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U.S. Dairy inspires healthy snacking


2019-09-26

Consumers today are more discerning than ever, seeking out convenient ready-to-eat and ready-to-drink foods, snacks and beverages that not only are delicious and nutritious, but also deliver multisensory, adventurous flavor and texture experiences. At the Food Ingredients Asia 2019 (Fi Asia) show in Bangkok, the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) addressed how U.S. dairy ingredients – including whey and milk proteins and permeate – are advantageous ingredient solutions poised to effectively meet these wide-ranging consumer expectations.

Dairy proteins represent a unique and powerful group of proteins – they are a high-quality, complete protein naturally found in milk and contains all essential amino acids, including leucine, which plays a central role in stimulating muscle protein synthesis. In addition, their neutral flavor profile creates a perfect space for manufacturers and consumers to add them into both sweet and savoury foods to raise the quantity and quality of protein consumed. These inherent characteristics of multifaceted nutrition, broad functionality and winning taste give U.S. whey and milk proteins an edge in paving the way for more innovative food and beverage solutions supporting health and wellness goals such as weight management, exercise recovery and healthy aging.

To showcase how U.S. dairy proteins can successfully be utilized in nourishing products appealing to consumers across age groups, USDEC highlighted several Southeast Asia-friendly on-the-go snack concepts, including developing a new high-protein spicy mango chewy prototype containing U.S. whey protein isolate at the Fi Asia booth. The prototype was developed in partnership with Singapore Polytechnic’s Food Innovation and Resource Centre (FIRC) and exemplifies the endless possibilities that U.S. dairy proteins possess in fulfilling Southeast Asia’s consumers’ preferences for delicious, nutritious and convenient ways to optimize their protein intake throughout the day.

“The high-protein spicy mango chewy has a surprisingly complementary sweet, sour and spicy combination, offering consumers excitingly new flavor discoveries in addition to providing a quality protein boost,” said Martin Teo, Technical Director for Food Applications, USDEC, Southeast Asia. “It was developed to be a prototype to inspire end-users to think beyond common flavors and be creative in their product innovation with U.S. dairy proteins. It is also one of many product ideas demonstrating that U.S. dairy ingredients possess the versatility to be successfully added into Asian-style protein-fortified snacks and foods while complementing diverse consumers’ lifestyles,” he added.

Beyond innovating more protein-enriched foods, developing sodium-reduced food options is another significant opportunity for Southeast Asian food producers to help combat rising incidences of hypertension and other lifestyle diseases. As part of the technical symposium at Fi Asia on September 13, Teo unveiled findings from recent research conducted by FIRC demonstrating the viability of using U.S. dairy permeate as a beneficial flavor-enhancing ingredient in better-for-you, sodium-reduced savoury snacks and seasoning applications. With Southeast Asian consumers as the focus target, the study encompassed formulation trials and sensory evaluation phases examining rice and prawn crackers as well as spicy curry and BBQ seasonings made with U.S. permeate. The study found that the sodium content of crackers and seasonings could be reduced by 20%-40% with the addition of U.S. dairy permeate while maintaining a desirable flavor profile.  

This year’s multifaceted Fi Asia show presence including Thai-friendly prototypes reinforces that health and wellness innovation with U.S. dairy protein and permeate is firmly in the spotlight in Southeast Asia and can well support regional manufacturers’ needs for proven ingredient solutions balancing taste, nutrition, functionality and adventure in products aligned with local consumer preferences, said the USDEC.

Photo: U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC)