It’s easy to see how the American dairy industry is a significant part of the American food sector. Dairy products are a source of essential nutrients like calcium, potassium and phosphorus. Nearly every American consumes dairy products, whether it’s milk, cheese or yogurt.
Mintel International Group, Ltd. states in their May 2008 report, “Functional Foods Market Research and Consumer Intelligence Report”, that consumers are more interested in fortified or functional foods. Dairy foods account for 75 percent of total functional food sales. Functional ingredients can be used by dairy food manufacturers to position their products on the market with higher nutritional value and increased consumer appeal.
Functional ingredients, such as probiotics and omega 3 fatty acid, extra calcium, Vitamin D, are gaining more attention from consumers. These products can not only enhance nutrition, but depending on the added functional ingredient, may also help with weight management, digestion health, immunity, and healthy bone development. These are some of the most popular functional ingredients:
“Probiotics”It means “for your life”. Probiotics are defined by the World Health Organization as “live microorganisms that confer a health benefit to the host when given in sufficient amounts”. Probiotics are known to support digestive health. However, the specific strain of probiotics may offer additional benefits. Fortifying yogurt with probiotics has been popular.
According to AC Nielsen, a global market research firm, probiotic claims on food products and beverages increased by more that 140 percent between 2006-2007. Yogurt was the most requested product for delivery.
Omega 3 fatty acids.Research strongly supports the idea of increasing Omega 3 fatty acid intake, especially docosahexaenoic (DHA), and eicosapentaenoic (EPA). Research has shown that Omega 3 fatty acid support heart health, digestive health and brain health. These “good fats” are often added to dairy products such as milk, yogurt, or cheeses. The health benefits of EPA/DHA are well-known and fortification of dairy products is expected to be a big hit.
OligosaccharidesPrebiotics are both soluble and semi-soluble fiber, which is an important part of digestive health. Synbiotics are a combination of prebiotics and probiotics that help produce short-chain fatty acids (SCFA), as well as certain B vitamins. SCFA help protect colon tissue and regulate healthy cholesterol levels and triglyceride. They support healthy blood sugar levels and certain immune functions. Fructooligosaccharides (FOS) derived from fruits and vegetables help promote the absorption of calcium.
Whey proteinThe protein content of dairy products is increased by milk proteins. Research shows that whey protein can improve the solubility and absorption of minerals in the stomach. It promotes immune function.
The bodybuilding and athletic industries are dominated by protein. A protein-rich diet has been a staple of athletes and health professionals for many years. It helps to increase muscle mass and aid in weight loss. According to research, protein suppresses appetite. A survey by NPD Group, Inc., a global leader in consumer and retail market research, found that people desire more protein. High-protein diets promote weight loss and satiety.
According to the 2009 International Food Information Council (IFIC) Food and Health Survey, consumers want healthy food choices based upon taste, price and nutritive values. Consumers are also looking for products with condition-specific health claims. The biggest buyers are health-conscious baby boomers and health-lovers. This is an interesting fact: Yogurt brands that target specific health conditions saw a 169 percent increase in sales between 2005 and 2008. According to Mintel’s November 2008 report “Yogurt and Yogurt Drinks – US”, this was in 2008.
It may be possible to transform a dairy product into a healthier functional food. This will allow you to increase your bottom line and give consumers more value for money. Ask a private label supplement manufacturer for help in formulating dairy products that contain functional ingredients. You can choose from a variety of private label stock options to help you get your production line moving quickly.