Protein power: Consumers in emerging Asian markets increasingly understand the benefits

By Millette Burgos

- Last updated on GMT

Consumers' understanding of protein's benefits is soaring in developing markets. ©iStock
Consumers' understanding of protein's benefits is soaring in developing markets. ©iStock

Related tags Nutrition

Consumer understanding of the nutritional benefits of protein is soaring in Asia, according to research from NZMP, the ingredients brand of New Zealand-based dairy manufacturer Fonterra.

NZMP conducted comparative surveys in five markets, namely Indonesia, China, Japan, UK and US.

“We wanted to understand how we can operate in this highly fragmenting market that protein is going to,”​ said Roshena de Leon, global insights manager for NZMP.

De Leon presented key findings of NZMP’s research at the recent Protein Now industry event, which the company held in Singapore.

Of the five markets surveyed, Indonesia registered the highest protein awareness level at 91%, followed by the UK at 87%, Japan at 85%, the US at 84% and China at 75%.

De Leon attributed Indonesia’s high protein awareness to the government’s nutrition programmes, which highlight protein’s importance for health.

She pointed out that 47% of respondents there understood protein’s ​importance in maintaining body wellness.

In China on the other hand, she said while protein was regarded as a positive, alongside vitamins and minerals, survey participants presented fragmented views on how it benefitted overall health.

Immunity support

For example, 20% said protein gave energy and stamina to the body, while 14% said protein was good for maintaining body wellness. Other protein perceptions included making bodies stronger 13%, good nutrients (11%) and boosting the immune system (9%).

In Japan, the UK and the US, protein is strongly linked to sports nutrition, and consumers there perceived it as a crucial nutrient for strengthening muscles, she added.

Lastly, the study found that most consumers from all five markets believed that the best protein source come from animals – whether as meat, dairy or eggs.

“The robustness of animal protein attracts consumers,”​ said de Leon. 

The texture and taste of animal protein was preferred as well, she added.

Asian demand for protein productstoo is projected to increase by 11% to 2021, de Leon said.

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