Food and beverage manufacturers outside the dairy industry turn to dairy proteins for a variety of reasons.

Food and beverage manufacturers outside the dairy industry turn to dairy proteins for a variety of reasons. Many proclaim their inclusion on product labels or through creative brands. For example, meal replacement and energy bars are some of the fastest-growing functional food categories. Many include dairy proteins.

Carlsbad, Calif.-based Next Proteins, a company built on products formulated with whey proteins, offers a variety of bars including Detour™, a premium energy bar that tastes like something you would find in the candy aisle. The 80g triple-layer caramel peanut flavor contains 30g protein, which comes mostly from the proprietary Designer Whey Protein™ blend of whey protein concentrate, whey protein isolate and hydrolyzed whey protein. The bars also contain calcium caseinate, nonfat dry milk solids and whole milk solids, which all contribute to the bar's protein content. Detour labels proudly proclaim that they are "Deluxe Whey Protein Energy Bars."

It takes carbohydrates to make Detour taste like a candy bar, so in efforts to appeal to consumers trying to lower their carbohydrate intake, Next Proteins is rolling out SlimWhey™. With either two or three "net carbs" per bar, Slim Whey formulas contain all of the same dairy protein ingredients as Detour, as well as a whey mineral complex.

Targeting women, Hi-Lo™ bars from Organic Mills Corp., San Dimas, Calif., are described as a special formulation to support the nutritional needs of people who want to maintain a high-protein diet that is low in carbohydrates and sugar. The chocolate caramel flavor contains calcium caseinate, casein, milk protein concentrate, nonfat milk and whey protein isolate. A 50g bar contains 16g protein, mostly dairy derived.

Another bar explicitly identified as the "Low Carb Choice for Women" is Luna® Glow™ from Clif Bar Inc., Berkeley, Calif. In the fudge almond brownie flavor, both the caramel layer and the bar coating contain milk protein. The actual bar contains milk protein and calcium caseinate. A 35g bar contains a total of 8g protein.

The Atkins™ family of products includes an array of offerings formulated with whey protein ingredients. Chocolate Wafer Crisp bars contain whey protein isolate and the sauces in the cheesy pasta side dishes are made with whey. Atkins Pancake & Waffle Mix uses whey protein, as do both the seasoning mix and the actual chip in the Atkins Nacho Cheese Crunchers. It is quite common to see dairy proteins as part of the formula of healthful snack foods and beverages. Natural, minimally processed grain-based product brand Kashi® recently rolled out TLC™, an acronym for "tasty little crackers." Available in four varieties-Cheese, Honey Sesame, Natural Ranch and Original 7 Grain-the crackers all use whey, and some varieties include sodium caseinate. Though not touted as a protein snack, a 30g serving contains 3g protein, one gram more than a comparable snack cracker such as Nabisco® Wheat Thins®.

On the sweeter-snacking side of things, Nabisco Newtons® Bars now come in Strawberry & Yogurt and Raspberry & Yogurt varieties. Both include whey and cultured whey for flavor and functionality purposes, as a single 37g bar contains a mere 1g protein.

San Francisco-based Jamba Juice uses whey protein in a bit more conventional application-smoothies. Appealing to carb-counters, new Enlightened Smoothies™ have, on average, 40% to 50% fewer calories and sugar than the company's original freshly blended, made-to-order smoothies. The new line comes in four varieties-Berry Fulfilling, Mango Mantra, Orange Divine and Strawberry Nirvana-and is made with the new, proprietary Enlightened Base™, which contains nonfat milk and whey proteins. A 16-oz serving contains 7g protein.

Last, merchandised in the nutritional beverage aisle, dairy-based Boost® Breeze™ is described as a delicious, juice-based nutritional drink that is light-tasting and refreshing.

All of these food and beverage manufacturers recognize the benefits of formulating with dairy proteins. Dairy processors: When formulating high-protein foods and beverages, or when simply needing a functional ingredient, look no further than a cheese production plant. After all, whey was once considered the by-product of cheese. Today, they are equals.