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Proteins: Quantifying the Odds for Market Success?

Posted on:May 12, 2016
Best-chart-PDF

Click on chart image for larger version.

May 12, 2016—Global Food Forums, Inc.—The following is an excerpt from the “2015 Protein Trends & Technologies Seminar Business Highlights Report.” 

The current trend analysis tools at our disposal include social media tracking, consumer surveys, retail-scanning data, new product introductions and SWOT analysis.

All of these tools are useful, began Daniel Best, MSc, MBA, President and Founder of Best Vantage Inc., but they’re only part of the picture. “What we’re missing is real-time, quantifiable change indicators—indicators that tell us we’re entering a volatile situation,” said Best.

According to Best, gathering real-time information is key in reducing volatility. Stock market analysts have known this for years, and they’ve developed practices to address it. Best says the volatility indication practices of the stock market, when applied to the Internet, can help provide insight on consumer food trends.

Obviously, the information is hard to qualify; there’s a lot of “bad” information to sort through, and search engines are erratic, Best said. “Nonetheless, I think I can make a clear case for using some of these tools.”

When put to use, Best’s VIC TrendAlert™ Index (a proprietary tool used to quantify Internet chatter) used top Google hits in April 2015 to reveal top dietary trends. Gluten-free topped 40 million hits compared to Vegan’s 20 million, followed by Low-carb, Anti-inflammatory, Paleo, ABS (i.e., abdominal muscles diet), Vegetarian, Zone and High Protein (in at 11 million).

These top dietary trends comprise 160 million hits, or 84% of the total hits related to “diet.” High Protein, specifically, topped such other major industry topics as whole-grain foods, sustainable foods, clean eating, Weight Watchers diet, South Beach diet and Monsanto GMO foods.

Six of these top 10 diets promote the increased consumption of protein, and three discourage animal protein consumption,  Best noted. “So, if people are swinging toward these diets…we should expect to see an increase in consumption of protein among a significant segment of the population.”

Seven of the top trends exhibited rapid, exponential growth in Internet chatter, and many relate directly to protein. It’s because of this fact that Best couldn’t compile specific data regarding a protein-promoting diet to include in the attached chart. The interests overlap too much with other top diets (“like a Venn diagram of overlapping circles,” he noted). That said, it’s obviously a topic of increased interest, simply due to its association with these top searches.

Of even more interest is the fact that the top diets impact the types of proteins under discussion. “Consumer dietary preferences will have a significant influence on the quantity, type and form of protein consumed,” he said.

As the chatter spikes and plummets, certain proteins attract attention. Based on Best’s analysis, the most volatile and significant trends that impact protein are vegan, vegetarian, ABS and Paleo.

“If you don’t have those diets on your radar, in terms of strategic planning, you should,” he advised. “That being said, there’s a lot that’s also happening underneath the ice. Other trends are emerging, as well; they may not be as volatile, but they’re showing significant increases.”

“Proteins: Quantifying the Odds for Market Success.” Daniel Best, MSc,
MBA, Best Vantage Inc., 1-847-714-9527, info@bestvantageinc.com,
www.bestvantageinc.com


Protein Consumption in Emerging Markets

Posted on:April 15, 2016

April 15, 2016—Global Food Forums, Inc.—The following is an excerpt from the “2015 Protein Trends & Technologies Seminar Business Highlights Report.” 

Seifer-chart

Click on image for larger PDF version of chart.

In March and April 2013, The NPD Group surveyed thousands of citizens in Mexico, Brazil, Russia, China and India about what they ate the day before. Their answers revealed telling information about what to expect from these markets in the years to come.

Looking at the numbers in Russia, for example, it’s clear they eat proteins about 50% the time, regardless of the meal.

Other countries, the U.S. included, are more discerning of when they consume proteins. (See chart “Percent of Meal Occasions with a Protein.”)

“Russians really like their proteins. That came out loud and clear in the study,” said Darren Seifer, NPD’s Executive Director, and Food and Beverage Industry Analyst.

By contrast, India is low on protein consumption, in general. They are most likely to consume proteins in their midday meal (23% of those surveyed), but that’s only slightly more likely than morning and evening. Seifer suggested this is due to their large vegetarian population and cultural influences (such as religious beliefs), which could be tough to overcome if considering a push into this market with some products.

Interestingly, when asked what they consider the most important meal of the day, the U.S. and Mexico overwhelmingly said breakfast, but elsewhere the midday meal is considered of equal importance. These countries likewise have the most items or dishes in that midday meal, as opposed to the U.S. and China, which have the most in the evening.

These foreign markets also tend to be more connected to their ingredients. Citizens in Russia and Mexico make meals from scratch roughly 60% of the time, while those in Brazil notch 65%, China 70% and consumers in India a staggering 85%. “There’s a lot more hands-on involvement in preparing their foods,” Seifer said.

As for what proteins they’re eating during these meals, Seifer broke it down as follows. Mexico, China and the U.S. favor eggs in the morning, while Brazil is likely to have cheese, as well as eggs. Brazil, Mexico and China are all likely to have meat in the afternoon, but Brazil and Mexico are just as likely to have poultry.

China is likely to have meat and seafood in the evening, while Brazil and the U.S. often have meat and poultry. Russians are all about variety when it comes to their proteins.

For the snacking sector, consumers in the surveyed countries consume proteins about half as often between meals as they do during meals. The exception is Brazil, which rarely consumes protein between meals.

Darren Seifer, Executive Director and Food & Beverage Industry Analyst for The NPD Group, Inc., Darren.Seifer@npd.com, +1.866.444.1411, @NPDSeifer (Twitter), www.npdgroupblog.com


Global Protein Regulation–A Question of Quality?

Posted on:March 9, 2016

Protein claims in the EU vs. USA

In the EU, protein claims relate only to content, which is calculated using
the formula: protein = total Kjeldahl nitrogen × 6.25. No explicit regulations
address protein quality. In contrast, in the U.S., protein claims are related both to protein quality and content. [For a larger PDF of this chart, please click image.]

March 9, 2016—Global Food Forums, Inc.—The following is an excerpt from the “2015 Protein Trends & Technologies Seminar Business Highlights Report.” 

“The match between dietary supply and human protein needs is vital to support the health and well-being of human populations,” said Sukh Gill, Llb, DTS, MTSI, Director of Global Regulatory Services, Leatherhead Food Research, while quoting a 2011 FAO Report. However, regulations around the globe take inconsistent approaches to define the amount and quality of dietary protein required by humans.

When an over-simplified regulatory approach is taken in providing information about a food’s protein quality or content, less informed choices may result, as that information is used to make decisions on how to meet nutritional needs. More sophisticated approaches to determine protein quality and quantity help level the playing field for making protein marketing claims. Also, global food policies will be able to give higher priority to dietary sources of protein that best deliver against population needs, noted Gill.

In the late 1800s, Johan Kjeldahl developed an analytical method based on a food’s nitrogen content to determine protein quantity in grain. His method remains internationally recognized; however, since it includes non-protein nitrogen, it does not always measure the true protein content of a food.

Kjeldahl’s method also does not measure a protein’s nutritional value, which is related to its ability to satisfy nitrogen and amino acid requirements for tissue growth and maintenance, said Gill. Current thought is that this ability primarily depends on the digestibility of protein and amino acids, and the dispensable and indispensable amino acid composition of the proteins. [NOTE: The EU and U.S. differ in requirements needed to make a protein claim] (See chart “EU vs. U.S.: Making a Protein Claim.”)

In the U.S., from 1919 until 1993, the Protein Efficiency Ratio (PER) was the method used to evaluate the quality of protein in a food. In 1993, the more sophisticated Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score (PDCAAS) rating was adopted by the US FDA and the FAO/WHO (but not the EU) for determining protein quality.

PDCAAS is based on the amino acid requirements of humans and their ability to digest them. Proteins can have scores from 0 to 1. It, too, has limitations. For example, the formula used to calculate PDCAAS can result in scores over 1.0 for some high-quality proteins, but 1.0 is the maximum score allowed—which limits its usefulness as a comparative tool. By combining foods with low PDCAAS values, a high PDCAAS can result.

“Should we then consider from a whole diet, rather than a single-food perspective?” asked Gill. “For nutrition labelling, a whole-diet approach makes sense; from a marketing perspective, claims are made on single foods.” Also, PDCAAS doesn’t address whether the true ileal digestibility of protein is preferable to the faecal measurement of protein.

For these and other reasons, the FAO has recommended replacing PDCAAS with the Digestible Indispensable Amino Acid Score (DIAAS). DIAAS equals 100 x [(mg of digestible dietary indispensable amino acid in 1g of the dietary protein) / (mg of the same dietary indispensable amino acid in 1g of the reference protein)].

However, DIASS also has issues. For example, more data on the true ileal amino acid digestibility of human foods is needed in the calculation of DIAAS. Until that becomes available, it is suggested that digestible individual dietary amino acid values should be calculated using faecal crude protein digestibility values applied to dietary amino acid contents.

If resources are not allocated to complete this research objective in a timely manner, current recommendations for the application of DIAAS may need to be reviewed.

Sukh Gill, Llb (Hons), DTS, MTSI, Director of Global Regulatory Services, Leatherhead Food Research, legislation@leatherheadfood.com, +44 (0)1372 376761, www.leatherheadfood.com/


The Quest for Protein: Challenges and Opportunities

Posted on:February 17, 2016

February 17, 2016—Global Food Forums, Inc.—The following is an excerpt from the “2015 Protein Trends & Technologies Seminar Business Highlights Report.” 

Global Food Forums, Inc.’s third annual Protein Trends & Technologies Seminar was held in Oak Brook, Ill., USA. A “Pre-conference: Business Strategies” program was held on May 5, 2015, followed by a “Technical Program: Formulating with Proteins” on May 6th.

Speakers at the Pre-conference provided information for upper-level managers to help them guide their company’s protein ingredient business, and for those for whom the protein ingredient marketplace has significant impact on new product development strategies and/or their operations. Industry experts offered insights into consumer and product trends, market volatility, global regulations and emerging market opportunities, among other topics.

USDA chart on animal protein consumption

USDA chart on animal protein consumption, both globally and in China. [Click on image for larger PDF of chart.]

The Quest for Protein: Challenges and Opportunities

Factors that shape animal protein production and consumption trends can be placed into three buckets: disease, competitiveness and trade, said William Sawyer, MSA, Vice President, FAR Animal Protein, Rabobank.

Globally, animal protein consumption has steadily increased. In the last five years, beef consumption has been up only slightly. Pork is the number one animal protein consumed around the world; however, the FAO predicts chicken will overtake pork as the most consumed animal protein by 2020. Consumption is driven by poultry’s lower cost and demographic interests that fit with this meat.

China is a huge driver of protein consumption. About 75% is pork—not chicken—due to disease concerns, said Sawyer. Outside of China, chicken shows the greatest growth. Some 43% of this growth has occurred either in the BRIC countries, with their emerging middle class, or in the EU, where Europeans are attracted to the lower price and health aspects of poultry consumption.

Another 38% of growth has occurred either in primarily Muslim countries with great economic growth, such as Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Malaysia, or in certain Latin America countries. For example, globally, Mexico is the sixth-fastest growing country in poultry consumption, followed by Argentina.

Rabobank finances and closely follows trade around the world, said Sawyer. The export story is fairly simple, with the U.S. and Brazil exporting half of all meat exports; they likely will continue to do so. There are also niche markets, such as India and Australia’s export of beef and Canada’s export of pork. Overall, meat trade is growing more quickly than consumption. Some regions and countries are more efficient in animal production than others and can afford to export to the latter.

Import trade is a more cluttered picture, with a large number of small countries importing meat. Japan is the number one major importer of food overall and a key importer of meats. They’ve taken the lead from Russia, which is striving to be more self-sufficient.

From 2007-2014, consumers in Canada, the U.S. and EU shifted away from beef and toward chicken. As the economy has rebounded, the expectation was that they would return to beef—but they haven’t. Beef in the developed world is becoming a luxury food, as the beef industry deals with its high cost of production and the subsequent higher sale prices.

In the past, North American analysts tended to not talk about animal disease; it was a problem “in other parts of the world,” noted Sawyer. There are two major global meat animal diseases. The first is PEDv (Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus), which has significantly impacted the U.S.—but also the rest of the world. Millions of hogs were lost in the U.S. during 2013-2014, with subsequent declines in U.S. hog slaughter in 2014. Hog futures went to all-time highs, reflecting the uncertainty in the industry, said Sawyer.

Avian Influenza (AI or bird flu) is also a global issue. AI had been a China story but is spreading into North America. In Mexico, it is a production issue; in the U.S., it’s a trade issue, since the U.S. is losing states that can export. [Note: since this presentation, AI has greatly impacted the U.S. egg supply.]

Of great concern is the potential impact of consumer attitudes toward poultry, in that bird flu has caused human fatalities. China has approximately one death per day due to this disease. China has a bright future in long-term growth of chicken consumption and trade; it is the intermediate future that is challenging.

At the end of his presentation (given May 2015), Sawyer concluded that prices overall are stabilizing, which benefits producers, and trade barriers are gradually breaking down. Both disease and currency wars need to be kept at bay. With these factors in place, there is a positive outlook for the animal protein sector in 2016.

William Sawyer, MSA, Vice President, FAR Animal Protein, Rabobank, +1.404.870.8023, William.Sawyer@rabobank.com, www.rabobank.com

 


Flavor Challenges with High Protein Levels

Posted on:February 3, 2016
Flavor solutions for high-protein fortification chart

Click on image for larger PDF version.

February 3, 2016—Global Food Forums, Inc.—The following is an excerpt from the “2015 Protein Trends & Technology Report: Formulating with Proteins,” sponsored by Arla Foods Ingredients. 

The flavor of foods and beverages brings out emotions and drives consumers’ food choices. People have expectations for flavor, and if those expectations are not met, there is a problem. Functional foods often contain proteins and other ingredients that cause flavor problems.

“Linked to acceptance, flavor is the bottom line,” spoke Keith Cadwallader, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at the University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign, in his presentation “Flavor Challenges and Solutions for High Protein Functional Foods and Beverages.” Defining flavor quality is very important. “If a product is labeled as ‘chocolate’ or ‘vanilla,’ it needs to be identified as such immediately upon tasting,” he advised.

If there is any confusion about that flavor, then it has failed. “The flavor should develop quickly, be balanced and get more desirable the longer it is tasted,” added Cadwallader. Flavors also need compatible mouthfeel and texture. A chocolate beverage, for instance, should be creamy, viscous and thick—instead of watery or thin. Lack of off-flavors and minimal aftertaste are also important attributes for success.

Functional foods often contain ingredients that contribute harsh flavors and lack any inherent positive flavors. “Most people are not heard saying ‘mmmm, taste that soy flavor,’” Cadwallader joked. While dairy proteins are generally pleasant, most functional ingredients are not. And functional beverages are seen by consumers as members of a food category, not a functional-food category, meaning a chocolate beverage will be compared to other chocolate beverages—not to other functional foods. Consumers do not forgive off-notes in foods and now expect high-quality functional beverages.

Proteins often have readily detectible, inherent off-flavors that are difficult to measure instrumentally. These off-flavors can often be attributed to enzyme derived volatiles, aged proteins or lipid oxidation of bound lipids, Cadwallader went on to say. Soy protein isolate, for example, has a fair amount of retained polar lipid that cannot be separated, leading to problems.

Soy protein is often associated with a well-known beany flavor and a “cereal note” generated from Maillard reactions that typically need to be covered. Dairy proteins are better—unless they are aged, when they can develop off-notes, unpleasant odors and astringency—problems in older caseins and whey protein concentrates.

“The fresher the protein, the better; if offered a deal on some old casein, the best option would be to pass,” Cadwallader advised. As protein ages, off-notes form and bind to the proteins, which are often undetected until rehydration. Other protein off-notes include pea (earthy, soil), rice (bran, rancid), egg (sulfur) and insect (an “interesting” odor).

“Fat modulates flavor release, so adding even one drop fat can make the world of difference,” advised Cadwallader. Amazingly, 0.1% fat or less can completely shift the flavor profile. This lesson was learned years ago when trying to make everything low-fat or non-fat,” he reminded the audience. Process-induced flavors are also an issue. A product may have the perfect flavor initially, but the process can change everything.

Cadwallader recommended first prescreening ingredients; looking for anything that might be a problem; and then, if needed, resourcing for better options. “Masking agents can also work like magic, in theory neutralizing undesirable aromatics and tastes, without imparting characteristics of their own—unless beneficial,” he added.

Cadwallader suggested that a successful product is a balance between art and science. He strongly advised to work with a flavor company using non-disclosures; telling them everything about the formula, process and packaging. He recommended including flavor experts early, to provide them a mix and challenge the experts to flavor it.

Keith Cadwallader, Ph.D., Professor, Dept. of Food Science and Human Nutrition, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, cadwlldr@illinois.edu, +1.217.333.5803, http://fshn.illinois.edu/directory/cadwlldr


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