Protein takes centre stage25 April 2018
Sonia Sharma finds out more about Arla Food’s investments in new product development in order to meet the growing demand for swapping traditional protein with alternative ingredients.
Consumers are aware of the importance of protein, but are keen to finding alternatives to traditional sources, such as meat and dairy. The trend for ‘high-protein’ foods has gained significant momentum during the past few years, with Canadean reporting that the proportion of new food and drink product launches that claim to be ‘high in protein’ increased by 6% globally between 2013 and 2015.
According to research, the groups that are driving the trend forwards are millennials and men. In diets, upping protein intake can help with weight gain, and is crucial for muscle growth and repair. It is also useful for weight loss, as it creates a feeling of satiety. Canadean reports that more than a third of 18–34 year olds claim to be trying to consume as much protein as possible, and with the negativity surrounding carbohydrates and sugar, it has been propelled to the forefront.
Innovative product launches: rival formats
As consumers take more responsibility for their food and beverage choices, new product developments that compete with existing protein formats have soared in popularity. Traditionally, powder protein shakes have been used by many as a pre or post-workout protein boost, but the health industry has been busy introducing new ways of consuming the food group on the go. Arla Foods, for instance, has expanded its protein range by launching two new products, Arla Protein Pouches and Arla Protein Greens.
The former taps into the convenience market with 200g pouches that contain a yogurt-based snack and, most importantly, 20g of protein per serving. The product has been designed to be consumed on the go to offer a more convenient proteinpacked snack.
Arla Protein Greens sees the brand launch a mango, kale and lime flavour into its core range in a bid to appeal to health-conscious consumers who are keen to try exciting new combinations. The company’s yogurt category has grown exponentially, and this is down to the success of Arla skyr and Arla Protein.
Health concerns: elevated blood sugar levels
Aside from catering to workout regimes, new products are also aiming to tackle existing health conditions.
Last year, Arla developed a highprotein 100ml Pre-Meal Shot concept that highlights the potential for launching innovative products that deliver improved blood sugar control in a natural and convenient way.
The shot is not only high in fibre, but also contains 15g of Lacprodan whey protein. A recent clinical trial found that the consumption of 15g of the latter by people with type 2 diabetes before a meal helped to keep their blood sugar levels within the normal glycaemic range.
Diabetics and pre-diabetics are susceptible to hyperglycaemia, where individuals experience prolonged periods when their blood sugar levels are too high. If left untreated, this can lead to a number of serious health complications.
Peter Schouw Andersen, director of application science and technology at Arla Foods Ingredients, said, “The high prevalence and growth of diabetes, and pre-diabetes, is primarily due to [the] global rise in the prevalence of obesity associated with unhealthy lifestyles and [an ageing] population. “There is an enormous market opportunity for health and functional food companies to offer natural solutions to help people [who are] living with the high blood sugar levels.”
– Peter Schouw Andersen, Arla Foods
He continued, “The challenge is to find products that fit easily into peoples’ lifestyles, in terms of convenience and nutrition.
Our application scientists have taken on this challenge to develop a natural, very low volume, yet highly nutritious, 100ml Pre-Meal Shot with 15g of high-quality whey protein and fibre.
Such a high concentration of whey protein in a beverage normally gels or results in a thick liquid, but our application experts have developed Lacprodan DI-6820, a compound that beverage manufacturers can use to produce ultra-convenient, tasty UHT beverages containing high quantities of premium-quality whey protein.”
The shot has been developed as part of Arla Foods Ingredients’ ‘Nutrition for Life’ marketing campaign, which showcases how whey protein delivers important health benefits to people at all stages of life, from babies and toddlers to seniors. All of this research evidences that more consumers are demanding high-protein products – and the industry appears to be capitalising on this huge opportunity.