
It's hard to pack prime rib
Filling up on easy-to-carry, inexpensive protein can be a challenge. Most meat, cheese, and yogurt require refrigeration, making them a challenge to pack for kids or adults on the go; nuts can be expensive; and still other proteins are difficult to find at a traditional grocery store or may seem a bit exotic for some tastes. Food manufacturers have an opportunity to marry the high-protein trend with consumer preferences for convenience and accessibility, and in so doing aspire to give some sizzle to outdated brands and add a shot of relevance to their products.
At the end of the day
Despite all the protein claims, these products are more about repackaging and spin than significant nutritional changes. A McMuffin by any other name is still, well, a McMuffin. So the extent to which consumers are moved remains to be seen.
Will shoppers buy into the nutritional trend of the year? Can food manufacturers put enough muscle behind these newly protein-infused brands to pump up sales and brighten the bottom line? Despite the energy, enthusiasm, and dollars that marketers have put into these launches, for now I'll just stand with my good friend from Missouri and say, "Show me."
The next step for you
Want to figure out how to profit on business analysis like this? The key is to learn how to turn business insights into portfolio gold by taking your first steps as an investor. Those who wait on the sidelines are missing out on huge gains and putting their financial futures in jeopardy. In our brand-new special report, "Your Essential Guide to Start Investing Today," The Motley Fool's personal finance experts show you what you need to get started, and even give you access to some stocks to buy first. Click here to get your copy today -- it's absolutely free.
The article Paleo Diet Driving Shift to 'High-Protein' Marketing Frenzy originally appeared on Fool.com.Beth Nichols has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends McDonald's. The Motley Fool owns shares of McDonald's. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.
Copyright © 1995 - 2014 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.