FlapJacked offers a line of high-protein, gluten-free cookie mixes with 10 grams of whey and pea protein per two cookies.

KANSAS CITY —  Protein-fortified foods are taking on many shapes and forms, and baked goods are no exception. Adding protein to grain-based foods appeals to consumers who may have left the category because of low-carbohydrate dieting. Protein fortification is also a way to differentiate in the crowded baked goods aisle by adding value to an important part of daily diets.

Peggy O’Shea Kochenbach, registered dietitian and vice-president of Cone Communications Protein, noted protein’s role in promoting satiety and preserving lean muscle mass, making it a hot ingredient trend. Because of availability, along with neutral color and flavor, whey and soy proteins have historically been the go-to source for many formulators. Today there are myriad other animal- and plant-derived proteins available. Some applications use a blend of them to pack more protein into a serving while maintaining an affordable price point.

Snacks can pack a protein punch through either animal- or plant-based proteins or a mixture of both.

“What was once a market driven by weight management and sports nutrition is now driven by consumers seeking to achieve personal fitness goals and support healthy lifestyles,” said Jean Heggie, strategic marketing lead for DuPont Nutrition & Health. “As the protein-fortified market moves mainstream, flavor and affordability become more important considerations, and that is what is driving the popularity of blending proteins.”

When prioritizing protein content claims, formulators often strive to develop a product that contains 20% of the daily value of 50 grams of protein, or 10 grams of protein per serving. These products can be described as “high” or “excellent” sources of the nutrient. Those with 10% to 19% of the daily value are “good” sources.

Today’s consumers are looking to the baked goods and snack food aisles — not the typical protein destinations — for products with enhanced protein, said Pat O’Brien, manager of strategic business development for Ingredion, Inc.