As the protein trend continues, protein-packed products are finding more shelf space at the grocery store.

But with more protein finding its way into cereal, yogurt, nuts and a greater variety of vegetarian options, 50 percent of US consumers say they feel animal protein, specifically meat and fish, is still the best source of protein, according to the recent Protein Perceptions and Needs report from global information company NPD Group.

Beef and chicken lead consumer preferences; 60 percent of the respondents say they eat animal protein every day. Fish comes in third in consumer preferences, distantly followed by others including pork, ham, shellfish, lamb and bacon.

In the study, NPD segmented consumers into three categories: traditional protein purists, flexible protein users and knowledgeable but indifferent.

Purists are likely to consider animal proteins as their main source of protein and do not feel the need to seek out alternatives.

“While traditional protein purists stick to their traditional meat sources for protein, they are also likely to have more meals that are rounded out with vegetables and grains,” says Darren Seifer, NPD food and beverage industry analyst. “Unlike flexible protein users, it would be difficult to convince these protein consumers to use a different protein source than animal protein. For food manufacturers and retailers to reach this group, it’s a matter of understanding and reflecting their needs in product development and marketing messaging.”

In the NPD report, after those who prefer animal protein, 11 percent of those surveyed indicated eggs are the best source while 10 percent prefer dairy items. Eight percent of participants considered beans/lentils as the best protein sources; 22 percent responded “other.”