Last updated on November 2nd, 2022 at 10:55 am
Who else wants to know, “Why Does Protein Powder Come Half Full?”
There’s almost an air of excitement whenever you’re ready to crack open a brand new protein powder container (or is that just me?)
It’s that first waft of aroma as you break the seal and see the perfectly formed granules of fresh powder.
However, with this comes the utter disappointment of not seeing the powder packed all the way to the brim.
Allow me to explain the mystery of the “missing” protein powder.
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Why Does Protein Powder Come Half Full?
The main reason that your tub of protein powder comes half full is because it “settles” during transit. At the production factory a tub will literally be filled to the brim. However, there is a lot of vibration and movement while they are being transported to their next destination. This will mean that the powder is far more compact by the time it arrives in stores. Additionally, many manufacturers will typically buy the same size containers, regardless of the weight of the product. This saves on costs, plus a larger container is more visually appealing to the consumer.
1. It Was “Full” When it Started its Journey
At the start of its journey a protein powder container will actually be “full”.
The same can actually be said for any fine powder product.
Protein powder will initially take up a much larger volume in the container.
So, as far as a factory worker is concerned the tub was “full” before being sealed.
However, it’s during transit that the powder seems to almost half itself.
Basically, the powder will settle and become packed down as it is transported to its final destination.
There is a great deal of movement and vibration throughout the entire journey and this explains this phenomenon.
You could actually try this for yourself, although you’re likely to waste some of the product in doing so.
Simply pour your protein powder into another container until it fills up to the brim.
Then cover the container with a lid and shake.
Once you look inside you’ll notice a much smaller volume of powder.
So, in reality you’ve not been hard done by, the powder has simply become more compact during the journey.
2. Protein Powder is Measured By Weight Not Volume
It’s important to remember that protein powder is measured by weight and not by volume.
So, as I’ve mentioned, the volume literally changes during shipping simply because the containers go through a great deal of movement.
However, if you are ever worried you’ve been “conned” then simply weigh your protein powder.
But, this is extremely unlikely.
The vast majority of companies have no need to scrimp, save, or to use underhand practices.
So, they will ensure that the correct weight is applied to each and every container.
They do have some very strict guidelines to follow.
You should also remember that you’ll typically receive a scoop inside, so there needs to be room for this.
Okay, admittedly the scoop doesn’t need a huge half of a container, but this is still a consideration.
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3. It’s Saves on Manufacturing & Production Costs
Protein powder is a huge international business, and as with any business, there are lots of costs involved.
Plus, the whole idea behind a business is to provide a service while making a profit.
So, if a company can save money on certain manufacturing and production costs, without affecting quality, then they’ll do this.
There are various companies who typically sell the vast majority of their products, protein powder or other supplements, in the same containers.
You instantly recognise the container because this is the company’s brand.
So, it’s not unheard-of to use exactly the same tub for 1kg and 2kgs of protein powder.
This means that they only ever have to manufacture one type and one size of container.
So, realistically this saves them on production costs, which in turn saves you money as well.
It may not seem like much, but the costs can definitely add up.
If a company has to manufacture ten different sized containers for all their various products this is going to cost them more money.
So, in effect, the container has to be big enough for the highest volume fill product within their range.
Now, as a consumer this may seem wasteful, and you may even believe that it has cost them more money to simply “half-fill” a tub.
But, in truth, by doing so your protein powder costs less than it otherwise might have.
4. Protein Powder Marketing – Bigger is Better
I’ve touched on the business side of things above, and obviously marketing your product correctly plays a huge role in making a profit.
Plus, there also happens to be marketing psychology to consider as well.
By this I mean that we as consumers typically place a perceived value on the items we purchase.
And unfortunately we do have a tendency to view bigger as being better.
Or in the case of protein powder, a larger container is perceived as getting a better deal.
There have been a few companies who have tried smaller packing when it comes to supplements.
So, they basically produced much smaller containers, but filled them to the brim, shook them down, added more product, etc.
The aim was to produce a container that was half the size of their competitors, while still holding the same weight of powder.
How do you think they fared?
Unfortunately, not very well.
Their hope was that consumers would be impressed by the fact that the containers were filled to the brim.
However, their initial sales dropped purely because the standard larger containers were viewed as providing more value.
So, it is a case of, “If everyone else is doing it then so will we”.
Lies & Deceit – The Protein Powder & Supplement Industry
5. The “Evaporating” Protein Powder
I just wanted to touch on this subject, as I’ve seen it discussed on various online fitness forums.
Basically, some people are viewing this as conspiracy theory.
They have convinced themselves that their powder is somehow evaporating as soon as they break the seal.
Therefore, they have to consume the powder as quickly as possible.
There are even those who believe this a specific ploy by the manufacturers to sell more of their product.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
So, no need to worry, your protein powder is not somehow disappearing.
The only concern you really have is that protein powder is hygroscopic.
This means that it automatically attracts moisture, and therefore may be more prone to clumping.
This will also explain why you may have difficulty in getting your protein powder to dissolve.
However, this is why the tubs contain silica gel packets, which is a drying agent.
Plus, this is also why you should store your container in a cool and dry place.
So, your powder may attract moisture and therefore clump when mixed with liquid, but it’s definitely not magically disappearing.
So, as you can see, the main reason that protein powder comes half full is simply because it settles while it is in transit.
The manufacturers will always ensure that the correct weight of product has been added to the container.
Furthermore, many companies use the same size containers, regardless of weight.
This saves on manufacturing costs and also helps to brand their product better.
Plus, as consumers we typically view a larger container as having more perceived value.
And the companies that produce protein powder are well aware of this.
Hi, I’m Partha, owner and founder of My Bodyweight Exercises. I am a Level 3 Personal Trainer and Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist through the Register of Exercise Professionals, United Kingdom. I have been a regular gym-goer since 2000 and coaching clients since 2012. My aim is to help you achieve your body composition goals.