Demand for high-protein products on the rise amid booming active nutrition and healthy ageing categories in Middle East
Consumers in the Middle East are increasingly looking for protein-rich products to fulfil various needs, with claims ranging from sports performance to age-related muscle support.
Arla Food Ingredients says it has observed an increasing number of products with high-protein claims in the Middle East as manufacturers respond to growing demand.
“We’re seeing high demand for foods and beverages with functional ingredients, protein in particular, in the region. Between 2017 and 2022, the number of product launches with a high-protein or source of protein claim grew by an average of over 17% annually in the Middle East and Africa,” Shu Chen, Regional Marketing Manager Asia at Arla Foods Ingredients, told NutraIngredients-Asia.
However, it is not just about the quantity of protein that is packed into a product, but the quality, too.
“There is increasing interest in origin and quality — consumers want complete proteins from familiar sources. They want them in products with appealing taste and texture, and that can deliver both nutritional and functional benefits in a wide range of food and beverage applications.
“Getting the taste and texture right is one of the biggest challenges when it comes to formulating with protein. It’s also true that novelty is a big market driver, so a lot of our recent R&D have focused on developing innovative solutions for new categories.”
While the sports and active nutrition space is burgeoning, it is also “hugely diverse”.
“High-protein products are popular across the board, but every consumer group has its own needs and preferences. Those in the performance segment are looking for premium ingredients and functionality, whereas ‘healthy-lifestyle’ consumers are more likely to prioritise taste and naturality.
“Another key trend, particularly in this region, is healthy ageing. The Middle East is experiencing the fastest pace of ageing globally, with the number of people aged 60 and above forecasted to triple by 2050. Two of the most common health concerns in this demographic are age-related bone and muscle loss, which is driving interest in food and beverage products with high levels of whey protein and calcium.”