Unwrap the hype

I knew that protein bars were getting more experimental and adventurous, but when I was walking down the grocery aisle last week, it was clear: bars are no longer something you eat JUST for breakfast or after an intense workout. Brands have created protein bars for literally every occasion!

Protein bars aisle at the grocery store
Kroger Grocery Store, Protein Bar Aisle

What’s In The Market

52% of consumers say protein quantity is important to them when choosing a nutrition bar, while 34% say protein source is important, according to Nielson. In terms of sugar, Nielson notes formulators are trying to reduce both naturally occurring sugars (such as those in fruit chunks) and added sugars. So what do today’s protein bars include that has consumers hooked?

Top Protein Bar Flavors

According to Mintel, the top protein bar flavors are still the “originals”, Chocolate, Caramel, Vanilla, Strawberry, Chocolate Chip, Dark Chocolate, Almond, Brownie, Peanut Butter and Almond. When we look ahead at growing flavors, we see flavors like Blueberry, Raspberry, Coconut Almond, Cookie Dough, Lemon, White Chocolate, S’Mores, Birthday Cake and Cinnamon!

Of all the snacks I tasted, the Honey Stinger Waffle was by far the best. Made with an ingredient label I understand and just the right amount of sweetness, they win as an energy food. This flavor-filled snack is perfect for those looking for something not too heavy after a post-workout. As for the bars, it’s clear why the Luna Brand is leading the way for protein bar innovation. The flavors aren’t overly sweet, which is ideal. The bar keeps you full for longer, and who isn’t a fan of snacking on the go? The ingredients are better than many on the market today, and the taste is phenomenal.

Masking Off-Notes

It’s so easy to make protein bars with some serious off-notes, so I appreciate it when a brand goes to the trouble to mask those. Working at Givaudan has allowed me to understand the value of masking off-notes. Our technologies give us the capability to reduce bitterness, acidity, metallic off-notes, lingering sweetness and astringency. Our scientists take a holistic approach to masking across a range of bases and processes including, protein bars. Early engagement with Givaudan’s experts will ensure your base formula is as neutral as possible.

Go Get You Some!

I was pleasantly surprised to see how far protein bars have come. Brands are focused on delivering better taste and textures – and an ever-increasing array of functional benefits. From plant-based proteins to low carb solutions, probiotics and more, it’s clear a lot is happening in this space. If you’re like me and dodged protein bars for most of your life, I suggest you give them a try. I think you’ll be GLAD you did!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: