Description

This report provides comprehensive and current information and analysis of the trending flavors and ingredients in protein market including trending flavors and ingredients in protein market size, anticipated market forecast, relevant market segmentation, and industry trends for the trending flavors and ingredients in protein market in the US.

Current market landscape

Despite the buzz around meat-free living, meat consumption remains the dominant dietary choice for US adults. Chicken, beef, fish and pork lead protein consumption, and only 6% maintain a vegetarian or vegan diet.

Amid the prevalence of animal protein, habit shifts are seen. The youngest adults are least likely to consume meat and are more likely than average to eat plant-based options, evidence of a slow shift away from meat. In the short term, price inflation is causing nearly a third of protein eaters to trade down to less-expensive options. Cost consciousness favors protein sources that are viewed as affordable (eg chicken) and limits those perceived to be less so (eg beef, meat substitutes).

The majority of consumers purchase raw, unseasoned proteins, and they largely turn to dry spices to add flavor. Barbecue and spicy remain popular flavor profiles. Brands will find the widest reach by sticking with these favorite flavor families, while introducing nuance through regionality and heat variety.

Market share and key industry trends

  • Chicken (87%), beef (79%), fish (65%) and pork (64%) lead protein consumption among US adults (see Protein Consumption). Only one in five eat vegetable-forward plant-based options (eg black bean burgers) and 17% eat plant-based options that imitate meat (eg Impossible Burgers). The youngest adults (18-24) are least likely to consume meat – especially fish and shellfish – and are more likely than average to eat plant-based options, evidence of a slow shift away from meat.
  • Barbecue leads among flavors consumers would like to try in chicken (71%), beef (64%) and pork (67%), while garlic leads among seafood (53%) and plant-based protein (60%) (see Flavors of Interest Across Protein Types).
  • Italian spices (73%), brown sugar (69%) and ranch seasoning (62%) lead flavors consumers have tried in proteins and would try again (see Experience and Interest in Protein Flavors). 29% of protein eaters haven’t tried Tandoori spice flavor but would be interested in trying it in protein, followed by apple cider vinegar-brined (28%) and red peppercorn (26%).

Flavors and ingredients in protein market trends

Poultry producers should lean into the versatility of their products to prevent fatigue that may come from another night of chicken, including expanding flavored options, promoting recipe variety and providing formats suited for trending cuisine types. Other protein producers can reinforce enjoyment and support the indulgence of a good, home-cooked meal with flavorful value-added inspiration.

The monumental and unsustainable growth of plant-based proteins is projected to slow. The category is dominated by meat mimics, which can help newbies looking for some dietary variety. However, over the longer term, the category will want to establish a footing as an independent option that stands on its own and not solely as a substitute for something else.

Read on to discover more about the trending flavors and ingredients in protein consumer market, read our US Plant-based Proteins Market Report 2022, or take a look at our other Food research reports.

Quickly understand the flavors and ingredients in protein market

  • Types of protein consumed.
  • Protein formats purchased.
  • Protein preparations of interest.
  • Protein flavor/seasoning preferences.
  • Experience and interest in protein flavors.
  • Protein attitudes/behaviors.

Covered in this flavors and ingredients in protein market report

Brands include: Oscar Mayer, Hooray Foods, Meijer, StarKist, Big Fork, Good and Gather, Jennie-O, Perdue, Tyson, Specialty Selected, SeaPak, Wicked Kitchen, Beyond Meat, Jack & Annie’s, Amazon Fresh, FreeBird, Premier Foods, Calle Sabor, Swift St., Signature Select, Wolf Family, Raw Seafoods, Dockside Classics, Chicken of the Sea, PK Korean BBQ, Hormel, Member’s Mark, Bristol My Fish Dish, H-E-B Select, Plant Boss, Loma Linda, Unreal Deli, Burgers by Amylu, Rose Ranch, Martin Purefoods, Kevin’s Natural Foods, Safe Catch Elite, Fremont FishMarket, Aplenty, Sweet Earth, Earth Grown, Mistica Ranch, Pilgrim’s Ocean Adventures, Humble House, Stonewall Kitchen, French’s, Lidl Premium, Chef Hak, McIlhenny Co.

Expert analysis from a specialist in protein market analysis

This report, written by Mimi Bonnett, a leading analyst in the Food and Drink sector, delivers in-depth commentary and analysis on flavors and ingredients in protein market research to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

Rising prices are prompting consumers to trade down to less expensive protein options demanding that brands work to demonstrate their value: cue the merits of flavor experiences. Variety, versatility and convenience delivered through flavor in recipe, build and meal planning inspiration can help consumers to navigate tighter budgets, while still keeping meal time exciting and enjoyable.

Mimi Bonnett, Director, Food and Drink, Foodservice
Mimi Bonnett
Senior Director, US Food and Drink Research

Table of Contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • This Report looks at the following areas
        • Definition
          • Market context
          • Executive Summary

              • Top takeaways
                • Market overview
                  • Figure 1: Total US retail sales and forecast of protein, by segment, at current prices, 2017-27
                  • Figure 2: Category outlook, 2022-27
                • Opportunities and challenges
                  • Nearly a third of protein eaters are buying less-expensive options
                    • Figure 3: Protein attitudes/behaviors – I am buying cheaper types of protein to save money more often than last year, by demos, 2022
                  • “All natural product” claim boosts taste perceptions
                    • Figure 4: Performance analysis of protein launches with “all natural product” claim versus those without, 2022*
                  • Plant-based flavor innovation lags other protein categories
                    • Figure 5: Fastest growing flavors in retail protein launches – Meat substitutes*, 2020-22**
                    • Figure 6: Leading flavors in protein items on menu – Meat substitutes, Q1 2022
                  • Let younger shoppers customize their meals with sauces
                    • Figure 7: Protein flavor/seasoning preferences, by age, 2022
                  • Key consumer insights
                  • State of the Market

                    • Inflation helps, harms protein market
                      • Red meat’s quality perceptions hamper usage frequency – Lean into affordable quality
                        • Poultry’s affordability continues to work to its advantage – Engage through flavor
                          • Fish and shellfish must innovate to maintain positive momentum
                            • Plant-based protein recalibrates from unsustainable growth
                              • Figure 8: Total US retail sales and forecast of protein, by segment, at current prices, 2017-27
                              • Figure 9: Total US retail sales and forecast of protein, by segment, at current prices, 2017-27
                          • Market Factors

                            • Animal protein prices expected to more than triple 20-year historical average in 2022
                              • Figure 10: Changes in consumer price indexes for select food categories, 2020 through 2023
                            • The shift away from meat eating is slow but present
                              • Figure 11: Americans’ dietary preferences, 2019-22
                            • Cooking fatigue is validated as frequency slows
                              • Figure 12: Cooking at home, 2021-22
                          • Competitive Strategies and Market Opportunities

                            • The bacon benefit
                              • Figure 13: Protein launches ranked by the attribute “Tasty” – All protein launches, 2022*
                              • Figure 14: Protein launches featuring bacon and/or bacon flavor, 2022
                            • Breaded poultry, “natural” claims = better taste perceptions
                              • Figure 15: Protein launches ranked by the attribute “Tasty” – Poultry products*, 2022**
                            • Familiarity helps fish
                              • Figure 16: Protein launches ranked by the attribute “Tasty” – Fish products, 2022*
                            • Meat analogs score on tasty
                              • Figure 17: Protein launches ranked by the attribute “Tasty” – Meat substitutes*, 2022**
                            • Set clear expectations for “meatless”
                              • Figure 18: Meat substitute launches that omit verbal mention of meat, 2022
                          • Product Development – Now – What’s Trending

                            • Poultry launches are BBQ-inspired
                              • Figure 19: Leading flavors in retail protein launches – Poultry products*, 2020-22**
                              • Figure 20: Poultry product launches featuring barbecue positioning, 2022
                            • Smoke leads meat launches
                              • Figure 21: Leading flavors in retail protein launches – Meat products*, 2020-22**
                              • Figure 22: Meat product launches featuring smoke flavoring, 2022
                            • Light flavors dominate fish product launches
                              • Figure 23: Leading flavors in retail protein launches – Fish products*, 2020-22**
                              • Figure 24: Fish product launches featuring dipping sauce, 2022
                            • Meat substitutes commonly flavored as meat
                              • Figure 25: Leading flavors in retail protein launches – Meat substitutes*, 2020-22**
                          • Product Development – Near – What to Watch For

                            • Poultry saves time by being dish specific
                              • Figure 26: Fastest growing flavors in retail protein launches – Poultry products*, 2020-22**
                              • Figure 27: Poultry product launches that offer clear guidance about the finished product, 2022
                            • Sweet meats gain impressive traction
                              • Figure 28: Fastest growing flavors in retail protein launches – Meat products*, 2020-22**
                            • Bold spice and textures lend clean culinary palate to seafoods
                              • Figure 29: Fastest growing flavors in retail protein launches – Fish products*, 2020-22**
                              • Figure 30: Fish product launches that mimic restaurant offerings, 2022
                            • Meat substitute brands turn up the heat and not much else
                              • Figure 31: Fastest growing flavors in retail protein launches – Meat substitutes*, 2020-22**
                              • Figure 32: Meat substitute launches featuring garlic, citrus, and savory flavor profiles, 2022
                          • Product Development – Next – What’s in the Pipeline

                            • An evolved hot chicken will find sweet
                              • Figure 33: Fastest growing flavors in protein items on menu – Poultry, Q1 2020-Q1 2022
                              • Figure 34: Poultry product launches with nuanced heat and sweet flavors, 2022
                            • Asian flavors with beef aim for authenticity
                              • Figure 35: Fastest growing flavors in protein items on menu – Beef, Q1 2020-Q1 2022
                              • Figure 36: Meat product launches with Asian-inspired flavors, 2022
                            • Island inspiration could perk up the seafood space
                              • Figure 37: Fastest growing flavors in protein items on menu – Seafood, Q1 2020-Q1 2022
                              • Figure 38: Fish product launches with island-inspired flavors, 2022
                            • Foodservice operators set the tone for Asian flavor innovation in meat substitutes
                              • Figure 39: Leading flavors in protein items on menu – Meat substitutes, Q1 2022
                              • Figure 40: Meat substitute product launches with Asian-inspired flavors, 2022
                          • The Protein Consumer – Fast Facts

                            • Meat eating is still ubiquitous, yet a slow shift toward plants will unfold
                              • Sky high prices make flavor inspiration key for brands
                                • Grilling and roasting lead protein preparations of interest
                                  • Dry seasonings are the flavor source for the vast majority of protein eaters
                                    • The field of current popular and future flavors is wide open
                                    • Protein Consumption

                                      • US animal protein consumption is universal, topped by chicken and beef
                                        • Figure 41: Protein consumption, 2022
                                      • Fish and shellfish brands need to hone in on Gen Z
                                        • Figure 42: Protein consumption, by age, 2022
                                    • Protein Formats Purchased

                                      • Majority of protein eaters buy raw and unseasoned proteins
                                        • Figure 43: Protein formats purchased, 2022
                                      • Preseasoned, prepared proteins popular among younger shoppers
                                        • Figure 44: Pineapple BBQ rice bowl, 2022
                                        • Figure 45: Protein formats purchased, by age, 2022
                                      • Parents significantly more likely to purchase preseasoned protein
                                        • Figure 46: Protein formats purchased, by parental status, 2022
                                    • Protein Preparations of Interest

                                      • Grilled and roasted lead protein preparations of interest
                                        • Figure 47: Protein preparations of interest, 2022
                                      • Hook women thru flavorful set it and forget it prep
                                        • Figure 48: Protein launches that promote air fryer preparation, 2022
                                        • Figure 49: Protein preparations of interest, by gender, 2022
                                      • Combining flavor and convenience a boon for parents
                                        • Figure 50: Protein preparations of interest, by parental status, 2022
                                    • Protein Flavor/Seasoning Preferences

                                      • Deliver complex flavor with simple suggestions, pairings
                                        • Figure 51: Protein flavor/seasoning preferences, 2022
                                      • Dipping sauces have appeal among younger adults
                                        • Figure 52: Protein flavor/seasoning preferences, by age, 2022
                                      • Top trending table sauces lend versatility and value to proteins
                                        • Figure 53: Table sauces and condiments that promote protein versatility, 2022
                                        • Figure 54: Protein flavor/seasoning preferences, by race, 2022
                                      • Satisfy the family through sauces
                                        • Figure 55: Protein flavor/seasoning preferences, by parental status, 2022
                                    • Experience and Interest in Protein Flavors

                                      • Italian spices, brown sugar and ranch lead popularity, piquant has appeal
                                        • Figure 56: Experience and interest in protein flavors, 2022
                                      • 25-54 is sweet spot for interest in flavor trial
                                        • Figure 57: Experience and interest in protein flavors – Net – Any interest*, by age, 2022
                                    • Flavors of Interest Across Protein Types

                                      • Poultry, beef, pork garner similar flavor interest, seafood tracks with plant-based
                                        • Figure 58: Correspondence analysis – Symmetrical map – Flavors of interest across protein types, 2022
                                        • Figure 59: Flavors of interest across protein types, 2022
                                      • Think fresh flavors when aiming at women
                                        • Figure 60: Jennie-O open face chili mango turkey burger, 2022
                                        • Figure 61: Flavors of interest across select protein types, by gender, 2022
                                      • 18-34s have a sweet tooth
                                        • Figure 62: Table sauce launces featuring sweet flavor profiles, 2022
                                        • Figure 63: Flavors of interest across select protein types, by age, 2022
                                    • Protein Attitudes/Behaviors

                                      • Nearly a third are trading down on pricey proteins
                                        • Figure 64: Protein attitudes/behaviors, 2022
                                      • Women are making thriftier protein decisions
                                        • Figure 65: Kroger taco bowl meal prep, 2022
                                        • Figure 66: Protein attitudes/behaviors, by gender, 2022
                                      • 25-34s most willing to spend for convenience
                                        • Figure 67: Protein attitudes/behaviors, by age, 2022
                                    • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                      • Data sources
                                        • Consumer survey data
                                          • Correspondence analysis methodology
                                            • Abbreviations and terms
                                              • Abbreviations

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