Flavoured Milk Beverages: Profiting From A Growth Market

Thursday, February 20th, 2020

The market for milk and yoghurt drinks is growing worldwide. In Asia, this category had the highest percentual growth in new dairy products in the second half of 2018. By Hydrosol.

Around the world, flavoured milk beverages are an attractive category with high growth rates. In particular, the Asian market is booming. With annual growth topping 28 percent, for three years, Asia has led the field in new introductions of flavoured dairy beverages (source: Innova Market Insights). The reasons behind the growing demand are drinking enjoyment, following the general trend to indulgence, and health aspects. Accordingly, protein-rich milk beverages and products with “free-from” claims—regarding sugar, fat, lactose of gluten—are growth drivers. The same goes for “better-for-you” products with health-promoting ingredients like ginger, turmeric or special protein sources.


Children’s Milk Drinks And Protein-Rich Drinks Are Booming In Asia

Flavoured milk beverages for children are the second strongest category, followed by protein-rich milk drinks. Vegan products are also becoming more important. There are trendy flavours like almond, caramel, orange and mango that also appeal to adults, plus the classic milk drinks in chocolate, strawberry, vanilla or banana flavours. According to Innova Market Insights, chocolate is by far the most popular flavour in flavoured milk beverages.

Whether protein-rich, free-from or vegetarian, as varied as milk beverages are, the key factors for product success are taste and mouthfeel, as Dr Dorotea Pein, Head of Product Management at Hydrosol, explains: “Only products that consumers really enjoy will be successful and get purchased again. We developed the Stabiprime MFD Range to meet this goal.”

With the new stabilising and texturing systems, Hydrosol provides manufacturers of flavoured milk beverages with customised solutions consisting of carefully selected hydrocolloids. They are soluble in water as well as sweet whey, easy to use, and enable the economical production of milk mixed and flavoured milk beverages of many kinds, from regular to sugar-reduced, low-fat and lactose-free to plant-based versions.


Plant-Based Drinks And Enriched Milk Beverages

Beverages based on plant protein offer additional value creation potential. The market for plant alternatives to milk drinks is growing steadily, through consumers’ growing awareness of the importance of sustainability in foods and resulting greater demand for non-animal products. Soy-based vegan dairy alternatives are well established, and for people allergic to soy there are also alternatives with other protein sources. A current example is a drink based on sunflower and oat protein that delivers a pleasing flavour. Almond and coconut milk can also be used as bases.

To address the steady growth in the oat, almond and soy dairy alternative beverage category, Hydrosol has developed individual stabilising and texturing systems that give products mouthfeel and texture very close to those of products made from cow’s milk.

These alternatives often have a lower content of vitamins and minerals than the original animal-sourced mixed milk beverages, so enrichment is a useful way to make vegan products more attractive. With its sister company SternVitamin, Hydrosol has an in-house partner with knowledge and experience in enrichment. Thus, raw materials and application knowledge can be combined, and micronutrients added to exactly meet the demands of each product and target group. For example, the growing children’s milk drinks category can be given added value through enrichment. For kids to really drink the products, it is important that the micronutrient premix contain only ingredients that will not form sediment. Indeed, this is important not just for school milk or ready-to-drink milk beverages for children, but also for high-nutrition drinks for seniors and vegan drinks for athletes.


In Conclusion

Milk beverages are more and more popular in Asia. In fact, in terms of new product launches the region has overtaken the traditionally strong European market (see Graphic 2). Asia is now an established milk market. With trendy new milk drinks, manufacturers can provide further impetus to the category and drive growth.


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