Consumer awareness of whey protein’s value in areas such as muscle growth and post-exercise recovery has never been higher and studies continue to demonstrate its benefits. It’s not surprising then that it continues to be the focus of so much innovation.
Whey protein and BLG
Whey protein is extremely attractive because of its nutritional composition. It is the gold standard for the sports nutrition and medical nutrition industries. For consumers whose focus is strength, it is the go-to protein source. It is also important in medical nutrition with patients who either need to build muscle mass or conserve what they have.
Whey is composed of many different proteins; isolating beta-lactoglobulin (BLG) can provide a more potent ingredient to meet many consumer needs. Compared to normal whey protein, BLG has 45% more leucine which is a key trigger that stimulates muscle protein synthesis. It also has 40% more branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) compared to normal whey protein and 26% more essential amino acids.
Commercial opportunities for BLG
The R&D team at Arla Foods Ingredients has worked with many BLG ingredients to find formats that are attractive for consumers, whether they are medical patients, sports enthusiasts, or normal consumers in a supermarket. For example, they explored RTD protein waters, protein shots and ready-to-mix powders because these are especially relevant and attractive for sports nutrition customers. The company’s new Lacprodan® BLG-100 ingredient works in myriad formulations.
With BLG, consumers can get up to 23% of protein in a protein shot solution. When developed with Lacprodan BLG-100, the shots were substantially more concentrated and tasted better, compared to commercially available alternatives.
Due to the composition and potency of BLG consumers need less protein in comparison to other protein sources. At 18g level—according to scientific literature—consumers can get all the leucine and essential amino acids they need. This opens up the opportunity to do small shot formats, a convenient option for sports consumers.
Protein shots are also attractive in medical nutrition. Older consumers often struggle to take in sufficient nutrients so getting something that is packed with just the right type of protein is a brand new and innovative concept.
In addition, beverages—both RTD and in mixable powders—are a category standard. Arla’s new BLG ingredient Lacprodan® BLG-100 powder is completely clear when mixed with water, and can also make acidic beverages—for example, those flavoured with lemon or orange— an area which is relevant for sports nutrition and medical consumers.