When you're at the grocery store, do certain words draw you to specific products? The buzzwords that made you buy used to be "low fat" or "fat free." But now a new word sucks buyers in: "protein."
Protein is advertised on boxes of cereal, yogurt, granola bars, and even chocolate milk. More and more food companies are boasting about the protein in their products, and that's no coincidence.
"Protein is word of moment," said Adam Hanft, a brand strategist. "We all want it so if you can position your brand to have protein it's a win."
Hanft said that protein has become the latest nutritional buzz word and that consumers are biting in to the promises of more energy and feeling fuller longer.
"We're not getting any more sleep, we all want to lose weight and avoid sugar and carbs, protein is the magic bullet in that environment," Hanft said.
But food packaging is all about selling. Just because a product says it has protein, doesn't mean it is healthy for you.
"Protein is not bad for you, but a product is not made of just one ingredient, like this bar, there's sugar and other stuff," said Rachel Berman, a registered dietician with CalorieCount.com.
Many marketers may try to mask sugar and calorie count with promises of protein, such as this fat-free Nesquik chocolate milk, which is loaded with sugar.
Protein is essential to any diet. Most of us are already getting plenty, Berman said.
"As Americans were getting enough protein but the truth is that it's the only macronutrient that hasn't been demonized, no carbs, no fat, but protein is OK according to Americans," Berman said.
That is why experts say the protein trend is gaining strength and will probably be sticking around.