The dairy-based ingredient giant has created a blend of whey protein isolate and casein named Lacprodan ISO.WheyBar to save manufacturers time on sourcing, balancing and blending numerous ingredients.
Whey protein isolate is recognised by consumers as one of the most pure and complete protein sources available, allowing bars to be positioned at the premium end of the market.
But this solution is ready-to-mix to reduce production time and has been optimised to deliver great texture over its entire shelf life – a common challenge when incorporating whey protein isolate into bars.
The protein bar category is growing fast, with a global 21% CAGR (compound annual growth rate) increase since 2014.
And the amount of NPD in this category is exploding, with 921 protein bar launches in 2014, rising to a whopping 2,362 launches in 2018 (Innova Insights).
So Arla says this ingredient can help make NPD stand out from what's quickly becoming a saturated market.
"Protein bars are becoming a mainstream product choice and we are looking at adding more value to these products to help them stand out from the crowd," explains Joe Katterfield, health & performance nutrition development manager at Arla Foods Ingredients.
"There's other products on the market that use whey protein isolate but if you add that to a bar it leads to texture degradation over its shelf life and leaves you with a very hard texture so it has to be mixed with other softening ingredients.
"We've done that work for the manufacturers so they only have to buy one ingredient, rather than three or four, and they save the time in the manufacturing process."
Katterfield explains that many protein bars have historically used maltitol as a sweetener and binder but this notoriously has a low 'gut tolerance'.
Arla has created a solution to this problem with its Lacprodan TexturePro single whey protein ingredient which is designed to provide a superior texture for a softer bite throughout your product’s shelf-life.
This allows manufacturers the ability to create bars sweetened with a blend of polydextrose and erythritol.
Katterfield adds that the mature US market has become so aware of the issues associated with maltitol that brands will reduce their use of the ingredient in order to be able to make a 'low maltitol' call-out on front of pack.
Whilst the protein bar market is becoming saturated and growth is levelling off in the US, Europe is still seeing rapid expansion, says Katterfield.
He adds that he is excited to see what will come from the Middle East over the coming years.
"The protein bar market is still quite small over there and a lot of the products are imported but we are starting to see more regional products emerging which I think will be interesting to see."