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'Not the time' to educate consumers on whey protein fats: Volac

By Mark Astley+

03-Mar-2014
Last updated the 04-Mar-2014 at 13:51 GMT

British dairy Volac believes there is "a lot to be said" about the beneficial phospholipids found in whey protein, but understands that now is not the time to begin educating consumers.

Speaking with DairyReporter.com at Volac HQ near Cambridge, Suzane Leser, the company's head of nutrition, touted the health benefits of the phospholipids found in whey protein.

These fats, which are found in the membrane of brain cells and other cells throughout the human body, "have a huge role to play in our health, that needs to be better understood," she said.

But with the British dairy industry currently focusing on calorie reduction through the Department of Health (DOH) voluntary Responsibility Deal Food Pledge on Calorie Reduction, Leser said that now is not the time to begin educating consumers on the health benefits associated with certain fats.

"Currently, we only talk about low-fat, and how low-fat is good for you, because of course when you remove fat you cut a lot of the calories out," she said. "But we believe that there is a lot to be said about fats for health as well."

"When we produce whey, most of the saturated fat remains in the cheese, and we are left with quite an interesting profile of phospholipids, which are very good fats," she said.

When the market is ready, however, Volac “will definitely be ready to offer products with a high profile of good fats," Leser said.

“We would like that to be in the shorter term, but let’s see how it goes.”

Calorie reduction

Volac's head of nutrition, Suzane Leser.

The company was praised last year by British dairy industry representative Dairy UK for delivering on its commitment to the Department of Health's (DOH) Responsibility Deal Food Pledge on Calorie Reduction.

It was one of only four Dairy UK members to provide data on its calorie reduction efforts. 

In its case study, Volac detailed the development of its 250ml Upbeat liquid whey protein concentrate-based fruit juice hybrid, which contains less than 150 calories, 20g of protein, 2g of fat, and less than half of the sugar found in leading smoothies and fruit juices.

The company has reiterated its commitment to the DOH initiative, which Leser branded a "great opportunity" to re-position British dairy.

“The Responsibility Deal is giving the dairy industry the opportunity to deliver attractive, convenient ways to bring the nutrient richness of dairy and the health benefits to consumers,” she said.

“We will always align our offerings to the best that the industry can do to deliver on health choices. Food producers are of course being asked to help consumers cut sugar and fat so we will stick to that profile in the short term."

"But we believe mainly that the calorie reduction will only make an impact to curb obesity if this is together with increased nutrient density – so the body can have the right pool of nutrients to work well," she added.

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