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Dairy proteins will be ‘major pillar of growth’ in 2013 - Volac

By Mark Astley , 22-Jan-2013
Last updated on 22-Jan-2013 at 17:00 GMT2013-01-22T17:00:21Z

Volac's director of lifestyle nutrition, Mark Neville.
Volac's director of lifestyle nutrition, Mark Neville.

Dairy proteins will be a “major pillar of growth” in 2013 as consumers seek out more convenient ways to consume protein, British dairy nutrition giant Volac has claimed.

Volac's director of lifestyle nutrition Mark Neville told DairyReporter.com that in the coming year there will be a “consumer shift” towards high-protein food rather than supplements – particularly in the UK.

For the year ending February 2012, Volac reported an operating profits increase of nearly 40% - growth it attributed to increased exports and improved profits from its overseas operations. The company expects this growth to continue, and has a “positive outlook” for 2013.

Lactose demand is expected to increase, particularly in emerging markets, while the firm's expected demand for protein will drive growth “much closer to home” in Europe, said Neville.

Convenient ways to consumer protein

“Protein is in demand – it is a major pillar of growth,” said Neville.

“People are increasingly trying to focus on what they should and shouldn’t be eating. They are asking, ‘What is good for me?’ There are no negatives with protein.”

“In the last ten to fifteen years, proteins have mainly been marketed in the form of supplements. But there is increasing demand for convenient ways to consume protein.”

The dramatic emergence of high-protein Greek yogurt is an example of this demand, said Neville. In 2007, Greek yogurt accounted for just 1% of the US yogurt market. New York-based Greek yogurt manufacturer Chobani is now the number one yogurt brand in the US.

“We have seen the development of Greek yogurt, particularly in the US. But we are also seeing it taking off in the UK as well,” said Neville.

“High protein food is now being marketed as food, not as supplements," he said, adding: "The next step is to make these high-protein products more convenient, and more delicious. We will see that happen this year.”

Positive outlook for 2013

For the year ended February 2012, Volac reported turnover of £162.4m – a 34% year-on-year increase. While operating profit for the period increased 38% to £17.3m. Volac attributed the growth to an increase in profits from its operations the Netherlands, China and Malaysia.

The company expects to see this growth continue into 2013.

“The increased demand for Western-style diet has continued at some pace. As a country becomes more affluent, a portion of dairy a day is being strived for.”

“We expect to see this sort of growth continue into 2013. We have a positive outlook for 2013”

In February 2012, Volac launched its first consumer branded products. The Good Whey Company branded whey protein powder products were initially made available online.

DairyReporter.com pressed Neville on the progress of the brand.

“It is progressing well. But last year was our first year talking directly to consumers. We’ve had a lot of fun with it, and we have taken away what we have learnt.”

Neville added that the company is in the process of developing new brands, which it hopes to introduce in the UK in coming months.