The development of new and improved food and beverage products is a never-ending process, with changing consumer demands and recent technological advances alike driving innovation across the industry. With an increasing emphasis on reduced sugar contents and enhanced protein availability, many formulators may find themselves with a need to develop new products that meet strict quality and consistency requirements.
Even with a shift towards more plant-based foods and drinks, the role of dairy proteins continues to evolve in the face of a new consumer focus on health and wellness. How should food formulators consider using high-protein concentrates derived from fresh milk? There are many potential avenues for innovation today with dairy proteins.
Will Plant-Based Alternatives Embrace Dairy Proteins Too?
At first glance, it’s easy to discount plant-based products used as a replacement for strictly cow-derived dairy products, as an area where dairy proteins would have a role to play. They’re two separate product categories, right? While it is true that many people choose these products as an alternative to animal-derived products, many others opt for them because they believe they are a good source of vitamins, minerals, and protein.
One ongoing area of research and product experimentation concerns the supplementation of plant-based proteins with those from milk. The usage of our MPI-90, for example, with its high protein content, could be ideal for the creation of wholesome protein-enriched products that blend plants and dairy. Related to these developments are exciting opportunities for creating new products that are ready to drink or use immediately.
Ready-to-Drink Beverages Grow in Popularity
Look into any grocery store dairy section, and you’ll find several brands of dairy products that are more than mere milk. These products make many label claims, including advertising their status as a rich source of additional protein. Ready-to-drink (RTD) products are popular with many people, including those who frequently exercise and need a quick way to initiate recovery. Others consume them for purported health benefits, such as RTD probiotics and yogurts. Achieving the desired consistency, mouthfeel, and taste in these rapidly-evolving products often requires the use of milk protein concentrates or isolates, as it would be otherwise difficult to achieve the desired protein levels. Because MPC contains micellar casein alongside some natural whey proteins, it not only imparts flavor and nutritive benefits but often simplifies the formulation process. With yogurts, for example, it is much easier to achieve the appropriate viscosity — even over longer shelf lives.
Protein Enrichment Touches Every Sector
Creating protein supplements in the form of blended powders or drinkable products are both popular avenues today, but there is also just as much interest in enhancing existing products. This area is one where innovations with dairy proteins are most vigorous. Additional protein intake, especially in the form of whole dairy proteins containing caseins, creates longer-lasting feelings of satiety, reducing appetite and the potential to overeat. Protein enhanced products are therefore exceedingly popular in the meal replacement market segment, and dairy proteins, including our MPI-85, are ideal for such purposes. They boost protein content while imparting only slight, pleasantly milky flavors.
What are some of the other possible areas for innovating with protein enrichment? Baked products are one example — MPCs may even impart desirable Maillard browning effects on baked goods formulated with added milk proteins. Ice cream, cheese, and yogurt are additional dairy products that, when formulated correctly, easily tolerate high levels of added protein. While proper care is necessary to ensure uniform products, businesses looking to expand into new product lines will find MPCs easy to work with when targeting consumer demands.
Dairy Products Make Clean Label Products Easy to Create
More than ever, consumers have concerns about the foods they eat and what the products they consume contain. A “clean label” is therefore highly important to achieve, with fewer “unpronounceable” ingredients that may indicate over-processing to consumers. MPCs are ideal in this regard, not only because milk proteins are easily and widely understood already, but because they can take the place of certain gums and stabilizers in some applications. As a result, it is possible to innovate product formulations that are cheaper to produce and more acceptable to today’s consumers.
Discover Innovative Solutions for Your Products Today
Whether your team has an interest in replacing existing stabilizers and emulsifiers with something more cost-effective and efficient, such as our MPC-80, or you need a reliable protein for enhancing nutritional content, Idaho Milk Products is ideally positioned to assist. With a complete product line of dairy proteins produced through safe, gentle, and low-heat ultrafiltration, the purity and ease-of-use of our powders are tough to beat. With more opportunities than ever to innovate protein-rich food through the use of dairy-derived powders, now is the ideal time to connect with our team to better understand how to use these products in your formulations.
Get in touch today for free samples and more information.