Friday, October 8, 2021

Eliminating Lactose Helps Keep Dairy in the Diet


Last week I wrote:

Real dairy, real eggs and real meat are not going away. Alternative dairy, alternative eggs and alternative meat are not going away. What is going away, slowly but surely, are nutrient-void, overly processed, unsustainable and “yucky-tasting” products in both the real and alternative sector. 

To read the blog, link HERE

What is also going away in many value-added real dairy foods is lactose. That’s because, real or perceived, a growing number of consumers claim to be lactose intolerant. As a result, they avoid all dairy products. When processors eliminate lactose—a disaccharide unique to all mammalian milk—from dairy foods, it helps prevent consumers from switching to dairy alternatives when the sole reason for the swap is to avoid lactose. 

Approximately 65% of the human population has a reduced ability to digest lactose, according to the National Institutes of Health. This is due to the lack of the enzyme lactase, which is responsible for breaking lactose down into the monosaccharides glucose and galactose. When lactose does not break down in the small intestine, it passes into the large intestine, where it may cause diarrhea, bloating and gas. 

Dairy foods processors can help lactose-sensitive consumers keep dairy in their diet by simply adding lactase to the milk during manufacturing. A side perk to this process is that glucose and galactose are sweeter than lactose, and in products such as flavored milk, ice cream and yogurt, an “added-sugar” reduction may be possible.

“For some consumers, having more lactose-free dairy choices, especially organic milk options, is a real boon,” says Kara Nielsen, director-food and drink, WGSN. “With so many non-dairy beverages proving to be lacking in essential nutrients as well as body and flavor, real milk without lactose is a great solution for those that have digestive issues but still value milk’s many benefits.” 

Market experts anticipate that lactose-free dairy products will become more mainstream and show an increase in market penetration due to rising consumer awareness. Promoting digestibility is part of the messaging. This has become easier with the use of high-quality lactase enzyme systems. 

The global lactase market size was valued at $185.2 million in 2019 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.1% from 2020 to 2027, according to a report from Grand View Research. Lactose-free claims on dairy products is driving this growth. 

It’s no wonder that global sales of lactose-free dairy products are estimated to grow at a similar CAGR (5.3%) during this period. The category is expected to reach a valuation of $17.8 billion by the end of 2027, according to “Lactose Free Dairy Products Market: Global Industry Analysis (2012-2016) and Opportunity Assessment (2019-2027)” published by Future Market Insights. This growth is being fueled by a variety of factors, including new product innovation of value-added dairy products, including better-for-you, functional and organic. Europe currently leads the global lactose-free dairy products market.

So, having arrived in Germany to attend Anuga, where I am sure there will be a plethora of lactose-free dairy innovations, I visited a market and found two relatively new items. Both are beverages. 

Barebells is a Swedish functional food company that launched in 2016 and offers a range of protein-enriched products, including refrigerated milkshakes, which are limited in distribution in select European countries. There are also Barebells Bars that are made in Sweden and available in more than 30 countries. They’ve been in gyms and specialty food stores in the U.S. since 2020. The milkshakes come in single-serve 330-milliliter plastic bottles with front labels boldly stating they are lactose free and contain no added sugars. Made with milk, milk protein concentrate and, of course, lactase, the beverages come in five flavors: Banana, Chocolate, Creamy Pair, Strawberry and Vanilla. One bottle contains 190 calories, 4.6 grams of fat, 13 grams of inherent sugar and 24 grams of protein. 

yfood is a German company that was founded in May 2017 and started with an online shop to sell its This is Food shelf-stable ready-to-drink meal replacements. In August 2018, the company made the leap into brick-and-mortar retail in the Munich area. About a year later, the company added powder mixes and bars to its lineup and in July 2020 expanded distribution to other European countries. 

The ready-to-drink line is a true meal replacement, boasting 26 vitamins and minerals and 100 calories per 100 milliliters. Depending upon nutritional needs, the drinks come in 330- and 500-milliliter plastic bottles. They are made with low-fat milk and milk protein from Germany and Austria, plus oats, corn, rice, sunflower and rapeseed oil. They were formulated to supply a balanced distribution of macronutrients (27% of the total energy comes from carbohydrates, 27% from proteins, 42% from fats and 3% from fibers). In short, everything your body needs and no-added sugars. The lactose gets broken down through the addition of lactase and helps naturally sweeten the beverage. Sucralose adds a little extra sweetness. Flavors are: Apple Cinnamon, Banana, Chocolate, Coconut, Cold Brew Coffee, Fresh Berry, Hazelnut, Salted Caramel and Vanilla.

Back in the States, Beckon has introduced Lactose-Free Ice Cream Snack Cups. The new 3.5-ounce single-serve cups are sold in packs of four, with each cup including a dome of mix-ins. The three varieties are: Dark Chocolate Brownie with Chocolate Cookie Gems, Mint Chip with Chocolate Creme Cookie Crumble, and Vanilla with Rainbow Sprinkles. One cup contains 150 to 210 calories, 9 to 12 grams of fat, 12 to 18 grams of fat and 2 to 3 grams of protein. 
Co-founded by female entrepreneurs Katy Flannery and Gwen Burlingame, Beckon has distinguished itself as an ice cream favorite for those who are lactose intolerant. Beckon’s unique process allows its ice cream to be made from traditional ice cream ingredients, including milk and cream, but without the lactose thanks to the addition of lactase enzyme. Beckon sources high-quality dairy from a co-op in the Northeast that is 100% farmer-owned and sweetens every flavor with non-GMO pure cane sugar.

Danone North America now offers Yogurt Licuado. The 7-ounce drinks come in four flavors inspired by traditional Mexican recipes. Three of them—Mango Coconut, Strawberry Cinnamon and Strawberry Banana Honey--include oat bran. The fourth—Banana—is made with the grain amaranth. Containing live and active cultures, each single-serve bottle provides 110 to 120 calories, 6 grams of protein and 6 grams of fiber. Lactase is added to render the beverage lactose free. The beverage is positioned as an on-the-go snack. 

Good Culture, the B-corp-certified, clean-label cultured foods brand credited with revolutionizing cottage cheese for the modern age, continues to deliver disruptive innovation with the debut of Lactose-Free Cottage Cheese and Lactose-Free Sour Cream. The latter comes in a new squeezable pouch and a traditional tub. The new products are made with simple ingredients, including gut-friendly live and active cultures as well as pasture-raised milk sourced from small family farms in the Midwest. 

The Lactose Free Cottage Cheese boasts 14 grams of protein per serving and is made with just five simple ingredients: pasture-raised milk, cream, sea salt, live and active cultures and lactase enzyme. The 15-ounce tub sells for about $3.49. Good Culture’s Squeezable Lactose Free Sour Cream Pouch and Lactose Free Sour Cream Tub are simply lactose-free versions of the brand’s rich, simple, cultured sour cream currently in market today. It’s available in a 12-ounce pouch for a suggested retail price of $2.99 and a 15-ounce tub for $2.99. 

Campaign to Recycle Milk Jugs Debuts
The California Milk Advisory Board (CMAB) just launched a public information campaign aimed at increasing awareness of the recyclability of milk jugs made of high-density polyethylene (HDPE) or #2 plastic. The “Recycle the Jug” campaign is designed to drive sustainable behavior change across the state by addressing misconceptions to ensure plastic milk jugs make it into the recycling stream. 

A 2021 perceptions study conducted by a dairy industry coalition revealed that while 70% of California consumers said recyclability is important to them, nearly half (47%) found the milk jug difficult to recycle and 32% of those consumers reported they didn’t trust it will actually be recycled. 

“California consumers are dedicated to doing their part to recycle but many don’t understand that the HDPE used for plastic milk jugs is one of the most widely accepted plastics in recycling programs across the United States. It’s highly desirable by recyclers because of its value and ability to be turned into new materials,” says John Talbot, CEO of the CMAB. “We want to encourage consumers who buy milk in the jug to make sure that jug makes it to the recycling bin to help keep plastic out of landfills.”

Working closely with the dairy, retail and recycling industries, the Recycle the Jug campaign encourages consumers to take three simple steps to recycle their plastic milk jugs: Pour it. Cap it. Bin it. A new site launched in collaboration with the Milk Processor Education Board (MilkPEP) provides complete information on milk jug and other recycling. And, a new recycling icon with the website address will soon appear on milk jugs at retail stores across California as a reminder to consumers to recycle the jug in their local curbside recycling program. 

U.S. Dairy Industry Publishes Biennial Sustainability Report
The checkoff-founded Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy released its biennial 2020 U.S. Dairy Sustainability Report inclusive of progress made in 2019 and 2020 within environmental stewardship and broader social responsibility commitments to people, animals and communities.
The report provides a transparent accounting of the progress and impact that the dairy community has made against the U.S. Dairy Stewardship Commitment since its launch in 2018. Those dairy companies and processors that have voluntarily signed onto the Stewardship Commitment represent 75% of U.S. milk production and are dedicated to nourishing a growing global population with responsibly produced dairy foods and beverages.

Key highlights include:
  • More than 95% of resources from processors was recovered, redirected and put to beneficial use such as donated to feed hungry people, repurposed for industry purposes and to feed animals and sent to composts (vs. sent to landfill).
  • U.S. dairy provided 1.538 billion servings of nutritious milk, cheese and yogurt in 2020 to food banks in the Feeding America network, a 33% increase over 2019 and a 107% increase since 2016.
  • The dairy industry supported 3.3 million jobs in the U.S. and contributed $752.93B in total economic impact.
  • By making use of the water present in milk, U.S. dairy processors were net positive for water, returning more than they withdrew from municipal and other sources.
For information about the industry’s sustainability work and the dairy checkoff, link HERE

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