A groundbreaking whey protein is set to transform the fast-growing clinical nutrition category by offering companies the opportunity to create a 100 percent whey-based ready-to-drink beverage that is more effective, easier to formulate and better-tasting.
Lacprodan® DI-7017 from Arla Foods Ingredients is a new generation of pure whey protein concentrate that is stable in ultra-high temperature (UHT) formulations at neutral pH, representing a genuine first in the market for clinical nutrition RTD beverages, which was worth almost €4 billion in the U.S. and Europe in 2011.
Whey protein is notoriously hard to incorporate into UHT processes, which are widely used to manufacture clinical nutrition beverages with a long shelf life. As a result, manufacturers have until now tended to use alternative and less nutritionally effective proteins, such as casein, when formulating beverages for use in clinical nutrition. Such beverages are consumed primarily by elderly people suffering from conditions such as sarcopenia (muscle wastage) and patients recovering from illness or surgery.
However, incorporating whey protein into clinical nutrition beverages is highly desirable because there is compelling scientific evidence that whey delivers faster ‘gastric emptying’ and greater levels of muscle synthesis than other protein ingredients.
Now Arla Foods Ingredients’ scientists have overcome the technical challenges associated with a producing a 100 percent whey protein concentrate ingredient that is stable when subjected to UHT processing to create Lacprodan® DI-7017 – and the company is confident the innovative ingredient will generate huge levels of excitement in the clinical nutrition arena.
Peter Schouw Andersen, business development manager at Arla Foods Ingredients, said: “Clinical nutrition represents a huge opportunity for food and beverage manufacturers. According to a recent Business Insights report, the market for RTD beverages for use in the clinical nutrition environment was worth €2 billion in U.S. and €1.6 billion in Europe in 2011 alone. Meanwhile, the total number of clinical nutrition patients is expected grow by more than 7 percent a year between now and 2015, primarily because of the world’s ageing population.”
He continued: “However, for technical reasons, manufacturers have been seriously undermined by their inability to formulate clinical nutrition beverages with pure whey protein concentrate. Now, with the launch of Lacprodan® DI-7017, that is all set to change for the better.”
The benefits of whey protein over other sources of protein are well documented in the scientific literature, with studies demonstrating that whey protein passes through the gut more quickly than casein, leading to faster gastric emptying and absorption of the protein. Whey also offers roughly twice the levels of muscle synthesis as casein. Meanwhile, the amino acid profile in whey proteins covers or even exceeds the human requirements for essential amino acids, according to standards set by the World Health Organisation.
Available in powder form, Lacprodan® DI-7017 is suitable for use in both pH acid and pH neutral formulations, increasing the variety of product types and packaging formats into which it can be incorporated. It is suitable in the milky beverages typically used in clinical nutrition, but can also be incorporated into less viscous beverages which may be easier for some patients to drink.
Peter Schouw Andersen said: “The need for effective RTD beverages that offer high performance clinical nutrition has never been greater. All over the developed world, people are living longer lives. In the European Union, for instance, average life expectancy is forecast to reach 89 years for women and 84.5 years for men by 2060. This is a highly positive trend, but one side effect is that that protein malnutrition is an increasingly common problem. In fact, up to 60 pecrent of elderly hospital patients suffer from the condition, according to the British Dietetic Association.”