• International Whey Conference Spotlights Wide World of Innovation Potential

    By USDEC Staff October 6, 2022

    International whey processors, researchers, and product developers united with leading nutrition, food, and beverage subject matter experts at the 2022 International Whey Conference (IWC). Held in Chicago from September 11-14, discussions were focused on the bright and innovative future of whey.

    From new scientific research and market developments likely to impact the future state of the whey industry, to growing global opportunities for whey ingredient applications, the biennial conference was abuzz with information, trends, and ideas. Many presentations put a spotlight on dairy’s commitment to environmental stewardship and its progress towards greenhouse gas neutrality. Researchers shared how the science on whey ingredient health benefits has expanded beyond protein and muscle health to include lipids, carbohydrates, and metabolic health. Innovative technologies were introduced that further advance the processing and functionality of whey for product development.

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    Presentations by U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) staff and industry experts at the International Whey Conference (IWC) touched on these topics and more.

    Increased Focus on Health & Wellness
    USDEC’s Vikki Nicholson-West, senior vice president, global ingredient marketing, summarized the global whey ingredient market landscape and consumer trends. She outlined population dynamics in developed and emerging markets, the impact of the pandemic on birthrates, rapidly aging societies, the rising importance of food and how it relates to health and wellness—and the implications of all those trends for whey ingredient growth opportunities internationally. Her conclusion? These demographic shifts and economic development gains are likely to positively impact demand for protein, with dairy protein demand projected to grow the most in China and Southeast Asia.

    Desire for Global Taste Adventures
    Kristi Saitama, vice president, global ingredients marketing for USDEC, highlighted untapped opportunities for Asia’s food and beverage formulators to create distinctively Asia-friendly products featuring whey proteins and permeate that meet local nutrition, taste and lifestyle needs and desires. In her talk, Asia-friendly referred to traditional Asian foods and beverages, as well as variations on Western or fusion foods that are already a familiar part of local daily dietary culture.

    Asia accounted for one in four new consumer packaged food and beverage product introductions containing whey protein ingredients last year, according to Innova Market Insights. Saitama shared how product concept tests conducted by USDEC in Southeast Asia and Japan signal that protein-boosted products appeal to the region’s health-conscious consumer base. And with the popularity of Asian cuisine and enthusiasm for global taste adventures also growing in the West, the long-term market potential for these products could extend far beyond the Pacific. Ongoing development and seminars continue this work at the U.S. Center for Dairy Excellence, a regional hub for dairy innovation and collaboration established by USDEC in Southeast Asia.


    Opportunities also extend beyond Asia to South America. María Laura Castells , head of process development for the National Institute of Industrial Technology of Argentina, discussed the growing number of South Americans concerned about healthy nutrition and active lifestyles. She illustrated how this trend is leading to an increase in health clubs and fitness centers, a rise in people following protein diets, and the growing use of whey proteins in functional food and beverage products. Castells shared examples of the South American whey market evolution, with products using whey protein spanning dairy, bakery, snacks, bars, sports nutrition, lifestyle nutrition, and healthy aging categories. She also noted growth in permeate use in snacks and desserts.

    Strong Demand for Snack and Indulgence Foods
    permeate-application-infographic-topUSDEC member Gabriel Sevilla, vice president of sales and marketing for Proliant Dairy Ingredients, highlighted the rapid growth rate in new permeate product introductions around the world and the bright prospects to innovate with U.S. permeate. Sevilla’s talk reinforced that the sky’s the limit to create crave-able bakery and confectionery treats, glocal snacks and more made with permeate. He indicated that versatile permeate can be used in the snack itself such as in a wheat or rice cracker, or in the seasoning coatings for savory items including potato chips, wheat crackers, tortilla chips, nuts, popcorn, French fries, fish and chicken. His key takeaways were that permeate is a valuable source of dairy solids, and, with growing global demand opportunities, permeate’s functional, nutritional, and cost saving attributes align with diverse innovation possibilities.

    Further information Sevilla shared on tracked global new product introductions with permeate can be accessed in multiple languages in an infographic format here.

    Whey Nutrition and Innovation Momentum
    IWC speakers from around the world also examined key developments in and drivers of the whey industry while demonstrating just how much research continues to broaden and deepen on the benefits of whey ingredients. The nutrition track of the conference explored research spanning infant and childhood nutrition, sports nutrition, body composition, metabolic health and more while the innovation track discussed emerging ingredients and technologies.

    It’s an exciting time for whey! U.S. whey suppliers are ideally positioned to fulfill the growing global demand for whey products. Stay tuned as we continue to share scientific advances for whey as a nutritious, functional, and sustainable dairy ingredient. Visit ThinkUSAdairy.org and follow our LinkedIn business page for further information on U.S. whey and other dairy ingredients and inspiration for innovation.

    Asia WPI Innovation Whey Ingredients Market Insights USDEC Events Whey Permeate Global Dairy Permeate Whey Protein WPC Snack Trends
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