The trend for all things “protein” has been riding high for the last few years, driven by rising health consciousness and the popularity of protein-centric diets such as Paleo and Dukan. Although the market has been flooded with “protein” food and drinks, the trend shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon.

Protein’s appeal is linked to its widely regarded benefits for weight loss – it can help aid satiety – and muscle health; particularly post-exercise recovery. However, research from GlobalData reveals a significant innovation gap for food and drink offering such health benefits.

GlobalData’s 2015 Q4 global consumer survey revealed that while 80% of consumers are interested in food and drinks which improve muscle health, only 34% are actively buying such products.

The same survey revealed that, while interest in products which aid satiety is slightly lower (73%), there still exists a sizeable opportunity to drive purchase among the 43% who are interested but not yet buying such products.

These findings suggest that despite the strong influx of protein-based food and drinks targeting mainstream consumers, many do not make the link between these “protein” claims and the specific health benefits they provide.

This year alone mainstream brands as diverse as Bounty, Weetabix, Quaker Oats, and even Bovril have launched new products capitalizing on the craze. The latter – the long established British beef extract brand – revamped its formulation to up the protein content to 15% and uses the claim “high protein beef paste” on-pack.

With interest in muscle health and satiety strong, the opportunity exists to further drive mainstream “high protein” growth as consumers look for products which better align to their needs; turning interest into purchase.