New global research from Kerry, the world’s leading taste and nutrition company, has uncovered that most protein consumers in India are motivated by health and wellness, with 56% associating protein with “healthy diet”, 50% with “generally healthy” and 49% associating protein with “immunity boost”, significantly above the global average.

The Protein Mindset: Uncovering Consumers’ Perceptions and Preferences of Proteins details how consumers around the world increasingly perceive protein content and quality as fundamental drivers of their food and beverage purchase choices. The report also found that consumers in India are willing to pay a premium for protein fortification, with 94% open to paying a higher price and 69% willing to pay at least 10% more.

When it comes to purchase considerations for protein-rich food and beverages, the research revealed that quality of protein is the leading purchase driver for 60% of consumers in India, followed by natural ingredients, then brand name and taste. Consumers seek protein in breakfast foods and indulgent snacks, with granola, cereal bars, breakfast cereals, yogurt and ice cream, cookies and sweet biscuits topping the list, while dairy-based milk, milkshakes, juices and specific nutritional beverages fortified with protein are the protein-preferred beverages in the region.

In terms of types of protein, plants are accepted by consumers globally as a source of ethical and sustainable protein, but its appeal is particularly high in both Asia and Europe. Gunjan Pandey, Marketing Director, Kerry Southwest Asia remarked on the findings: “Plant protein has risen significantly in popularity along with dairy protein in this region. Protein quality, nutrition and sustainability are the main drivers of preference in plant proteins, while taste and nutrition are the foremost reasons for dairy protein preference. Interestingly hybrid protein products that include both animal and plant-derived proteins are very popular with Indian consumers, with 82% indicating it appeals highly to them.”

This timely report highlights the crucial rise in market acceptance of added protein in consumption of everyday foods and beverages, as well as indulgent snacks and treats. On-pack claims of “better for you,” “healthy halo” and “clean label” were identified as crucial to creating protein-based foods and beverages that will resonate with consumers. Also discussed are the top current opportunities for innovation in product development, and the ways in which Kerry can support food and beverage manufacturers as they apply this research directly to their product development efforts.

Soumya Nair, Global Director, Consumer Research and Insights, commented on the release of the findings: “Accelerated by COVID-19 and consumer focus on health and rising interest in proactive—versus reactive—nutrition, rapid change has occurred recently in food and beverage markets around the world as broader awareness of the many benefits of protein increasingly drives purchase decisions among mainstream consumers. This extensive Kerry research puts protein foods and beverages squarely under a microscope to understand where the opportunities lie for brands to innovate.”

In preparing this report, Kerry surveyed over 6,300 consumers across 12 countries within North America, Europe, Latin America, and the Asia-Pacific region. Those who qualified for the research study included health and wellness-conscious consumers, and those who prioritize products with added protein when making food and beverage purchase decisions. The study explored the appeal of 23 different sources of protein (animal, dairy and plant-based) and the relevance of protein fortification across 30 different foods and beverages. Country-specific findings with more detailed targeted analyses are available to Kerry customers upon request.

Nair concludes: “There is little doubt the protein revolution in food and beverages offers exciting and dynamic opportunities for all product developers. This timely report provides a range of insights to consider incorporating within their short- and long-term product planning and development processes.”