Protein Powders Move Mainstream, Driven by Plant Power

Published November 2018. This report looks at the trends which are pushing protein powders, once firmly the preserve of serious athletes and body builders, into growing a much greater audience than ever before. The rise of plant proteins plays a key role in the process.


What this report gives you:

  • The current landscape: Where animal and plant proteins stand and what health claims they make.
  • The role online plays in shaping sports nutrition business strategies and what reviews can tell us about consumer engagement with protein powder products.
  • The rise of plant proteins: In which markets are they most popular? What trends have propelled the demand for them? What particular plant proteins are dominating the market? What target groups could provide exciting opportunities for manufacturers in the future?
  • Plant proteins and online engagement – consumer satisfaction with plant protein products and how it measures up against animal protein.
  • Deep-dive on labelling data with a special focus on clean label and free from.
  •  An examination of rising ingredients such as botanicals and probiotics in protein powders.
  • Conclusion and recommendations for the future.

Quick facts:

  • Whey protein, a by-product from cheese making, is still one of the premier proteins of the sports nutrition market, alongside casein. However, plant-based formulas – representing 15% of products available across 20 countries – are becoming increasingly popular.
  • The high protein trend has propelled protein powders into the mass market, and mainstream consumers have a whole range of health goals besides gaining muscle. 62% of the protein powders captured by our research made some kind of health claim, with wellbeing, weight loss and digestibility featuring among the top ten.
  • Sweden, France, the USA and Germany are in the lead in terms of plant-based protein powder uptake. China, Taiwan, Poland, Mexico and Brazil are among the markets where the trend towards vegan protein powders appears to be least well developed.

Preview – 2 slides of 37:


  • An increasingly complex terrain
  • Online engagement
  • Shift to plant proteins
  • Clean label & free from
  • Botanicals & probiotics
  • 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.