Rather than seeing the rise of vegan protein as a threat, Arla Foods Ingredients believes interest in plant-based protein sources has helped spur growth across the space and increase consumer choice.
“It’s not really a matter of dairy alternatives to vegan alternatives”, Anne Hoest Stenbaek, Marketing Manager at Arla Foods Ingredients, told NutraIngredients. “The current interest in herbal ingredients has further heightened the general interest in proteins in the areas of food and sports nutrition.”
She said consumers are increasingly interested in foods and drinks that are high in protein – and it’s not just plant protein.
“With their many positive properties – such as naturalness, taste and functionality – dairy proteins have been, and continue to fuel the high protein trend. There are many examples of creativity and innovation in the field of dairy proteins ”,Hoest Stenbaek said.
As an example, she pointed out that the number of dairy yoghurt / fermented drink launches with protein positioning increased globally by a CAGR of 34% between 2015 and 2019, and last year. , accounted for 17% of new product launches in the category, according to Innova Market Insights.
Difficult to differentiate
However, Hoest Stenbaek expressed concern about the lack of awareness of the differences between protein sources.
“We need to focus more on the quality profiles of the different protein sources. They can vary wildly, both in terms of nutritional benefits and factors like taste and texture. “
For example, she said whey compares favorably with other sources of protein in terms of nutritional quality, rapid absorption, and amino acid content.
“It also has a pleasant taste, unlike many sources of vegetable protein” she added.
On a positive note, she said consumers are very receptive to new products fortified with protein, helped by innovation in ingredients.
“If we go back a decade or so, the products fortified with protein were generally rock solid bars or thick bad tasting powders for hardcore gym goers,” Hoest Stenbaek recalled.
Now, with Arla Food Ingredients’ Lacprodan line of whey protein solutions, she said whey protein can be provided in clear and fruity shake applications, clear ready-to-drink drinks or iced teas and teas. sweet and indulgent bars.
At the upcoming Vitafoods show, Arla will demonstrate its ability to formulate clear protein shakes and powdered shakes with its whey protein ingredients Lacprodan ISO.WaterShake and Lacprodan.ISO.WATER. Overcoming the dual challenge of mouthfeel and taste, these ingredients are believed to enable the creation of high protein water-based drinks that deliver a clean, watery taste without the disappointment of a dry mouth feel. .
“These developments are the result of innovation and the constant desire to come up with new, exciting and tasty ways to use whey protein. I believe we have only seen the tip of the iceberg when it comes to new high protein foods and drinks. There is more to come, that’s for sure. said Hoest Stenbaek.
COVID stimulates organic interest
An increased demand for organic products is one of the new consumption behaviors observed by Arla in the wake of the pandemic.
“Consumers have long sought products with a natural, healthy or healthy positioning and this trend accelerated during the pandemic. One of its effects has been the increased demand for organic products, which are strongly associated with health and naturalness ”,noted Hoest Stenbaek.
This prompted Arla to launch this year Lacprodan MicelPure Organic, the company’s first organic product and the first organic micellar casein isolate on the market.
Hoest Stenbaek said a major target in 2021 and beyond will help manufacturers expand their portfolios with organic protein products.
At Vitafoods, Arla Foods Ingredients will showcase MicelPure Organic in two applications: a high protein RTD organic drink that combines high protein with low viscosity and an organic protein shake that is said to have a high protein content and taste profile. clean with minimal foam.