Earlier this month, industry representative Dairy UK pinpointed Volac as one of the first dairy processors in the country to deliver on its commitment to the Department of Health’s (DOH) voluntary Responsibility Deal Food Pledge on Calorie Reduction.
Dairy UK, which signed up to the DOH Pledge on Calorie Reduction in August 2012, called on its members to provide data on their calorie reduction efforts to include in its first annual report on its commitment. Volac was one of only four British dairy processors to do so, detailing the development of ‘Upbeat’ – a liquid whey protein concentrate and fruit juice beverage marketed by its consumer business, The Good Whey Company.
Speaking with DairyReporter.com, Mark Neville, director of Volac’s Human Nutrition business and founder of The Good Whey Company, urged other British dairy processors to follow its lead.
“We believe it is crucial that the industry works together to promote the health benefits of dairy and ultimately add value to the British dairy industry,” said Neville.
“Volac and other processors are working towards achieving the common aims of the Responsibility Deal and as the pledges develop further they will form the principles of future product development for Volac and The Good Whey Company.”
Portion size a “core commitment”
Alongside Volac, only Dairy Crest, Arla Foods and Müller Wiseman Dairies provided data to Dairy UK on their calorie reduction activities.
In its case study, Volac detailed the development of its 250ml ‘Upbeat’ beverage, which contains less than 150 calories, 20g of protein, 2g of fat, and less than half of the sugar found in leading smoothies and fruit juices.
Commenting, Neville pinpointed “portion size control” as a key part of its calorie reduction efforts.
“Portion size control is a core commitment of the calorie reduction pledge, and the track record of most original milk drinks is 500ml bottles,” said Neville.
“Upbeat comes in a smaller portion size of 250ml whilst maintaining the nutrient richness of dairy and reducing the sugar content by half when compared to original milk drinks, fruit juices and smoothies.”
“With this, Upbeat also helps retailers to deliver on their pledge of offering calorie controlled snacks containing 150-200 calories, and satiety enhancing nutrients such as protein, therefore increasing their offer of healthier grab-and-go options,” Neville added.
Alternative healthy snacks
Also commenting, Suzane Leser, head of nutrition at Volac, said that now is the time for British dairy processors to develop new healthier products and reformulate their existing offerings, as consumers are increasingly looking for alternative healthy snacks.
"The last two decades has seen a general downward trend in milk consumption in the UK, despite the importance of its valuable nutrients such as sufficient calcium and high quality proteins," said Leser.
"Several reasons for this trend include eating away from home, skipping breakfast, weight concerns, perceived lactose intolerance, and very critical: the substitution of soft drinks in place of milk and dairy products, which the Upbeat campaign aims to revert."