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TricorBraun’s research shows protein powder consumers prefer appropriately sized scoops for dosing

Athletes and other health conscious consumers using protein powders prefer scoops that are accessible, intuitive and appropriately sized for dosing, according to new research from rigid packaging leader TricorBraun.

Protein powder consumers also prefer scoops that incorporate dosage indicators, have a grippable handle and can be used in conjunction with a dispensing closure.

TricorBraun conducted qualitative research to understand consumer behavior, preferences, needs and experiences with different scoop designs. Insights gathered directly from consumers about what they prefer and how they interact and use scoops enables TricorBraun’s packaging consultants to understand which scoop solution is preferred for protein powders, and identify future design opportunities.

TricorBraun marketing, design and engineering senior vice president Becky Donner said: “Protein powder consumers’ product choice is driven by their specific health and wellness needs.

“While they are brand loyal, packaging features and functionality have a major impact on the protein powder consumer’s experience. The ultimate goal is a product that meets the needs of an on-the-go consumer, and a package that delivers a positive, easy and convenient experience. THAT is what builds brand loyalty.”

TricorBraun conducted in-depth, qualitative focus groups with men and women 20 – 40 years old who have purchased protein powder in the last month and used three or more times in the previous week. Participants were asked open-ended questions regarding their purchase motivators and product perceptions around protein powder packaging scoops. Research participants were asked to identify their favorite scoop format and to evaluate the functional appeal of various formats.

TricorBraun tested various scoop solutions. Protein powder consumers favored the EZ Scoop because it provides easy scoop accessibility, intuitive scoop storage as well as a modern design and variable dosing indicators.

Scoop accessibility is important to protein powder consumers. The EZ Scoop is appealing because consumers “don’t like digging for my scoop when I first open the packaging” and “sometimes (the scoop) is all the way at the bottom so I have to make sure I wash my hands.” 

Many scoop options require consumers to dig into the product to search for the scoop, and TricorBraun’s qualitative research shows that consumers’ preference is always to avoid digging into the product to retrieve the scoop. If the scoop is inaccessible, consumers said it “gets your hands dirty,” “gets the powder in your nails and makes a mess on your kitchen counter.”

Alternatives that allow the scoop to be stored, after retrieval, in the lid of the closure, are problematic because most consumers were concerned the scoop would fall out. And, in cases where the engagement between the scoop and storage fitment was strengthened, the scoop became difficult to retrieve and replace, increasing consumers’ frustration.

The EZ Scoop is stored in the neck of the bottle, eliminating the risk of the scoop falling out. And, because it can be stored in any direction, the EZ Scoop is easy to remove and easy to replace, providing consumers with speed and convenience.

The EZ Scoop was recognized as consumers’ preferred scoop solution. However, TricorBraun’s research shows that the ideal solution for protein powder consumers is not only the best scoop placement solution, but the best scoop placement paired with an easy to remove liner (such as BAP) and a dispensing closure.

Packaging consultants at TricorBraun reference these findings to better navigate the available packaging options and identify those solutions that work best for the end user and the brand owner.