Animal proteins still rule in sports nutrition protein powders

Published February 2019. This report examines some of the major trends and opportunities that are shaping the future of the sports nutrition protein powder category, with special emphasis on the impact of consumer online engagement. Lumina analysis shows that whilst whey is still the primary protein source found in protein powders, other sources are expected to become more prominent, as the health benefits consumers are looking for change.


What this report gives you:

  • The current picture: What category of animal protein dominates and what other types are disrupting the market.
  • An examination of the online market for protein powders. Why protein powder is the most reviewed category in sports nutrition and how this engagement varies between countries and regions.
  • The importance of online review data and what it can tell us about consumer engagement with different types of protein including plant-based.
  • A breakdown of the world’s top ranking animal-derived protein powder products.
  • Leading ingredient, clean label, free-from and ethical claims in protein powder and how they resonate with different target groups.
  • Health benefits: What do consumers now want from protein powders? What are the growing future concerns?
  • Innovations to watch: Developing trends, research and the companies behind them.
  • Future focus and conclusions.

Quick facts:

  • Joint health positions itself as the highest engagement health benefit in protein powder, thus key ingredients stand out as front runners in the trend, opening up cross-overs with new markets.
  • Despite gluten being the most common free-from label worldwide, in South Korea, sugar becomes the most common free-from claim.
  • As 16% of top selling protein powders now make an ethical claim, countries such as the UK stand out for their high rates of use – with that, claims such as grass-fed whey are becoming more important.
  • Aminogen (an enzyme) is the most common proprietary ingredient in protein powders.


  • The dominance of animal protein
  • Online engagement
  • Clean label, free-from, sustainable & ethical
  • Health benefits
  • Flavour trends
  • Innovations
  • Future focus

Got questions about the sports nutrition market?

We examine the key players, trends and target consumers in 20 countries, as well as explore how Lumina can help you form a fact-based business or NPD strategy.