With businesses and schools reopening and back to being in-person, many consumers are looking for easy-to-eat snacks that are both functional and tasty. One of the most popular snacks consumers are bringing in their lunchbox is protein bars due to their taste, convenience, health benefits, and energy-boosting properties. In fact, the global market size for protein bars is expected to grow to $7.03 billion by 2027. As the market for protein bars continues to expand, food brands and entrepreneurs must start offering protein bars in order to stay relevant in today’s saturated CPG snack space.
For those interested in entering the protein bar market, here are the five things you’ll need to create a delicious protein bar.
1. Functional Ingredients
Functional protein bars are made with a wide assortment of “better-for-you” ingredients that stimulate optimal health and possess health-promoting, disease-preventing, and energy-boosting qualities. These ingredients offer a myriad of health benefits, such as increased vitamin, mineral, and fiber intake, which is why consumers are increasingly looking for and buying snacks made with functional ingredients. Some key functional ingredients that you can easily start using in your protein bar today include MCT oils, adaptogens, and probiotics. Not sure how you can formulate a protein bar with these ingredients? Try looking for a protein bar co-packer who can help you integrate these functional ingredients into your unique protein bar formulation. By partnering with a co-packer, you can take advantage of its advanced equipment and innovative processes that guarantee the quality and stability of your protein bar, no matter what ingredient you choose.
2. Plant-based Sweeteners
Plant-based sweeteners are healthy sugar alternatives that are derived from natural plant sources. Compared to regular sugars, plant-based sweeteners contain zero to low calories, making them perfect for health-conscious consumers looking to watch their sugar intake or are on ketogenic, plant-based, or paleo diets. With a global market value expected to reach $4.72 billion by 2028, food entrepreneurs should look into utilizing plant-based sweeteners, such as allulose, erythritol, monk fruit, and stevia, in their protein bar formulations. Using plant-based sweeteners as sugar substitutes in protein bars will allow consumers to reap the benefits of indulging in a delicious and energizing treat without the extra calories. Those who are successfully able to do so can expect to see more market share and increased customer interest in their brand.
3. Quality Protein Powders
Protein powders are one of the most common supplements in the food and snack industry because they are composed of a variety of minerals and vitamins. Although there are many varieties of protein powders on the market, consumers mainly look for high-quality protein powders that have organic and all-natural properties. This increased interest in quality protein powders is due to the ever-evolving dietary trends and health objectives of consumers. With this in mind, protein bar brands should think about incorporating quality protein powders like plant-based protein, grass-fed protein, pasture-raised whey protein, and pea protein into their protein bar products. By using high-quality protein powders in your protein bars, your brand can not only increase sales and revenue but also customer satisfaction.
4. Health Claims & Certifications
Health claims are statements used by food manufacturers about how a product or ingredient can improve your health, what a product is made of, and how a product is made. Nowadays, many consumers are prioritizing health claims during their consideration stage, especially looking for claims that include “Keto,” “Low Carb,” “High Protein,” “Low Sugar,” and “Vegan.” These claims help consumers discern which products align with their current dietary and nutritional needs. As such, entrepreneurs who want to appeal to a specific nutritional need should add health claims to their nutritional snacks to increase sales. Brands looking to go one step further should apply for specific industry certifications such as SQF Certified, Certified Organic, Non-GMO Project Verification, Certified Gluten-Free, Kosher, C.L.E.A.N., and R.A.W. These certifications build more trust and loyalty between brands and consumers because of the rigorous testing process done by third-party certification organizations. Smaller protein bar businesses that don’t have the equipment or manpower should think about partnering with protein bar co-packer that have the certifications they need to bring their protein bars to life at a lower cost.
The packaging of a protein bar is just as important as the protein bar itself. It is one of the most essential components of introducing a new protein bar to market and building brand relevance. In today’s CPG landscape, there is a heavy emphasis on package design as a way to increase brand awareness and recognition. Packaging should be eye-catching while also informative to not only pique the interest of consumers but also suggest that each product has been crafted with care and thoughtfulness. Especially in light of the clean label movement - which has consumers more particular about the ingredients behind each protein bar - businesses must design packaging that empowers the consumer with the nutritional information they are looking for in a clean, concise way. Additionally, brands must keep in mind that packaging for each protein bar must be FDA-approved before it gets put on the market. To abide by FDA compliance, it is a good idea for protein bar businesses to invest in a protein bar co-packer that is able to work with them to address the regulations set forth by the FDA, as well as the design and quality assurance aspects of their packaging.
As the market for protein bars grows exponentially, now is a good opportunity for food visionaries to step into this market space. When brainstorming protein bar ideas, brands must be mindful of the ingredients, health claims, certifications, and packaging to create a top-notch “better-for-you” protein bar that works well for an assortment of diets and nutritional specifications. Doing so will allow businesses to not only capture and capitalize on the increasing market share of protein bars but also stay relevant in a saturated industry. Ready to bring your ideas to the market? Work with a protein bar co-packer, like YouBar, that offers a full turnkey solution to bring your protein bar to life.