Ingredient use key to optimising whey functional potential - industry

By Neil Merrett

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Nutrition

Despite a growing focus on finished whey products, one leading representative believes future development of the protein will be predominantly driven by its use as an ingredient in functional foods.

Dr Joop Kleibeuker, secretary general of the European Whey Products Association (EWPA), told that while the industry could expect more ‘standalone’ products like whey drinks and nutritional bars to be launched, ingredients will be the most beneficial area for manufacturers.

Kleibeuker said that the use of the milk-derived protein as an ingredient allowed for manufacturers to optimise the potential nutritional properties of the product.

The comments follow on from last month’s 5th International Whey Conference (IWC) held place in Paris, where developments in the potential health impacts of whey-based ingredients, marketing for products derived form the protein and processing techniques dominated the show.

Future challenges

With the next global gathering for the whey industry taking place in September 2011, Kleibeuker said that the industry faced the challenge of pushing the reputation of the protein to establish it as a ‘first class’ additive for functional foods.

“The industry has to work on the appreciation of whey as this natural source together with the consumer, to open the possibility for developing strategies to support the marketing of whey containing products by the food producers,”​ he stated. “Whey also has to be seen as the component that really adds value to food products by the final consumer.”

Looking ahead to the next IWC, which will take place in Chicago, EWPA said it expected exploration of the wider potential applications for whey-produced components as well as promoting the protein as a natural ingredient source to be key themes.

Reflections from WheyVolution

In attempting to adapt to these market challenges, Kleibeuker claimed that last month’s IWC, codenamed ‘WheyVolution’, has already suggested a number of interesting developments in the use of the ingredient. These included the use of whey for effecting satiety, its impact on the structure of slow churn products like ice cream and the potential for additional protein modification, the group said.

“Whey based ingredients can indeed find many new applications of high importance for consumer markets,”​ he stated. “Looking all the time for more dedicated products, and the natural source, whey still has many options for newly developed ingredients because of the continuously developing techniques for separation and modification.”

Related topics: Markets, Nutritionals, Dairy Health Check

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