Consumer demand for protein has been driving global new product development since long before the COVID-19 pandemic, and with an increased focus on healthy eating, it likely will continue to gain strength in the future.

In addition to convenience, consumers crave enjoyment and indulgence now more than ever. There is an opportunity for food manufacturers to capitalize on these desires and provide nutrition while maintaining great taste and texture.


New formats and flavors

As consumers expect nutritious, minimally processed products with appealing flavor and texture, food and beverage manufacturers will continue to develop and launch products containing dairy proteins or a combination of dairy and plant proteins to enhance benefits and capitalize on market trends.

In the snack market, the current new product development landscape has diverse formats, flavors and textures. While demand for traditional protein bars is still strong, newer forms such as bites and balls, as well as gels, pastes or jellies, continue to grow in popularity, meeting the needs of the “on-the-go” consumer. These delivery systems provide a fast-acting, easy-to-consume and concentrated source of nutrients.

There is also strong innovation in the indulgent snack space. New products include brownie protein bars, protein chips, protein crisps, puffs and more.


Dairy as a star innovation ingredient

Demand for dairy proteins continues to grow. According to data from Innova Market Insights, 2019 saw new product introductions with dairy proteins up 24% compared to 2015.

The industry continues to lean on the functionality and versatility of U.S. dairy proteins, which remain proven tools — easily boosting protein content while contributing neutral flavor and powerful nutrition. Dairy proteins also stand out for offering exceptional functional benefits in finished foods and beverages, including solubility, heat stability, gelling, foaming and emulsification.

There also has been increasing consumer interest in alternatives to dairy proteins such as legume, grain, nut, pulse, aquatic, insect and single-cell proteins. With so many choices, food formulators need to be well informed, as selecting the right protein ingredient is imperative to developing successful products. Dairy protein’s unmatched range of functionality and versatility is why manufacturers have turned to blending dairy and plant proteins for improved nutrition and ease of formulation while satisfying modern consumers.

U.S. dairy proteins uniquely address formulator needs to meet consumer demand for sustainably produced, nutritious, functional, versatile and securely sourced ingredients for use in food and beverage products. The proteins also fit seamlessly with vegetarian and flexitarian food preferences.

From prototypes to finished products, U.S. dairy suppliers are ready to support new concepts that fulfill demand for good taste and good health. For more information, visit