While the popularity of plant-based proteins is certainly growing, data shows that consumers are still choosing traditional sources of protein such as meat, eggs and dairy as their primary source. They still dominate in sales as well, as these five categories account for $148.7 billion in sales, and 55% of all U.S. households say high protein is now an important attribute they consider when buying food for their households.
But American consumer beliefs about protein content in common foods don’t align with reality, according to new research by Nielsen. In a study that obtained responses from more than 20,000 Americans, Nielson found what it calls “blockbuster protein sources” – beef, pork and chicken - did not score well in the minds of consumers, even though they’re all high-protein products. Between 45% and 64% of respondents did not consider beef, pork or chicken to be high in protein.
However, among consumer groups, the Greatest Generation and Millennials were the most knowledgeable about protein content in the foods they buy. Across the 10 products included in the surveys, Millennials topped the list with having the highest percent of consumers correctly identifying protein content for five of the products.
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