Colostrum Shows the Global Whey to go

After years of being treated as a mere by-product and a low value commodity used mostly in livestock feed, whey powder has moved from the margins of the dairy industry to take centre stage. Long an ingredient revered by the body-building fraternity, whey is now a mainstream, value-enhancing, functional ingredient featuring numerous desirable nutritional and functional properties. A large number of brands have sprung up across the globe, targeting senior citizens, women and sportspeople.

The US whey protein market is estimated to reach £472 million by 2015 according to Global Industry Analysts, driven largely by the functional advantages of whey proteins and surging demand from the nutrition industry. One of the more interesting propositions is the Wheyhey brand, which is the world’s first protein ice cream, which targets athletes and sports people and packs 22g of protein in every 150ml tub.

One of the new trends has been the move of whey from a pure powder form into ready to drink (RTD) formats. This offers a greater degree of convenience to the consumer and a value added opportunity for the brand. The packaging format, options for aesthetics in terms of the form factor and a new flavour, texture and mouth feel options all combine to make this an attractive market for innovation.

In the UK, GSK’s Maximuscle brand offers a 330ml bottle of Promax that competes with Reflect and Kinetica brands in larger formats. Another popular format is the ‘shot’ or ‘tube’ which brands like Florida’s New Whey Nutrition offer. The powdered whey market is more mature and the offerings here revolve around the size of the tub offered which vary from 250g to 5kg and also in terms of the formulation. Some brands offer pure whey, whilst others offer slow release carbohydrates to create a complete meal equivalent. Others offer a variety of functional ingredients in a ‘cocktail’ mix of benefits, with the whey as the single largest ingredient.

In the UK, Volac has launched The Good Whey Company, spotting a gap in the market for females rather than sports enthusiasts. Positioned as an everyday supplement for women of all ages TGWC has developed a range of whey powders which offer flavour profiles that appeal to females with feminine pack cures, rather than the bold claims, primary colours and stylised americana of many whey brands.

Colostrum is experiencing a rapid growth rate, fuelled by a growing body of scientific evidence which highlights its immune system boost and its positive effects on gut health. In the UK, high-growth brands such as Neovite are leading the way with spreading the gut health and immune system benefits of colostrum amongst professional and amateur athletes – especially in the boom sports of cycling, running and triathlon. Overseas, Quradea from Switzerland offer a formulation targeted at diabetics and Malaysia’s Alpha Liquid targets older families and senior citizens. While Australia’s Balance brand offers a tub format which targets bodybuilders and endurance sport enthusiasts.

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