The global health and wellness trend provides a great opportunity to showcase the benefits dairy foods and ingredients provide to people of all ages, around the world. Beyond essential nutrient delivery, dairy foods are naturally high in protein and can play an important role in positive health outcomes.


A quality protein source

Proteins naturally found in milk are unmatched in quality and offer benefits across life stages, including supporting weight loss/maintenance, enhancing post-exercise recovery and assisting in muscle maintenance for healthy aging. 

Consumers are looking for more food and beverage options to deliver these benefits, and formulators are seeking ingredients that meet taste and nutrition needs. U.S. dairy ingredients are helping food manufacturers address both.


Healthy aging

Among the rising public health concerns impacting the independence and daily quality of life of today’s seniors is sarcopenia, the age-related progressive loss of muscle mass and strength/physical function that can begin as early as age 40.

A decline in protein intake with aging, resulting from, for example, decreased appetite or digestive and metabolic changes, is among the factors contributing to loss of muscle mass. Consuming roughly 30 grams of high-quality protein at each meal can also be a useful strategy for maintaining muscle mass and protecting against the debilitating effects of sarcopenia. 

Formulators can help older adults and seniors optimize dietary protein intake through the development and introduction of wider choices of easy-to-consume foods and beverages containing U.S. dairy proteins.

U.S. dairy whey proteins have the advantage of being high-quality protein sources that are convenient to add to a variety of products. Greek yogurt topped with nuts and fruit, fruit smoothies that contain whey protein, energy bars made with milk or whey protein, and whey protein stirred into soups, oatmeal or pudding all offer easy and convenient opportunities to increase protein consumption throughout the day.


Sports nutrition

The value of sports nutrition has extended beyond professional athletes and into the mainstream of active everyday sports enthusiasts and consumers who simply seek convenient nutrition as part of a healthy lifestyle.

There is growing interest in the potential use of dairy proteins for athletes and active individuals wishing to improve their training diet and/or their recovery after exercise. Many food and beverage formulators have turned to U.S. dairy’s easily digestible, high-quality ingredients to develop applications that can help athletic performance.

Dairy protein ingredients can be used in dry mix formulations to enhance protein levels and provide an economical source of vitamins and minerals.

If a thicker mouthfeel is desired, milk proteins should be selected because they bind more water than whey proteins do. Whey proteins would be a better selection for a thinner consistency upon rehydration or if the final dry mix contains added acidulants because the protein remains soluble in acidic environments.

To accommodate those seeking convenience, more ready-to-drink beverages and portable snacks such as bars and breakfast items are being introduced to the market. In protein bar applications, whey protein concentrate and whey protein isolate have been used in bar mixes, compound coatings and extruded crisps to provide texture, flavor and enhanced nutrition.


Compromise not required

Consumers are asking a lot of the foods and beverages they consume — they want clean labels, nutritional and fitness-related benefits and convenience — all without sacrificing taste. U.S. dairy ingredients help developers create innovative and convenient products with great flavor and nutrition.