A better whey to holistic health and nutrition

By Kevin Robinson | Published: 12-Jun-2024

At the recent Vitafoods Europe event, Dr Kevin Robinson (KSR) caught up with Thomas Ullerichs Andersen (TUA), Global Head of Sales, Health and Performance at Arla Foods Ingredients, to discuss key developments in active nutrition and find out what the company is doing to address consumer needs

At Vitafoods Europe, our big focus was on the growing need for “holistic hydration,” explains Thomas (pictured), “because active consumers are increasingly seeking out products that provide more than one benefit.”

Beverages that facilitate hydration while also offering additional nutrients is a good example.

“We presented new concepts that highlight the various ways that Lacprodan ISO.WaterShake can be used to meet this need. It’s rich in both essential and branched chain amino acids and is easily combined with other functional ingredients (such as zinc and caffeine). This creates opportunities for additional claims for physical and cognitive well-being.”

A better whey to holistic health and nutrition

More broadly, he notes, active consumers are more focused than ever on high-quality protein. Amino acid composition plays a crucial role in protein quality and whey-based ingredients offer excellent nutritional quality owing to their amino acid profile and digestibility.

“Perhaps the most important development in the sports nutrition space,” he suggested, “is the mainstreaming of the consumer base. This has increased the importance of ensuring that products deliver great taste, texture and mouthfeel, as well as performance benefits.”

KSR: How are you addressing these developments?

TUA: The whey protein isolates in our Lacprodan range are excellent for delivering amino acids; at the same time, they’re also a great solution for taste and texture — aspects that active consumers are unwilling to compromise. Lacprodan enables manufacturers to create delicious products that do not taste of protein. 

At the show, we also showcased a plug-and-play solution to help manufacturers formulate indulgent bars with a high protein content in every layer.

It allows them to raise the protein content of every part of their bars — including the mass, filling and coating — without increasing size or compromising on taste or texture.

Based on high-quality whey and milk protein ingredients from the Lacprodan range, it ensures that the rich chocolate mass retains its flavour and softness throughout the product’s shelf-life and delivers a protein concentration of 30% per bar — allowing for high-protein claims. 

KSR: What are your novel ingredients?

TUA: One of our newest innovative ingredients is Lacprodan BLG-100, which is a pure beta lactoglobulin (BLG); basically, it’s a whole new protein category.

In addition to its naturally high leucine content, it provides 26% more essential amino acids (EAAs) and 40% more branched-chain amino acids than commercially available whey protein.

It also offers a better taste than leucine as a single amino acid … and is ideal for applications such as clear ready-to-drink beverages and powder shakes.

KSR: What are your thoughts on personalised nutrition?

TUA: Today’s sports nutrition market is hugely diverse. Every consumer has their own motivations and preferences — from the hardcore enthusiasts focusing on optimal functionality to “healthy lifestyle” consumers who prioritise taste and naturality.

Depending on which of these segments a particular consumer is in, they are likely to seek out different products in terms of the ingredients they contain as well as preferred format/application.

In the future, therefore, we’re going to see more personalised products and more holistic formulations offering multiple benefits. 

KSR: And what about protein quality/quantity?

TUA: There’s a growing focus on both issues: the amount of protein you can pack into your product and, at the same time, its nutritional quality.

Recent research from Health Focus International shows that almost 70% of consumers are thinking about protein sources, with naturality and nutritional value being major motivations.

Furthermore, 36% of those with an interest in protein say a complete protein source is the most important factor when choosing between products.

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