It’s time to buy! Protein prices set to rise up to 36%

It’s time to start stocking up on your favourite whey protein supplements. Various global and local factors are forcing suppliers and manufacturers to increase prices, which are already filtering through to consumers via supplement retailers. 

According to Greg Hendrikz, National Senior Buyer and Category Manager at Dis-Chem, the pharmacy chain expects up to a 36% increase in prices across all whey products within the coming months, with a potential further increase likely during December.

A case of supply and demand

“Growing demand globally and a lack of supply are the major factors currently fuelling these price increases,” explains Hendrikz. 

The pandemic has exacerbated this trade imbalance by affecting global supply chains due to travel restrictions and shortages in raw materials, including packaging and other raw ingredients. 

The resultant increase in input costs, from more expensive lids and tubs to higher freight and transport costs, are also affecting the price. 

And COVID-19 prompted renewed focus on health and wellbeing among consumers, with many turning to supplements for support. Demand has only accelerated after gyms reopened following lockdowns. 

Additional factors affecting demand include rampant growth in the functional foods sector, which now produces a long list of products that contain whey protein, from pancake mixes and cereals to peanut butter and snacks. 

Market dynamics

These market dynamics are driving up prices because whey trades as a commodity on the open market. 

The traded forms include Whey Protein Concentrate 90 (WPC90), WPC80 and WPC34. WPC90 and WPC80 are premium quality whey powders with a protein content of 90% and 80%, respectively, while WPC34 has a protein content of 34%. 

Manufacturers use these base ingredients to fortify various food products with protein, including baby formula and animal feed, in addition to dietary and performance supplements.

As traded commodities, supply and demand factors and exchange rates are intricately linked with the price of whey. As such, periods of global economic volatility have serious implications for the supplement industry. And sustained weakness in the rand against major global currencies adds to the price pressure. 

What it all means for your pocket

The price of raw whey will effectively double in the space of 12 months once these increases come into effect, which will impact numerous product categories. 

“For instance, 90% of protein shakes contain some form of whey, including diet shakes and meal replacements. Protein bars, ready-to-drink shakes, and functional foods such as cereals and snacks that contain whey will also be affected,” continues Hendrikz.

“While various brands and retailers have already started increasing price, Dis-Chem has held off for as long as possible. However, we will need to increase prices in November.” 

Time to stock up

So what should consumers do? Hendrikz recommends stocking up on your favourite whey products to mitigate some of the impact of these price increases over the coming months and into 2022.

The popular Dis-Chem 2+1 sale is a great opportunity to stock up. The next sale takes place from 24 – 26 September, so don’t miss it,” he adds.

“I would also recommend that shoppers use the sale to stock up on creatine monohydrate products because we also expect a price increase across this product category later in the year.” 

When stockpiling whey, you can take steps to prolong the quality and integrity of the powder. 

The ideal way to store whey products include:

  • Storing powders in a cool, dry environment.

  • Storing products below 26°C with a relative humidity of less than 65%.

  • Store the powder in air-tight bags or containers.

“You could also use this opportunity to switch to plant-based proteins, which offer a wealth of additional health benefits,” adds Hendrikz. Dis-Chem stocks a wide range of plant-based protein supplements in-store and online.


Author: Tanja Schmitz

Founder and Editor of Fitness Magazine. You’ll find her behind her computer or on her bike, dreaming up new ways to improve or create content for you.


Founder and Editor of Fitness Magazine. You'll find her behind her computer or on her bike, dreaming up new ways to improve or create content for you.

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