Friday, June 17, 2016

Protein, Protein, Protein…the Dairy Industry Needs to Take Ownership by Formulating Dairy Foods with Dairy Proteins

By all accounts, it’s looking like IFT 2016, the annual meeting and food expo of the Institute of Food Technologists to be held in Chicago July 16 to 19, will be all about protein this year. From insects and pulses to chickens and cows milk, isolated protein ingredients will be showcased in all types of foods and beverages, including inherently nutritious dairy foods, which are attractive delivery vehicles for dietary components with recognized health and wellness benefits.

Portion control and portability make many dairy foods attractive snacking options for today’s mini-meal consumer. Such convenience foods—namely cheese, yogurt, drinkable dairy and even ice cream—can be formulated to offer a nutritional profile—higher in protein content--that appeals to consumers, while these value-added products command a premium price, making them attractive to both manufacturers and retailers.

To read an article I just wrote entitled “Functional dairy foods—beyond basic nutrition” for Food Business News, link HERE. The article discusses the opportunities in boosting the protein content of dairy foods, along with adding other functional ingredients.

According to the hot-off-the-presses 2016 Food and Health Survey from the International Food Information Council Foundation, 64% of Americans are seeking out protein in the diet, a statistically significant increase compared to 2015. Dairy foods are an inherent source of what most Americans want more of: protein!

Did you know that every ounce of fluid milk contains one ounce of protein? Depending on the product and processing, the inherent protein content of dairy foods can be concentrated. Further, adding additional protein to dairy products in the form of milk protein concentrate, nonfat dry milk or whey, for example, can further boost protein content.

Many consumers know the general benefits of protein, but a majority are unaware that not all proteins are created equal. Dairy proteins offer benefits that make them a higher-quality option than plant proteins.

Protein has also historically often been consumed only at certain times of the day, primarily at dinner. However, it’s important that high-quality proteins, such as those from dairy foods, are consumed throughout the day in order to meet recommended protein intake amounts. Therefore, consumers look for snack items to increase their protein intake between meals and often use them as meal replacers.

Finally, baby boomers are the second-largest generation and many plan to spend their savings on health and wellness consumer goods to extend their independent lifestyles. They are living longer and staying more active as they age, so it’s important they consume the right protein at the right times to help maintain muscle mass, strength and functionality. Dairy foods can deliver.
Plan to attend these sessions while you are at IFT.

#84 Promoting Protein in Your Products: What You Need to Know, Tuesday, July 19, 8:30am to 10:30am. 

Session overview: Consumer demand for protein continues to be strong and the food and beverage industry recognizes the value of formulating products with protein. However, there is some confusion among the industry and consumers, alike, regarding role of protein in support of health and how information relative to protein can be communicated on packaging.

Protein plays an essential role for health and should be included in the diet every day. Consumers are increasingly turning to food to support health and associate protein with areas of interest including weight management, building muscle, maintaining cells, immunity and energy. There are other areas where evidence is emerging to demonstrate the potential role of protein, including risk factors associated with cardiometabolic disease.

The first presentation will address the importance of daily dietary protein intake and how protein can not only meet basic needs but also support improved health. In addition, Joanne Slavin will discuss current knowledge on the state of the science around different protein sources, as there is growing consumer awareness of alternative protein sources.

The second presenter—Glenna Hughes--will address an area of current confusion that exists today in the food industry by discussing the different ways the consumer packaged goods companies can inform consumers of the protein content of products. From Nutrition Facts panel to front of pack labels, she will discuss the sources of data and methods that are currently available and approved for use in informing statements on packages. Practical advice for how to apply protein quality, amino acid reference values, nitrogen conversion factors and available resources for each will be conveyed.

As available technology improves and the state of the science evolves, methods for assessing protein quality have also changed. The final presenter—Robert Burns--will discuss changes that have occurred over time in methods and policies that incorporated those methods. While the U.S. does not face an immediate change in policy related to protein quality evaluation, there is change on the horizon. He will discuss how those changes may impact the food industry and the potential timeline for incorporation and adoption in global policy and regulations.

#106 Formulating With Proteins: Understanding Effects of Protein Blending, Tuesday, July 19, 1:15pm to 2:45pm.
Session overview: Proteins play an important role in the food for their nutritional value and their functionality through molecular interactions with other components in the system, leading to desired texture and flavor. Dairy, meat, egg, and soy proteins are currently the most used protein ingredients in the market. Due to allergenicity, cost, and processing challenges, there is a growing interest in other protein ingredients from plant sources. Academic researchers and industry scientists are currently investigating the effect of introducing novel plant protein ingredients to different food formulations. This session will highlight this need, and describe current challenges. Topics covered in this session will include effect of blending proteins from different sources on functionality, and will highlight molecular interactions. Speakers from industry, research institutes and academic universities will share insights and research findings. Talks will focus on industry needs from the ingredient developer and the formulator perspective, and on functional synergy upon blending proteins from different sources.

At IFT, USDEC will highlight a number of higher-protein prototypes, including a cottage cheese mango dip (pictured). Many of the prototypes are global inspired and on trend with consumers’ desire for bold, adventurous flavors. Dips attract the many millennials who mix flavors to spice up popular everyday finger foods with unique tastes. U.S. dairy ingredients aid in this evolution by offering flavor, functionality and nutrition.

Versatile U.S. dairy ingredients fuse with global ethnic flavors to yield unique flavors and textures for wide cultural appeal, according to USDEC. “The U.S. dairy industry’s vast ingredient portfolio, proven quality and dependable supply give formulators throughout the globe a trusted source to evolve with the latest lifestyle changes,” says Vikki Nicholson, senior vice president of global marketing for USDEC. “U.S. dairy ingredients contribute to a clean label, provide high-quality protein and offer important functional properties to help meet application needs.”

Globally, 67% of consumers want to recognize ingredient labels and 40% say simplicity is key, according to USDEC. The prototypes at IFT will be made with few ingredients that are recognizable to most consumers, including dairy proteins, cheese, Greek-style yogurt and permeate. They will offer the health benefits and nutrition often looked for in snack products.

A recent beverage prototype from Ingredia won the Healthy Lifestyle award at Vitafoods in Geneva, Switzerland, this past May. The milk beverage is enriched with micellar casein and native whey proteins, as well as calcium. It’s also low in sugar. The lactose-reduced content of these proteins allows for the formulation of products with no/low/reduced lactose claims. For more information, link HERE.

So why add dairy proteins to dairy foods? The IFT sessions will explain the premium quality of cows’ milk proteins, as well as the unique functionality these proteins play in product formulations.

To read an article I recently wrote entitled “Formulating dairy with dairy” for Food Business News, link HERE. The article discusses the role of dairy ingredients in various applications, including how dairy ingredients can assist with water binding, flavor enhancement, mouthfeel, viscosity, stabilization and more.

Here are some recent dairy foods innovations utilizing dairy ingredients to either boost protein content or to improve product quality or both.

In Spain, Arla offers Arla Queso Fresco de Untar, an all-natural refrigerated squeeze cheese for snacking. The 175-gram bottles contain a preservative-free cheese made from milk whey, skimmed milk and milk protein, with a 25-gram serving providing 50 calories and 2 grams of protein.

In Sweden, the company markets Protein Keso cottage cheese in 250-gram tubs. Each 100-gram serving of the plain variety contains 80 calories, 1.5 grams of fat and 15 grams of protein, which comes from pasteurized milk and added milk protein. There are also flavored options, including Pineapple & Passionfruit, Fours Kinds of Onion and Grilled Paprika.

There’s also snack-size varieties that come with a dome of inclusions. Varieties include Cashews/Pineapple/Orange/Papaya, Hazelnuts/Blueberries/Cranberries, Coconut & Bran Flakes, and Strawberry & Muesli.

Hormel Health Labs, a subsidiary of Hormel Foods Corp., is growing its functional dairy foods offerings for the healthcare market. Designed specifically to support the unique nutritional needs of cancer patients, products provide a balance of proteins, fats and carbohydrates. Each 14-ounce Hormel Vital Cuisine nutrition shake provides 25 grams of protein from an array of dairy ingredients, including caseinates, milk protein isolate and whey protein concentrate.
Thrive is a nutrition-packed premium ice cream containing probiotics, natural soluble fiber and high-quality milk proteins. It is also loaded with 24 vitamins and minerals. The source of protein is high-quality milk protein isolate. According to the company, Thrive contains all the nutrition and benefits of the typical liquid nutrition shake in a form proven to be more enjoyable to eat. Available in pints and portion-control 6-ounce cups, Thrive can be consumed as a meal replacement, snack or dessert, with healthcare and sports nutrition two key channels for distribution. Varieties are Butter Pecan, Chocolate, Salted Caramel and Vanilla.

Ontario, Canada’s Gay Lea Foods Co-Operative is growing its Nordica Smooth brand, which is a smooth cottage cheese snack. The product debuted about a year ago in Salted Caramel and Vanilla Bean varieties. Now Lemon is part of the lineup. With Nordica Smooth, consumers can enjoy all the benefits of cottage cheese without the lumpy texture, one of the biggest deterrents to this original high-protein cultured dairy food, according to the company. Each 100-gram cup provides 10 grams of protein, 110 calories and less than 2 grams of fat. The protein comes from milk and added milk protein.
In Germany and Austria, Edelweis offers the Brunch spread line, which combines yogurt with vegetable oil. Varieties include Fine Herb, Indian Curry, Sweet That Chili, Paprika & Pepper, and new limited-edition Devil, which is an intensively hot flavor made with tomatoes and chilies. A 25-gram serving provides about 1 gram of fat from the yogurt and added milk protein.

Hope to see you at IFT!

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