Milk processors have been hard hit by the recent shortage of milk availability. Meanwhile, the price of wholesale milk doubled between 2006 and 2007, which had a knock-on effect on dairy derivatives. Price hikes have meant various companies have been searching for ways to reformulate their ingredients listings, opening doors to soy manufacturers, and other companies offering dairy alternatives. Cosucra has judged that the current dairy price climate is ideal to spur sales of its Pisane Pea Protein range, which it originally launched on a dairy-replacement platform eight years ago. It says that caseinates, which are typically used as dairy replacers in dietetic foods like infant formula, sports products and slimming foods, currently cost around €6.50 per kg . Pea protein can cost around half the price of caseinates, however, while soy protein isolates cost €3.50 to €5 per kg for the same amount of protein. Pisane can be used in a range of products, from berverages, desserts, and processed cheese to meat, poultry and fish. The company claimed that its pea protein ingredients can replace up to 100 per cent of animal-based proteins in some applications, though can ideally replace an average of 20 per cent of dairy proteins without impairing flavour or texture. Other advantages highlighted by the company include the fact that vegetable proteins are more natural and healthy, allowing for clean labelling. Pea protein in particular does not require any additional allergen warnings. Other solutions Cosucra is certainly not alone in targeting this high-potential area for ingredients makers. For instance, Danisco has recently obtained a patent in Great Britain for a dairy replacement technology aimed at both the cost and health concerns of ice cream makers. It has been working on the Grinstead IcePro stabiliser systems technology for two years, and initially launched the product as a means for fat reduction. But the company said the product has also enjoyed success as a cost effective dairy replacement, amidst growing concerns by producers over the current price of milk. CP Kelco also intends to use its GENU pectins in yoghurts as a replacement for dairy ingredients, normally provided from skimmed milk powder or whey to provide functions such as creaminess and viscosity. And Palsgaard has introduced a new emulsifier and stabiliser system known as IceTriple, which can reduce the amount of milk solids in ice creams by up to 25 per cent. Soya alternatives Soya is one of the most widely publicised alternatives to dairy, heralded by some for its health benefits. It has received attention for its hypolipidaemic and hypocholesterolaemic properties, as well as its ability to lower blood pressure, improve arterial compliance and endothelial function, insulin resistance and weight loss in obesity. In November, ADM launched a new line of soya proteins for use in place of expensive dairy ingredients or to extend milk supply. It said that the new Pro Fam soya isolates and Arcon soya concentrates can work out at around 20 per cent cheaper than skim milk powder and caseinates in the current climate. Solae recently announced the introduction of its Suproplus 9000 and Suproplus 9040 products isolated soy proteins, which are also targeted as dairy replacement ingredients. High milk prices to continue In a report released last month, Frost & Sullivan said that food commodity and food ingredient prices are "definitely" set to remain at a high level for the next two to three years. Indeed, according to the Food and Agriculture Organisation, increased costs for food production could remain for up to 10 years.