Market Size and Applications for Dairy Proteins

Posted on:December 2, 2019

THE DAIRY INGREDIENT SECTOR remains a dynamic and crucial source of proteins for foods and beverages. The global market for dairy proteins includes many mature ingredients. “However, it is the newer ingredients, such as native whey, micellar casein and peptides, that are creating added value in the sector,” said Tage Affertsholt, MSc, Owner, 3A Business Consulting, in his presentation titled “Global Market for Whey and Other Dairy Proteins.”

First, let’s look at the whey category. The more concentrated protein products, such as whey protein concentrate 80% (WPC80) and whey protein isolate (WPI), have been driving category growth and value, and this trend is expected to continue through 2022.

The global market value of whey ingredients was approximately 6 billion USD in 2017 and is expected to grow to 7.1 billion by 2022. While the EU is the dominant producer of whey powder and demineralized whey, production of whey protein concentrates in the ranges of 35-89% protein is equally distributed between North American and Europe.

The U.S. dominates production of WPC80 and WPI to fuel its protein-hungry sports nutrition market. Asia relies heavily on exports from North America and Oceania to meet their demand for these ingredients. Demand from the nutrition sector for higher protein ingredients is divided into four major usage categories: obesity; child and infant nutrition; healthy active lifestyles; and aging populations.

The sports nutrition category represents more than 15 billion USD annually and is growing by 10%. One of the biggest companies in sports nutrition is Glanbia, which has acquired many sports nutrition brands.

Milk proteins dominate the 12 billion USD clinical and adult nutrition category, which is also an opportunity area for whey protein hydrolysates.

The infant formula markets in Asia and the EU are major users of 90% demineralized whey powder, while whey powders with lower levels of demineralization are utilized in bakery and confectionery products. Lower protein WPCs are used in sports powders, infant formula and dairy. Key markets for whey hydrolysates include sports nutrition, infant formula and clinical nutrition.

The infant formula industry, valued at over 50 billion USD, continues to be a major market for higher value whey protein ingredients, including those enriched with alpha-lactalbumin or lactoferrin. The Chinese market is driving growth in this category.

Whey proteins are produced by a wide range of suppliers, some with limited portfolios and market scope. In contrast, larger companies have both a wide portfolio and a global scope.

A similar growth story is seen in the milk protein industry. The global market value of milk proteins was approximately 3.5 billion USD in 2018 and is forecast to reach almost 4 billion by 2022. Production of MPC with protein levels above 85% has increased in recent years, as has production of newer ingredients like micellar casein concentrates (MCC), micellar casein isolates (MCI) and native whey.

The EU and Oceania are the major suppliers of casein and caseinates, while North America is both a major producer and supplier of milk protein concentrates (MPC). Asia is a key user of milk proteins, and there is growing demand from developing countries.

Milk proteins are used primarily in infant, clinical and sports nutrition products, but they are also used in processed foods, including dairy and cheese. MCC, MCI and native whey are used almost exclusively in sports nutrition. MPC is seen in a wide range of new product launches, while MPI is used primarily in sports nutrition. Micellar casein in powdered sports nutrition products is touted as being “less processed.”

Clinical nutrition is a relatively small (12 billion USD) but growing market for milk proteins in sophisticated markets, such as the U.S., EU and China. Milk proteins are valued for their slower absorption rates.

Other examples of emerging dairy ingredients include casein phosphopeptides and osteopontin. Galactooligosaccharides (GOS), which are derived from lactose, also show growth potential.

A number of dairy ingredient companies are starting to produce organic whey and milk protein ingredients. The forecast is for continued steady and significant growth in the dairy protein industry.

“Global Market for Whey and Other Dairy Proteins,” Tage Affertsholt, MSc, Owner, 3A Business Consulting

This presentation was given at the 2019 Protein Trends & Technologies Seminar. To download free presentations and the Post-conference summary of this event, go to

See past and future Protein Trends & Technologies Seminars at

Where U.S. Consumer Protein Dollars are Spent

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MORE THAN HALF OF U.S. CONSUMERS say that they have protein at every meal. That equates to over 300 billion meals with protein per year in the U.S. and Canada. “Of these consumers, 31% say that the source of their protein does matter, and 20% are actively monitoring their protein intake on a daily basis,” said Meagan Nelson, MBA, Associate Director, Nielsen, in her presentation titled “Protein Proliferation: Understanding the Consumers’ Total Protein Landscape.”

The primary sources of proteins for U.S. consumers are meat (in 78% of households); dairy (58%); eggs (61%); fish/seafood (29%); and legumes/nuts/seeds (19%). Consumers are planning to consume more fish, legumes, nuts and seeds, according to Nelson. Interestingly, 14% of U.S. consumers plan to consume more meat, while 22% want to consume less meat. In the U.S., 5% of house-holds have someone on a high-protein diet.

Despite their interest in protein, an amazing number of consumers cannot readily identify protein levels in common foods. Only 22% of consumers correctly identified peanut butter as falling into the category of a low (< 10g per serving) source of protein. And only 12% of consumers correctly identified cottage cheese as a high (>20g per serving) source of protein. At the same time, 55% of consumers correctly stated that beef was a high-protein food.

Most consumers incorrectly believe that meat is the costliest protein. In actuality, nutrition bars (at 20 cents/gram on average) and jerky (25 cents/gram on average) are among the most expensive sources of protein. The least expensive protein sources are chicken, pork and turkey, at 2 cents per gram.

When consumers have money, they are willing to pay a premium for groceries and, more specifically, for dairy and meat/seafood in the protein space. The deli department is driving the growth of the meat category, as today’s consumers find convenience in prepared main courses, salads and appetizers, and lunchmeat and sandwiches. Almost all seafood products are showing growth in both dollars and units. Sushi, which is a unique category, continues to show rapid growth, with $1.3 billion in total annual sales.

Elsewhere in the protein space, in the dairy aisle, milk and yogurt are struggling. However, pockets of growth include specialty cheeses. Overall egg dollar growth has been driven by inflationary pressure, but there is huge growth in cage-free and free-range eggs.

Despite the plant-based movement, the category of legumes/ nuts/seeds is not showing significant growth. Some exceptions include pistachios, black beans, sesame seeds, sunflower butter and low-salt products.

Excluding the five primary categories of protein foods, sales of other foods that qualify as a good or excellent source of protein by FDA guidelines account for another $21.6 billion in sales. Grocery and frozen accounted for the most sales in this category. Interesting “up-and-coming” products include grocery broth (bone broth), ice cream and pancake mix.

Roughly 40% of U.S. and Canadian households are trying to increase their consumption of plant foods, and much of this growth is driven by young consumers. Among plant-based foods that are a good or excellent source of protein, there has been significant growth in the frozen prepared foods category.

Despite all the buzz about meat alternatives, meat industry total sales were $95 billion dollars, while meat alternatives sales were less than $1 billion. While 21.6% of households purchase meat alternatives, only 27% of meat alternative buyers are purchasing five or more times a year. Sales of plant-based dairy alternatives increased slightly, to total sales of $4 billion.

Consumers are also willing to consider altering their diet for factors outside of health. When consumers were asked what they were willing to do to alter livestock’s impact on climate change, only 16% of consumers said they had any awareness of this issue, 61% were willing to reduce meat consumption, and 43% were willing to replace meat-based protein with plant alternatives. Just 12% of consumers would try cultured meat grown in a lab, and 8% would try insect protein.

Most consumers feel it is important to have a healthy balance of plant and animal protein. Actually, 98% of meat alternative buyers also purchase meat. Only 5% of consumers are vegetarian or vegan.

Protein foods account for nearly $190 billion in sales across the U.S. grocery business, and this is a very competitive space. Growth is happening in very divergent ways. Ultimately, innovation and unique applications of protein will continue to drive growth.

“Protein Proliferation: Understanding the Consumers Total Protein Landscape,” Meagan Nelson, MBA, Associate Director, Nielsen
[Editor’s Note: All data was derived from Nielsen surveys from the 2017-2019 time period in the U.S. and/or Canada. Certain data was obtained from Nielsen Product Insider, powered by Label Insight]

This presentation was given at the 2019 Protein Trends & Technologies Seminar. To download free presentations and the Post-conference summary of this event, go to

See past and future Protein Trends & Technologies Seminars at

Easy to Long-Range Strategies for Sustainable Protein Foods

Posted on:November 22, 2019

THE CHALLENGES OF AND POTENTIAL steps toward achieving and maintaining a sustainable, global protein supply were the focus of a presentation from Clyde Don, Ph.D., a consultant in the food science and green chemical industries, based in the Netherlands, and Managing Director of CDC FoodPhysica Lab.

The diet of the Dutch in the 1880s, as illustrated by van Gogh’s masterpiece The Potato Eaters, was not ideal, and it was undoubtedly protein deficient. A little over a century later, the food system has dramatically improved; however, improvements to the current global protein supply are still needed.

In developed countries, the protein quality of diets is much improved over those portrayed in van Gogh’s masterpiece, The Potato Eaters, from the 1880s. However, improve-ments to the current global protein supply are still needed.

While global resources exist to feed the world, not all people eat a high-quality diet in terms of protein. Plant-based proteins can help meet global protein needs, and 5% annual growth in the plant protein market has been forecast in the developed countries (such as in North America, Western Europe).

Animal- and plant-based proteins differ in their quality for human nutrition. Protein quality is related to both its digestibility and its amino acid composition. Animal proteins usually have an excellent amino acid composition with respect to human nutrition. In contrast, single protein sources from plants may be low in essential amino acids, such as lysine.

Proteins from various plant sources can be blended to achieve a much better amino acid composition and nutritional value, however. For example, a mixture of rice, mung bean, sesame and carrots approximates casein, a relatively high-quality animal protein, in terms of nutritional quality, said Don.

In addition to nutritional quality, the functionality of animal proteins is challenging to replicate with plant proteins. Early attempts to replace meat with plant proteins led to rubbery, dry products with little taste. Clever blending of proteins can provide both better quality protein and better functionality.

Some of the same factors affect both protein quality and protein functionality. Solubility and the ability to form stiff gels are important to protein functionality in foods, and both are influenced by the amino acid composition of the protein. Protein blends can be used to formulate improved meat-like textures, although achieving proper juiciness remains challenging.

The need to obtain sufficient protein will remain a global concern, even while technical challenges are overcome. Don out-lined five steps to transition towards a more sustainable global protein supply.

Step 1. Sausage of the future: Incorporating alternative proteins represents an easy and currently available way to move away from the overuse of meat. Sausage is one of the first food products that humans developed. As a mixture of ingredients, sausage can be redesigned by blending different proteins beyond meat (e.g., pulses, cereals/grains, fruits/vegetables, nuts and insects).

Step 2. Animal protein waste recovery: Animal proteins that are currently treated as waste products can be reformulated and utilized as foods. For example, the low solubility of egg yolk powder waste can be greatly improved by enzymatic digestion, allowing it to be used in bakery products or protein beverages. Collagen proteins are another animal protein which may enter the waste stream; however, collagen can be added to sausages, thus increasing product yield, reducing cooking loss and improving texture.

Step 3. New sources of protein: New, sustainable sources of protein are being explored. Insect protein shows promise, but it is not currently eliciting much consumer interest (and may cause reactions in those with shrimp and shellfish allergies). Seaweed is another newer protein source which is produced without using land; however, its water solubility and protein content, both of which are desirable for use in food products, are highly variable. Duckweed, despite poor solubility, has shown promise as an ingredient in certain foods, such as bakery products, suggested Don.

Step 4. Novel proteins from the lab: Generating egg proteins without a chicken (or beef without a cow) by using a bioreactor is in the development stage but has not yet reached the market- place. At least in the EU and the Netherlands, some regulatory resistance to moving cultured proteins into the food chain exists. [Editor’s Note: For the situation in the U.S., see Jessica O’Connell’s presentation “From Cellular Agriculture to Plant-based Milks: Hot Issues in the Protein Arena,” in this issue on page 10 and online at]

Step 5. Protein on demand: Modern technology, such as CRISPR- Cas, could be used to change the amino acid composition of proteins “on demand” to provide desired protein functionality and quality. Fermentation technology (and the scaling up of said technology) is already available that could make this goal a reality.

“Creative Reformulation of Protein Foods: Five Steps toward a Sustainable Protein Supply,” Clyde Don, Ph.D., Managing Director, CDC FoodPhysica Lab

This presentation was given at the 2019 Protein Trends & Technologies Seminar. To download free presentations and the Post-conference summary of this event, go to

See past and future Protein Trends & Technologies Seminars at

Development Considerations for Keto-friendly Foods

Posted on:November 18, 2019

DAVID PLANK, A SENIOR RESEARCH FELLOW at the University of Minnesota and Managing Principal of WRSS Food and Nutrition Insights, offered valuable insights into developing keto-friendly food products in his presentation titled “Product Challenges in the Development of Protein and Keto-friendly Food Products.”

The origin of the ketogenic diet can be traced back to 500 B.C., when ancient Greeks discovered that epilepsy could be controlled by fasting. In the 1920s, a ketogenic diet which mimicked the physiological state of fasting was developed to treat epilepsy. The current ketogenic diet fervor began in 1994, when a television program featured the successful use of a ketogenic diet to treat epilepsy in the son of a well-known Hollywood producer.

The ketogenic diet reduces the frequency of epileptic seizures, but its use is limited primarily to children—because dietary compliance can be problematic in adults. Ketogenic diets are also effective for weight loss and weight management and may be helpful in other conditions. Variations on the standard ketogenic diet have been developed to improve compliance and for specific populations, such as bodybuilders.

Many individuals initiating a ketogenic diet experience the “keto flu,” a constellation of flu-like symptoms, which can include diarrhea and constipation. Other risks associated with ketogenic diets include reduced athletic performance, high cholesterol, ketoacidosis, heart disease and kidney stones.

Plank used a case study to illustrate considerations that might be important when developing a keto-friendly food product. He began with business risks: In addition to compliance problems, the potential for side-effects and the inability to make validated health claims could constitute liabilities. To mitigate these risks, the company focused on developing a “keto-friendly,” nutritious product that could stand on its own. They also included wording in the product labeling that recommended consulting a doctor before initiating a ketogenic diet.

The fat, protein and carbohydrate content of almonds approximates that of a ketogenic diet.

For their product platform, the developers wanted their product to be natural; high in fat and protein; low in carbohydrates yet high in fiber; locally sourced; and healthy. Almonds (grown local to the company in California) were chosen for the product’s base. The composition of almonds (i.e., 51% fat, 21% protein and 20% carbohydrates) approximates that of a ketogenic diet, and almonds are well liked by consumers.

The protein content of foods is estimated using nitrogen conversion factors (NCFs). An NCF measured in 1898 has been used to assess the protein content of almonds. This factor was based on a single storage protein found in almonds, but other proteins within the nut have higher levels of nitrogen. Following a new analysis, a higher NCF of 6.25 (20% more than the original value) was obtained, which should allow it to be labeled with a higher protein content, increasing the final product’s value.

In choosing a sweetener for their product, cane sugar was rejected because of its negative perception by most ketogenic dieters (despite having a “clean label”). The developers eventually chose the sweetener allulose, a monosaccharide isomer of fructose, with 70% of the sweetness of sucrose and only 0.4 calories per gram. According to a new FDA draft guidance on allulose, the sweetener does not need to be counted in total or added sugars on labeling.

The lack of fiber in a ketogenic diet reduces mineral uptake and disturbs the gut microbiome; therefore, the developers wanted to enhance the product’s fiber content. Allulose inhibits an enzyme involved in starch metabolism, essentially turning starch into fiber. Almonds themselves are a good source of fiber, but even more fiber was desired.

The company decided to incorporate a viscous fiber into the product to enhance its overall fiber content. Due to current intellectual property considerations, Plank could not reveal its identity but noted that clinical data supports its role in weight management. Together with an existing EFSA-affirmed health claim for the fiber, future marketing claims for the product should be easily justified.

The addition of the viscous fiber to the almond butter product provides other benefits. The fiber gives the product structural stability. Importantly, the addition of the fiber also prevents oil separation in the product without the use of hydrogenated fats or emulsifiers, which consumers perceive negatively. Finally, the addition of the fiber allows intellectual property to be captured for the product formulation, providing a potential advantage in the marketplace.

“Product Challenges in the Development of Protein and Keto- friendly Food Products,” David Plank, Ph.D., Senior Research Fellow at the University of Minnesota; Managing Principal of WRSS Food and Nutrition Insights

This presentation was given at the 2019 Protein Trends & Technologies Seminar. To download free presentations and the Post-conference summary of this event, go to

See past and future Protein Trends & Technologies Seminars at

Protein Quality Measurements, Claims and Values

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INITIALLY, PROTEIN ASSESSMENT involves gathering evidence necessary to support protein claims on food labels. In his presentation titled “The Impact of Processing on Protein Quality Measurements: Implications for Protein Content Claims,” James D. House, Ph.D., of the University of Manitoba, relayed that two key parameters are: 1) how well does the amino acid composition of the protein source match to human amino acid needs; and 2) how well is the protein digested, and are the amino acids absorbed to support the needs of the consumer.

“Regulatory frameworks for protein content claims in Canada and the U.S. are underpinned by the protein efficiency ratio (PER) and protein digestibility-corrected amino acid score (PDCAAS), respectively,” explained House. The digestible indispensable amino acid score (DIAAS) is a novel approach to measuring protein quality. The EU uses an expression of protein content relative to energy content.

The PER method utilizes a rat bioassay that measures weight gain/protein intake over 28 days and adjusted relative to a reference protein (casein). “The advantage,” according to House, “is it’s simple and provides a summative biological response to protein intake.” But using rodents is not reflective of human AA needs, and there are ethical constraints. There is limited data available; 47 entries are in the CFIA PER table and 247,326 foods in USDA Food Composition Databases. “Also, the values are non-additive, so it is limited in its use to predict values for new food products,” he explained.

The PDCAAS is determined from the product of the AAS (calculated by dividing the food AA by the AA in the reference pattern) and true fecal protein digestibility (determined by fecal nitrogen output divided by the dietary nitrogen input), with a correction for endogenous losses. Protein content claims for foods are based on the product of the PDCAAS and the protein content of the representative amount customarily consumed (RACC). House stated that “a value of 5-9.9g is a ‘good source’ of protein; 10g or greater is an ‘excellent source.’”

House also explained: “The advantages of the PDCAAS are that it’s simple; there are robust AA datasets; and values are additive to permit calculations of PDCAAS values for mixtures of proteins. However, as with the PER, the PDCAAS is determined using a rodent bioassay. Also, fecal protein digestibility is impacted by gut microbiota, and values are truncated at 1.00, so proteins of higher quality are not identified.”

The DIAAS has been proposed but has not yet been adopted by any jurisdiction. It has advantages, because it treats AA as individual nutrients; uses ileal (relating to the ileum) digestibility values; and scores are not truncated. But, stated House, “It is a bioassay with its associated ethical constraints; multiple analyses are required for one DIAAS value; and it has an arbitrary cut off of 75% for protein source claims.”

Various factors, including plant genetics and growth, as well as processing, affect the quality of plant proteins. (See chart “Factors Influencing Plant Protein Quality.”)

House’s research has found that digestibility values for fava, pea and lentil protein isolates were greater than concentrates—most likely due to reduced antinutrient factors. Despite having a higher protein content, the final PDCAAS values of the isolates were lower than concentrates for lentil and pea, due to lower AAS. This suggest that the isolation process altered the AA composition. Extrusion of flours from buckwheat and pinto beans resulted in higher PER, increased digestibility and greater PDCAAS than baked products. A correlation was found between digestibility and PDCAAS values generated from in vitro and in vivo methods. House suggested that “the use of in vitro digestibility analysis could be a potential replacement for current rodent assay for nutrient content claims.” (Nosworthy, MG et al. J. Agri. Food Chem. 2017/

Another study showed that the PDCAAS for processed beans was higher than the DIAAS (61 vs. 45%). Extrusion/cooking of various beans resulted in higher PDCAAS (66% average) and DIAAS values (61% average) than baked (52 and 48%). A significant correlation was found between PDCAAS and in vitro PDCAAS (R2 = 0.7497). (Nosworthy, MG et al. Nutrients. 2018/

“Protein quality plays an important role in communicating protein messages to consumers,” concluded House. “But, given the many sources of variability in assessment methods, we need new practical approaches for its determination.”

“The Impact of Processing on Protein Quality Measurements: Implications for Protein Content Claims,” Dr. James D. House, Dept. of Food and Human Nutritional Sciences, University of Manitoba

This presentation was given at the 2019 Protein Trends & Technologies Seminar. To download free presentations and the Post-conference summary of this event, go to

See past and future Protein Trends & Technologies Seminars at

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