ROCKVILLE, MD. — Wild boar as a menu option and nut butter items on retail shelves are just two ways the food and beverage industry may tap into the protein-rich product trend, according to a report from Packaged Facts, Rockville, Md.

Five food and beverage profiles chart menu and packaged product development opportunities in the report “Proteins — classic, alternative and exotic sources: Culinary trend tracking series.” The profiles are high-protein drinkable and macho yogurt, almonds and nut butters, heartier snack bars, analogs for meat protein, and exotic meats.

“There is general agreement among health professionals and nutritionists that the typical Western diet includes enough protein to ensure proper growth, immune, heart and respiratory function,” Packaged Facts said. “The current upsurge of interest in protein goes beyond the importance of protein to basic nutrition to specific roles in enhancing our quality of life: weight management, athletic recovery, and maintaining strength and muscle tone for good health in later life.”

Companies may tap into consumer demand for protein through the following profiles:

• High-protein drinkable and macho yogurt: Niche segments such as drinkable yogurt and kefir and yogurt marketed to men are taking a bigger share of the U.S. yogurt market. Packaged Facts expects that market may hit $9.3 billion by 2017.

• Almonds and nut butters: Almonds give a natural protein boost. Convenience and portability drive nut butters, an indulgent protein source.

• Heartier snack bars: High-protein snack bars are leveraging the rise of snacking.

• Analogs for meat protein: Alternatives to meat are being formulated in ways that are gaining ground. Alternative protein sources, including the eggless egg, are foods to watch.

• Exotic meats: Salumi craft (Italian dry curing) is popular within the foodie culture.  Wild boar is gaining popularity in fine dining restaurants.