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Comax Releases Nutrition and Performance Product Findings

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The study looks at consumers' thoughts and usage of protein drinks and foods and breaks them down into popular flavors, reason for purchasing and popularity among generations.

Comax Flavors has released new primary research on consumers’ behavior, usage and attitudes towards protein drinks and foods. 

Related: Kerry Releases Life Cycle Assessment of Tastesense Sweet

The research studied included protein powder, ready-to-drink (RTD) protein drinks, protein bars, protein chips/tortillas/puffs/popcorn, protein cookies/wafers, protein brownies and protein cake bites.

The nutrition and performance study was fielded in April 2020 with 1,200 U.S. respondents aged 18-70+; half were female and the other half were male. 

Generations defined included Gen Z born 1996 and later; Gen Y born 1977 to 1995; Gen X born 1965 to 1976; Baby Boomers born 1946 to 1964; Silent Generation born 1925 to 1945.

Nutrition and Performance Product Findings:

  • “Taste” is the number one driver of nutrition and performance product purchases among all generations, with more than half (52%) of respondents citing it as the most important attribute.

  • More than a third (36%) of respondents cite “flavor” as an important attribute driving nutrition and performance products purchase intent.

  • Respondents look for “plant protein” as an “active ingredient” in their nutrition and performance products for protein powder (32%), RTD (22%) and protein bars (25%).

  • The top five lifestyle diets that respondents follow are:

    • “Keto” (12%)

    • “Intermittent fasting” (11%)

    • “Gluten-free” (10%)

    • ”Dairy-free” (9%)

    • “Vegetarian” (9%)

  • Only a few respondents follow “vegan” (5%), “paleo” (3%) and “pescatarian” (3%) diets.

  • More than half (52%) of all respondents do not follow any lifestyle diet.

Protein Powder Findings Among Respondents Who Consume “Protein Powder" N=300:

  • 45% of respondents use protein powder to “build muscle."

  • Half of all respondents use protein powder in “dairy/non-dairy preparations.”

  • “Chocolate” (52%) and “vanilla” (51%) flavors are popular top performers among half of all respondents.

  • 15% of respondents consume “peanut butter”:

    • Gen Z (18%)

    • Gen Y (18%)

    • Gen X (18%)

    • Baby Boomers (7%)

    • Silent Generation do not use at all

Protein RTD Findings Among Respondents Who Consume “RTD” N=300:

  • “Healthy” (43%) is the most important reason respondents drink RTD protein drinks.

  • “Chocolate” (60%) and “vanilla” (46%) are the leading flavors consumed by all respondents.

  • Shy of a quarter (23%) of respondents drink “strawberry."

Protein Bar Findings Among Respondents Who Consume “Protein Bars” N=300:

  • “Convenient” (42%) and “healthy” (41%) are the top reasons respondents eat protein bars.

  • “Chocolate” and “peanut butter” protein bars are consumed by half of all respondents.

  • “Chocolate” (52%) is the most popular flavor among all generations.

  • “Peanut butter” (50%) is the second most well-liked flavor among all generations.

  • 30% of respondents consume “nut” flavors.

Protein Chips/Tortillas/Puffs/Popcorn Findings Among Respondents Who Consume “Protein Chips/Tortillas/Puffs/Popcorn” N=100:

  • 47% of respondents consume protein chips/tortillas/puffs/popcorn because they perceive them as “healthy.”

  • “Cheese” is the most prevalent flavor among all generations, with 51% of respondents citing it.

  • “Salt” (38%) is a well-liked flavor among all respondents with more than a third citing it.

  • More than one-third of respondents snack on “garlic” (35%), “BBQ” (34%) and “savory herb” (34%) flavors.

Protein Cookies/Wafers Findings Among Respondents Who Consume “Protein Cookies/Wafers” N=67:

  • “Healthy” is the main reason respondents cited eating protein cookies/wafers (36%).

  • “Chocolate chip” (46%) is the number one flavor of protein cookies/wafers.

  • Gen X equally prefers “chocolate” (50%) and “peanut butter” (50%) as their first choice compared to “chocolate chip” (40%).

  • “Chocolate” and “peanut butter” are tied for the second most favored flavors with 40% of respondents citing each of them.

  • “Snickerdoodle” and “vanilla” are equally enjoyed by 30% of respondents.

Protein Brownies Findings Among Respondents Who Consume “Protein Brownies” N=67:

  • 30% of respondents cite “healthy,” “increase energy” and “decrease appetite” as the top three reasons they consume protein brownies.

  • Shy of two-thirds of respondents consume “chocolate” (60%).

  • “Chocolate peanut butter” (43%) is the second most well-liked brownie flavor.

  • One-third or more of respondents consume “chocolate with white chocolate chips” (33%) and “cookies and cream” (37%).

Protein Cake Bites Findings Among Respondents Who Consume “Protein Cake Bites N=66:

  • “Healthy” (45%) is the number one reason respondents consume protein cake bites.

  • 39% of respondents eat “chocolate” and “cookies and cream” cake bites, which are tied as the top two flavors.

  • Gen Y are the heaviest consumers of both flavors compared to the Silent Generation who do not consume protein cake bites at all.

  • More than one-third (35%) of respondents consume “chocolate cookie dough.”