“Got milk?"—The catchy slogan was successful in uniting dairy and nutrition in consumers’ minds, but the benefits of dairy and dairy ingredients far exceed their contribution to bone health. Dairy ingredients provide many functional benefits as well, allowing manufacturers to balance innovation with flavor, natural functionality, nutrition and value.
“The value of U.S. dairy ingredients extends beyond nutrition and flavor to include browning, texture, emulsification, moisture, sodium reduction and more," said Vikki Nicholson, senior vice president, global marketing for the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC). “The U.S. dairy industry’s vast range and supply of quality ingredients allow formulators across a wide range of specialty applications to develop foods and beverages the world desires."
USDEC’s will showcase at the IFT Annual Meeting and Food Expo in Chicago, July 11-14, prototypes that exhibit how dairy ingredients can help food and beverage manufacturers successfully deliver new products to the market. With an emphasis on mini meals and more snacking, the prototypes include savory Kimchi pancakes, high-protein pudding and meatless whey protein meatballs with reduced-sodium barbecue sauce. These prototypes combine to focus on the following trends:
Protein quantity and timing — Consumers continue to demand products with protein to build higher protein diets associated with improved weight management, maintaining muscle as they age or sustaining energy during the workweek. As formal mealtimes decline, incorporating dairy proteins in snacking can help boost protein intake throughout the day.
Weight wellness — Consumers prefer to take an individualized approach to weight management and seek products that support a lifestyle of health and wellness. Dairy ingredients and cheeses are natural sources of many nutrients that promote satiety, help build muscle and help keep consumers active.
Alternative protein sources — More consumers, particularly Baby Boomers and millennials, are eating less meat and searching for convenient, high-protein substitutes. Dairy is a natural source of high-quality protein, providing consumers with all of the essential amino acids.
Global inspiration — Consumers increasingly are drawn to combining ethnic flavors to create differing and distinct tastes. This trend has resulted in the growth of various ethnic-inspired product launches. Dairy ingredients are a natural source of nutrition, flavor and functionality in these new twists on tradition.
Fermented foods — Fermentation can help make foods healthier, tastier, safer and more digestible. While the process of fermenting foods is not new, their resurgence in meals is seen as one of the biggest trends to watch for 2015. Dairy can play an important role in the fermentation process and in contributing to the nutritional profile of meals prepared with fermented products.