Thursday, April 28, 2022

Umpqua Dairy’s Protein To Go Cottage Cheese has 22 grams of protein per container. The company markets it as being “packed with protein and calcium, our answer to fast food.” I wish that asterisk were a note on protein quality instead of rBST. Read more.


It was wonderful to see so many of you at the American Dairy Products Institute (ADPI) 2022 Annual Conference this past week in Chicago. There were more than 850 attendees from 21 different countries. The male-to-female ratio was about one-to-nine, which is a lot better from when I was a first-time attendee back in 1994. There had to be only about a dozen of us. 

Things change. 

“In the next 10 years, we are projected to experience more progress and change than in the past 100 years,” said Barbara O’Brien, president and CEO of Dairy Management Inc., and the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, at the ADPI event. “Information will be shared at a faster rate, new data will be generated and shared, consumers will want to interact and get their products digitally, and expectations of industries and brands will change. This creates both issues and opportunities for U.S. dairy as we seek to earn a place for dairy foods and ingredients in homes and businesses around the world.”

Protein continues to be a buzz word among consumers. It is a prioritized food component when scanning store shelves and online shopping channels. A thing that has not changed—and really needs to—is educating consumers about protein quality, digestibility, availability and how it’s not just protein, but the whole food package that makes animal proteins so powerful. 

We don’t eat individual nutrients. Even a protein beverage mix labeled 100% whey protein still contains fats and carbohydrates. The body does not digest one type of nutrient in isolation from the others. This means that building proteins from plants or even through fermentation is different from the whole food package, e.g., a glass of milk, an egg, a salmon filet, etc. This could change some day. 

O’Brien explained how more than $1.7 billion has been invested in lab-grown protein and dairy companies as of March 2022. Further, the USDA awarded $10 million to Tufts University over the next five years to launch the National Institute for Cellular Agriculture. 

While cellular proteins are necessary to help feed the growing population, livestock are critical to regenerative agriculture and growing edible food crops. 

“Gen Z and Millennials consider food alternative innovations inevitable and are open to trying lab-grown dairy products but have high expectations,” she said. 

Those expectations include being earth friendly. And that’s where many processors need to up their game. O’Brien said that two out of three Americans report switching their current product for one that has a more positive impact and that climate labels are increasingly helping people make purchase decisions based on carbon footprint.

You may not be aware that Perfect Day Inc., creator of the world’s first animal-free dairy protein, entered the sports nutrition market with a protein mix at the end of 2021. The new line puts Perfect Day’s hallmark ingredient front and center, bringing consumers the taste, performance and nutrition of conventional whey protein powder but with a fraction of the environmental impact, according to the company. 

“After highlighting the functionality of our protein in cream cheese, ice cream and baked goods, this new category brings its nutritional superiority to the forefront,” said Ryan Pandya, co-founder and CEO of Perfect Day, Inc. “We developed this new product line for traditional whey protein and plant-based protein consumers alike, and above all, for anyone conscious about their health and the health of our planet.”

Let’s make sure consumers know that traditional animal proteins are a component of powerful whole foods and that the animals they come from are critical to our soil. 

1 comment:

  1. Excellent recap of on dairy protein chatter over this past ADPI week! As always Donna you cut right to the heart of the discussion and can write creatively to pause us all to rethink and grow in our ideas.