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Finished product groups are next target in whey functional push

By Neil Merrett , 16-Oct-2008
Last updated on 16-Oct-2008 at 18:38 GMT2008-10-16T18:38:27Z

With dairy companies increasingly looking to push whey as functional ingredient, the industry says it must do more to court and target leading food manufacturers to make use of the additive’s potential benefits.

Dan Meyer, director of technical services of the American Dairy Products Institute (ADPI), speaking just a month after the latest International Whey Conference in Paris, said that a key goal would be in garnering interest from groups like General Mills and Kraft Foods in the future.

Last month’s meeting in Paris, arranged between the ADPI and the European Whey Products Association (EWPA), served as an information and scientific platform to detail the latest advances and ongoing advances for the use of whey proteins in formulation.

While there are now almost three years until the next international meeting of whey manufacturers and researchers, which will take place in Chicago in 2011, Meyer said that the findings and themes from Paris had to be passed onto finished product groups.

Meyer told FoodNavigator-USA.com that it would be imperative for ingredients groups and dairy manufacturers to push their claims and findings regarding the protein’s potential for satiety and other functional benefits to a wider audience.

“Typically at conferences, we have tended to have the dairy industry talking to others in the dairy industry about the latest breakthroughs,” he stated. “Internationally, we’re all trying to get users to include whey proteins in their products.”

Whey’s satiety push

Some of the key themes of the Paris conference included research into the impacts that whey can have on hunger control, and also potential benefits of the milk-derived ingredient on gut health.

Meyer added that the use of whey in snacks bars and beverages was already attracting attention from some manufacturers and food service groups, and more focus would now be needed on the precise applications of the ingredient.

“Starbucks is an example of a company considering using whey in some of its beverages to play up some of these potential benefits,” Meyer said.

Whey demand

In findings released last year by 3A Business Consulting, the global market for whey and lactose ingredients was expected to rise by around three to five per cent annually up to 2010, as the dairy industry focuses more on healthy and nutritional products.

The report added that the largest gains for the market were expected from value-added forms of whey, such as fractions and derivatives, which could grow potentially as much as 20 per cent per year, according to the analyst.

Earlier this year, US-based manufacturer Designer Whey says it had entered into a cooperation with retailer General Nutrition Centers (GNC) to step up distribution of its products in the country.

The company, which as it name suggests designs products derived from whey, says that products ranges, such as its high protein fruit flavoured beverages, will now be available in GNC stores worldwide.

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