Lab Talk: From Whey to Witches
As I write this, Worldwide Food Expo has ended and it's time for Halloween . The significance of the season to the subject of whey will become apparent as you read on.
See, in early October, I was fortunate enough to attend ANUGA, which is likely the world's largest food fair, in Cologne, Germany. Within the entire hall dedicated to dairy foods, there were numerous exhibitors showcasing beverages based on or containing whey.
It can be entertaining to see how foreign marketers try to give their product lines an American twist. Mishaps in translation can provide a giggle or two. For example, one company exhibiting at ANUGA touted its whey-based drink as a bewitching beverage. Running with images that combined a black-hat witch and something resembling Coors Light's Elvira, this company was marketing whey as a source of power. (The power to cast a spell, I guess!)
No doubt something was lost in this adaptation of these popular Halloween icons, but still, most attendees understood the message: whey is a powerful food with its inherent health and wellness properties.
Another company at the show, Austria's Tirol Milch, has built an entire dairy beverage brand around whey and its functional benefits. The original product-Latella-is described as pure whey and high-quality fruit. Latella's been around for about 20 years, and the company says it is the ideal refreshing beverage for anyone pursuing a healthy diet.
Tirol Milch is expanding the successful brand by adding extra value. For example, "Latella plus" contains the functional ingredients balm and ginseng. "Latella fresh" includes tea with the whey and fruit combo. And, "Latella l.i.f.e.," which debuted at ANUGA, is described as having a unique composition that ensures that blood sugar rises slowly and falls gradually. This is said to help the consumer feel full longer. In addition, the low insulin release slows the body's fat storage process and helps burn stored body fat. The net effect, according to Tirol Milch, is that Latella l.i.f.e. leads to a healthier metabolism and improved weight control.
This fact cannot be disputed: whey contains high-quality protein. In fact, whey protein contains all of the essential amino acids in the proportions that the body requires for good health. Whey protein has the highest biological value of any protein, meaning it is efficiently used by the human body (104 for whey protein vs. 100 for eggs, 74 for soy protein and 54 for wheat).
Here's how all this ties to Worldwide Food Expo. First, the sessions were wonderful and the exhibition floor great. But, where was the whey?
The U.S. food and beverage industry, suppliers and manufacturers alike, have the science available to them to develop whey beverages. Yet, none were to be found at Worldwide Food Expo. Let's change this for the 2007 show. Mark you calendars and get busy. I am even going to provide you with a resource: www.innovatewithdairy.com.
"DMI is working on many fronts to make whey proteins even better than they already are," says Greg Miller, executive v.p., innovation. "Whey proteins already offer unsurpassed nutritional value, clarity and solubility to beverages. DMI-supported researchers are exploring even greater stability and flavor advantages in beverages."
Go ahead, make a kettle of power potion using whey . . . or else, look out for me on my broomstick!