In recent years, consumers all over the world get to enjoy a wider and larger range of food and beverage products powered with dairy protein ingredients.

Latest tracking data from Innova Markets Insights’ Innova Database affirms this upward growth trajectory, revealing that the number of new global food and beverage product introductions made with whey proteins and with milk proteins both set new records in 2020. As further outlined in a new infographic unveiled recently by the US Dairy Export Council (USDEC), a record 7,409 whey protein products were introduced around the world in 2020, with annual launches nearly doubling from 2015 (see Chart 1.0). This represents a double-digit (13.9%) CAGR from 2015 to 2020, demonstrating that food formulators are tapping into these nutritional and functional ingredients to fuel innovations that deliver on consumer needs.

Milk protein product launches also smashed prior year records, reaching 9,413 products in 2020, a 3.7% annual (CAGR) growth from 2015 to 2020 (see Chart 3.0). Aggregated dairy protein product introductions outpaced plant proteins in 2020 by over 3,000 products (17,652 dairy proteins, 14,584 plant proteins), maintaining a consistent lead held for the past decade (see Chart 4.0).

“This impressive growth in whey, milk and dairy protein introductions aligns with other Innova Market Insights’ survey data showing strong consumer demand for proteins from both animal and plant based sources,” said Lu Ann Williams, Global Insights Director, Innova Market Insights. “Innovation potential remains bright across global markets and diverse product categories for these versatile ingredients from cow’s milk, offering formulators the sweet spot of nutritionally high-quality proteins that complement today’s plant forward lifestyles."

The number of whey and milk protein products carrying a high or source of protein claim is rising in tandem with the growth in new product launches. About 60% of tracked whey protein and 28% of milk protein product introductions carried a high or source of protein claim on-pack in 2020, signaling that global manufacturers are harnessing protein’s powerful consumer allure for marketing advantage.

“Consumer interest in protein for health is no longer just in Western markets where the protein trend started but gaining momentum and driving new product introductions around the world,” said Kristi Saitama, Vice President, Global Ingredients Marketing for USDEC. “Launch activity is likely to accelerate in coming years as manufacturers in Asian, Latin American, Middle Eastern and African countries further discover and seek out whey and milk protein’s powerhouse nutritional package to develop local-friendly products supporting consumer health and wellness goals, such as fitness, weight management and healthy aging.”

More than one third (35.4%) of whey protein new product introductions in 2020 were outside of Europe and North America, with one in 5 (21.2%) launches in Asia. The top 5 markets — US, China, Germany, UK and Brazil — accounted for 40% of tracked 2020 introductions. The US accounted for 16% of the 2020 whey protein food and beverage launches followed by China (8.2%), Germany (6.5%), UK (5.6%) and Brazil (3.8%). For breakdown by Asian markets, see Chart 2.0.

By Category, Sports Nutrition led with 36.9% share of total whey protein product introductions last year followed by Baby & Toddlers (27.4%), Dairy (6.4%), Cereals (6.1%) and Bakery (5.8%). Additional key categories included Desserts & Ice Cream (4.3%), Snacks (2.4%), Confectionery (2.2%), Ready Meals & Side Dishes (2.2%) and Soft Drinks (1.9%), reflecting broadening performance strength across both traditional and novel end-use applications.

Saitama added, “US whey and milk protein ingredients deliver on formulator goals to boost protein content in health and wellness product offerings while providing the right flavor, nutrition, functionality, and clean labels in ways where newer proteins may struggle. And with a long-legacy of environmental stewardship and ambitious environmental goals to become carbon neutral or better by 2050, global manufacturers can count on the US dairy community for sustainable ingredient and innovation solutions that are healthful for both the body and the planet.”

 
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