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  • Published In : Jan 2024
  • Code : CMI6313
  • Pages :140
  • Formats :
      Excel and PDF
  • Industry : Food and Beverages

The Protein Crisps Market size was valued at US$ 2.59 Billion in 2023 and is expected to reach US$ 5.90 Billion by 2030, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12.5% from 2023 to 2030. Protein crisps are crispy snack foods that are a good source of protein. They provide extra protein, making them ideal snacks for health-conscious consumers or fitness enthusiasts looking to build muscle and manage hunger. The high protein content makes protein crisps more filling and keeps consumers fuller for longer compared to regular potato chips. The protein crisps market is driven by the rising popularity of protein-rich foods, growing health and fitness trends, and increasing demand for nutritious on-the-go snacks.

Protein Crisps Market Regional Insights

  • North America is expected to be the largest market for protein crisps during the forecast period, accounting for over 35% of the market share in 2023. The growth of the market in North America is attributed to the high health consciousness and growing fitness culture in the region.
  • The Europe market is expected to be the second-largest market for protein crisps, accounting for over 25% of the market share in 2023. The growth of the market is attributed to the rising demand for premium and innovative protein in the region.
  • The Asia Pacific market is expected to be the fastest-growing market for protein crisps, with a CAGR of 15% during the forecast period. The growth of the market in Asia Pacific is attributed to increasing disposable incomes and growing awareness about protein-rich foods in the region.

Figure 1. Global Protein Crisps Market Share (%), by Region, 2023


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Protein Crisps Market Drivers

  • Growing health and fitness consciousness: The rising health and fitness consciousness among consumers is a major factor driving the growth of the protein crisps market. More people are now focused on leading active lifestyles and eating healthier foods. Protein crisps are viewed as nutritious snacks that can help meet daily protein needs. The high protein content of these crisps makes them ideal snacks for health-conscious consumers looking to build lean muscle, manage hunger, and avoid unhealthy, salty snacks. According to a 2022 survey by the International Food Information Council, 58% of consumers include high-protein foods in their diet. The popularity of high protein diets like paleo, keto, and flexitarian will continue to drive the demand for protein-rich foods, including protein crisps.
  • On-the-go snacking habits: Busy modern lifestyles and evolving snacking habits are expected to propel the protein crisps market. Consumers are seeking convenient, nutritious snacks that they can eat on-the-go between meals. Protein crisps offer portability and nutritional benefits, making them the perfect any-time, anywhere snack. The rising number of people eating snacks at least once a day provides enormous opportunity for protein crisp manufacturers. According to a 2022 Snacking Occasion Consumer Trend Report, 70% of consumers eat snacks for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Protein crisps can effectively fulfill consumer demand for nutritious, grab-and-go snack options.
  • Demand from sports enthusiasts and bodybuilders: Surging demand from athletes, sportspeople, and bodybuilders is fueling the protein crisps market expansion. Protein is vital for building and repairing muscles. Protein crisps provide an easy way for sports enthusiasts to meet their elevated daily protein needs and maximize workout efforts. The additional protein content also makes protein crisps more satiating after an intense workout. With rising participation in sports and fitness activities globally, the application of protein crisps as pre- and post-workout snacks will continue to rise. According to the Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA), there were 5 million more frequent sports participants in the U.S. in 2021 than in 2020.
  • Innovative flavors and varieties: Manufacturers launching innovative flavors and varieties of protein crisps are working favorably for market growth. Consumers are now accustomed to the nutritional benefits of protein crisps and are looking for more exciting flavors beyond the regular cheese or salt flavors. Companies are innovating with newer, enticing flavors like buffalo ranch, Thai sweet chili, and honey mustard. Limited edition and seasonal flavors are also being introduced to attract consumers. The variety of protein sources is also expanding, with crisps made from egg whites, whey, plant proteins etc. Catering to changing consumer preferences will widen the appeal and consumption of protein crisps.

Protein Crisps Market Opportunities

  • Expanding e-commerce distribution channels: The expansion of online and e-commerce distribution channels presents significant profitable opportunities for protein crisp manufacturers. The growing adoption of online grocery shopping since the pandemic has been highly favorable for new and niche snacking brands looking to enter the e-commerce space. Protein crisp companies can tap into this highly popular retail channel to reach a wider demographics of health-conscious consumers seeking the convenience of home delivery. Investing in the digital marketing of their e-commerce stores and online listings can further boost product visibility and sales.
  • Innovating plant-based protein crisps: The rising popularity of plant-based diets and flexitarian eating is creating lucrative prospects for plant-based protein crisps. Consumers looking to add more plant-based foods are expected to positively receive crisps made from nutrient-dense sources like peas, lentils, chickpeas, etc. Companies have already commercialized quinoa crisps, lentil crisps, and more. Further innovations in ingredients and flavors will enable firms to attract the plant-curious demographic. According to data from Upfield Professional, 79% of consumers are adding more plant-based foods to their diet compared to three years ago.
  • Kids protein crisps: Developing protein crisps targeted towards children and teenagers can unlock new consumer segments for companies. Protein crisps with kid-friendly flavors, shapes, and fun packaging can gain wide acceptance among busy young parents seeking healthy snacking options for their children. Portable pouches and multipacks with fun designs can further drive trial and repeat purchases. Protein crisp manufacturers can also collaborate with schools to offer samples and promote their snacks as recess snacks. As per Piper Sandler research, kids 9-12 years old in the U.S. spend over US$40 billion annually.
  • Marketing as protein meal accompaniments: There is potential for protein crisp brands to position their snacks as accompaniments to protein shakes or meals for added nutrition. The crisps can be marketed as tasty croutons for salads and soups that also provide extra protein content. Co-promotions with supplement brands targeting gym-goers or promotions at gyms can effectively showcase this benefit. Additionally, cafes, bars, and restaurants can be targeted to offer ready protein crisps as healthy side orders. Consumers will appreciate the convenience of getting additional protein from snacks accompanying their meals and drinks.

Protein Crisps Market Report Coverage

Report Coverage Details
Base Year: 2022 Market Size in 2023: US$ 2.59 Bn
Historical Data for: 2017 to 2021 Forecast Period: 2023 - 2030
Forecast Period 2023 to 2030 CAGR: 12.5% 2030 Value Projection: US$ 5.90 Bn
Geographies covered:
  • North America: U.S. and Canada
  • Latin America: Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, and Rest of Latin America
  • Europe: Germany, U.K., Spain, France, Italy, Russia, and Rest of Europe
  • Asia Pacific: China, India, Japan, Australia, South Korea, ASEAN, and Rest of Asia Pacific
  • Middle East & Africa: GCC Countries, Israel,  South Africa, North Africa, and Central Africa and Rest of Middle East
Segments covered:
  • By Source: Plant-based, Animal-based, Others
  • By Type: Chips, Bars, Jerky, Trail Mix, Baked Crisps, Protein Balls
  • By Packaging: Pouches, Boxes, Cans, Wrappers, Bags, Jars
  • By Distribution Channel: Supermarkets & Hypermarkets, Convenience Stores, Online, Specialty Stores
  • By End-Use: Athletes, Bodybuilders, Casual Exercisers, Lifestyle Users
Companies covered:

General Mills, Kellogg's, PepsiCo, Post Holdings, Quest Nutrition

Growth Drivers:
  • Growing health and fitness consciousness
  • On-the-go snacking habits
  • Demand from sports enthusiasts and bodybuilders
  • Innovative flavors and varieties
Restraints & Challenges:
  • High pricing may limit mass adoption
  • Presence of competitive substitute snacks
  • Consumer skepticism about nutrition claims

Protein Crisps Market Trends

  • Innovative and premium packaging: Premium and standout packaging is emerging as a major trend in the protein crisps market to attract modern consumers. Brands are innovating packaging with features like high-quality printing, clean designs, convenient resealable bags, and pouches. The packaging visually communicates the premium, healthy positioning of the product inside. Tactile textures and matte finishes are also being used to elevate the unboxing experience. See-through packaging enables consumers to view and trust the quality of the crisps. Recyclable and sustainable materials are being adopted to appeal to eco-conscious consumers. Outstanding packaging can boost product visibility on crowded store shelves.
  • Clean label ingredients: Growing consumer demand for clean label foods is driving the use of simple, natural ingredients in protein crisp production. Consumers want to recognize and trust all the ingredients listed on the label. Protein crisps made with non-GMO ingredients, minimal processing, and natural seasonings appeal strongly to label-scrutinizing consumers. Transparency in the sourcing of ingredients is also valued. Clean label claims like gluten-free, preservative-free, and non-GMO project-verified can enable brands to stand out. A 2022 study by Kerry found over 50% of consumers will switch brands to avoid artificial ingredients. Using real, quality ingredients will thus be critical for protein crisp brands.
  • Increased snacking occasions: Protein crisps are benefiting from increased snacking occasions beyond the traditional mid-morning or mid-afternoon snacks. Busy, time-starved consumers are snacking more throughout the day to fulfill convenience and nutrition needs. Protein crisps are being consumed early in the morning as an on-the-go breakfast, as pre-workout fuel, a mid-morning hunger fix, an evening hunger pang reliever, and even as evening indulgence snacks. Manufacturers are introducing smaller pack sizes, like single-serve pouches, to cater to different dayparts. According to Mondelez’s State of Snacking survey, 95% of consumers globally snack multiple times a day.
  • Creative protein sources: The protein crisp category is witnessing innovation in the protein ingredients used beyond the commonly used whey and soy proteins. Crickets, nuts, seeds, legumes, and eggs are emerging as unconventional protein sources for crisps. For instance, Chapul cricket protein crisps, Tros protein cashew crisps, Barebells egg white crisps etc, These creative ingredients cater to adventurous foodies and sustainability-conscious consumers. Combining plant and animal-based proteins also offers unique nutritional profiles. Emerging protein bases allow brands to differentiate with unique value propositions.

Protein Crisps Market Restraints

  • High pricing may limit mass adoption: The relatively high retail pricing of protein crisps compared to regular potato chips is a major restraining factor for full-scale mainstream adoption. The specialized protein ingredients raise the cost of production, which translates to premium retail pricing. This can deter middle and lower income consumers from purchasing protein crisps for everyday snacking. Price-sensitive consumers may only limit their consumption to occasional indulgence. Mass market growth will require manufacturers to create more cost-effective products without compromising nutrition. For instance, according to statistics from the Food and Agriculture Organization, over 820 million people globally did not have enough food to lead an active lifestyle in 2020. High prices of protein crisps deprive large sections of addressing their hunger and nutrition needs via affordable functional foods.

Counterbalance- High-quality protein ingredients can be costly, which may put pressure on manufacturers to manage pricing and margins while maintaining quality.

  • Presence of competitive substitute snacks: Protein crisps face significant competition from other high protein snacks like protein bars, jerky, high-protein cookies, etc. that enjoy consumer loyalty. Consumers looking to increase their daily protein intake have several snacking options. Protein crisp brands need compelling value propositions to divert consumers from alternate snacks. Limited innovation and product homogeneity can also make the category seem unappealing. Maintaining product diversity and introducing differentiated benefits is imperative. For instance, according to data from the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization, sales of tree nuts such as almonds and peanuts have been steadily rising over the past few years in many regions worldwide. Almonds and peanuts, in particular, offer a cheaper protein-rich snacking option compared to protein crisps. This has impacted the demand for protein crisps.
  • Consumer skepticism about nutrition claims: General consumer skepticism regarding label claims on food products also limits protein crisp adoption. Though most protein crisps are positioned as nutritious, some products contain high sodium, fats, and carbohydrates. Exaggerated claims or false messaging fuel a lack of trust. Transparent labeling, clean ingredients, and third-party certifications like Non-GMO Project Verified can enable brands to overcome skepticism. Investing in consumer education about reading labels is important for long-term success. For example, as per a study by the European Commission in 2020, it was found that certain cereal bars and snacks marketed as high-fiber did not meet the labeling criteria for the "high fiber" claim. Such instances have made consumers wary of bold nutrition claims for new product categories like Protein Crisps.

Analyst View

The protein crisps market is expected to grow significantly in the coming years. As consumers become more health-conscious and seek convenient snack options that are low in calories and high in protein, protein crisps provide a viable alternative to traditional potato chips. The portability and variety of flavors offered by protein crisps also make them an attractive snack for on-the-go consumers. North America currently dominates the protein crisps market due to increasing demand for gluten-free and vegan snacks. However, Asia Pacific is expected to offer lucrative opportunities owing to rising health awareness among the growing middle class population in countries like China and India. The market in Europe will also grow steadily with the popularity of protein-rich snacks. While plant-based protein crisps will continue to gain traction among flexitarians and vegans, whey protein-based variants still account for a major share. Going forward, companies should explore innovations like pulse-derived proteins to cater to diverse consumer preferences. Additionally, frequent new product launches with flavors inspired by global cuisines and spice profiles can help boost sales volumes. On the challenging side, high input costs associated with premium ingredients may restrict the market to some extent. Also, the presence of alternatives like beef or chicken jerky poses competition. However, factors like evolving lifestyles, frequent snacking occasions, and aggressive marketing strategies adopted by key players are likely.

Recent Developments

New product launches

  • In September 2022, launched new Kashi GO Protein Wafer Crisps, a crispy wafer snack made with pea protein. The on-the-go protein snacks contain 5g plant-based protein. Kellogg’s Company is an American multinational food manufacturing company headquartered in Chicago, U.S. Kellogg's produces cereal (outside North America) and convenience foods, including crackers and toaster pastries, and markets their products through several well-known brands, including Kellogg's brand itself, Rice Krispies Treats, Pringles, Eggo, and Cheez-It, along with cereals internationally such as Corn Flakes, Rice Krispies, Frosties, and Coco Pops.
  • In April 2021, PepsiCo introduced new plant-based Off the Eaten Path Lentil & Pea Protein Crisps as a high protein vegan snack. The chips offer 5gm of protein per serving. PepsiCo, is an American multinational food, snack, and beverage corporation headquartered in Harrison, New York, in the hamlet of Purchase. PepsiCo's business encompasses all aspects of the food and beverage market. It oversees the manufacturing, distribution, and marketing of its products.
  • In January 2022, introduced its new Quest Chips, crunchy baked protein chips available in flavors like loaded taco, cheddar sour cream, and barbecue. The chips contain 21gm of protein per serving. Quest Nutrition is a protein bar and snack company. Founded in 1999, Quest Nutrition is now a leading brand in the protein bar and snack market. Quest Nutrition products are designed to provide a healthy and convenient way to fuel your fitness and nutrition goals.

Acquisition and partnerships

  • In August 2022, PepsiCo partnered with Beyond Meat to develop and distribute new plant-based protein snacks and beverages, tapping into the vegan trend. Beyond Meat, is a Los Angeles–based producer of plant-based meat substitutes founded in 2009 by Mr. Ethan Brown. The company's initial products were launched in the United States in 2012. The company went public in 2019, becoming the first plant-based meat analogue company to go public.
  • In October 2021, Simply Good Foods acquired Quest Nutrition, a maker of protein bars, chips, and cookies, for US$1 billion to expand its product portfolio. Simply Good Foods is a company that focuses on providing nutritious and convenient snack options to consumers. The company's mission is to empower and educate consumers about how to eat right and snack smarter through education, advocacy, products, and innovation.
  • In May 2020, Post Holdings acquired Hearthside Food Solutions, LLC protein bar business to expand its nutritional and protein bar offerings. Post Holdings, Inc. is an American consumer packaged goods holding company headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri, with businesses operating in the center-of-the-store, refrigerated, foodservice, and food ingredient categories. Hearthside Food Solutions, LLC manufactures grain based food and snack products. The Company offers energy, snack, granola, and baked bars, as well as cookies, crackers, pretzels, croutons, breadcrumbs, and other baked foods and snacks. Hearthside Food Solutions serves customers in the United States and Europe.

Figure 2. Global Protein Crisps Market Share (%), by Distribution Channel, 2023


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Top companies in Protein Crisps Market

  • General Mills
  • Kellogg's
  • PepsiCo
  • Post Holdings
  • Quest Nutrition

Definition: Protein crisps are crunchy, crispy snack foods that are high in protein content. They are essentially tasty, crispy snacks packed full of protein, offering a convenient way to increase protein intake without sacrificing texture, flavor, or indulgence. These snacks are ideal for on-the-go moments, pre or post-workout, or as a treat when cravings strike. They are made from a variety of quality protein sources like whey, soy, lentil, chickpea, and vegetables, making them a great choice for those with dietary restrictions.

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Frequently Asked Questions

High prices, consumer skepticism, competition from substitutes, stringent regulations are the key factors hampering growth of the protein crisps market.

Growing health consciousness, rising fitness culture, increasing demand for healthy snacks, high protein diet trends are the major factors driving the protein crisps market growth.

The leading distribution segment in the protein crisps market are Supermarkets & Hypermarkets and Online.

General Mills, Kellogg's, PepsiCo, Post Holdings, Quest Nutrition

North America is expected to continue leading the protein crisps market.

The protein crisps market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 12.5% from 2023 to 2030.

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