Cargill Protein Profile finds households demand easier meal options 

Annual trends report reveals top industry insights, including consumers’ desire for more diverse and globally inspired foods on their menus

North American consumers need protein solutions that are right-sized, simple, globally inspired and affordable. That’s according to the newly published “Protein Profile,” an annual report produced by Cargill’s North American Protein business. The comprehensive findings are compiled by Cargill’s Marketing and Insights team, based on their own proprietary research and market intelligence gleaned from working with North America’s top retailers, food manufacturers and restaurants, and from customer and consumer surveys.

In this year’s report, Cargill’s Marketing and Insights team provides a detailed look at the latest protein consumption trends and innovations, as well as future insights and implications for brands, retailers, restaurants, other food service providers, as well consumers.

Notable findings from “The Protein Profile” include:

Less is More: As the “standard” family size continues to shrink and one-to-two-person households gain prominence, the shift means new ways of shopping and increased demand for smaller packages of protein to avoid food waste and better manage monthly grocery budgets.   

Simplify My Life: Convenience reigns supreme and that means more people are reaching for protein and solutions that streamline routines and meal planning. Technological advancements are at the forefront of this continued trend, with new and enhanced capabilities like AI and automation enhancing everything from order processing to fueling custom recipe inspiration.

Connecting Cultures and Cuisines: More diverse and globally influenced flavours are on the menu, as consumers – especially Gen Z – seek comfort in the flavours of diverse cultures. This includes mashing up cuisines and influences in new and interesting ways. Global flavour expansion has greatly impacted protein-centric meals and snacks, with culinary chefs and food service operators alike creating new food protein experiences and expanding offerings in bold, new ways.

Redefining Value: While some are choosing premium items to prepare at home, others are prioritizing value by choosing simpler meals while shopping and dining. This dichotomy reinforces that many are defining protein “value” on their terms and it’s no longer a one-size-fits-all approach.

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