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Dairy proteins, permeates aid diet

Source:FoodBev Asia

Date Published:11/12/2018 11:11:56 AM

U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) helps adapt U.S. dairy products to Asian market needs.  

PROTEINS — or the consumption of more proteins — is one of the main trends driving innovation in food and beverage and related industries. Greater health consciousness and lifestyle choices emphasising wellness will continue to spur consumption of protein, a microingredient the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) believes is very valuable but is not getting the attention it deserves.

Protein consumption especially in Asia has remained low compared with other regions, a result of partiality toward carbohydrates and fats among the region’s consumers. There is also little understanding about the importance of dairy in the diet. Moreover, climate in Southeast Asia, in particular, is not conducive to dairy farming. 

USDEC, a non-profit, independent membership organisation representing U.S. dairy producers, proprietary processors and cooperatives, ingredient suppliers and export traders, said it will take some time before Asia will reach the same level of protein consumption in the United States where people consciously boost their dairy protein intake with products such as protein bars. USDEC works extensively with buyers and consumers in Asia to ensure optimal use of U.S. dairy products and ingredients.

“But Asian manufacturers and consumers alike will continue to increase their interest in and consumption of dairy protein and its different forms in the years ahead,” assured Dalilah Ghazalay, Regional Director-SEA, USDEC.

Healthier choices form a top consideration among consumers in Southeast Asia based on a 2017 study conducted by USDEC. Consumers in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam see protein as an important part of their diet, with milk being a good protein source.

From USDEC and based in Singapore: Dalilah Ghazalay, Regional Director-SEA, and Martin Teo, Technical Director - Food Applications.

From USDEC and based in Singapore: Dalilah Ghazalay, Regional Director-SEA, and Martin Teo, Technical Director - Food Applications.

Ideal protein source

The significant rise in products claiming to be high in or have additional proteins is opening up the market for new protein applications and providing a platform for dairy products from the United States, the Council said.  

Dairy protein, a good source of protein, is vital across the different life stages since it provides the essential amino acids needed by the human body,” said Martin Teo, Technical Director - Food Applications, USDEC.

USDEC said intensive studies have been done on proteins from milk in particular because it has the amino acids needed by the body. When choosing ingredients with high protein content, protein quality should be a top concern. For a protein type to be of high quality, it has to have all the essential amino acids and absorbed easily.

Dairy suppliers from the U.S., which have been boosting their milk protein production on top of being the world’s largest producers and exporters of whey, are increasing their capability in producing dairy proteins to match application requirements in terms of protein levels and functional and nutritional benefits.

Dairy protein ingredients have two basic categories — whey protein ingredients and milk protein ingredients. Value-added whey products have been steering production of whey protein ingredients in the United States away from sweet whey commonly used as dairy solid source for bakery, snack and confectionery items. The combined production of whey protein concentrates (WPC) and whey protein isolates (WPI) accounted for about 37% of output in 2016 compared with their 31% share in 2010. Production of milk protein concentrates (MPC) is also growing, with output in 2016 hitting a record high of 77,700 metric tonnes, equivalent to 94% growth from 2010 and a 35% jump from 2014.

WPI and WPC are suitable for sports drinks or meal replacement because of their high solubility over a wide range of pH, and for processed meats, cakes and breads for their water-binding properties.

For milk protein ingredients, MPCs provide protein enhancement and a clean dairy flavour to F&B formulations without raising the lactose level. MPCs also contain valuable minerals such as calcium, magnesium and phosphorus.

With the use of new technologies, U.S. dairy suppliers are looking to offer next-generation dairy proteins with diverse applications. Different microfiltration systems are being examined for the separation of caseins and whey protein directly from milk, with the resulting new-generation ingredients seen as potentially useful for F&B manufacturers.

Permeate production

The global permeate production is currently led by the U.S., which has an estimated market share of about 60%. The growing production of high-protein whey and milk protein ingredients is expected to continue pushing up the country’s output of permeates.

Also called dairy product solids, permeate is a high-lactose dairy ingredient that contains a minimum of 76% lactose, maximum 14% ash and 2% to 7% protein (mainly non-protein nitrogen). With their high lactose content, permeates can enhance the texture, flavour/taste, appearance and colour of many applications, and provide calcium and phosphorus. When used in baked goods, permeates contribute to the browning appearance and a softer and moister texture.  

U.S. dairy manufacturers have been increasing their output of permeates, which are produced through the removal of protein and other solids from milk or whey.  Their products typically use sweet whey and milk as starting materials.

Whey permeate, or deproteinised or modified whey, features good solubility and has a pleasant dairy flavour. Milk permeate, on the other hand, has a clean and consistent flavour. It has a similar composition as whey permeate but has a different sensorial effect because it is directly derived from milk and undergoes fewer processing steps. 

Cookies with U.S. permeate (USDEC)

These cookies with popular Asian flavours also contain permeate, a high-lactose dairy ingredient that contributes to the browning appearance and pleasant caramelised aroma of baked goods.

Asian consumption on the rise

Southeast Asia remains a major market for U.S. dairy suppliers, with the Philippines leading imports, followed by Indonesia.

“Dairy in itself is a large portfolio, and the overall consumption of dairy in various food products remains huge in Indonesia. The capability of the country to produce dairy is only less than 25%, so the rest of the country’s dairy needs comes from imports,” according to Ms. Ghazalay.

“Permeate in particular is gaining popularity in Asia as it is a very versatile “clean label’ dairy ingredient,” said Mr. Teo, who added that with the ingredient being high in lactose, it can be a potential replacement for some of the more expensive ingredients, even cocoa powder.

“Permeate has been in use in the U.S. and other countries for some years now. In Asia, the adoption has been picking up in the last three or four years. Indonesia, the Philippines, and a few other countries have started using permeates. But what we hope for is that more end-users will use and maximise the potential of permeate,” Mr. Teo shared. He said permeate can be used in bakery products, soups and sauces, confectionery, chocolate, and even in ice cream and beverages. In addition to the browning ability that contribute to the baked appearance, permeates can also be used to reduce some sugar and fats of some baked goods and improve product textures in cakes and breads, resulting in baked items that are softer and more moist. When used in soups, confectionery, dry mixes and meats, permeates can enhance flavours and reduce sodium content at the same time. This is good news for manufacturers of packaged meals like instant noodles, a popular Asian snack that unfortunately contains high amounts of sodium.

“Permeate is a value-added product. Besides the cost savings advantage it offers to manufacturers, permeate can be used to reduce the salt content of food products. At USDEC, we’ve developed many products including cookies and instant noodles seasoning with up to 25% reduction in sodium,” Mr. Teo added. 

Ms. Ghazalay added that this fits with consumers’ desire for better-for-you foods.

Matching Asian needs

USDEC’s Southeast Asia’s team has been working closely with Singapore Polytechnic’s Food Innovation and Resource Centre on projects aimed at localising U.S. products for use in Asia, particularly Southeast Asia. 

“In addition to educating the market and sharing Western applications, we adapt and localise the products to the region and the needs of manufacturers. We also work with end-users to make sure we are able to serve all stakeholders. These efforts have led to such products as spicy curry cookies and pandan sesame seed cookies, which obviously cater to Asian tastes,” said Mr. Teo.

The USDEC SEA team has developed various SEA-friendly formulations for end-users. The team will continue to serve as the connection to facilitate R&D work between U.S. dairy companies and manufacturers in Asia, according to Mr. Teo.

Present at Food Ingredients Asia 2018 (Fi Asia) held from 3-5 October in Jakarta, USDEC showcased a prototype instant noodle seasoning based on permeate.

“We met with a potential manufacturer in Fi Asia in Indonesia who is interested in trying it so we are optimistic with the work that we’ve been doing,” said Mr. Teo.

USDEC and member companies that attended Fi Asia hoped to showcase the versatility of their dairy ingredients in Southeast Asian applications. “We want to assure manufacturers we have the dairy ingredients that they need and have done the research and development of formulations which manufacturers can use or refer to for potential products that they can then offer to their customers. This means they need not start from scratch,” said Ms. Ghazalay. 


USDEC: Technical resource on the U.S. dairy industry

THE U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC), established in 1995, bridges U.S. dairy producers and food and beverage manufacturers around the globe. It does not manufacture or sell dairy products but instead helps dairy manufacturers from across the United States address market needs while enabling F&B processing companies the world over to learn more about U.S. dairy products and ingredients.

“We serve as a resource for the industry, providing information about the major dairy ingredient products from the U.S. and their benefits and applications. We conduct research not just on market outlook and trends but also, and more importantly, on how to use the products and their health and nutrition benefits,” explained Dalilah Ghazalay, USDEC Regional Director – SEA.  “We also provide education and training for manufacturers, sharing our knowledge of the ingredients, their functions and how best to use them to achieve various applications.”  

Knowing that local ingredients will react differently when combined with U.S. ingredients as opposed to formulations done in the United States, USDEC places a high value on imparting knowledge.

USDEC’s Southeast Asia team provides technical consultations. It looks into the impact of ingredients and evaluates what members need to know in order to be able to export to various countries. It studies government policies and how these impact members in terms of market access and ability to export.

USDEC also has a regulatory role. “Food regulations are the most complicated regulations affecting the agri-business side of the industry. Establishing a good relationship with the end-users is very important. But the stakeholders that we interact with are not just from the industry. We also have to interact with government agencies and even the health and professional community,” Ms. Ghazalay added.

In Southeast Asia, USDEC’s programmes revolve around helping global buyers and end-users in sourcing and innovating with versatile and quality U.S. dairy products and ingredients. With sustainably-produced milk from all 50 states of the U.S., the country boasts milk production that is triple that of New Zealand and Australia combined. The expanding dairy product portfolio now comprises cheese, milk powder, whey ingredients, milk protein, permeate, lactose, butter and milk fat, and yoghurt, ice cream and dairy desserts.

As to their safety and quality, the U.S.-made products on offer meet the highest standards. Martin Teo, Technical Director – Food Applications, USDEC, said a survey on people perception of ingredients from different areas suggests that U.S. dairy ingredients rank high in terms of safety. “We have stringent regulations for exporting products. Our access and use of innovative technologies likewise assure ingredients are of high quality, and this “Made in USA” label reflects that emphasis on quality and is something that buyers can trust,” he noted.




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