Whey protein could be the next heavyweight ingredient

Articles
October 23, 2008

Whey protein could be the next heavyweight ingredient

The body-building world has brought America one governor/movie star, countless striking models of extreme human fitness—and too many substance abuse stories through the years. While some body builders used steroids and ephedra to gain a competitive edge, it would be a mistake if the negative profile of these substances affected eventual public demand for legitimate nutritional products that spring from this fitness community. Therefore, SG is spotting whey protein, a lean, high-quality protein source, as potentially the next big ingredient in foods. An open secret among lifters seeking “cut” bodies for years, “they use it as part of their very intense, heavy weightlifting training. The combination of a very high intake of high-quality protein and power lifting increases muscle mass. In the absence of weightlifting or exercise, high intakes of whey protein, or any protein for that matter, will not produce increased muscle mass,” explains Tia Rains, Ph.D., nutrition consultant to the food and beverage industry, with extensive experience advising on whey protein science to CPG and to the Dairy Trade. Naturally found in milk, whey contains all the essential amino acids bodies need that they can’t manufacture on their own, at levels that meet or exceed World Health Organization standards, according to Daphne Mazarakis, founder of Tula Foods, the maker of Better Whey of Life, the nation’s first all-natural brand of whey protein-enhanced yogurt. This could become a new segment in the dairy case once distribution expands from Chicago to both coasts.

The body-building world has brought America one governor/movie star, countless striking models of extreme human fitness—and too many substance abuse stories through the years. While some body builders used steroids and ephedra to gain a competitive edge, it would be a mistake if the negative profile of these substances affected eventual public demand for legitimate nutritional products that spring from this fitness community.

Therefore, SG is spotting whey protein, a lean, high-quality protein source, as potentially the next big ingredient in foods.   An open secret among lifters seeking “cut” bodies for years, “they use it as part of their very intense, heavy weightlifting training.  The combination of a very high intake of high-quality protein and power lifting increases muscle mass. In the absence of weightlifting or exercise, high intakes of whey protein, or any protein for that matter, will not produce increased muscle mass,” explains Tia Rains, Ph.D., nutrition consultant to the food and beverage industry, with extensive experience advising on whey protein science to CPG and to the Dairy Trade.

Naturally found in milk, whey contains all the essential amino acids bodies need that they can’t manufacture on their own, at levels that meet or exceed World Health Organization standards, according to Daphne Mazarakis, founder of Tula Foods, the maker of Better Whey of Life, the nation’s first all-natural brand of whey protein-enhanced yogurt. This could become a new segment in the dairy case once distribution expands from Chicago to both coasts.

Yogurt made sense to be whey’s entry into mainstream supermarkets because, despite $3.7 billion in U.S. yogurt sales (Mintel), there’s room to grow: per capita consumption is about one-third that in Europe, and people shop frequently for health, even in a down economy.

Beyond yogurt, however, in order for whey to penetrate foods throughout the store, marketers will need to make whey’s benefits clear to average consumers through intelligent messaging that empowers, rather than confuses, them. People are so inundated by food claims, there’s a risk they won’t be receptive unless messages about whey resonate.

What they need to hear: Mainstream consumers who don’t spend hours in the weight room could benefit in weight and waist management.  According to Mazarakis: Whey protein diets could help reduce inches around the waist better than diets using soy protein. Whey protein is an increasingly important nutrient because waist size is a leading indicator of heart disease and diabetes.  Whey protein is gentle on youth’s developing digestive tracts and helpful in skeletal growth, and helps the aged combat muscle loss.

One pop sign of whey’s potential: Starbucks this summer began selling Vivanno Nourishing Blends, a line of smoothie drinks made with fresh fruit and whey powder throughout all its U.S. locations, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Another: 66% of U.S. consumers reported making changes to improve the healthfulness of their diet, noted the International Food Information Council 2007 report.