Market opportunities vast for dairy proteins

The dairy industry must strive to accelerate innovation and expand its offering of cost-effective ingredients if it is to capture future opportunities.

To allow for more dairy protein to be used in a wide variety of food applications, the dairy industry must accelerate innovation and expand its offering of cost-effective ingredients that perform consistently under diverse processing conditions and challenges, Annie Bienvenue of the U.S. Dairy Export Council explained at the 2014 Joint Annual Meeting of the American Dairy Science Assn. and American Society of Animal Science in Kansas City, Mo.

Bienvenue said a main advantage for dairy proteins is the excellence of the nutrition that it delivers. She noted that the Digestible Indispensable Amino Acid Score (DIAAS), the new FAO-recommended method, demonstrates the higher bioavailability of dairy proteins when compared to plant-based protein sources. Initial testing shows dairy protein to have a 30% increase in nutrition over that of soy protein.

While today’s food manufacturers are doing a good job of offering beverages, bars, cereals, meals and yogurts formulated to deliver increased levels of protein with a good taste profile, Bienvenue said that Asia and the Middle East hold even more potential. Growth in demand for protein-rich foods is expected as consumers in these regions achieve greater financial prosperity, become aware of health trends in other countries, and move toward a more Western diet, she said.

In order to capitalize on formulators’ desire to increase protein levels in foods and beverages, Bienvenue said dairy suppliers must offer ingredients that will meet buyers’ specifications, consistently perform and deliver a high-quality finished product. Dairy ingredient performance depends on the protein type, structure, pH, ionic strength, interactions with other ingredients in the formula and processing conditions of the finished product. Therefore, she said, it is crucial for suppliers to understand formulators’ parameters to help in selecting the best dairy ingredient functionality for a food system.

In a highly competitive marketplace, formulators have choices of ingredients by which to increase protein levels in food formulation. To allow for more dairy protein to be used in a wide variety of food applications, the dairy industry must accelerate innovation to expand the offering of cost-effective ingredients that will perform consistently under diverse processing conditions and challenges, said Bienvenue.

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