Nick Morgan, managing director of Nutrition Integrated - the data and insights provider which undertook the study – believes this will be a category to keep your eyes on.
“The data highlights an emerging segment that we expect to see continue to grow over the coming year as it presents a huge opportunity for manufacturers and brands to diversify their offering and reach a larger consumer base,” he said.
In fact, Amazon sales data shows that, in the UK alone, consumer purchases of clear protein powders increased by 216% in 2023 vs 2022.
According to Nutrition Integrated, clear protein powders offer similar nutritional profiles to traditional powders, but advancements in protein technology enables the creation of a more refreshing taste and texture, similar to water or juice, rather than milk.
Historically, the flavour, texture and positioning of protein shakes has “alienated” the mainstream consumer, Morgan said.
“Clear protein powders are giving brands a way to tap into growing consumer demand for products that offer additional health benefits. By creating protein versions of everyday products such as juice and water, they can catch the attention of a new audience,” he continued.
Growth within this segment is currently being propelled by a small handful of brands, at just 8%. As it stands, the majority of products use a whey protein formulation (76%), with just a quarter (25%) using plant-based.
MyProtein is said to offer the widest range of clear protein powders; and its head of innovation, Paul Smith-Johnson, says the company has seen “remarkable growth” within this category.
“The light and refreshing nature of clear whey provides a unique consumption experience that appeals broadly, particularly to those that have grown tired of traditional textures and flavour profiles. We expect clear whey to continue its growth as it solidifies its position globally within the sports nutrition market and more manufacturers start to focus on this offering,” Smith-Johnson said.
Commenting on the future appetite for this segment, Morgan added: “In the same way that protein bars have moved into the mainstream, we expect to see clear protein powders become increasingly popular as brands look to make the most of this emerging market.”
Meanwhile, research has discovered that as many as 31% of UK adults don't want their plant-based food to resemble animal products - read more here.