According to MPC's consumer research, one-third of consumers have increased their consumption of nutrition or performance beverages in the past year, and many are seeking products with ingredients deemed simple, natural, or clean. Malt-based beverages offer not only unique flavor profiles and subtle sweetness but a low glycemic index and a superior nutritional profile compared to cane sugar, high-fructose corn syrups and artificial sweeteners, MPC said.
"A trend already in full swing in Europe has been coming to America of late: the recognition that malt-based drinks offer superior sports recovery for athletes," said MPC.
MPC describes malt barley extract as a naturally functional ingredient that packs a range of health benefits including high levels of antioxidants (two tablespoons of malt extract is equivalent to a 1/3 cup of blueberries), a strong amino acid profile, vitamins, minerals (phosphorus, calcium, and magnesium), and soluble fiber. Malt extract is also high in hordenine, a compound which has been shown to promote cognitive function and weight management.
"Yet another trend is the popularity of fermented drinks, including kombucha and specialty teas, that reflect growing recognition of the importance of sustaining good gut microbes, known to reduce inflammatory diseases, type two diabetes and obesity," the company said.
Malt Product Corporation’s malted barley extract line (MaltRite) is made by brewing the whole grain in the same way beer is made but skipping the fermentation step; once the water evaporates, the result is a syrupy liquid or soluble powder. According to Amy Targan, president of MPC, using a malt barley extract eliminates the need for a conventional brewing operation.
“For manufacturers, one advantage of using Malt-Rite malt extract is that you are not tied to a contract brewery, since it is already brewed and easily transported because the water has been evaporated,” said Targan. “Since all that is needed is a bottling plant, this makes it far easier for a company to enter the market – a big plus for making niche malt-based drinks.”