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The global protein bar market size was valued at USD 4.54 billion in 2021. The market is projected to grow from USD 4.68 billion in 2022 to USD 7.07 billion by 2029, exhibiting a CAGR of 6.1% during the forecast period. The global COVID-19 pandemic has been unprecedented and staggering, with protein bar experiencing lower-than-anticipated demand across all regions compared to pre-pandemic levels. Based on our analysis, the global market exhibited a decline of -5.3% in 2020 as compared to 2019.
Protein/nutrition bars are nutritious food items that provide necessary protein supplements to the body. The growing consumer preferences toward ready-to-eat (RTE), meal replacing, and packed food items are boosting the demand for such products. The rising awareness of the benefits of health and nutrition bars, such as helping to repair and build tissue reduces the craving for food at an instant, lowers blood pressure, helps reduce weight, and others, acts as a flourishing factor for the increasing demand for these bars in the global marketplace. The global market is being driven by rising demand for convenience foods. With consumers’ increasingly hectic lifestyles, bars have increased consumption as a healthy and convenient snack option.
An Infographic Representation of Protein Bar Market
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Sudden Disruption of the Global Supply Chain Affected the Market Growth
Bars are a staple of convenient and on-the-go snacking. The sales of nutrition bars and various other nutrition bars fell sharply in 2020 when the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic curtailed activities and prompted many people to stay home. However, the bar category had a major resurgence in 2021, as limitations were eased and individuals resumed their customary activities. Moreover, due to the COVID-19 outbreak, most sports tournaments and competitions were on hold or canceled worldwide. The majority of the fitness centers and health clubs were also shut down due to lockdown. For instance, in a webinar organized by European Specialists Sports Nutrition Alliance in May 2020, industry professionals put up reasons for decreased sales of sports nutrition products amid COVID-19. The topmost reasons include reductions in usual training regimes, closures of purchasing outlets, and other health and financial priorities.
Uncertain incidences of the COVID-19 have severely impacted the consumption rates of such products, thereby affecting the revenues of the associated companies. According to BellRings Brand, Inc., in May 2020, the net sales of PowerBar, a prominent nutritional snack brand, witnessed a decline of 19.7% by volume during the second quarter of the company’s financial year 2020.
However, the growing consumer preferences for the immunity-boosting food products during such an outbreak is likely to fuel demand for healthy & energy-efficient snack items. The growing concern over health and well-being has propelled the rising trend of items with functionally specific health advantages.
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Development of Innovative Flavors and Variants to Augment Growth
Healthy protein-rich bars are becoming increasingly popular as people seek more natural, flavorful, and simply accessible snacks. The manufacturers also leverage technology to remove most lactose to fit people’s lactose intolerance and create convenient protein-fortified food products for the younger generation. As product innovation plays an important role in market growth, market players are launching sustainable products with next-generation protein. For instance, in May 2021, ODD FUTURE Co., Ltd., a Tokyo-based company, launched cricket protein bars in chocolate and matcha flavors. The product embodies the body and earth-friendly brand idea as it is made of artificial sweeteners, dairy products, and gluten-free/genetically modified. Therefore, new product development with novel protein sources and reduced sugar content is expected to offer growth opportunities to manufacturers.
Rising Inclination toward Fitness and Protein Diet to Drive Market Growth
Protein bar is a new emerging food type that has been readily used as a nutritional supplement. This convenient ready-to-eat protein source is gaining popularity among fitness-conscious groups owing to muscle building ability of its key ingredient, proteins. It is considered a suitable post-workout snack after gym activities, sports personnel, and people involved in heavy-duty work where vigorous physical activity is demanded. Protein intake is necessary for athletes and weight trainers to maintain energy levels and boost performance. Therefore, increasing the adoption of fitness activities globally is expected to augment the product demand.
In addition, the large market players and other small market players operating in the market are highly inclined toward product innovation to meet the specific requirements of athletes. For instance, in September 2020, Maxim Nutrition, a Netherlands-based sports nutrition company, launched the Maxim Apple cinnamon energy bar to provide sports enthusiasts with high-quality nutrients and a solid foundation for a good performance.
Increasing Trend of On-The-Go Breakfast/Meal Items to Support Market Growth
Changes in lifestyle, longer traveling times, and hectic schedules at work make it necessary to have healthy meal options wherein the demand for convenience foods is rapidly growing. Therefore, healthy bars are a promising alternative to meals that are easy to carry and provide control over hunger by acting as an instant energy booster. According to the ‘Food & Health Survey’ conducted in 2018 by the International Food Information Council (IFIC) Foundation, about 10% of the surveyed American population said they would prefer protein for energy. More than 10% stated that they would consume its proteins against cardiovascular issues. Therefore, the high demand for healthy foods owing to the increasing number of health clubs is expected to propel the demand for protein-enriched bars in the near future.
Availability of Alternative Products and High Sugar Content to Dampen Growth
A variety of alternative products are readily available in the market that serve protein supplementation, such as protein cookies, protein powders, and protein shakes & proteins infused beverages. Other products such as multivitamin bars and other snack bars that provide necessary nutrition are also available in the market, which is expected to pose a challenge to the market growth. In addition, awareness regarding adverse health effects caused by the presence of artificial sweeteners as well as hydrogenated fats in the product is also expected to limit the product demand. Also, the restrictive regulatory scenario in terms of the quality of ingredients, such as flavors, coloring agents, sweeteners and preservatives, is likely to pose a challenge to the protein bar market growth.
Plant-based to Account for Major Share Owing to Rising Number of Vegetarians
Plant-based protein bars are anticipated to dominate the market as they are made by using all sorts of natural ingredients such as fruit, nut butter, seeds, and others rich in nutrition and help protect the body against various types of diseases. The rising number of vegetarianism all over the globe gives rise to the increasing consumption of the product as more people are moving toward the consumption of a plant-based diet to maintain a healthier lifestyle. According to the data published by the Vegan Society, in 2019, there is an assessment of 600,000 vegans present in Great Britain, which is 1.16% of the total population. Furthermore, plant-based bars possess low-fat content, and therefore, there is a growing demand among people with obesity.
The animal-based segment has witnessed considerable growth in the market as such items are highly consumed as meal replacement food. Animal-based protein bars are made from animal milk, eggs, and other products. It possesses a high biological value, which means that protein consumption has a high utilization rate by the body. The rising number of health and fitness club participants obsessed with maintaining their body health escalates the demand for the product as it generates better results than other types of bars.
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Sports Nutrition Bars to be Leading Type Attributed to its Rising Popularity Among Sportsmen
Sports nutrition bars segment is estimated to be the dominating segment based on type owing to high protein content that contains essential nutrients, which could help repair and boost the performance of the body. The rising popularity of the product among sportsmen of different sports such as football, basketball, cricket, hockey, and others helps to upsurge the consumption of sports nutrition bar as it contains cereals and other high energy foods, which have the ability to quickly provide energy in a short span of time. Furthermore, the growing participation of people in extreme sports, which requires long distance traveling, such as marathon and triathlon, assist to generate more traction of the product as these sports are often made to open participation even for the general public.
Meal replacement bars segment is also projected to display a significant growth owing to the rising number of people with busy working schedules. The rising number of people working in hazardous working environments, such as construction of tunnels, mining, and others, where consumption of high protein food is required to regain their body strength acts as a flourishing factor for the growing consumption of the product.
Online Channels Segment Emerge as Dominant Owing to Strong Presence of Prominent E-Commerce Stores
Online channels segment is predicted to hold a major share of the market owing to the huge number of prominent players worldwide selling nutritional products through online channels such as Amazon.com, Puritans Pride Inc., NuGo Nutrition Natures Basket Co., and others. According to Glanbia Nutrition, in 2021, online grocery shopping was done by 42% of U.S. customers once a month or more (compared to 33% in 2020 and 27% in 2019). The e-commerce trend, which includes buying in multipacks rather than singles and the rise and strengthening of direct-to-consumer partnerships, will continue to positively affect bar sales. Also, attractive online advertisements and discounts on the premium protein bar are attracting consumers to buy those products.
The mass merchandising segment holds a considerable protein bar market share owing to the increasing provision of offers by mass merchandising stores on the purchase of the bulk quantity of packed food groceries that have given rise to the demand for nutritional products from these stores.
The convenience stores segment has shown the strongest growth in the food products’ demand as these stores are easily accessible to consumers. Also, the increasing retail sector has facilitated the consumer demand toward shopping for various staple products such as chocolate chips, medium protein bars, and candies from retail stores.
North America Protein Bar Market Size, 2021 (USD billion)
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The market is categorized into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, South America, and the Middle East & Africa in terms of geography.
North America dominated the market and was valued at USD 2.61 billion in 2021. The rising number of fitness enthusiasts, coupled with an increasing number of gyms, fitness training centers, and health clubs in North America, is expected to dominate the global market. The population in the United States is focusing on improving health conditions and the protein diet is considered as one of the potential solutions to serve the purpose. The rise of protein-enriched bars is associated with the region’s between-meal-snacking cultures. Consumers seek nutritious and convenient foods that can double as an on-the-go meal. According to the International Food Information Council’s 2020 Food and Health Survey, approximately 90% of Americans reported snacking at least once a week. One-quarter report doing so multiple times a day, with 38% saying they occasionally replace meals with a snack.
Furthermore, the healthy snacking trend is also increasing in North America to address various health issues, including high cholesterol, obesity, high blood sugar, and others. As consumers’ concern about their health increases, this extends beyond nutrition to clean label ingredients bars that are perceived to be healthier. Thus, the demand for protein bars with no artificial flavors, colors, preservatives, and non-GMO products is growing.
Europe is anticipated to exhibit significant growth. The rising working-class population is likely to foster demand for protein enriched bars due to its compact and portable size and nutritious values that can serve the body’s energy requirement during hectic schedules. Plant-based protein is becoming more popular as consumers believe it is healthier than traditional animal protein. This expansion is fueled by an increase in the use of vegan products. Key players are keen to obtain organic and vegan certification from various authorities such as Soil Association's organic certification in the U.K., that, in turn, aid in building trust among consumers regarding ingredient quality, which is anticipated to add impetus to the market.
The market in Asia Pacific is anticipated to witness fastest growth owing to the growing infrastructural facilities related to various conventions and brick & mortar stores that have supported the growth of the market in emerging countries. With the rising awareness about protein intake in markets, such as China and India, the market volume and the value of the protein bar products will accelerate, impacting the overall regional growth. According to the General Office of the State Council’s Outline for China’s Food and Nutrition Development (2014-2020), Chinese people should aim for a daily protein intake of 78g per person, up from 58g per person currently. The high protein concept exemplifies the great potential of healthy bars, especially in recent years as Chinese consumers’ healthy awareness has grown as a result of the pandemic.
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In South America, bars are driving the protein trend and consumers are actively trying to increase protein or are aware they should. Sugar and sodium reduction are big trends in Latin America as the local governments are taking a very active role in curbing sugar consumption. Thus, the government’s support for low-sugar diets further propels the market.
Product Portfolio Expansion by Major Companies to Fuel Market Growth
The global market includes various prominent companies such as Mondelez International Inc., General Mills Inc., Glanbia Plc., and others. Mondelez International Inc. is a leading player in the market with its most popular product the ‘Perfect Bar’. The companies in the market are keen to conduct different acquisition activities to achieve the first-mover advantage in various vegan, diet, sports, meal-replacing and energy-boosting niche markets. For instance, in March 2021, Mondelez International acquired Grenade, a British-based performance nutrition company operating in the rapidly growing high protein enriched bars category. Grenade’s delectable, on-trend products provide an amazing platform for Mondelez International in the U.K market and beyond.
The research report offers quantitative and qualitative insights into the market. It also offers a detailed analysis of the market growth rate, share, and size rate for all possible segments in the market. The report also offers insights into the protein bar market trends analysis, competitive landscape, company profiles, and supply chain analysis. Various key insights presented in the market report are an overview of related markets, recent industry developments such as mergers & acquisitions, and key global industry trends.
Value (USD billion)
By Distribution Channel
Fortune Business Insights says that the market size was USD 4.54 billion in 2021 and is projected to reach USD 7.07 billion by 2029.
Growing at a CAGR of 6.1%, the market will exhibit steady growth during the forecast period (2022-2029).
Sports nutrition bar is leading the type segment in the market.
Rising inclination toward fitness and protein diet is expected to drive the market growth.
The Kellogg Company, Glanbia Plc, General Mills Inc., and the Simply Good Foods Company are the key players in the market.
North America dominated the market share in 2021.
Online channel is the leading distribution channel in the global market.
New product launches and increasing exports to various countries are some of the trends in the global market.
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