A significant number of consumers are now shopping the plant protein powder category, according to new research commissioned by MycoTechnology, Inc., the mushroom mycelial fermentation specialist.

A survey of 725 plant protein powder users, carried out by Brightfield Group in the first quarter of 2023, found that just 17 percnet of them identified as vegan. Additionally, 38 percent of the respondents in the survey who declared that they purchase only plant-based protein powders said they mixed them with dairy milk, indicating that they buy such products for reasons other than dietary lifestyle choices.

The ingredient is no longer exclusive to vegans and athletes, as fewer than half of the respondents in the survey (46 percent) identified as athletes, even though as many as 77 percent of them said they exercised at least three times a week. The vast majority (93 percent) stated that they exercise to support their mental health.

Nearly all of those surveyed (92 percent) said they would find a product more appealing if it offered higher quality protein, with 91 percent attracted by a protein that is more complete. Beyond nutritional factors, 91 percent of respondents said they favor products that promise a better taste.

“These findings demonstrate that plant protein is smashing apart outdated stereotypes and is now earning strong support among mainstream consumers. The fact that so many blend their plant protein powder with milk is a strong sign that non-vegans consider plant protein to be a conventional product and a key part of a healthy diet,” says MycoTechnology marketing director Jonas Feliciano. “Most notably, all but a few of the respondents to our survey said that they considered protein quality and flavor to be of the utmost importance. The successful plant proteins of the future will be those which are able to tap into the needs and preferences of these highly discerning consumers.”

“Plant-based protein users are a young, affluent group that prefers cleaner eating–no sugar added, all natural, preservative free–and they’re willing to pay for high quality products with that strong health profile. This group is also more likely to be using functional ingredients, like mushrooms and adaptogens, so we know they’re open to new and alternative ways to get the types of sustenance and nutrition they're looking for,” says Bethany Gomez, managing director at Brightfield Group. “Brands that strive to offer high quality products, using cutting edge ingredients, will find a group of users ready and willing to dig in.”

MycoTechnology offers a line of plant proteins including FermentIQ™ PTP – a pea and rice protein blend fermented by mushroom mycelia to deliver superior performance and nutrition. Providing all essential amino acids, it has a PDCAAS (Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score) of 1.0 for ages 3 and above. Its unique fermentation process also enhances digestibility, enabling 99.9 percent of the protein consumed to be easily digested. As a result, FermentIQä PTP offers a nutritional value competitive with animal and soy proteins.

MycoTechnology’s proprietary process also deodorizes and de-flavors the plant proteins, offering better tasting, more neutral solutions with superior functionality in a range of applications. For those looking to take the taste of their products to the next level, MycoTechnology also offers ClearIQ – a natural, clean-label bitter blocker and flavor clarifier.