Protein shift will accelerate

April 19, 2012

Consumers at a tipping point over food safety will soon turn to vegetable-based proteins over meat.

Three strikes against the nation’s food supply came in rapid succession so far this spring—the controversy over pink slime, the FDA’s decision not to ban BPAs, and hyped claims about antioxidants in a snack food.

For many consumers, these are just the latest in an ongoing barrage of hits that erode confidence in foods and have people scrutinizing what they’ll buy and eat. As a result of the latest headlines about lean finely textured beef (pink slime), for example, more people will trial alternative protein sources such as soy or ground-up vegetables they can form into patties. They’ll make a bold statement by moving away from meat-based proteins, we predict at The Lempert Report.

Others who can’t be moved off their beef cravings will feel more confident buying their meats (especially ground beef) from supermarket butchers grinding it in plain view while shoppers can watch. 

Protein is in the dietary spotlight today because consumers want to improve body shape and maintain strength, Elizabeth Sloan, Ph.D. and president, Sloan Trends, told the Institute of Food Technologists Wellness 2012 Conference, according to an account in Food Navigator USA.  “Protein is hot, hot, hot.  And there is no sign this trend is going to go away for the next ten years.  It’s about body composition, sports, satiety and maintaining muscle mass as you get older,” she was quoted.

Because consumers seek alternative protein sources, TLR urges supermarkets to develop authority with greater expertise in the food choices they sell, and more fact-filled appeals in their marketing and merchandising so people feel comfortable and informed when making their food-buying decisions.