Blood sugar control render drinkmakers giddy as Arla orders a round of shots

By Will Chu

- Last updated on GMT

©Arla
©Arla
Arla Foods Ingredients launch its high-protein pre-meal shot as a nutritional boost to meals that claims to help manage blood sugar levels—a cause of rising diabetic-related complications.

The 100 millilitre (ml) pre-meal shot is a ready-to-drink (RTD) concept that contains 15 grams (g) of Lacprodan whey protein blended with fibre intended for consumption before a meal.

The meal supplement has designs on addressing fluctuations in blood sugar levels, a consequence of type 1 and type 2 diabetes that afflicts around 400 million people worldwide.

“The high prevalence and growth of diabetes and pre-diabetes is primarily due to a global rise in the prevalence of obesity associated with unhealthy lifestyles and a global aging population,”​ said Peter Schouw Andersen, head of science & sales development at Arla Foods Ingredients.

“There is an enormous market opportunity for health and functional food companies to offer natural solutions to help people living with the high blood sugar levels associated with these conditions.”

Created as a template to inspire new product development, the pre-meal shot uses Lacprodan DI-6820, a compound that beverage manufacturers can use to produce drinks high in premium quality whey proteins.

The compound prevents the gelling effect that results in a thick undrinkable liquid. Certified UHT stable, Arla’s product also comes with a six-month shelf life.

“The challenge is to find products that fit easily into people’s lifestyles in terms of convenience and nutrition,” ​explained Peter Schouw Andersen, head of science & sales development at Arla Foods Ingredients.

Our scientists have taken on this challenge to develop a natural, very low volume and yet highly nutritious 100ml pre-meal shot.”

From shot to fully fledged drink?

According to Manel Romeu Bellés, industry marketing manager at Arla Foods Ingredients the pre-meal shot’s health benefits can be used as on-pack claims, such as ‘lower blood sugar rise’, ‘high in fibre’ and ‘high in protein’ (only whey based).

Furthermore, manufacturers will be able to claim ‘no added sugar’, ‘high in calcium’ and ‘a source of phosphorous’ on product packaging.

Possibilities of upscaling are also available, said Bellés. “Although the size of our prototype is 100ml and thus regarded as a shot, it could of course be used to create a larger RTD beverage, depending on the market objectives of the beverage manufacturer.

“Our scientists found that even unflavoured samples taste really good, so there’s no need for masking. Great alternatives to a natural taste are Cocoa/cappuccino and Tropical flavours.”

When asked about the pre-meal shots’ prospects in Europe, Bellés thought that the delivery form was most popular with the younger demographic.

“We don’t have any evidence at hand that shows a difference in terms of preference for these RTD shots depending on age group, but our assumption is that young people are typically more open to new formats, and this is indeed a relatively young delivery system in the mainstream market.”

“Yes, there has been a global boom in product launches in small, convenient formats in supermarkets and, especially, convenience stores. This can be seen in big cities in developed countries, where convenience is most valued.”

Whey and fibre

Whey protein and fibre have much history as effective, safe ingredients that promote satiety and weight management, a precursor for Type 2 diabetes.

With firms such as Glanbia​, Nestlé and Danone offering a similar range of whey/fibre-infused RTD products, the market is capable of going beyond those leading an active, busy or athletic lifestyle.

Nutritionally vulnerable populations such as the elderly spring to mind.  With the emphasis on maintenance and preventing malnutrition in this category a pre-meal shot, scaled up with added vitamins and minerals, could prove popular.

“These small volume, high protein shots with fibre are highly relevant for the older generation,”​ said Bellés

“Type 2 diabetes is more frequent among elderly people and they actually need higher quantities of high quality proteins in order to maintain muscle mass and prevent conditions such as sarcopenia.”

According to Innova Research, new beverage product launches featuring blood glucose control claims increased by 12.4% CAGR between 2010 and 2016, while new beverage product launches featuring diabetic claims increased by 10.3% CAGR over the same period of time.

Arla will present this product along with others at Foods Ingredients Europe (28-30 November 2017) on Stand 08.0C41.

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