The Trends And Ingredients Shaping The Dairy Products Of The Future

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2021

Have you noticed that most of the 2021 consumer trends tie in nicely with the dairy industry? For example, the snacking trend is a key opportunity for the industry that keeps getting bigger and bigger.

According to Euromonitor International, Asia overtook North America in 2018 as the top region for snacking. Busy consumers are not only eating dairy snacks to satisfy hunger, but also to help meet their nutritional needs. Dairy beverages with a higher protein count, dairy desserts and yogurt are some of consumers’ favorite snacks. Innovation is happening by way of indulgent tastes, inclusions for texture, and ambient drinking yogurt with a light mouthfeel.

Of course, the global pandemic has also affected trends. Consumers are focused on their health more than ever. Innova Market Insights reports that dairy has become the fastest-growing category of food and beverage launches with an immune health claim globally (CAGR 2015-2019). Sustainability also ranks highly. According to GlobalData, 47 percent of global consumers report that ethically and sustainably sourced ingredients are more important to them than before the pandemic. 49 percent of global consumers also told Euromonitor International that they read product labels very closely. Consumers prefer too see a shorter, more-recognisable ingredient list. They also want dairy products that support non-GMO, organic-compliant, kosher, halal, reduced-sugar, lactose-free, and other dietary needs.

Meeting these trends – and especially achieving a desirable nutritional profile – can mean compromising elsewhere in the formulation, usually on texture. However, the right stabilising ingredient can help. From a silky, thin mouthfeel for beverages to indulgent, hug-the-spoon thickness in stirred yogurts, stabilisers help increase firmness and reduce serum separation. If a product developer is also boosting protein content, Interactions may occur between functional additives and protein, as well as flavors like cocoa. This may result in destabilisation. In addition, supplementing with some of the new plant proteins can make a product difficult to hydrate, sensitive to pH, and leave an aftertaste. Aside from formulating the recipe, the manufacturing process can take a toll and contribute to problems with texture. Fermented products, such as drinking yogurts, can undergo additional heat treatment. Even the packaging step can cause syneresis, sedimentation and loss of viscosity.

Stabilisers can help dairy product formulators protect protein from aggregation, increase gelling, and reduce separation. Top choices include pectin, carrageenan and gellan gum. They can be used alone or in combination with other texturising ingredients to deliver stability even in harsh processing conditions, high heat and shear. That creamy mouthfeel consumers love in their dairy products is usually dependent on the fat level. The higher the fat level, the creamier and smoother it is. Similarly, sugar reduction has an impact on texture. A good stabiliser can help product developers create that indulgent texture in low-fat and low-sugar formulations

Gellan gum is a multifunctional, clean-label-friendly ingredient for conquering dairy beverage formulation challenges. It’s a master of long-term suspension, handling insoluble protein, calcium, minerals and cocoa with ease to help eliminate unsightly sediment at the bottom. Gellan gum also adds minimal viscosity for a smooth, uniform pour. It plays well with other texturants to help you achieve your desired mouthfeel.

Versatile pectin is probably one of the most well-known and recognisable ingredients to consumers. It serves multiple functions, adding thickness, creaminess, suspension and mouthfeel, even in low-acid and reduced sugar applications. In addition, pectin protects and stabilises protein while minimising sediment and serum separation. It can be added before fermentation for ease of processing.

Dairy products often involve the use of fruit preparation. A new, clean-label-friendly pectin grade is available to simplify the process of making fruited yogurt drinks. Usually, the white mass and the fruit preparation each require their own stabiliser. However, the new pectin grade can be added once to stabilise the fruit prep and the stabilisation carries over to the white mass, so no other stabiliser is needed. It protects the milk protein from aggregating during shelf life and it minimises phase separation. In the fruit prep, it improves texture and color. It also helps to maintain viscosity – from processing to storage, pumpability and the finished product – similar to a combination of pectin and starch together, with the superior flavor release that pectin is known for. The benefits of using one ingredient instead of two in the process can be substantial: One less step, plus one less ingredient to purchase, handle and store.

More than ever, consumers expect innovation and dairy products that can keep up with their changing needs. Stabilisers can help product developers deliver on both.

Article by CP Kelco


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