SINGAPORE Growing importance and versatility of Dairy Proteins in F&B Products September 2019
Dairy products like milk and its constituents have been providing essential nutrition to the global population since time immemorial. The functionality and versatility of milk ingredients can never be perfectly substituted as it has always been the main source of protein for many communities throughout the world.
The U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) has recently conducted a seminar entitled 'US Dairy Health & Fitness' on 27 August in Singapore to showcase the versatility, benefits and applications of dairy proteins in food and beverage products. From the seminar, it is apparent that Asia is still lagging behind its western counterparts like the US in terms of application of dairy protein ingredients in food products, as such there are tremendous opportunities for new product development in this region, capitalising on USDEC's diverse and high quality range of ingredients from milk powder, to whey and milk protein amongst others.
Ms Dalilah Ghazalay, Regional Director (SEA) of USDEC said at the opening of the seminar that "USDEC can provide nutritional and functional solutions to its customers from the food and beverage industry by incorporating US dairy proteins into their food products." To show the nutrition and functionality of whey and milk proteins, 2 well-known speakers from the US, Donna Berry, a Food Scientist and an Editor for Dairy Communications, Inc; and Leslie Bonci, a registered dietitian and owner of Nutrition Consulting Company were invited to share their more than 50 years' combined knowledge and experience in the food and beverage industry at the seminar.
Dairy Protein has multiple applications in F&B products
Donna Berry highlighted the multiple applications of dairy proteins in food and beverage products, and growing demand for such products in line with the growing health and fitness lifestyles globally particularly in the urban population.
Donna added that the Generation Y (millennials) and Z will lead the global population by 2030, and they will demand for more nutritious food and beverage products to meet their growing health and fitness craze.
Meanwhile, the older consumers saw a significant shift in their eating habits which resulted in insufficient protein intake. To arrest this problem, there is a need to develop acceptable products with high quality protein to prevent sarcopenia among the elderly population.
In her presentation, Donna emphasised that dairy protein ingredients are often being perceived as 'Real Foods' – clean, simple and wholesome and this positive perception has led to the application of dairy proteins into protein-enriched snack food as well as clean label food amongst others. Donna showcased many examples of latest 'high protein' food products like cheese crackers, cookies, pizzas, protein bars, chocolate snacks, yogurt/ice cream, cakes and brownies to beverages like nutritional/energy drink, hot cereals, smoothies, breakfast shake, coffee to high protein juice that utilise milk and whey protein concentrate/isolate, calcium caseinate and cheese amongst others. The extensive list of products confirm the versatility of US dairy proteins in new product development which many Asian F&B manufacturers could capitalise on, to tackle this growing shift in demand for high-protein nutritious food.
Growing role of Dairy Proteins in Health & Across All Ages
Leslie Bonci meanwhile emphasised on the role of dairy proteins in health and well-being. According to her, adequate amount of dietary protein in food is essential for bone health, muscle repair and synthesis, and to support a healthy immune system amongst others.
The need for adequate protein in food is necessary in all age groups from students to young adults to older people. She highlighted that a 'complete' protein source is usually derived from meat, poultry, fish, dairy and soy foods whereas beans, grains, nuts and vegetables are classified as 'incomplete'. In comparison, she said, if someone wants to substitute protein from meat/dairy with alternative sources like lentils, tofu or vegetables like broccoli, he needs to consume a very large quantity of the alternative (incomplete) proteins to match the same amount of protein given by a 'complete' source. For example, to match the protein content in 3 slices (90g) of cheese or 29g of whey proteins, a person needs to take 1kg of brown rice or 630g of broccoli. This indirectly shows how important a 'dairy' diet is to increase one's daily protein intake.
Leslie commented that animal sources of protein are considered to be the best source of quality protein whereas plant protein sources are limited in terms of quality protein content. The protein quality is determined by the level of amino acid composition and digestibility (See Chart 1.0 which compares essential amino acid content of protein foods)
Leslie showed that dairy foods not only provide a good source of protein but also many other vitamins and minerals like calcium, vitamins A, B2, B3, B5, B12 D and phosphorus. This is further confirmed by US Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee Report in 2015 which showed that consumption of dairy foods offer numerous health benefits like lower risk of obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases which are the 3 major health concerns in the ASEAN region.
She also highlighted on the benefits of whey protein as a significant source of leucine, an essential nutrient required for muscle protein synthesis. She presented a chart (see Chart 2.0) showing the different sources of protein from plant to meat-based food and the leucine contents in each food product. It clearly shows that whey protein isolate is an excellent source of high quality protein which provides the highest amount of leucine per metric weight proportions.
Whey protein, as such, is an ideal ingredient component that promotes muscle repair and recovery after exercise. This justifies the use of whey protein in many commercial sports and muscle-building products. Interestingly, whey protein can also be applied to mainstream food and beverage products without compromising the taste, yet offering additional health benefits to the consumer. (Contact USDEC for more information)
Rising consumer interest in Protein
Kristi Saitama, Vice President, Ingredients Marketing, USDEC, showed that there is a rising consumer interest in protein, which leads to growing number of food and beverage products launched with protein claim. In 2014, only 3.1% of new F&B products launched globally had the protein claim, however in 2018, this has doubled to 6.3%.
The year 2018 also marks a record year for global whey protein, milk protein and permeate launches with new product launches in these 3 categories reaching 7,665, 10,576 and 478 new products respectively. This represented a CAGR of 11.1%, 4.3% and 15.8% respectively for the period 2013-2018.
The Asia region (18.9%) is ranked 3rd in terms of new whey protein launches behind North America (29.8%) and Western Europe (28.8%). However, Asia probably has seen the highest growth in terms of application of whey protein in food and beverage products since 2012. (see Chart 3.0).
In 2018, major new product launches in Asia relating to whey protein happened mainly in China (6.8%) and India (2.5%). Southeast Asia as a regional grouping contributed 4.4% to global launches relating to whey protein.
In 2018, whey protein was used mainly in sports nutrition products (44.2%), followed by baby/toddler products (20.2%), dairy products (7.6%), bakery (6.2%) and cereals (4.6%).
With regards to permeate, Asia region is also ranked 3rd in terms of new permeate launches, with Malaysia (3.1%) and the Philippines (2.7%) leading this growth in 2018.
Dairy Permeate has been used mainly in bakery products (23.4%) followed by confectionery (16.9%), hot drinks (15.9%), dairy (15.1%) and snacks (7.9%) in 2018. Snacks category witnesses the fastest growth.
Dairy Ingredients for ASEAN application
Martin Teo, Technical Director – Food Applications, USDEC Southeast Asia, the last presenter at the seminar showed interesting product concepts which incorporate dairy ingredients, that relate more to the fast-growing Southeast Asian region.
Martin has identified Thailand as one of the fastest growing market for high protein products in Southeast Asia with the growing application of whey protein in yogurt and beverage products, and in sports nutrition. There are also a number of protein snacks being launched in the country and these include protein bar and cookies amongst others.
Meanwhile, we are observing that more companies across Southeast Asia, such as in Malaysia, Indonesia, and The Philippines are increasingly keen on developing high-protein products as well.
The food service sector in this region is also playing catch-up on the 'high protein' diet by offering protein smoothies and booster juices in their menus. US dairy ingredients – in particular, U.S. dairy proteins, can not only be used as applications in mainstream products like western snacks, bakery, milk or juices. With its neutral flavour profile, they can be innovated to complement the Asian palette and be incorporated into typically Asian ingredients such as coconut and dried longans. Efforts in the innovation of U.S. dairy proteins has also enabled the creation of high-protein products in traditional Asian recipes like mooncakes, bob-bon, traditional sesame snacks and coconut-based candies/sweets.
US. Permeate, while not a protein ingredient, is a clean label and high in lactose dairy ingredients that has gained the spotlight in recent years for its cost-effectiveness paired with its functional and nutritional qualities. These are typically used across bakery and confectionery, as well as snack, and savoury foods (such as soups and sauces) categories.
One good example in the use of permeate is in seasonings for savoury snacks such as potato chips and instant noodles, which helps in 25% and more of sodium reduction in the product.
USDEC is prepared to work with Asian food and beverage companies, as their innovation partner by offering a wide range of high quality dairy ingredients like milk powder, whey and milk proteins and permeate to create nutritious food and beverage products that appeal to the Asian palate.