U.S. consumers still turn to meat and fish when looking to increase protein intake, a survey by research firm NPD Group has found. More than 60% of the survey's respondents said they eat animal protein in a typical day.
Topping the list of the animal proteins considered the best sources of protein are beef and chicken, then fish, pork, shellfish and lamb.
In addition to meat preferences, more than half of adults say they want more protein in their diets. The report also finds that consumers, generally, are less likely to cite dairy and eggs as the best sources of protein when compared to animal protein.
To better define protein consumers, the NPD report segments them into three categories: Traditional Protein Purists, Flexible Protein Users, and Knowledgeable but Indifferent.
Traditional Protein Purists are much more likely to consider animal proteins as their main source of protein. This segment is content eating animal proteins and do not feel the need to seek out protein alternatives.
* Animal Protein does not include lunch/deli meat, which is included in other
"While Traditional Protein Purists stick to their traditional meat sources for protein, they are also likely to have more meals that are rounded out with vegetables and grains," says Darren Seifer, NPD food and beverage industry analyst.
"Unlike Flexible Protein Users, it would be difficult to convince these protein consumers to use a different protein source than animal protein," he said.
As noted, Flexible Protein Users are willing to look beyond meat in order to meet their protein needs, and are motivated by health-related reasons.
The reasons often mentioned by Flexible Protein Users as barriers to getting more protein are that many sources of protein contain fat, are high in calories, or are too expensive, NPD says.
The group suggests that some of these perceived barriers could be at play for the beef category, which is not seeing the same consumption increases seen with other protein sources, like eggs, chicken, yogurt, and nuts/seeds.
"Consumers want more protein in their diets," says Harry Balzer, chief industry analyst. "While our interest in protein is growing, we're looking for alternatives to meat. Many of us are looking to lower the cost of our protein sources, and animal meat is generally more expensive than plant-based protein, which explains the growth in Greek yogurt and other alternate protein sources."
The data is taken from the NPD report Protein Perceptions and Needs.