IFT – Dreaming of an Uncloudy Whey

Coverage sponsored by Sovereign


Protein manufacturers have a tough road to travel – they want to stand out in a crowd, but they don’t want to stand out in a drink.

That’s because protein that stands out in a drink is likely clouding up the mix, adding off-flavors to the taste, and generally making for a less-than-palatable beverage.

So at a time when beverage makers are being forced to consider alternative sources of protein for what are a growing class of enhanced sports and recovery beverages, the pressure is on for ingredient suppliers to come up with innovative new ways to deliver this essential building block.

And it was obvious at this year’s Institute of Food Technologists Annual Meeting and Food Expo in New Orleans, La., from June 28 to July 1, that suppliers are responding to not only that demand, but the various functional requirements of many new classes of beverage – including some that haven’t yet been formulated.

So while representatives from Stolle Wellness to Kerry to Cargill were demonstrating various berry-flavored solutions of protein, be they soy, whey (growing in cost) or even pea, others were demonstrating their ability to brainstorm individual products and product classes. One interesting company on the make was TandemRain Innovations, a new group of packaged goods veterans that attempts to offer not just “turnkey” formulation, but also marketing, packaging, distribution and even international licensing solutions.

Meanwhile, other flavor and ingredient houses were demonstrating ideas for functional foods and beverages. From Super Citrimax makers to premix suppliers like DSM to botanical suppliers like RFI – a company demonstrating a Yerba Mate extract found in hot products like Guayaki – ideas for weight loss and satiety, eye, heart and bone health, energy and purity of mind (or at least some form of chemical mixture purporting to offer said characteristics) were available for the right customer.

With a show that was quiet due to its proximity to the July 4 holiday, it was obvious that those who had made the trek to the Big Easy were doing it because they were there to do business. Several companies spoke of contracts signed and orders placed by major organizations; their ingredients are likely to appear in the next wave of beverages, or the one after that. But if the deal was struck for soluble proteins, the only place the ingredient manufacturers hope they’ll appear is on the label, and not in the drink.

Note: Sovereign Flavors sponsored BevNET’s coverage of IFT 2008. For more information on Sovereign, visit www.sovereignflavors.com