The European Whey Processors Association (EWPA) has announced the results of the first European Whey Protein Consumer Tracker.
The European Whey Processors Association (EWPA) has announced the results of the first European Whey Protein Consumer Tracker. Whey protein is, it notes, a long established and valued ingredient in the sports nutrition industry. With a high biological value and a full complement of amino acids, the organisation says whey protein plays a health-promoting role in the diet.Evolving science continues to highlight the benefits of whey protein throughout all life stages, EWPA continues: however, it says, results from the recent survey indicate that there is significant education required for the general public. “The survey uncovered many interesting insights that we were not fully aware of,” said Bénédicte Masure, EWPA Secretary General. “One of the most surprising results was that despite the fact that 77% of respondents recognise that protein is an important part of their diet, almost 50% were unaware of the right quantity of protein to consume daily.”Representing leading agri-dairy food players across the EU, the EWPA says it wants to build key consumer insights around whey proteins to support the sustainable growth of this sector. In order to meet this objective, an independent survey was commissioned to establish consumer perceptions, consumption patterns and purchasing behaviour as they relate to proteins in Europe. Surveying 7,396 Europeans across eight countries, the survey was designed and implemented by YouGov, thus ensuring a comprehensive and representative sample. The online survey, which selected people interested in nutrition and/or taking physical exercise at least once a month, also captured the geographic and cultural diversity of the EU. Countries surveyed included France, UK, Germany, Poland, Sweden, Spain, the Netherlands and Ireland during the months of February and March 2017. Whereas the surveyed group in general understood the benefits of whey protein in terms of muscle building and recovery and the ability to maintain healthy bones and joints, EWPA notes that a large proportion stated that the key consumption driver of whey protein was its benefit of staying active as they age, and providing general health benefits. 42% of the respondents are managing their nutritional intake but are not yet aware of the claimed health benefits of whey protein. This is especially the case for female and older respondents where active ageing is such a primary concern. Furthermore, the majority of respondents do not know where to buy whey protein. The survey also revealed that a current key barrier to whey protein consumption is a lack of awareness about it. 34% of those surveyed stated that they do not know much about it. Consumers are not getting the full message about whey protein, EWPA says, and it appears that untapped potential remains. Based on the results from the recent survey, EWPA in conjunction with its members will identify strategies, for building the European case for whey protein consumption. “The survey will enable EWPA to define opportunities for education around whey, by providing insight on specific target groups, and uncovering current barriers to whey protein consumption,” said Masure. Communicating on the wide-ranging health benefits of whey protein could also lift the main barrier to whey protein consumption, EWPA believes, which is a lack of knowledge about it, and increase and broaden its consumption "The survey shows there is no doubt that clear targeted communications will create increased demand for whey protein in European markets. We plan to further expand on key insights from the survey in 2017 at key upcoming events such as the International Whey Conference (IWC) in Chicago, and Food Ingredients Europe (FiE) in Frankfurt, with the aim of increasing the awareness of the benefits of whey protein, and expanding its use beyond the current core users,” Masure concluded.