Why is Protein Powder So Expensive?

Have you ever wondered, “Why is protein powder so expensive?” Protein powder is necessary for those who want to build muscle, but it can be pricey. While most of us don’t know why and how expensive it is, some factors contribute to the high price.

Protein is an essential macronutrient that helps with muscle growth and repair. Since the body can’t produce protein independently, we must get it from our diets. And some diets for bodybuilding rely on protein supplements to increase muscle growth. 

There are a few reasons how expensive protein powders are. In this article, we will explore the top reasons that make up its price and if cheap protein powder alternatives are as effective. If you want to know more about it and its options, keep reading!

Why is Protein Powder So Expensive?

Protein powder contains four main ingredients: whey protein, casein protein, soy protein, and egg protein. 

Whey Isolate

Whey protein isolate is a by-product of cheese production. This protein is then filtered and “isolated” to create a purer protein powder. This process is more expensive than whey protein concentrate and thus raises the price.

Casein Protein

Casein protein is another dairy-based protein. It’s slower to digest than whey protein, making it ideal for nighttime use. However, casein is also more expensive.

Soy Protein

Soy protein is a plant-based protein. It’s a popular choice for vegetarians, vegans, and those with dairy allergies. It is less expensive than whey and casein, but it’s not as effective for muscle building.

Egg Protein

Egg protein is made from – you guessed it, eggs! It’s a complete protein similar to whey protein in muscle building. It is pricier, but it’s cheaper than whey and casein.

Aside from this, it’s packed with amino acids that your body needs to grow and repair muscles. So, is it worth the money?

Protein powder can be a helpful supplement if you are a bodybuilder or athlete trying to build muscle. However, if you’re just starting to work out and don’t need the extra protein, you can save money and get the same results from a healthy diet.

What Can I Use Instead of Expensive Protein Powder?

There are a few options if you’re looking for a cheaper alternative. Well, the easiest would be to search for cheap protein powders online. Not all protein powders are created equal, but you can find some that are just as effective but cost less.

Another alternative is to make your own. Although you’ll need to expect that whey protein powder is more expensive than casein or soy, you can still find some high-quality whey isolates in the whey protein market. 

On the other hand, if you want a natural alternative, here are some food items you can add to your smoothies or make as a protein-rich snack:

  • Nuts and nut butter
  • Seeds
  • Quinoa
  • Beans and legumes
  • Tofu
  • Tempeh
  • Greek yogurt
  • Spirulina
  • Chia seeds
  • Hemp seeds

A quality protein powder can be a helpful supplement for athletes, bodybuilders, or even those who want to add more protein to their diet. 

However, it’s unnecessary, and plenty of alternatives are adequate but cheaper regarding protein powder. In short, it depends on your needs and budget. Do some research on what’s best for you.

What are the Benefits of Protein Powders?

Why is Protein Powder So Expensive?

Protein powder is a concentrated form of protein. It’s a popular supplement for athletes and bodybuilders because it helps them build muscle. However, it can also benefit those who want to lose weight or add more protein to their diet.

Here are the ff. benefits:

Repairs and builds lean muscle mass

Protein is essential for muscle growth and repair. Therefore, it can help you build muscle mass and recover from workouts faster.

Weight loss

Protein powder can also help you feel fuller for longer and may reduce your calorie intake. Additionally, it preserves muscle mass when trying to lose weight. Although the downside of it is that you need to work out to burn the extra calories you intake, or it may lead to weight gain.

Improves exercise performance

Protein powder can increase strength and power and improve exercise performance. It is especially beneficial for athletes or bodybuilders trying to build muscle mass.

Helps people who have protein deficiencies

People with trouble getting enough protein in their diet can benefit from protein powder, such as vegetarians, older adults, and those with gastrointestinal issues.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why did protein get expensive?

The reason why it is expensive is that whey protein, which is the most popular type of protein powder, is made from milk. Making whey protein is already costly, and the final cost is even higher when you add the price of shipping and packaging.

How much should I pay for protein powder?

The usual price for regular protein powders would cost around $0.6-$0.8 per serving, while a high-end powder would probably be about $1-$1.5 per serving. Meanwhile, the price would be even higher for a protein powder with additional ingredients such as BCAAs.

Can I build muscle without protein powder?

Yes. Some natural protein sources are beans, lentils, tofu, and other soy products. Or even from working out, protein powders are just a helping factor to achieve and get results faster.

Is protein powder necessary?

No, you don’t necessarily need it to build muscle or lose weight. However, it can be beneficial if you want to increase your protein intake or have trouble getting enough protein from your diet. There are still some alternatives you can use.

Final Thoughts

Why is Protein Powder So Expensive?

Same as other supplements, the price of protein powder is high because it’s a concentrated form of protein. It’s a popular supplement for athletes and bodybuilders because it helps them build muscle. 

The ingredients added to it and the process of making your own protein powder are costly, and when you add the price of shipping and packaging, the final cost is even higher. It’s still yours to decide whether the benefits of protein powder are worth the price.

If you found this article helpful, check other fitness-related articles on ExpertFitness.org.

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Nathan Lloyd, MSc

I’m a personal trainer, based in Boulder, Colorado.
I service clients physically in the Boulder area, mainly in the ONE Boulder Fitness Gym, but am also available for online consulting and coaching.

If you’re interested in my personal coaching programs, please contact me via the contact page.