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The dairy protein market is experiencing significant growth as applications extend beyond sports nutrition and into holistic health, gut health and functional and fortifying ingredient categories. Additionally, advancements in technology for standard dairy proteins, typically utilized in sports nutrition, are enhancing nutritional benefits and improving texture, taste and ingredient variety.

Data from Innova Market Insights suggests a 13% annual increase in supplement and sports nutrition products featuring dairy-based proteins between July 2021 and June 2023. It further suggests that more than half of these product launches were sports powders, with whey protein isolate being the predominant ingredient and casein emerging as the primary dairy protein driving innovation in this sector.

Nutrition Insight sit down with Lactalis Ingredients to discuss its latest innovations in the dairy protein arena, including its Stay Strong High Protein Milk made with Pronativ micellar casein and its Pronativ whey protein.

“Stay Strong protein milk has 50% more protein than conventional milk,” says Elodie Macariou, the company’s senior product manager. “Conventional milk has around 3.4% protein, while Stay Strong contains 5.1% — so about 50% more. It is also lactose-free and low in fats, because it is made with milk, it keeps all of the benefits from milk, like vitamin D calcium.”

Protective and versatile
According to Macariou, since this Pronative is lactose-free and low in fat, it can be utilized by those with lactose sensitivities. Moreover, it can be used in a large variety of applications.

“It has a neutral taste and can be used for active nutrition products without compromising on taste, and that is really a key point here,” she underscores. “Stay Strong Protein Milk has a full-bodied flavor and because there is no added aroma, you can use it in a variety of ways every day, such as in a fruit shake, or in cooking or baking.”

Macariou highlights that part of the nutritional appeal of Pronativ micellar casein lies not only in its high concentration of branch-chain amino acids but also in its slow digestion rate. During exercise periods, protein metabolism is heightened, which can harm muscles. Lactalis Ingredients says its protein can reduce muscle damage.

“Pronativ micellar casein is a protein in its purest and most natural form. It’s designed for consumers who care about what they put in their bodies and want to adopt an active and healthy lifestyle. Due to its slow digestion, Pronativ micellar casein can provide amino acids over a long period, inhibiting muscle breakdown.”

“We also have our Pronativ whey protein, which is a fast protein because it is quickly digested. We have used it to create a beverage with 18 g of protein in a 250 ml drink with a really pleasant taste.”

From active lifestyles to medical nutrition
Maricou states that the “fast” and “slow” proteins can also be combined for a holistic muscle health benefit.

“With the micellar casein, because of the slow digestion, you can use it before bedtime, right after exercise or at the end of the day,” She explains. “Of course, it can be used for sports enthusiasts, but also for people who just want to adopt an active lifestyle.”

“At the same time, Pronativ whey protein aids in muscle growth. So you can have whey protein for muscle synthesis and micellar casein to inhibit the breakdown of muscles at the same time. It’s complementary.”

Apart from being suitable for sports nutrition and active lifestyles, Maricou points out the offerings can also be utilized in medical nutrition.

“The advantage for medical nutrition is that you can increase the protein level while keeping a low viscosity. That’s the challenge in the medical nutrition industry because you need to have a small format with a high content of protein that isn’t too thick and is easy to drink.”

The role of sustainability
Maricou notes that for many customers and customers the environmental impact of a product is just as important as its nutritional impact.

“In 2024, our focus will be on maintaining close collaborations with our clients and adapting to the changing market dynamics, considering not just our products’ functionalities, but also their cost-efficiency and environmental sustainability.”

“We will continue to work in close proximity with our prospects, customers and through our local presence to get the best value from milk, while reducing our impact on the environment and improving our carbon footprint and water consumption,” she concludes.

Source : Nutrition Insights Jan 11th 2024 By William Bradford Nichols

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