No two supplements are made equal. Since supplements come from different sources, even those designed to provide the same nutrients may have entirely different benefits. This is especially true with protein supplements because there are so many different sources.
One of the most popular sources of protein is whey. Whey is a milk product that forms as a result of the curdling process; it’s essentially the part that’s left over after the milk has turned to curds. Whey protein is made during the production of cheese but isn’t actually used, so it does have that going for it.
With the recent shift toward vegan and vegetarian diets, plant-based proteins have also become a popular choice. These proteins come from a variety of sources, but the most common ones are peas, soy, hemp, and rice. While there are arguments for both sides, plant protein has many benefits that way protein doesn’t.
Each of these protein sources attracts a different crowd and thus helps shape your brand differently. Keep reading to learn more about the differences between these two protein supplements and which one is right for your brand.
Whey protein is a good source of protein, but it doesn’t come without its problems. It’s a lactose-based supplement since it comes from milk, so it won’t work for lactose-intolerant people. It can also cause digestive issues for some which can lead to flatulence and diarrhea. While these aren’t side effects that everybody will experience, they are potential risks for anybody who uses whey protein on a regular basis.
Your body absorbs whey protein differently than plant protein. Plant-based products are the easiest thing for our bodies to absorb, so plant-based protein is easily absorbed by just about anyone. Dairy, on the other hand, doesn’t absorb as well and can cause digestive issues in some people. Whey protein can only be digested at a rate of about 10 grams per hour unless you supplement it with digestive enzymes.
Since whey protein powder is dairy-based, it’s not vegan. Plant protein, on the other hand, is vegan. This opens up two entirely new markets: vegans and people who simply prefer plant-based foods.
When it comes to manufacturing, whey protein and plant protein are somewhat similar. Since whey is simply a byproduct of making cheese, there isn’t an incredible amount of waste from making whey protein supplements. Plant-based protein supplements are also relatively sustainable to manufacture since it simply involves breaking down plants or vegetables.
The real debate when it comes to plant protein vs whey protein is livestock. The only way to make whey protein is with milk, so there will be a dairy farm involved in the process at some point. So what’s the problem? This type of agriculture takes a heavy toll on our resources and causes pollution. Cows produce a lot of manure and require a lot of food and land, so having a dairy farm with 10,000 cows greatly affects our ecosystem. This is especially a concern among the vegan crowd and is one of the top reasons for people choosing a vegan diet in the first place.
One benefit to whey protein is the number of different of flavors you can find it in. Since it’s a more common form of protein, it comes in a wide variety of flavors from chocolate and vanilla to more unique flavors like key lime pie and salted caramel. At the end of the day, this is a relatively minor concern. Many people opt for plant-based protein because it’s cleaner, and the flavors used in whey protein are often artificial.
Because whey protein has been the dominant choice for years and years, it’s generally easier to find at lower prices. You can go to just about any store and find a whey protein supplement for a reasonable price. Consumers often make the switch to plant-based protein after a considerable amount of research, so it’s more of a specialty product than whey protein.
Both plant protein and whey protein have their benefits for branding, so it’s up to you choose what’s right for your brand. Keep in mind that since each type of protein attracts a different customer base, you’ll have to adjust your marketing plan accordingly.