Trends from Anuga 2023: Functional dairy

By Teodora Lyubomirova

- Last updated on GMT

Photo via Anuga 2023
Photo via Anuga 2023

Related tags Dairy Functional food Probiotics Cheese Gut health Spreads Yogurt Kefir bars High protein

DairyReporter recently visited the biennial tradeshow that took place in Cologne, Germany. Here, we bring you the first of a series of articles dedicated to the trends we spotted, starting with functional dairy.

Good-for-you dairy was perhaps the most prominent product trend in Hall 10.1, where the majority of dairy companies exhibited. In addition to high-protein yogurt and milk, cheese formulated to appeal to active, health-conscious consumers was being promoted as a low-fat, protein-rich alternative to traditional yellow cheeses. 

Part of Daily Dairy's Powerful People! range, which also includes granola, a 'chococream' spread and a pre-workout powder

Dutch dairy company Daily Dairy​ presented for the first time its Powerful People! range of high-protein dairy products and ingredients, including whey and BCAA powder and a 40g snackable cheese bar with less than 3g per of fat (10.4g per 100g) and 12g of protein per bar (30g per 100g). Johan van Diermen told us: “We are ready to go in retail in Holland and Germany first, and then internationally. We are always looking for product niches, traditionally for our flavored gouda products but we are also conscious of any other product trends that could present an opportunity for us. Active nutrition is very popular at the moment, and these products are designed to appeal to gym enthusiasts who are very conscious of their food intake. We tried to produce a cheese that’s low in fat but also tastes good, and without adding anything that doesn’t belong in cheese naturally. So our product comprises of cow’s milk, salt and cultures and is naturally high in protein.”
He added that the range will be available in supermarkets across the two countries and will sell at lower prices than direct-to-consumer solutions.

Elsewhere, British good-for-you cheese brand eatlean​ was showcasing its range of high protein and low-fat cheese blocks, including the Original with 3% fat and a ‘family-friendly’ pack with 10% fat. For reference, a typical block of British cheddar contains at least 30g of fat. “We take away the fat, and the protein naturally increases,” said the company’s Dean Towey. “We don’t add any extra protein, it all comes from the milk itself. The 10% fat version, the Mature cheese product, was launched with a larger audience in mind, such as families. We know that in 30% of UK households there is someone on a diet, so this is the type of consumer we are trying to appeal to.” The cheeses are also lactose-free, making them an option for those consumers with lactose intolerance. eatlean also debuted a cheese bar (pictured) with just 2g of fat, designed to appeal to on-the-go shoppers that favor savory snacks.

eatlean's new protein cheese bar

Italy’s Inalpi​ was also presenting its Protein+ range for the first time at the show. From spreadable to slices, the company is betting on the growing consumer appetite for functional dairy products. “In Italy, such products sell really well,” said the company's Lorenzo Invernizzi. “We are also developing a shake and a protein powder under the same range. Our spreadable cheese is launching in January.” Both the spreadable cheese and the slices contain 25g of protein per 100g of product.

Several Greek dairy companies were highlighting functional dairy offerings this year. Among these was Kri Kri​, which promoted its high-protein yogurt multi-packs. A company representative said the company believes that demand for this type of product will stick in the years to come. “We sell these yogurts in Greece, North Macedonia, Belgium. We’ve had this range since 2016, but it’s become even more popular in the last few years. We think this trend with the functional yogurt for active consumers is here to stay.” Similarly, Greek organic dairy brand Kourellas​ which specializes in organic dairy including cow, goat and sheep products, showcased its new Elixir Probiotic drinkable yogurt and kefir range. The products are available in 250ml/8oz bottles, pack active probiotic cultures, and come in three natural flavors – carrot, strawberry and vanilla. The company also offers flavored Probiotic Goat Milk Kefir in 32oz (1Le) packs for the US market.

Kourellas' new range of probiotic-fortified drinkable yogurts

While functional drinkables, yogurt and cheese were easy to spot across the showfloor, spreadables were more of a niche when it came to offerings with added health benefits. Spain’s Quescrem​ was among the few producers to have chosen spreadable cheese as a format to incorporate functional ingredients into, its Cream Cheese with Kefir Cultures claimed to be ‘the first ever’ spreadable to use kefir cultures instead of cheese cultures and no added preservatives or stabilizers. “It was quite a challenge to make a stable product, because of acidity and also the fact that it’s lower fat, meaning that texture can become grainy, which is what we wanted to avoid," said the company's Brendán Gómez Hombre. "We use buttermilk, cream and cow’s milk in our formulation to improve texture naturally and maintain a clean label. In this particular product, we elevated the amount of buttermilk to increase the protein levels.” The spread contains 9g of protein per 100g of product. 

Quescrem's kefir cream cheese

Similarly, Italian dairy group Granarolo​ highlighted a range of high-protein cheeses, beverages and snackables, including high-protein ricotta, fresh mozzarella and flavored shakes. The company's Martina Tonelli told us that high-protein dairy is 'super popular in Italy' and that the company is working to rapidly expand its better-for-you range. "We have the milkshakes, the mozzarella, ricotta and cheese bites available already, but this October, we are also launching BCAA-fortified desserts in three flavors - dark chocolate, vanilla and panna cotta, all made from Italian milk," Tonelli told us. "In 2024, we are launching three types of protein bars with 13 grams of protein per bar, and palm oil- and gluten-free spreads in cocoa and hazelnuts, and pistachio respectively."

Inalpi's cheese slices are high in protein and also contain calcium and selenium


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