Danish firm Arla Food Ingredients says a version of its Lacprodan whey can withstand heat treatments typically used in clinical drinks consumed by the elderly.
The market, worth €3.6bn in the US and Europe, serves the elderly with health issues like muscle wasting or those who are recovering from illness or surgery; but it is a market that that has been a challenge for whey suppliers due to the manufacturing processes for ultra-high temperature (UHT) drinks.
Arla says its powdered, hydrolysed whey has overcome the issue, and nutritionally, can clear the gastric chamber faster than other protein forms and facilitate more efficient muscle synthesis. It is encouraging manufactures to develop full-whey beverages.
“…the total number of clinical nutrition patients is expected grow by more than 7% a year between now and 2015, primarily because of the world’s ageing population,” said Peter Schouw Andersen, business development manager at Arla Foods Ingredients.
Arla said Lacprodan can be used in pH acid and pH neutral formulations. “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.”
The British Dietetic Association estimates 60% of elderly hospital patients suffer from protein malnutrition.
Arla in October 2010 launched a three-year research project into hydrolysed whey and muscle growth and recovery that receives funding from the Danish Agency for Science, Technology and Innovation.
The global whey ingredient market is estimated to be worth about €5.73bn, according to 3A Business Consulting.