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Which products is Ingredia featuring at this year’s Fi CONNECT and what makes them innovative?
This year is a big year for us because we have two new dairy proteins that we are launching at the same time at Fi CONNECT.
The first one is called PROMILK® Yogfluid, which is a dairy protein specially developed for high protein drinking yoghurts. PROMILK® Yogfluid is part of our range that boosts the creaminess of dairy products. It is a milk protein concentrate that creates a fluid texture with a creamy texture and neutral taste. You can use it in drinking yoghurt products that contain up to 12% protein in and add it in during the standard drinking yoghurt manufacturing process. The real benefit is that you have very good fluidity; if you added 10% standard protein to the exact same recipe, it would not be fluid. That’s what makes PROMILK® Yogfluid unique; it is a functional protein that has been processed in a way that keeps the fluidity but also, importantly, gives a really creamy taste. We know there are other companies with similar kinds of protein but without the creaminess and that’s where we are different.
The second product is called PROMILK® B Max, and it is a clean label solution for food manufacturers. This protein enables them to formulate dairy products without texturizing agents while giving additional texture to finished products; it is a texture enhancer. We are targeting fresh cheese mousse desserts, spreadable cheese and other applications that require stabilizers.
On the market today, a lot of fresh mousse contains gelatin and with PROMILK® B Max you can remove this and get even better foaming properties compared to gelatin. The mousse will conserve its strong, bubbly texture as well as the popping sound it makes in the mouth - everything you need for a mousse but it is 100% dairy-based so it is clean label. On the ingredients list, manufacturers will only have to list milk and dairy protein.
PROMILK® B Max also works very well in cream cheese where normally you would have carrageenan or hydrocolloids. It gives a better taste, better spreadability, creates a melt in the mouth feel, and a cleaner label.
What trends are you seeing in the food and drink market at the minute and how does Ingredia ensure its products meet these trends?
At Ingredia, our R&D team is constantly doing research on what they can do with protein and we also conduct market studies to identify new food trends. With this combination of knowledge, we know which new products to develop and produce, focusing on innovative and high quality dairy ingredients for the food and specialized nutrition industry.
To give you an idea, we collect 419 million litres of milk a year, have 1,500 farmers in our cooperative and we produce 100,000 tons of dairy ingredients. We are a small dairy cooperative but our strength is innovation because we have a big R&D team - they make up almost 10% of our total employees - and we also have a pilot plant and partnerships with universities and scientific institutes.
The clean label trend in the food segment is a big trend today. Consumers are very careful about what they eat, and one out of every three product launches in the world concerns the clean label trend. Before, it was more about having a reduced ingredient list, but now consumers increasingly want ingredients that they know and recipes that are simple. That’s what makes PROMILK® B Max a good product for the clean label market; consumers are really looking for dairy products with 100% dairy ingredients. If they eat a yoghurt, cream cheese or dairy mousse, they don't want to see additives, texturizing agents or artificial thickeners.
With PROMILK® Yogfluid, we are specifically targeting high protein products because they are part of the healthy snacking trend. We can see this market growing in all regions, especially in Western countries such as Europe and the US, but the trend is also emerging in Asia, the Middle East and Russia.
Before, high protein foods were really focused on specialized nutrition but now the focus is on active people who are working but want to follow a healthy diet with foods that are high in protein, low in fat and clean label. However, they also want indulgent products, and in the dairy category that means creamy with a smooth texture, a nice, milky taste and a pleasant mouthfeel. Protein can give a bad taste and mouthfeel. PROMILK® Yogfluid helps food manufacturers develop products that are innovative for the healthy snacking trend because they are good for health but also good to eat.
We are also constantly working to innovate more products that fit with our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) engagement. The COVID-19 pandemic will reinforce the importance of having fully traceable, clean and high quality products. We launched blockchain to trace our ingredients in milk one year ago and it is working very well in the UHT milk that we sell in France and abroad. We will be launching it soon in Vietnam. There is a QR code on the bottle, which gives you dynamic information so consumers know exactly from which farm the milk comes from. It won’t be the same information if you buy the bottle today or in two months.
This trend existed before COVID-19 because traceability is very important for consumers, who are aware of how ingredients are processed and want to know where they come from. It’s all about transparency. Consumers want to have real info and if they don’t have it on the product they should have it on the website.
As we are a small cooperative working directly with our farmers, it is important to show our customers that we control and monitor the full supply chain from the cow to final consumer. We know exactly where our milk comes from.