Start with something healthy, and then make it better. That’s the basic recipe for creating a value-added milk-based beverage. Traditionally, the three largest and most active claims about dairy beverages regarded digestive/gut health, heart/cardiovascular health and bone health. But, in recent years, the market has seen many novel dairy beverages that tout energy, immune health, weight control, satiety, anti-aging, skin health, beauty, eye health, joint health, mental acuity and concentration.
According to the InnovaDatabase report “Top Trends in Functional Dairy Products,” 14,000 dairy products were launched globally in the 12 months ended May 2011. Dairy drinks accounted for 24% of total launches. Most carried some type of health claim, either passive or active. Examples of passive claims are sugar-free, low-calorie or natural. Examples of active claims are added-calcium, double the protein or plus omega-3/DHA. A newer trend is to claim multiple benefits, starting with a passive benefit and adding one or more specialty ingredients that enable the beverage manufacturer to claim active benefits.