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22nd Feb, 2024

Dominic Watts
Dominic Watts
Job Title
Senior Business Manager

Protein snacks have crept onto supermarket shelves in recent years, appealing to those with a sweet tooth and a keen interest in their health – balancing taste with wholesome ingredients. While standard chocolate bars may be avoided with a little will power, protein bars promise a host of benefits – and come in as many varieties: low-carb, protein-rich, low-fat, veggie or vegan options, gluten-free, or diet options.  

With hectic lifestyles the norm for many, there is growing demand for convenience snacks that provide sustained energy. Protein not only aids muscle recovery but is gaining recognition for its role in aiding in weight management – and when combined with the taste of chocolate, is a winning formula for health-conscious consumers. Ultimately, it’s about guilt-free indulgence, which people are generally ready to pay a little extra for than they would for chocolate or crisps. 

Protein snack market growth 

This burgeoning market, which features big household brands as well as startups, is set to expand. According to The Grocer Magazine, the protein bar category value has more than doubled, and in 2023 stood at a healthy £122.6m. It follows that we’ll see businesses continuing to push the envelope in terms of output, and advertising a range of job opportunities to help their cause. 

Research and development (R&D) play a crucial role in meeting the evolving demands of consumers for protein-rich snacks. Food scientists and technologists are tasked with developing new recipes and formulations that not only deliver on flavour but also provide sufficient protein content. This involves experimenting with different ingredients, such as plant-based proteins like soy, pea, and lentils, as well as animal-derived sources like chicken, beef, and fish. R&D teams also work on enhancing the nutritional profile of snacks by reducing unhealthy components like sugar, salt, and saturated fats. 

Jobs in food technology, marketing and distribution 

As the demand for protein-packed snacks continues to rise, companies are investing more resources into R&D departments, leading to an increased demand for scientists, technologists, and nutritionists, and those with a talent for product development. When you consider the possibilities opening in the food production industry, such as insects becoming part of a sustainable mainstream diet, there’s plenty of scope for forward-thinking manufacturers. 

While sporty types may be the main target audience, manufacturers want their products to have universal appeal – currently extending to busy professionals as well as parents looking for healthier lunchbox treats for their children. Marketing teams promoting these snacks need bags of creative talent to capture and captivate hearts and minds, with budgets largely spent on creative copywriters, social media stars and designers to find new ways to tempt consumers, raising the bar across the sector. 

Rising demand for these snacks has also sparked packaging innovation. Companies are exploring eco-friendly solutions, such as compostable materials and recyclable packaging, to appeal to environmentally conscious consumers. For professionals with experience in this area, this is an opportune time to seek out roles in this field. The shift towards sustainable packaging is also leading to high demand for roles centred around eco-design, waste reduction, circular economy strategies, and packaging optimisation, thereby diversifying and expanding the jobs market within these areas. 

Soaring sales and a crowded marketplace put pressure on developers to create evermore taste variations and nutritional value to cater to evolving tastes. New job opportunities across the entire value chain of protein snacks – from R&D and manufacturing to marketing and distribution – mean if snacks are your business, now’s a good time to invest in a dream team. Our Food & FMCG salary guide 2024 is designed for both employers and professionals to benchmark their salaries and discover the growth potential in the industry – featuring popular roles including packaging technologist, food/beverage technologist and NPD manager. 

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