Halo Health Deals and Gut Health Dominate Dairy Indulgence Space, Pegs Industry Players

March 02, 2022 — Mindful indulgence, protein fortification, gut health and health-savvy products are dominating the dairy pleasures space, industry experts reveal. Whey protein and dairy permeate are also enjoying continued popularity.

Current trends in dairy pleasures rely heavily on the consumer response to the COVID-19 pandemic. To this effect, plant-based dairy products saw significant growth in the category coupled with a strong theme of “nostalgia”. Provenance is another key component of dairy indulgence, unlocking the potential of premiumization claims.

FoodIngredientsFirst interviews Synergy Flavours, the US Dairy Export Council (USDEC), Barry Callebaut, Uelzena and Uflex, who look at the key drivers and market dynamics for dairy enjoyment.

Mindful Indulgence Trends
Synergy’s leading research indicates that adding creamy taste and mouthfeel is of great importance to dairy manufacturers in creating ‘gourmet nutrition’.

“In the current climate, controlling recipe costs and reducing calories are two particular challenges developers face and dairy ingredient replacement is often necessary to achieve these goals,” said Natalie Sheil, Category Manager, Synergy Flavours.A movement toward plant-based ice cream is gaining momentum.

“As consumers seek out comfort foods, the pandemic has placed greater emphasis on health and its connection to diet, so new products in this space will need to have a careful balance of health and comfort attributes. ‘indulgence,’ she said.

Plant-based dairy pleasure
Brands continue to witness a growing demand for plant-based alternatives. Barry Callebaut has developed a Cocoa Matching Toolkit that allows them to find the best cocoa to pair with a wide range of plant-based options, from rice and oats, to almond and soy.

The company has identified consumers’ shift to plant-based indulgence as its No. 1 food trend this year.

“Consumers are looking for conscious treats that taste great while being better for them and the planet. This is a long-term trend in the world of dairy indulgence, we are now seeing is mainstreaming with an increasing number of flexitarian consumers choosing plant-based yogurts, beverages and desserts as a way to add variety to their diet,” says Sofia Popova, EMEA Marketing Director, Food Manufacturers Barry Callebaut.

According to Synergy, while oats led the way in NPD launches, the next plant-based trend will focus on sustainability and create the ideal match for dairy health credentials. Pea and potato are two ingredients that are expected to gain popularity in 2022.

The next wave of plant-based dairy alternatives are expected to focus on sustainability and nutritional properties with ingredients such as potato and pea milk.

According to a Synergy Flavors study, 24% of consumers would like plant-based alternatives to taste more like traditional dairy products.

“Communicating the taste and indulgence aspects of plant-based alternatives will be key for brands to convince consumers to make the switch,” says Sheil.

Younger demographic reach for vegan alternatives
Dairy-free vegan alternatives are most popular with younger consumers who value a healthy diet.

“But for our company, it remains a niche. We have launched a few projects, but we will certainly remain first and foremost a dairy processor,” says Anja Brand, Brand Manager Uelzena Ingredients. “Soon all conventional dairy products will also be available as vegan alternatives.”

The combination of vegetable proteins and dairy products is another avenue of interest for the company which will allow consumers to “taste the best of both worlds”.

Amit Shah, co-president and chief marketing officer, flexible packaging company, UFlex, says products made from soy milk, pea milk, rice milk, coconut milk, almond milk, cashew milk and oat milk are gaining momentum and will continue to do so.

Consumers aged 17-26 are leaning heavily towards healthier lifestyle choices and reshaping demand for clean labels and plant-based products. Consumers aged 58 to 64, who generally consume many dairy products and milk, are increasing their expenditure on plant-based dairy products due to their higher disposable income.

“As consumers improve in their food choices and are aware of living in a safer and cleaner environment, they are ready to adopt healthier eating habits thanks to new variants of plant-based dairy products and clean labels. .”

Protein enrichmentAccording to the USDEC, the demand for dairy solids has increased significantly.
The US dairy community can help meet today’s product demands for high-quality nutrition by using whey and milk proteins, milk powders and permeate, reports the USDEC.

“Many people may not know that whey protein was created decades ago as a recycled co-product of cheese making, turning what could have been waste into a nutrient-rich treasure trove. So that whey protein can be filtered directly from milk, whey protein production today remains primarily a valuable co-product of cheese production,” said Vikki Nicholson-West, senior vice president, Global Ingredients Marketing at USDEC.

Protein additions in snacks are gaining momentum, dramatically improving mainstream protein bars to use premium inclusions and scalable shape and size formats, such as gourmet candies, she notes.

“The use of whey protein is expanding beyond traditional sports nutrition and baby/toddler products to also increase in cereals, bakery, desserts and snacks,” he explains. she.

“With so many people working or studying from home, snacking is booming.”

The rise of dairy permeate
Dairy permeate, also called dairy solids, comes from the manufacture of whey protein concentrates. The ingredient contains lactose and dairy minerals and is “fast becoming a rock star in global food and beverages,” according to the USDEC.

Over the past decade, the number of tracked new product introductions using permeate has skyrocketed, reports the USDEC. “It’s no surprise, given the multi-faceted benefits of this ingredient, including its flavor-enhancing, sodium-reducing, nourishing mineral, browning, and cost-saving properties,” comments Nicholson- West.

Focus on flavors
Renewed interest in planetary health is driving demands for products with sustainability and ethical claims. Synergy reiterates that manufacturers are likely to exploit “halo health” ingredient claims such as protein fortification and gut health.

“In particular, we are seeing continued growth in the plant-based dairy alternatives market as more consumers enter this category. The nostalgia trend shows no signs of abating as consumers turn to foods from the past as a source of comfort in difficult times,” says Sheil.

Health halo flavors such as botanicals, flowers, herbs and natural sweeteners such as honey and maple syrup should be in gourmet dairy products. Extracts and original ingredients, such as Sicilian lemon, will receive renewed attention.

“2022 will be about taking these classic flavors and breathing new life into them with new formats and revisited flavor combinations. One example of a traditional product that has been given a new lease of life is the humble speculoos cookie, which appears as a flavor profile in desserts, ice cream and baked goods, Sheil says.

Consumers are spending more on premium ice cream than before the pandemic.Flavor and ingredient launches for ice cream remain popular and have seen significant innovation.

With this in mind, Barry Callebaut develops mixes and sauces, cocoa and chocolate powders and inclusions to add extra texture and flavor to yoghurts and desserts.

“We are particularly proud of our wide range of chocolate stracciatella, a great way to create a multi-sensory dairy experience, full of flavor and crunch,” adds Popova.

Premiumization on the rise
Provenance claims or drawing inspiration from global recipes to offer consumers “a sense of escape” are increasingly popular in dairy products.

Sheil elaborates: “The key theme emerging from these spaces is premiumisation as consumers seek affordable little treats in these trying times – ice cream, in particular, has seen huge growth, the average cost per 100ml of ice cream increasing by 23%. % in the world.

Uelzena believes that the trend towards regionality remains strong alongside own-label claims.

Nostalgia continues to be a strong theme as brands look to take consumers back to “simpler times,” like their childhood represented by flavors of sticky caramel and apple pie, for example.

“Due to the pandemic, consumers are spending much more time at home and have had to significantly change or reduce their dining and travel habits,” says Nicholson-West.

“As a result, they have become particularly hungry for guilt-free foods that enhance the enjoyment of dining experiences in the comfort of their own home and experimentally offer culinary or taste/texture adventure while promoting self-pampering” , she says. .

“The search for intense indulgence is the other trend we’re seeing: consumers continue to seek out new textures and flavors, ultimately indulgent experiences. To address this need, we are seeing yogurts move closer to ice cream, introducing flavors like caramel and nuts, adding crunchy inclusions to create a true multi-sensory experience,” says Popova.

By Inga de Jong

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