Friday, December 2, 2016

Dairy Foods Forecast 2017: Dairy Protein Beverage Innovations

This is the fourth in a series of reports predicting dairy innovation rollouts in 2017.

As the year starts to wind down, food and beverage market analysts issue forecasts for macro trends that will drive innovation. I take those trends and combine them with the knowledge gained throughout the year from attending international trade shows and talking with suppliers and dairy foods marketers. This year the entire dairy foods supply chain is pumped up about the future. And this is thanks to all the dedicated people who work in every link, from farm to table.

Whey--once considered a byproduct of cheesemaking is now one of the most in-demand ingredients, in particular in the beverage business. Fluid milk processors would be wise to stop focusing so much on processing and packaging ordinary white and flavored milk and think outside the gallon and half gallon to single-serve bottles, cans, cartons and even pouches of whey (and other dairy protein)-containing beverages. These might be clear water- or juice-type drinks, meal replacements or even energy drinks.

Polly Olson, vice president of new business development, sales and marketing at AGROPUR, confirmed that the use of whey proteins in consumer beverages, as opposed to sports nutrition beverages where whey has long been the shining star, is soaring, and shows no signs of slowing down.

According to a report from BCCResearch, the global whey protein market will reach $13.5 billion in 2020, up from $9.2 billion in 2015, registering a compound annual growth rate of 6.5% for the period of 2015 to 2020. For years, whey protein has been the go-to ingredient in the sports nutrition sector thanks to its anabolic benefits such as increased muscle protein synthesis and muscle growth. However, increased focus on health across age groups and gender is driving use of whey protein beyond athletes and sports enthusiasts.

The report states that while core demand for whey protein comes from the U.S. and the E.U., there is increasing demand in emerging economies, especially in Asia-Pacific and Latin America. In addition to being used in beverages, whey and other dairy protein ingredients are increasingly being used in nutrition bars, infant formula and weight-management foods.

Sunshine Dairy Foods gets it. Known for its use of premium local ingredients and a cold-craft process that may take longer, but produces superior-tasting products, this Portland, Ore., dairy is now playing in the protein beverage space with the recent introduction of Sunshine Power. Packaged in single-serve 16-ounce gable-top cartons, each container delivers 30-grams of high-quality dairy protein—from milk, milk protein isolate and dairy product solids. Each powerful serving packs in 420 calories, 19 grams of fat, including added omega-3 fatty acids, and 24 grams of total sugar, in addition to the 30 grams of protein. To keep total sugars low, and to be able to state the product contains no added sugars, the refrigerated beverage is slightly sweetened with stevia. Through the addition of lactase enzyme, the product is also lactose free.

For Goodness Shakes, a leading ready-to-drink protein shake brand in the U.K., introduced three new products this year. Protein Water contains no sugar or fat and is only 86 calories per 500-milliliter bottle. Packed with 20 grams of whey protein isolate, the beverage is designed to hydrate before, during and after training.

Protein Coconut Water contains no added sugar and no fat. Each 330-milliliter bottle contains 52 calories and 10 grams of whey protein isolate. The beverage base is naturally hydrating coconut and spring water.

For a healthful breakfast on the go, there’s new shelf-stable Protein & Oats, an enriched milk drink that contains 14 vitamins and minerals and packs in 25 grams of protein from whey and casein. Each single-serve bottle also contains 20 grams of finely ground oats, which function as a source of slow-releasing energy. The meal-in-a-bottle has no added refined sugars. The only sugars are those naturally present in the oats and dairy ingredients. The unique formulation is designed to be a satiating first meal of the day and comes in two traditional porridge flavors: Original and Banana & Golden Syrup.

NestlĂ© USA is rolling out Nesquik Protein Plus flavored milk drink, with each 14-ounce single-serve bottle containing 23 grams of protein to help consumers reach their protein-intake goals for the day. Labels flag “proudly made with real milk,” with ingredient statements identifying low-fat milk as the first ingredient. A protein boost comes form added milk protein concentrate. Nesquik Protein Plus comes in Chocolate and Vanilla flavors. The milk drinks contain no artificial sweeteners and labels make the claim that the drinks have 28% less sugar than the leading protein-enhanced flavored milk. It is shelf stable until opened.

BiPro USA, a consumer brand of AGROPUR, has added a strawberry flavor to its line of whey protein isolate powders. Strawberry joins unflavored, Chocolate and French Vanilla. BiPro’s strawberry iteration stays true to the brand’s clean label. The product contains just six ingredients, 90 calories per serving and zero grams of sugar. Just like every other BiPro flavor, strawberry carries 20 grams of protein per serving and is NSF Certified for Sport, ensuring that it is free of banned substances. The product is naturally sweetened and naturally flavored with real strawberry pieces.

In June, the brand introduced ready-to-drink BiPro Protein Water. Each 16.9-ounce bottle contains one scoop of BiPro (20 grams of protein) and stays true to the brand’s clean label. The ingredient legend includes only five items: water, whey protein isolate, phosphoric acid, natural flavor and stevia extract. A single-serve bottle contains zero grams of fat, sugar and carbohydrates and just 90 calories. BiPro Protein Water comes in Lemon Lift and Peach Power flavors.

PowerBar, the original energy bar, has added Clean Whey Protein Drinks to its rapidly evolving portfolio of real and energizing foods. In response to consumer requests for cleaner ingredient labels, PowerBar Clean Whey products feature no artificial sweeteners and high-quality whey protein for sustained energy. A single-serve 16.9-milliliter bottle of the drink contains 15 grams of whey protein, 0 grams of sugar and 70 calories, as a result of being sweetened with stevia. It is a light, refreshing alternative to a traditional dairy-based protein shake and can be used during or after a workout, as a healthy snack or meal replacement, according to the company. The drink comes in Berry Pomegranate and Fruit Punch flavors.

SmashPack Protein is a new all-natural, high-protein and real fruit nutritional snack. These spouted squeeze packs are for athletes and anyone on-the-go looking for a quick, healthy snack/meal replacement made from real food. Each pouch is packed with 14 grams of high-quality whey protein, one serving of real fruit, 5 grams of healthy fats and is only 180 calories. The line of protein packs come in three flavors—Mixed Berry, Orange Peach and Tropical Fruit--each with a short list of recognizable ingredients. SmashPack Protein is shelf stable and free of soy, gluten, artificial ingredients, and is naturally sweetened by the fruit it holds.

Wisconsin Specialty Protein now offers ready-to-drink Tera’s Whey Protein beverage. This shelf-stable drink comes in two flavors—Chocolate and Vanilla Bourbon--with both packing in 26 grams of whey that originated from milk from grass-fed Wisconsin cows. The protein sources are whey protein isolate, milk protein isolate and nonfat dry milk. Sugars are kept low by using organic stevia in combination with organic unrefined cane sugar.

The whey- and other dairy protein-containing beverage segment is poised for innovation. It's time to get on board.

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