Analysis of Vegetable Proteins in Consumer Research

February 21, 2017

In the past last two decades, high-protein diets have gone from being a staple of the fitness community to a mainstream dieting option.

Despite the recent paradigm shift in the populace’s eating habits, most people around the globe associate proteins with bodybuilders and athletes. This fallacy may have arisen due to recent advertisements and shows screening sports gurus drinking protein shakes after a training session and focusing on lean meats when they are cutting down before a bodybuilding show or athletics meet. However, the importance of proteins cannot be undermined as it is one of the most important macronutrients for staying fit and healthy. A key thing to note here is that, though, meat-based products are excellent sources of proteins, eating a diet that’s based primarily on vegetables can easily meet your protein requirements and supplement your body with essential micronutrients.

The dietary requirement for protein is not as high as one might think, and many people – vegetarian or not – consume more proteins than their bodies need. Furthermore, with the recent trend of veganism among the millennials and growing health consciousness among consumers, the demand for vegetable proteins has increased substantially over the past couple of years. This recent increase in the demand for vegetable proteins has subsequently resulted in the popularity of texturized vegetable proteins and hydrolyzed vegetable proteins. Texturized vegetable proteins are made from multiple sources like wheat, cotton seeds, and oats; whereas, hydrolyzed proteins are derived from boiling cereals or legumes in hydrochloric acid and then neutralizing the solution with sodium hydroxide. Another key aspect that is influencing the market space for vegetable proteins is the growing demand for protein ingredients from industries like animal feed, cosmetics and personal care, and pharmaceutical.

However, to deal with the dynamism of this market space, market-leading companies in the food and beverage industry have been compelled to expand their operations and establish new business units in emerging geographies. The consumer research services offered by Infiniti, help strategy experts and decision makers understand how the recent paradigm shift from meat-based products to vegetable proteins will affect the consumers’ preference level for their respective products. Additionally, our consumer research analysis also offers an in-depth understanding of recent developments and innovations in the industry and relevant stakeholders’ views on the current and future market scenario.

The Business Challenge

To understand the rapidly changing demand-supply shift in this market space and gain better insights into consumers’ buying pattern, the client – a leading global ingredient solutions provider for the F&B, brewing, and pharmaceutical industries – approached Infiniti to carry out a consumer research analysis for its products. Thecapture2 market opportunity engagement, which included a consumer research analysis, would help the client understand customer preference levels, acceptance, and expectations regarding food products containing pulse-based ingredients, flours, and protein ingredients. The ingredient solutions provider also wanted to better guide its consumers on how to label pulse ingredients, including any claims positioning benefits. The consumer research analysis would also offer insights into the additional usage of pulse ingredients based on consumer response.

The primary objective of this consumer research analysis was to help the ingredient solutions provider understand consumers’ acceptance levels and appeal of pulse ingredients such as fava bean, lentil, pea, chickpea flours and proteins across the US and Canada.

Infiniti’s consumer research support team also spoke to key stakeholders responsible for the sales and distribution of similar food products to understand how the market would grow in short and long term across target regions and also to validate the industry’s size and consumer research model developed for this segment.

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Solution Offered and Business Impact

By following a two-step research approach consisting of qualitative research and quantitative survey, our industry specialists helped the client gain insights into consumers’ preference levels and expectations regarding their products. Our research team also conduct detailed IDIs with consumers across the US and Canada to gather consumers’ reactions to the labels. These IDIs would act as the initial precursor and would help filter down the large list of concepts and label preferences to the ones that actually appeal to the consumers. The shortlisted concepts and label preferences would then be assessed comprehensively through a Max-Diff based quantitative survey to understand the optimization scenarios across a different combination of concepts and labels. The insights procured through this methodology would help the global ingredient solutions provider develop effective marketing strategies for its products.

In a span of 10 weeks, the ingredient solutions provider for the food, beverage, brewing, and pharmaceutical industries was able to leverage Infiniti’s vast knowledge base of business executives across the North American region within the food and beverage industry to understand consumer acceptance and appeal of pulse ingredients across target regions.

To assess the challenges specific to the food and beverage sector, Infiniti’s consumer research solutions team have developed a comprehensive proprietary database consisting of information on more than two million industry experts, key opinion leaders, payers, key competitors, and end-users.

What do the clients appreciate about our approach?

In a relatively short period of just 10 weeks, the client – a leading ingredient solutions provider for the food and beverage and pharmaceutical sector – saw numerous benefits from our relationship. The benefit was not only in terms of understanding consumers’ reactions to the labels but was also in terms of the the additional insights offered by our team to help them gain insights on the usage of pulse ingredients based on consumers’ response.

Here are some of the key points appreciated by our clients

  • Dedicated Market Intelligence Portal. A centralized platform for the collection, storing, processing, reporting, and dissemination of information with the specific purpose of assisting the decision-making process and developing actionable insights. This portal includes comprehensive information on quantitative and qualitative aspects on target markets, competitors and end-users.
  • Collaborative learning. We leveraged the experience of our healthcare team and our technical capabilities to enable report-sharing and other collaborative features appreciated by client teams.
  • Database Access. Access to a patient database containing information about 60+ medical diseases and conditions, such as patients undergoing treatment, untreated patients, and patients with chronic conditions.
  • Interactive Dashboard. Using our Portal based solution for healthcare professionals, we took a design-first approach to problem-solving and helped break through previously held assertions.
  • Value for Money. Infiniti’s dedicated client management team customizes reports to suit business requirements and offers the best insights for every dollar spent.

A must-read market opportunity case analysis for strategy experts and decision makers looking for effective consumer research analysis.

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Vegetable Proteins

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