Food Follows Function
by Cathy Sivak
Researchers push the utility of specific ingredients
in dairy products.
Health and wellness are
in sharp focus for consumers, and dominate the picture for functional
and nutritionally fortified dairy-based R&D teams. Dairy’s
already stellar reputation as a healthy product category makes it an ideal
fit for boosting nutritional profiles with functional ingredients.
Dairy whey is well entrenched as a protein provider in
the fitness and functional foods segment. Recent trends have likewise
bulked up health-attribute findings for traditional fortification as well
as potential for augmented dairy lines that offer consumers more.
Dairy-based products with a wellness focus continue to monopolize product
development team efforts. Indeed, dairy processors are increasingly
streamlining market research, application work and processing technology
needs tied to new product development concepts by tapping into supplier
“Twenty years ago, most ingredient companies
would sell the ingredient, and the receiving company would then do all the
market and application work themselves,” explains Philip Rijken,
Ph.D, director of nutritional science, DSM Food Specialties. “But
there has been a shift. Ingredient buyers focus on their core business now,
and companies like mine provide those services. Of course, the big
companies continue to do their development in house.”
Suppliers including DSM additionally focus on
nutritional research such as suspected health benefit links, a research
task many companies are not equipped to do independently. “In fact,
many depend on us to do it,” Rijken says.
A snapshot of functional ingredient trends,
applications and functional future forecasts all part of the following
roundtable snapshot of functional dairy ingredient trends. Dairy Field rounded
up insights from these functional ingredients suppliers: DSM’s Delft,
Netherlands-based Rijken; Bob Loesel, the Atlanta, Ga.-based technical
manager of the dairy and frozen desserts category for Cargill Texturizing
Solutions, Wayne, N.J.; and Martha Llaneras, senior technical service
manager of ISP Food Ingredients business of International Specialty
Products (ISP), Wayzata, Minn.
DSM Food Specialties provides standard dairy product
ingredients such as starter cultures, colorants and vitamins as well as
separate functional food ingredients.
Cargill offers texture solutions for multiple food
applications, including hydrocolloids, emulsifiers, lecithins, cultures,
starches, soy flour and functional systems.
ISP offers 500-plus food and beverage ingredients,
dairy specialty products for applications including chocolate milk,
acidified dairy beverages, cream, yogurt, fermented dairy products and
processed cheese products.
The following has been edited for space:
Q: How do functional
ingredients further enhance dairy products’ nutritional or health
Rijken: Dairy is
already perceived as quite a healthy product, making dairy an ideal
background for adding more functionality; this is why you see a lot of
innovation in the category. It is acceptable to add more health attributes
to an already healthy product, but it would be a strange approach to
“add health” to an intrinsically unhealthy product. It’s
good to state that dairy product development and marketing have done a good
dairy products are already a good source of calcium, it makes sense to
compliment that attribute by adding prebiotics such as inulin where
emerging data suggest that inulin and oligofructose may increase the
absorption of dietary calcium during certain stages of life. In the case of
yogurt, inulin can also act as a prebiotic for probiotic bacteria to
ferment in the large intestine, which is important in terms of colonization
resistance against pathogens. Low-fat dairy products such as yogurt and
cottage cheese are perfect products for the addition of extra protein (whey
proteins), vitamins and even omega-3’s, to future enhance a healthy
Llaneras: Stabilization systems don’t offer a specific health claim or
nutritional benefit. However, some of Cargill’s Textureze SD
products can provide added fiber. Ingredient manufacturers will be
challenged to help manufacturers develop innovative, stable products with
health benefits, unique flavors, and exceptional mouthfeel. As the growth
in dairy-based healthy products continues, stabilization systems such as
Textureze will be more in demand.
Q: What functional
ingredients have widespread applications for dairy product formulations?
What specific health attributes do the individual ingredients (or
combinations of ingredients) impart?
a wave of weight management, digestive health and immunity and, of course,
the yogurts with probiotics and prebiotics are really hot, particularly in
Europe. One specific example is weight management. You have the low-fat
products, general knowledge and acceptance that dairy products in and of
themselves can help people manage their weight, and weight-loss
At DSM we have Fabuless, a unique ingredient you can
incorporate into dairy products that results in decreased caloric intake if
consumed daily and used to support efforts to manage overall diet and
lifestyle. Fabuless studies published in scientific journals found people
gained less weight after dieting and lose a bit of fat. This ingredient
launched in a daily shot dose format to consumers in Netherlands at the
beginning of this year with such a success that the stores went out of
stock; the consumer product is now also sold in Germany, France, Italy and
other countries, and also is available in the States.
To manage expectations, this isn’t a magic
bullet ingredient that allows you to loose weight quickly while you just
overeat; that doesn’t exist. Diet and exercise work, but that’s
too hard, so consumers really appreciate the product.
We also have a Lactobacillus probiotics strain
intended for daily consumption, with supporting studies. Positive outcomes
showed if people take the probiotic daily, there were significant
improvements in the impact of colds and flus. It won’t cure the
common cold, you may be sick the same amount of time, but you’re not
Loesel: Dairy proteins
(whey proteins) for muscle growth recovery and blood pressure control. Soy
proteins can offer a high-quality protein with all the essential amino
acids, which can be beneficial for menopausal symptoms, prostate health and
can be combined with dairy proteins to minimize flavor issues. Isoflavones
can also be included within the soy product line to help with bone health,
cardiovascular function. Omega-3’s for heart health. Plant sterol
esters (CoroWise) can help reduce cholesterol levels by inhibiting
gastrointestinal absorption of dietary and biliary cholesterol into the
bloodstream. Glucosamine hydrochloride (Regenasure) can be added for bone
joint health. Fiber ingredients such as inulin and resistant starches and
maltodextrins can be formulated into light dairy yogurts and smoothies to
promote colon health and offer low glycemic and insulinemic response.
For functional sweeteners, Cargill can offer
erythritol (Eridex) as an alternative to sugar to provide a no-calorie,
natural, organic and sugar-free ingredient for yogurts and dairy beverages
to appeal to consumers who want to manage their weight or sugar levels.
Another product for sweetness is Xtend Isomatulose, a slowly digestible
nutritional sweetener with a low glycemic response known as “slow
is no single hydrocolloid or functional system that can be used in
widespread dairy applications. The application (beverage, ice cream,
processed cheese, etc.), the process and other ingredients will dictate
which hydrocolloid or functional system is best. ISP’s technical
service is available to help customers select the best hydrocolloid or
functional system for their particular application. ISP’s technical
service is knowledgeable regarding product properties and the technology
required by customers to fulfill market needs.
Q: What formulation and
functionality challenges and considerations should dairy product
development teams keep in mind when creating “super-fortified” dairy products?
Rijken: It is
not always straightforward to incorporate such ingredients; you have to
consider the taste profile. Then there is the aspect of shelf life, you
have to check what the shelf life of the product will become. Generally
speaking, you have to do tests, and that takes time. But if you want a
product with a one-year shelf life, you have to do a one-year test. People
are always in a hurry; there are accelerated shelf-life tests, but you have
to be careful there. There is also the aspect of the stability of the
ingredients in the matrix, because if it changes over time, the
functionality may change, so you have to look at the integrity of the
ingredient. Sometimes the ingredient changes the physical properties of a
product; Fabuless, for instance, makes the yogurt a little thicker.
Loesel: The main
concerns in the development of super-fortified dairy products would be
flavor, texture and stability of the dairy product. Overfortification, or
putting so much in to derive a health benefit, could lead to off flavors,
bad texture and instability over shelf life, especially in liquid dairy
products. Another concern is to ensure the functional ingredient is present
in adequate levels throughout the entire shelf life, which can be affected
by pH, in the case of probiotics.
production of dairy foods will vary with regards to formulation, processing
and storage conditions. All of these will affect the acceptance of the food
by the consumer. Correct stabilization is a means of obtaining the desired
product. Stabilization with hydrocolloids provides body, freeze/thaw
stability, suspension, mouth feel, texture, syneresis control, foam
stability, melting characteristics, protein stabilization and overrun. The
selection of the hydrocolloid or functional system required to achieve
these attributes will depend on the formulation, processing, and storage
Q: What challenges and
opportunities has the recent wave of dairy protein-fortified water and
beverages created for dairy R&D departments?
Rijken: A lot of
protein fortification is very difficult, because if you add protein to
water, it starts to fog, which is something most people don’t like.
At DSM, we have specific enzymes and specific proprietary technology that
cuts the protein to pieces. After you’ve done that, you have peptides
that do not foam and also provide a clear solution, rather than opaque. It
so happens that if you change the dairy proteins into peptides, you add to
functionality as well. For example we have one peptide that if consumed in
sufficient amounts, it can help you recover more quickly from sports, or
improve endurance during sports. Also if you do it right, you can even
improve performance. This is not a fairy tale; it is all clinically proven.
Loesel: The challenge
and opportunities are that dairy beverages need to compete with energy
drinks and waters to provide the same health benefits with extended shelf
life, with and without refrigeration. Milk has a natural level of protein
so it is a good starting base to compete with non-dairy products, but it
does require the correct stabilization systems to ensure quality. Most
functional ingredients will impart a flavor and contribute to texture in
some way, so it’s the challenge of the product developer to
incorporate functional ingredients without negatively effecting final
waters extend the use of dairy protein into non-traditional dairy products.
This provides an opportunity for manufactures to think “outside the
box” of traditional dairy applications and develop innovative
Q: Can you share your
concluding thoughts on dairy and functional foods?
Rijken: One big
driver behind this functional trend is that, speaking in general, people
really do not eat healthy. Everybody is trying to get people to eat
healthy, but it simply doesn’t happen. My conclusion is that we
should continue to tell people to eat healthy. One approach to make
people’s diets healthier is to change the food that people eat to
make it more healthy. That is not impossible to do; you can make every food
that people eat tasty and healthy — they have to check their portions
sizes and their intake themselves, but you can provide smaller portions. We
are the beginning of the functional foods era, really. I feel very strongly
that in 20 to 30 years, all the food on the market will be functional in
some way. If you think that is futuristic, in the Far East, this is not a
new thought. In the Far East, health through food has been there for
thousands of years. People look at food as a sort of medicine, and have for
many ages. In the west we don’t do that, but we are discovering our
way to grow in that direction, it is more science-based then
tradition-based. We are going for a bright functional foods future.
are asking for more natural and organic products. Acidified milks,
soy-based beverages and processed cheese products using the unique benefits
of alginates, pectins, carrageenans and functional blends are also in
Cathy Sivak is a freelance journalist and a former
editor of Dairy Field.
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