Protein has never been more popular. Mintel reports protein claims in 2013 for new products were three times higher in the U.S. than any other country. Research results from NPD Group and IFIC all show increased consumer interest and desire for protein in their daily diets, yet NPD further reported, based on its December 2013 survey, that half of consumers prefer meatless protein choices citing fat, calories and pricing as a concern.

Eggs and egg ingredients can help create a meatless option, while supplying a readily available source of high-quality protein. One large egg contains the equivalent of just 70 calories with six grams of protein, 12 percent of the Recommended Daily Value.

“In addition, when consumers read product labels to look for the protein source, eggs are easily and readily recognizable,” said Elisa Maloberti, American Egg Board director of egg product marketing.

Choosing eggs as the protein source and listing it as “eggs” on the ingredient statement could prove to be an advantage for a food manufacturer compared to other choices. Kantha Shelke, Ph.D., principal at Corvus Blue, L.L.C., a speaker at the IFT Wellness Conference in Chicago in March, emphasized the importance of ingredient names to consumers for both recognition and comfort level, asking the audience, “What are you going to name your ingredients that very quickly tells (consumers) what it is?”

Consumers do read labels and do look for protein content. The NPD Group study showed 24.9 percent of consumers look for protein on the Nutrition Facts label and 78 percent of consumers said protein contributes to a healthy diet. Half of those consumers say they want more protein in their diet. Last year’s survey by the International Food Information Council Foundation concurs with these findings, showing 57 percent of Americans say they actively try to consume more protein.