Vitafoods Europe: Arla Foods Ingredients breaks the mold with innovative protein bar and beverage concepts
12 May 2023 --- This week at Vitafoods Europe, Arla Foods Ingredients showcased two concepts designed to shake up the protein industry. The concepts include new ingredients, a bar with protein dispersed throughout three different layers and a clear medical protein beverage with green apple-lime flavor.
FoodIngredientsFirst speaks with Mathias Toft Vangsøe, the nutrition and business development manager at Arla Foods Ingredients, about how high-quality protein can be both tasty and refreshing.
“Our juice-style beverage concept is targeted for medical nutrition and like many classic RTDs it delivers a refreshing nutrition-dense drink with a combination of protein and carbohydrates,” Vangsøe explains.
“We also know from interaction with medical nutrition brands that these kinds of beverages can be a little difficult for the patients to consume every day, so we see a need and a demand for something a bit more refreshing.
“Our bar concept is really tapping into the trend of protein bars going a little more mainstream. We’ve seen a lot of consumers that, not necessarily your hardcore consumers, but more like healthy mainstream consumers, are also interested in approaching the bar space, and that really sets some new requirements.”
Clear medicinal benefits
According to Vangsøe, the green apple-lime protein beverage concept is more of a juicy and watery type of beverage compared to the average medical, milky drink utilizing Lacprodan BLG 100 – which he says delivers 7% protein and was approved as novel food ingredient only two months ago.
“In short, it’s a protein source that has a more unique amino acid profile compared to your standard whey and it’s a little higher in leucine– one of the essential amino acids that drives muscle protein synthesis,” he elaborates.
“We have about 45% more naturally occurring leucine in this ingredient compared to a whey, so, from a nutritional standpoint, that’s super critical, especially when you’re targeted into medical nutrition.”
“It has also been combined with a lot of carbs. For medical patients that might not necessarily have a strong desire to eat, they need that complete meal and the combination of protein and carbohydrates is really essential for optimal recovery and to get them back on track.”
New bars for a new generation
For the protein concept bars, Vangsøe highlights that Arla Foods Ingredients wanted to make something different from the usual plain-flavored, solid bars that have dominated the market for years.
“We wanted to make something more like a snack or candy bar, something that’s a little more interesting to consume,” he says.
“So we have made a concept where we have introduced protein both in the chocolate coating in the bar mass and in the center filling, so we have something that’s more like a Snickers or a Mars bar or something along those lines.”
“Ultimately, the consumer not only wants protein and the right nutrition, they want multi-sensory layers. We have a three-layered concept – dividing the protein into all three layers.”
Vangsøe acknowledges that candy bar-like protein bars are not that uncommon in today’s innovative market, but what makes the Arla Foods Ingredients’ concept different is the incorporation of the protein ingredient into all of the bar’s layers.
This year, the company featured this multi-layered concept in a salted-caramel fudge flavor as well as a limited edition raspberry-yogurt flavor that he says is more refreshing and fruity than most offerings.
“In most bars, all the protein is delivered in the bar mass – not in the filling and not in the coating. That gives a pretty high stress on the bar mass on its own that maybe needs to carry over 50% of protein,” explain Vangsøe.
“But when it is divided into all the three layers, then you have a bit more flexibility to play around with the consistency and you still have a nice, soft textured, multi-layered bar.”
“In the end, the bite – the consuming experience – is all that matters. You really want your bar to be soft and appealing when you bite through it. We have all of that, in all three layers and in two different flavor versions.”
By William Bradford Nichols, reporting from Vitafoods Europe 2023
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