In our constant quest to boost recovery between gym sessions and build more muscle, some form of protein is never too far out of reach.

Whether it’s a convenient whey protein shake or a whole-food meal with a generous protein portion, this macronutrient is the focal point in the diets of physique-conscious individuals.

And we’re spoilt for choice when it comes to getting in that next dose of highly bioavailable protein, thanks to advances in food manufacturing and processing technologies and innovation in the functional food and supplement markets.

Protein in everything

A quick search online or a browse through your nearest Dis-Chem store will reveal the scale of the protein-enriched functional foods category. There is some for just about every meal and taste preference.

Functional foods are fortified, enriched or enhanced foods that have a potentially beneficial effect on health when consumed as part of a varied whole-food diet.

And within this product segment, functional protein foods have moved from meeting the niched needs of serious gym-goers and athletes, to gain widespread acceptance in mainstream food markets. It’s so big, in fact, that industry pundits are now terming protein-enriched foods a mega-trend.

Adding protein to everyday dietary staples is now being used as a differentiator in a cluttered retail environment, and to cater to the broader public’s desire for healthy alternatives to traditional products, especially among health-conscious millennials.

A Markets and Markets report on the global functional proteins industry projects that sales of these items will reach $5.73 billion by 2022.

Various functional benefits

These foods are marketed as a means to:

  • Boost sporting performance
  • Aid recovery from training
  • Build muscle.
  • Augment a weight-loss diet
  • Curb appetite
  • Limit age-related muscle loss

They’re also really convenient, enabling consumers to get an immediate protein boost without having to physically add in a scoop or two of whey before preparing a meal.

These benefits deliver a value proposition that is resonating with an increasing number of consumers. To meet the spike in demand, food manufacturers also have access to a variety of protein sources, such as whey (from dairy), eggs, nuts and plant-based proteins.

Protein-packed options

This has resulted in the ever-increasing selection of protein-enriched products across many food and beverage categories, beyond already popular protein bars and drinks.

These are just a few of the more widely available options available in your local Dis-Chem Pharmacy or online:

Biogen Peanut Butter Protein Bites: A high protein snack alternative for those following an energy-controlled diet. These delicious anytime snacks are made with Biogen Iso-Whey Premium Protein for a high-quality protein treat.

Biogen Protein Oat Cookie: Made with real ingredients, including gluten-free oats and cocoa nibs, and provides 14g of protein per biscuit. It is soft and chewy and not too sweet, making it a great snack for any time of day, whether you need a protein boost post-workout or just for an anytime nutritious snack.

Body Attack Protein Coffee: An ice-cooled mix of 100% Arabica beans, high-quality milk protein and lots of caffeine. It is full-bodied in taste, with no added sugar, no fat and 25g of protein per can.

FutureLife Smart Food: A scientifically formulated, low GI food that is high in energy, protein and dietary fibre. It can be enjoyed as a meal, snack, shake or smoothie. It mixes instantly with water or milk, requiring no cooking.

My Protein Pantry: A range of delicious and decadent high-protein gourmet snacks that include Chocolate Bark, Protein Date Balls, and Whey Coated Walnuts.

Supashape Almond & Collagen Protein Butter: A nutritious, guilt-free almond butter with added hydrolysed collagen protein. It is high in protein and fibre and contains no added salt and sugar. It’s an ideal spread or addition for pancakes, toast, smoothies and rice cakes.

Youthful Living: A range of fit foods and spreads ideal for health- and physique-conscious shoppers. The range includes Protein Crunchies, Protein Truffles, Protein Cookies and Protein Almonds, among others.

Natures Choice High Protein Nut Butter with Honey & Cinnamon: Contains high-quality whey protein powder with no refined sugar. The added honey and cinnamon provide antioxidants, vitamins, calcium and iron. Use it in smoothies, drizzled over cereal or simply enjoy straight out the bottle.

Wholesome Earth Gluten Free Protein Quick Oats: A Canadian natural health foods brand that follows strict production regulations. The range is free from artificial additives, flavouring, colourants, preservatives and GMOs. This tasty breakfast option is available in 3 different flavours. Added plant protein makes this fibre-rich cereal a smart choice to start the day.