US Dairy inspires healthy snacking advances at Fi Asia

At this year’s Fi Asia show in Bangkok, the US Dairy Export Council (USDEC) addressed how US dairy ingredients – including whey and milk proteins and permeate – are advantageous ingredient solutions to effectively meet today’s wide-ranging consumer expectations.

Dairy proteins represent a unique and powerful group of proteins – they are a high-quality, complete protein naturally found in milk and contains all essential amino acids. In addition, the neutral flavour profile creates a perfect space for manufacturers and consumers to add them into both sweet and savoury foods to raise the quantity and quality of protein consumed.

These characteristics of multifaceted nutrition, broad functionality and taste make US whey and milk proteins ideal for innovative food and beverage solutions supporting health and wellness goals such as weight management, exercise recovery and healthy aging.

To showcase how US dairy proteins can successfully be utilised in nourishing products, USDEC highlighted several Southeast Asia-friendly on-the-go snack concepts at Fi Asia, including a new high-protein spicy mango chewy prototype containing US whey protein isolate. The prototype was developed in partnership with Singapore Polytechnic’s Food Innovation and Resource Centre (FIRC).

“The high-protein spicy mango chewy has a surprisingly complementary sweet, sour and spicy combination, offering consumers exciting new flavour discoveries in addition to providing a quality protein boost,” said Martin Teo, technical director for food applications, USDEC, Southeast Asia.

“It was developed to be a prototype to inspire end-users to think beyond common flavours and be creative in their product innovation with US dairy proteins. It is also one of many product ideas demonstrating that US dairy ingredients possess the versatility to be successfully added into Asian-style protein-fortified snacks and foods while complementing diverse consumers’ lifestyles.”

Developing sodium-reduced food options is another significant opportunity for Southeast Asian food producers to help combat rising incidences of hypertension and other lifestyle diseases. At the technical symposium at Fi Asia, Teo unveiled findings from recent research conducted by FIRC demonstrating the viability of using US dairy permeate as a beneficial flavour-enhancing ingredient in better-for-you, sodium-reduced savoury snacks and seasoning applications.

With Southeast Asian consumers as the focus target, the study encompassed formulation trials and sensory evaluation phases examining rice and prawn crackers as well as spicy curry and BBQ seasonings made with US permeate. The study found that the sodium content of crackers and seasonings could be reduced by 20%-40% with the addition of US dairy permeate while maintaining a desirable flavour profile.

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