Friday, June 18, 2021

Cicadas Pose No Threat to Dairy Proteins…other than maybe annoying cows

Photo source: Toby’s Homemade Ice Cream 

I thought that headline might get your attention. Seriously, though, cicadas promise to be overwhelming this summer. And, they are an edible insect. Creating recipes and showcasing fun ways to eat cicadas has been trending on Tik Tok. It has been so popular that earlier this month the FDA felt it was necessary to tweet this statement:  

“We have to say it. Don’t eat #cicadas if you’re allergic to seafood, as these insects share a family relation to shrimp and lobsters.”

In case you were wondering, rumor has it, once you get past the crispy exterior, cicadas are buttery and taste like shrimp. Cicadas contain a comparable amount of protein to red meat, more than 100 grams per pound, while having a much smaller carbon footprint.

But, there’s always another side to the story. Cicada eaters risk exposure to pesticides if they don’t choose and clean their insects properly. After all, the cicadas coming out this year lived in the soil for almost two decades.


Pictured here is a cicada ice cream sundae made by Toby’s Homemade Ice Cream in Arlington, Virginia. It is made with one scoop each of chocolate, bittersweet chocolate and cafe au lait ice cream. This gets topped with chocolate sprinkles, two red candy eyes and waffle cone wings. The shop cautions that you should “consume it before it consumes you.” Important to note, it does not contain any cicadas, not even a sprinkling of chocolate-covered, crispy wings!

What is trending are dairy proteins, which are described by Innova Market Insights as the unsung heroes of global innovation. Research shows that the range of products powered with dairy protein ingredients continues to climb, providing plentiful choice to consume dairy-based products in new and exciting ways.  

Tracking data from Innova Markets Insights’ Innova Database affirms this upward growth trajectory, revealing that the number of new global food and beverage product introductions made with whey proteins and with milk proteins both set new records in 2020. A record 7,409 whey protein products were introduced around the world in 2020, with annual launches nearly doubling from 2015. This represents a double-digit (13.9%) compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from 2015 to 2020, demonstrating that food formulators are tapping into these nutritional and functional ingredients to fuel innovations that deliver on consumer desires, according to the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC).

Milk protein product launches also smashed prior year records, reaching 9,413 products in 2020, a 3.7% CAGR from 2015 to 2020. Aggregated dairy protein product introductions outpaced plant proteins in 2020 by over 3,000 products (17,652 dairy proteins vs. 14,584 plant proteins), maintaining a consistent lead held for the past decade. 

“This impressive growth in whey, milk and dairy protein introductions aligns with other Innova Market Insights’ survey data showing strong consumer demand for proteins from both animal and plant-based sources,” says Lu Ann Williams, Global Insights Director, Innova Market Insights. “Innovation potential remains bright across global markets and diverse product categories for these versatile ingredients from cow’s milk, offering formulators the sweet spot of nutritionally high-quality proteins that complement today’s plant forward lifestyles.” 

In this analysis, the “whey protein” group includes whey protein, whey protein concentrate, whey protein hydrolysate and whey protein isolate. The “milk protein” group includes milk protein, milk protein concentrate, milk protein hydrolysate, milk protein extract and milk protein isolate. The “dairy protein” group includes 32 whey protein, milk protein, casein protein and other dairy-based protein ingredients, while the “plant protein” group includes 70 ingredients, including soy, pea, almond, potato, wheat, rice, oat, lupin and more.

The number of whey and milk protein products carrying a high or source of protein claim is rising in tandem with the growth in new product launches. Sixty percent of tracked whey protein and 28% of milk protein product introductions carried a “high” or “source” of protein claim on-pack in 2020, signaling that global manufacturers are harnessing protein’s powerful consumer allure for marketing advantage. 

“Consumer interest in protein for health is no longer just in Western markets where the protein trend started but gaining momentum and driving new product introductions around the world,” says Kristi Saitama, vice president, global ingredients marketing for USDEC. “Launch activity is likely to accelerate in coming years as manufacturers in Asian, Latin American, Middle Eastern and African countries further discover and seek out whey and milk protein’s powerhouse nutritional package to develop local-friendly products supporting consumer health and wellness goals, such as fitness, weight management and healthy aging.” 

More than one third (35.4%) of whey protein new product introductions in 2020 were outside of Europe and North America, with one in five (21.2%) launches in Asia. The top five markets—United States, China, Germany, United Kingdom and Brazil—accounted for 40% of tracked 2020 introductions. On a country by country basis, the United States accounted for 16% of the 2020 whey protein food and beverage launches followed by China (8%), Germany (6.5%), the United Kingdom (5.6%) and Brazil (3.8%). 

Category wise, sports nutrition led with a 36.9% share of total whey protein product introductions last year followed by baby and toddlers (27.4%), dairy foods (6.4%), cereals (6.1%) and bakery (5.8%). Additional key categories included desserts and ice cream (4.3%), snacks (2.4%), confectionery (2.2%), ready meals and side dishes (2.2%) and soft drinks (1.9%), reflecting broadening performance strength across both traditional and novel end-use applications.

“U.S. whey and milk protein ingredients deliver on formulator goals to boost protein content in health and wellness product offerings while providing the right flavor, nutrition, functionality and clean labels in ways where newer proteins may struggle,” says Saitama. “And with a long-legacy of environmental stewardship and ambitious environmental goals to become carbon neutral or better by 2050, global manufacturers can count on the U.S. dairy community for sustainable ingredient and innovation solutions that are healthful for both the body and the planet."

When it comes to sports nutrition, a new report from 3A Business Consulting, “The Global Market for Sports Nutrition and Dairy/Plant Proteins 2021-2025,” shows that the market for sports nutrition will continue its value and volume growth as pandemic-related rules are lifted. The global sports nutrition market was estimated to be $21.9 billion in 2020 and is expected to reach $31.2 billion by 2025, corresponding to an impressive CAGR of 7.4%. 

North America amounts to a whopping 63% of the global market value followed by Western Europe and Asia Pacific. In terms of per capita spending the United States is the biggest spender followed by Australia. In Western Europe, the United Kingdom and the Nordic countries are the heavy users. 
Covid-19 has extensively impacted the sports nutrition industry, with changes in distribution channels, product development, consumers’ awareness of overall health as well as consumer buying behavior. 

With a greater focus on overall health and more consumers looking for clean-label products, an increasing demand for natural ingredients is seen in sports nutrition. Ingredients such as organic and grass-fed whey and milk proteins and plant-based proteins have gained prominence due to both health and ethical concerns.

Dairy proteins used in sports nutrition are whey and milk proteins. For whey proteins, it is whey protein concentrate, whey protein hydrolysate and whey protein isolate. Native whey proteins have started to appear in sports nutrition. Milk proteins used include milk protein concentrate, milk protein isolate, milk protein hydrolysate, caseinates and to a lesser extent micellar casein. Consumption of plant proteins in sports nutrition is increasing; key plant proteins used are soy protein isolate, pea protein isolate and rice protein isolate. 

Insect proteins did not make the list. No need to fear the cicadas. But it might be time to get into sports nutrition!

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