Advice for restaurants, retailers, dietitians, buyers – Protein obsession fuels vegan sales

26th August 2017

In the run-up to the UK’s first vegan Trade Show VegfestUK Trade at Olympia London on Friday October 20th 2017, author and consultant development vegan chef Tony Bishop-Weston (@bishopweston) looks at rocketing sales of delicious new vegan protein bars.

Trade and Media professionals can register to attend VegfestUK Trade for free at 

The obsession with protein just isn’t going away. On learning someone is vegan the question on too many lips is still “where do you get your protein” (Top retorts “where do you get your fibre and vitamin C?” or “Where does your protein get their protein?”).

The truth is too many people in the Western world eat too much animal protein and that’s linked in various ways to a plague of chronic diseases.

That doesn’t stop even vegans being preoccupied with protein intake and sales of vegan protein powders and protein energy bars are kickstarting all over the world like rockets.

Nutritionist says obsession with protein is nuts

Nutritional Therapist Yvonne Bishop-Weston (@nutritionistW1) says, “Some oats, nuts and seeds or peanut butter on toast for breakfast, some hummus or beans with lunch and some tofu or veggie mince and peas with dinner and you’ll probably already be over the level of protein the NHS recommends you need per day. However even nutritionists fall into the pro trendy paleo protein trap using protein bars and shakes to stave off hunger as a tool for weight loss. This can all go wrong when products are also full of sugar and have the same calories as a sensible meal.”

Not everyone seems to get the point.

The sugar in sports bars used by the under exercised public was highlighted by The Institute of Optimum Nutrition (ION) recently. (5 spoons of sugar)

A vegan protein bar with your powder sir?

Nonetheless increasing demand for plant protein-based products, the popularity of vegan protein powders and bars is gaining traction in Europe although sales of protein bars still outflanked by protein powders in the sports nutrition market figures.

According to Akash Pandey, a lead food research analyst from Technavio, “The sales of sports protein powder are the highest across Western Europe, especially in the UK. Manufacturers operating in this space are increasingly focusing on making the powder format more convenient for users.” (—Forecast-Growth)

Like most other things the protein trend is led by the USA

Vegan protein bar startup D’s Naturals earned $10 million in revenue in 2016—up from $1 million in 2015. Founder Daniel Katz used samples from plant-based protein companies and pea protein, in lieu of dairy found in traditional energy bars. He said, “We are something very unique, a high-protein, dairy-free, low-sugar is something nobody else has been able to figure out.” D’s Naturals has rebranded as “No Cow” after investment from food giant General Mills. Katz’ products are currently available in 12,000 stores nationwide and has a $100 million target for 2019.

Las Vegan Las Vegas

At the IDEA World Fitness & Nutrition Expo at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas it’s reported Vegan, gluten-free and organic foods are trending. “People are more cognizant of what they’re putting in their bodies,” said Justin South, field marketing manager for Perfect Bar, an all-natural protein bar. Anthony Bloom of BN Labs said the company’s vegan powder, which costs $60 for a 37-ounce bottle, made up 70 percent of sales. Also at the event, Flora Inc. promoted its powdered blend of greens.

UK leaders in Vegan Snack Bars

The market in vegan protein bars, energy bars and snack bars is not all American although Natural Balance Foods UK who make Trek, Nak’d bars was started by two Californian brothers. Natural Balance Foods reported turnover of £32.9m for the year to 31 March 2016, a significant increase from £22.2m a year earlier. ( Natural Balance Foods continue to support vegan vegducation causes, in particular, their love of Animal Aid as well as recent support for Veganuary.

Protein bars at VegfestUK Trade and London 2017

It’s hoped that all the new vegan protein bar, energy bars and snack bars kickstarter companies will be represented at VegfestUK at Olympia on 20th October 2017 (Trade show)  and on 21st and 22nd October 2017 (Consumer show). Organisers have worked hard to make affordable inexpensive market stall areas for new young food companies to exhibit as well as professional shell scheme for established food manufacturing companies. It’s important that small start-ups also get access to the 15,000 VegfestUK visitors who are hungry for healthy new vegan ideas and products as well as leading vegan global success stories such as Nak’d wholefoods. The new VegfestUK Trade show will give new start-ups an opportunity for a leg up to speak to retail and catering buyers and distributors on a level playing field.

Up to 20g protein

Some bars now contain a third of your daily quota of protein in just one bar challenging the classic beans on toast and peanut butter sandwich staples.

BodyMe bars are 27% protein and awesome levels of magnesium.

About the author

Tony Bishop-Weston Vegan is consultant development chef with Foods for Life Health and Nutrition, author and former business development advisor with The Vegan Society and The Vegetarian Society. @bishopweston

Visit VegfestUK Trade and source a huge variety of vegan protein bars and other vegan products

VegfestUK Trade will consist of up to 160 stalls with some of the best vegan protein bars and other cutting edge vegan products, including AdunaCreative NatureFry’s Coconut IslandNature Bars by Corn ‘N RollPerk!er FoodsSunita FoodsThe Protein Ball CoThe Raw FixThe Toasted Seeds CompanyWild Thing amongst many awesome brands.

There will also be 6 featured areas of panel discussions by experts in the vegan Trade and Media circles sharing their insights in managing vegan businesses and accessing the growing vegan market. In particular, there will be a vegan pastries, cakes and desserts panel and tasting session by a panel of industry experts in the vegan desserts market, in the Plant-Based Chefs Corner.

Trade and Media professionals can register to attend for free at