Supplement Ingredients

8 Ingredients Consumers Look For In Protein Powders & Supplements


Protein supplements have become increasingly popular for consumers seeking to improve their physical health and appearance. With the global protein supplements market size projected to reach USD 32.56 billion by 2028, this staggering growth indicates that the increasing motivation to improve health and fitness goals will drive the innovation and rapid growth of the protein product industry. However, the supplement ingredients that brands use play a big role in whether or not their products will thrive.

As consumers become more informed and aware of the specific ingredients that they need to add to their diets to build muscle, lose weight, and improve their overall health, it is crucial for supplement brand owners to understand the key ingredients that consumers are looking for in their protein powders and supplements. Here are the top 8 supplement ingredients consumers are looking for to cater to their specific dietary needs.

1. Collagen

Collagen is a crucial protein that is naturally produced in the human body, making up a significant portion of skin, bones, and muscles and is responsible for skin elasticity, joint health and other essential bodily function. As people age, collagen production decreases, which can lead to various health complications such as joint pains and weakened bones. 

Collagen supplements offer a range of benefits, including improving skin, hair, and nail health, reducing joint pain, and increasing muscle mass. Studies have shown that collagen supplements may improve gut health and aid in weight loss as well. Due to their versatility, these supplements can be added to a variety of protein powders, bars, and other dietary supplements, making them an ingredient that supplement brand owners should consider incorporating into their products. 

2. Creatine

Creatine is a naturally occurring amino acid found in muscles that play a crucial role in energy production during high-intensity exercise. It can also help build muscle mass, improve brain function, and reduce fatigue. Creatine supplements are popular among athletes and bodybuilders specifically, as they can help increase strength, power, and exercise performance. 

Studies have shown that creatine supplements can improve physical performance during high-intensity exercises, promote muscle growth, and speed up recovery after workouts. Creatine supplements have also been found to have potential benefits for neurological conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, and may help manage diabetes (DISCLAIMER: Dietary supplements are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease). Given the potential benefits of creatine supplements, supplement brand owners may consider incorporating this versatile ingredient into their products to appeal to consumers looking to improve their athletic performance and overall physical health, including cognitive function.

3. Branched-chain Amino Acids

Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) are essential amino acids that consist of leucine, isoleucine, and valine. As these amino acids cannot be produced by the body, they must be obtained through diet or supplements. They play a critical role in muscle growth and repair, and help reduce muscle fatigue and increase muscle protein synthesis, making them a popular dietary supplement among athletes, bodybuilders, and individuals engaging in high-intensity exercise.

In some studies, BCAAs have been shown to improve mental focus during exercise and reduce exercise-induced fatigue. Given the potential benefits of BCAAs, supplement brand owners may consider incorporating this ingredient into their products to appeal to consumers looking to enhance their athletic performance and promote muscle growth and recovery.

4. Omega 3 and 6 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are essential fatty acids that are crucial for maintaining good health. These polyunsaturated fats are not produced by the body and must be obtained through diet or supplements. Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fatty fish, flaxseeds, and chia seeds, have been linked to various health benefits, including reduced inflammation, improved heart health, and better brain function. Omega-6 fatty acids, found in vegetable oils and nuts, are essential for skin health, regulating blood sugar levels, and supporting the immune system. 

Many people do not consume enough of these essential fatty acids in their daily diet, making supplements a convenient way to ensure they get enough. Additionally, research has suggested that consuming optimal levels of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids can reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and arthritis (DISCLAIMER: Dietary supplements are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease). As such, supplement brand owners should consider incorporating these important fatty acids into their products to appeal to consumers looking to maintain good health and reduce their risk of chronic disease.

5. Pea Protein

Pea protein is a plant-based protein source that is derived from yellow peas. It is a complete protein containing all nine essential amino acids required for muscle growth and repair. Pea protein is also easily digestible and is a good source of iron, making it an ideal protein source for vegans and vegetarians who may have difficulty meeting their protein needs. 

For people looking to build muscle, improve athletic performance, and lose weight, pea protein is gaining popularity. Studies have shown that pea protein may also have health benefits such as reducing blood pressure and lowering cholesterol levels. Due to the increasing popularity of plant-based diets, supplement brand owners should consider incorporating pea protein into their products to appeal to consumers looking for a high-quality, plant-based protein source that can help them achieve their health and fitness goals.

6. Hemp Protein

Hemp protein is derived from the seeds of the hemp plant and is an excellent source of plant-based protein. It is also rich in fiber, essential fatty acids, and various other nutrients such as iron, magnesium, and zinc. Hemp protein is considered a complete protein, meaning it contains all nine essential amino acids that the body needs to function correctly. 

The benefits of hemp protein supplements include aiding in weight loss, reducing inflammation, improving heart health, and boosting the immune system. The fiber content in hemp protein also helps to promote healthy digestion and gut health. Hemp protein supplements are becoming increasingly popular among vegetarians and vegans as an alternative to animal-based protein sources. 

7. Almond Protein

Almond protein is a vegan-friendly protein source derived from – you guessed it – almonds. It is a highly nutritious ingredient rich in fiber, healthy fats, and antioxidants. Almond protein is also low in carbohydrates, making it an excellent option for people following low-carb diets. Additionally, it is an easily digestible protein source that can help support muscle growth and repair. 

Almond protein supplements are also known for reducing hunger and promoting feelings of fullness, making them an excellent option for people looking to manage their weight. With its many health benefits, almond protein is a popular ingredient in dietary supplements and protein powders. It is increasingly sought after by health-conscious consumers looking to enhance their overall health and well-being.

8. Whey

Whey is among the most common types of protein on the market that is derived from milk. It is a complete protein, meaning that it contains all of the essential amino acids that the body requires to function properly. Whey protein is highly regarded in the fitness industry because it is easily digestible, rapidly absorbed by the body, and can promote muscle growth and repair. Additionally, whey protein has been shown to aid in weight loss by increasing feelings of fullness and reducing overall food intake. 

While whey protein is a highly effective and popular ingredient in dietary supplements, it is vital to note that it contains lactose, making it unsuitable for those on a dairy-free diet or lactose intolerant. Nonetheless, for individuals who do not have any dietary restrictions, whey protein is a highly sought-after ingredient that can help them achieve their fitness and health goals.

Key Takeaways About Supplement Ingredients 

As the demand for protein supplements continues to grow, supplement brand owners need to consider adding a range of ingredients to their products that cater to the specific dietary and nutritional needs of their target consumers. From collagen and creatine to pea and hemp protein, the wide variety of protein ingredients offers supplement businesses the opportunity to differentiate their brand from competitors, gain a competitive edge in the market, and meet the specific needs of their consumers. 

As a trusted powder supplement manufacturing and contract manufacturer, Paragon Laboratories can help supplement brand owners formulate and manufacture high-quality protein supplement products that meet the ever-increasing consumer demand for quality protein supplements. Learn more about our supplement contract manufacturing capabilities and request a free quote