The Future of Protein Powders: Trends and Advances in Health & Wellness
The health and wellness industry encompasses many different aspects. Supplements and protein powders are just a part of the whole sector.
Protein powders are used by millions of people today. Protein powders are beneficial to health and fitness too. These supplements also have uses you may not expect. For instance, protein shakes are used to help with patient recovery.
Here is a brief look into the protein powder market and the trends that are shaping its future.
What are protein powders primarily used for?
The use of healthy protein powder may primarily be with sports people and athletes. Bodybuilders require extra protein to help with muscle gain and recovery after gym sessions.
Yet, these powders’ primary purpose is to help anyone who needs to increase their daily intake of protein. Instead of consuming large amounts of fish or meat, for instance, protein powders offer convenience. The powder is mixed with water to make a drink that is an easy way to consume protein.
Protein powders may be used for the following:
- Weight loss
- Weight management
- Recovery from workouts
- To build lean muscle
- As a vegan protein supplement
- To recover from illness
Some of these uses will be looked at in more detail further down along with some trends in the protein powder industry.
What benefits do protein powders bring?
Some of the benefits of protein powders may be surprising. For those that believed protein shakes were just for gym fanatics, there are far more uses.
Protein powders may help people lessen some of the factors of growing old. Some proteins help with collagen production. Collagen helps to keep skin firm and reduce wrinkles. Whey protein also helps reduce muscle mass loss. Plus it may help avoid excess weight that often develops as people get older.
One of the biggest benefits is sheer convenience. Not everyone manages to eat enough protein. Some patients may struggle to take in enough protein each day. And athletes needing a protein boost will find it easier to drink a shake than eat a full meal.
The benefits of protein powders include muscle building. After a workout, muscles need to repair the damage done. This lets muscles grow and strengthen. Protein is a critical factor in muscle growth and repair.
Vegetarians sometimes struggle to consume enough protein. Plant-based protein powders are beneficial to vegetarians and vegans.
Different kinds of protein powders and their differences
There are about half a dozen or so different protein powders. These include mixed proteins and individual proteins.
Different protein powders on the market now:
Whey protein is ideal for lactose-intolerant individuals that are avoiding dairy. Pea protein powders are good for weight loss. And soy protein has been shown to reduce hot flashes.
The differences between one protein powder and another is often due to other ingredients. Some may be high in fiber, while others include certain amino acids to help muscle growth.
Egg protein isn’t suitable for vegans. And hemp protein is more sustainable than some other powders. There are some protein powders that are very different as you will read below.
Trends in protein powders today
The industry surrounding health and wellness produces many viral trends on social media and the internet in general. Having looked at the different types of protein powders briefly, it would be remiss not to check out some of the current trends.
The future of protein powders and supplements might include some interesting ingredients. As diets change, and concern for the environment grows, alternative protein sources are being sought. This has led to some interesting suggestions that some might find squeamish.
The introduction of insect protein powders
Already being sold across the world, are protein powders derived from insects. Crickets are a common ingredient in these high-protein powders. The benefits of insect protein include high levels of zinc and iron.
Plus, it is said that insects are 20 times more efficient to grow than cattle. There is a drive to encourage people to consume insect protein instead of animal protein. But, whether this ever goes viral is debatable.
Benefits of plant-based protein powders
Plant-based protein powders are suitable for everyone. They are lactose-free and low in fat. Plant-based protein powders encourage better digestion and improved gut health too.8
The rise of vegan protein powders
One study suggests that around 2% of Australians are vegan. While the vegan revolution hasn’t quite exploded, there is a serious amount of interest in veganism.
Using vegan protein powders helps people avoid bloating and dairy products. They contain the same benefits as any plant-based protein powders but they are guaranteed to be vegan-friendly.
Advances in protein powders
The protein powder market was valued at USD 21,500,000 (AUD 32.19 billion) last year. The wide range of uses of protein powders is helping the industry to grow impressively.
Apart from new protein sources such as insects and algae, other advances are being made. Additional functional ingredients are added to some protein powder mixes. These include probiotics and added fiber. The goal is to enhance the nutritional value of protein shakes.
Protein shakes are becoming more palatable too. Work has gone into improving the texture and the flavour of protein powders. The next step may be customised protein shakes. Instead of buying protein powder off the shelf, companies could develop mixes to suit individuals’ nutritional needs.
What is most likely to happen is higher levels of sustainability. Eco-friendly packaging and sustainable sources of protein will be used.
The use of protein powders for nutritional gains
There is a recommended daily intake of protein that changes with age. As you get older you should consume more protein. Males over 70 should be consuming 81 grams of protein each day. This isn’t always feasible. But, protein powders make it easier to achieve.
Sportspeople and athletes may see improved performance when using protein powders. Protein improves muscle strength and increases endurance. Protein also helps with bone health and could help reduce the risk of osteoporosis
The amino acids in protein powders enhance muscle growth. Overall, protein powders help improve athletic performance and recovery.
The use of protein powders for patients in recovery
Protein powders have medical uses also. Protein helps to improve immune function and improve the health of the immune system. Protein powders will aid patients after surgery too.
Diet is critical to wound care, and protein helps speed up healing and tissue growth. Many patients struggle with eating after an illness. Protein shakes help patients consume the nutrients they need to get well.
The use of protein powders for weight management
Another trend in protein powder usage is weight management. Protein invokes a feeling of being full. Therefore, protein powders reduce hunger pangs and help people avoid snacking.
Protein powders will increase metabolism and make you feel sated for longer. This then supports any weight loss plan you have. But, protein shakes will also help those who need to gain weight and muscle when combined with diet and exercise.
The future of the protein powder market is safe. It is likely to use more sustainable protein sources, and hemp is already often used. Whether alternative protein sources such as algae and insects catch on is another matter.
Ongoing trends for protein powder will include weight management and patient recovery. Medical use of protein powders is highly beneficial to recovery. And is the very same reason that athletes and body builders recommend protein shakes.-