Thursday, November 14, 2019

Dairy Protein Completes Plant-based Foods

During the past three months I have given numerous presentations around the world regarding the power of U.S. dairy ingredients, providing the audience with innovative uses of dairy ingredients—everything from pizza crust to puffed chick peas. While I enjoy emphasizing that “cheese makes plants taste better,” cheese on plants is not new. Think about the broccoli cheddar casserole and parmesan-encrusted Brussel sprouts that may be part of your upcoming Thanksgiving feast.

What we often overlook is that while dairy makes many foods more delicious, and a bunch of nasty-tasting foods palatable, dairy, namely whey and casein proteins, brings valuable nutrition to many foods. Please repeat this a few times—dairy protein completes plant-based foods--and then start getting creative.

Let’s face it, too often dairy marketers take the conservative road when it comes to promoting their products. Dairy Pure was the best Dean Foods could do for fluid milk, and it was not enough, as we see in its bankruptcy filing this week.

What’s crazy with dairy proteins is that numerous non-dairy companies have built entire businesses around products based on dairy proteins. And consumers are “intentionally” buying these products because of the dairy proteins. They should be intentionally buying dairy foods.

Quest Nutrition is the perfect example. This company made its debut in dairy protein bars, and quickly expanded into frozen pizza (there’s dairy protein in the crust). They also have protein tortilla chips. Yes, the tortilla chips are based on a dairy ingredient and protein system composed of acid casein, milk protein isolate, whey protein isolate, whey, dried cheese, buttermilk powder and nonfat milk. A one-ounce serving contains 18 to 20 grams of protein, depending on flavor.

The company finally now has ready-to-drink protein shakes, a common dairy format. The chocolate, salted caramel and vanilla shakes contain 160 calories and 30 grams of protein from milk and milk protein concentrate.

Quest Nutrition would not be if it was not for dairy proteins. Dairy processors need to take this approach.

I was fortunate to speak at Dairy Farmers of America’s (DFA) Northeast Area Leadership Conference in Syracuse, New York, on Tuesday. This is the same day of the Dean Foods bankruptcy announcement, which also included reference to sales discussions with DFA. Talk about being in the right place at the right time to get the vibe. And it was an upbeat one. It was very contagious.

DFA President and CEO Rick Smith spoke to the group and confirmed that there have been discussions with Dean Foods, but that’s about it.

“Everybody’s been telling me for years that we are the logical owner of Dean’s,” he said. “And I’ve already gotten phone calls about people who want to partner with us.

“We will be interested in some assets, undoubtedly. And not interested in some, undoubtedly,” he told a room packed with about 500 Northeast members and suppliers of services to DFA. “Some [assets] should be closed. Some will require partners.”

And the best news of all, DFA expects to grow in fluid milk, as well as all other dairy categories. Smith is very positive about the future of dairy and the need to invest in innovation to keep dairy relevant.

In my presentation, I emphasized the power of dairy protein to the group. That there’s a need for dairy processors to pull in the reigns and start getting creative with formulating and marketing dairy proteins. 

I challenge all of us to start thinking how we can educate consumers on how dairy proteins complete plant-based foods. Remember, dairy delivers essential amino acids

in the ratio the body requires to perform at its best. Dairy provides important vitamins and minerals, as well as essential fatty acids. And, yes, dairy make plants taste better.

Dairy protein completes fruit and vegetable smoothies, overnight oats and hummus. If mom wants to serve her 1- to 5-year old child an Impossible Burger, it’s only complete with a glass of whole white milk. To accompany the breaded buffalo cauliflower florets on the Super Bowl buffet, how about offering a protein-fortified ranch dip?

Repeat after me, “dairy protein completes plant-based foods.” Now go innovate.

No comments:

Post a Comment