CHICAGO – Roughly one in five consumers said they have paid more for protein-enriched items, according to a new report from The NPD Group, a leading global information firm.

NPD research found that more than half of US consumers buy protein-enriched foods to get more protein in their diets with cereal and bread the most likely protein-enriched foods to be purchased. But consumers would like to see more protein-enriched products, such as bagels and frozen foods, at retail.

“Going forward food and beverage marketers should look for opportunities to fortify their products with protein, but it shouldn’t stop there,” said Darren Seifer, NPD food and beverage industry analyst. “Inform consumers about what a great source of protein your product is, and why it matters to their health.”

NPD noted that 78 percent of US consumers believe that protein contributes to a healthy diet. Protein bars are the most likely items to command a premium.

“The challenge for the marketers of protein-fortified foods is to get noticed among the surrounding protein sources that are large categories and household staples,” Seifer said. “Look to make inroads via snack foods that are consumed as a snack or as part of a meal as a way to infiltrate consumers’ diets.”