The demand for protein beverages is rapidly rising in APAC, and the region’s sports nutrition market is growing faster than anywhere else in the world.
This is according to Joe Katterfield, sales development manager for sports nutrition and health foods, at Arla Foods Ingredients.
He told NutraIngredients-Asia: “There’s obvious demand for high-protein products that taste good and are easy to consume. Products such as protein waters are the perfect way to meet that need.”
“Protein waters are a fantastic way to offer consumers healthy protein in a convenient, refreshing and low-calorie format,” added Troels Laursen, the firm’s director of health & performance nutrition.
In a survey conducted by Innova Market Insights in 2019, flavour (25%) was the main concern for consumers when purchasing protein drinks, following closely by cost (21%), and health aspects (18%).
While protein waters have succeeded in delivering the nutritional benefits, Katterfield said the challenges that manufacturers faced were in providing a pleasant taste and mouthfeel, as consumers continue to seek for tasty and healthy protein drinks.
“Some manufacturers are reluctant to launch new products due to challenges with astringent taste and dry mouthfeel.”
The firm is now promoting its new ingredient, Lacprodan ISO.Water, a 100% whey protein isolate which is sugar-free, fat-free, and lactose-free.
“It provides a smooth taste and mouthfeel, in a refreshing water format and removes the off-tastes common in other protein waters,” said Katterfield.
It is also Halal, Kosher, and GMO-free, and can be used in both flavoured and unflavoured drinking waters.
Riding the trend
The firm believes the ingredient will create fresh opportunities for innovative products with new taste.
Aside from sports nutrition, Katterfield said, “Baby boomers, for example, can benefit from additional protein as they get older, and this could become a new vehicle to deliver both the protein and the water they need.”