Dairy protein ingredients are not only meant for growing-up children and athletes active in sports, but they can also be formulated for the aging population who has special health concerns such as sarcopenia, malnutrition and other health issues.

In a recent webinar entitled ‘Unlocking Healthy Aging Opportunities with US Dairy Proteins’ conducted on 19 August, AFBR gets to know more on the need for protein-enriched food for our seniors and how US dairy ingredients could help to meet these needs.

According to Pauline Chan, Dietitian and Director of Singapore-based Food & Nutrition Specialists Pte Ltd, “Consumption of protein is not just about the quality and quantities of proteins, but also the timing of protein consumption, as the body can only absorb a certain quantity of protein at one time.” She mentioned that it is ideal to spread protein consumption across 3 meal occasions throughout the day from breakfast to dinner, supplementing with protein snacks in between, in order to maximise the health and wellness benefits. “The goal is to consume 20 to 25g of high quality protein at each main meal in order to maximise the protein benefits for most people.”

Pauline said that with the right combination of protein-enriched foods during meals, one can boost the intake of protein per meal. For example, a typical breakfast comprising of kaya toast with black sesame shake could be enriched with an additional 20g of proteins if the ingredients are enriched with dairy/whey proteins. Even traditional lunch meal of nasi lemak with kueh, which is not a typical high protein meal, could easily be transformed to offer an additional 21g of proteins. This means that with the right dairy/whey protein ingredients, manufacturers and food services could convert their products into high-protein food. In other words, “ delicious meals with more protein”.

Dairy protein’s neutral flavor profile, along with its breadth of functionality and usage versatility make it an ideal fit across many food and beverage applications, whether Western or Asian style.

Food and beverage formulators are in a strong position to help consumers in Southeast Asia to optimise protein intake in their daily food lifestyle through the development and introduction of wider choices of local-friendly foods and beverages containing dairy proteins. 

Martin Teo, Technical Director – Food Applications for USDEC South East Asia, emphasized on recent news report that 4 in 5 elderly in Singapore are at risk of malnutrition and low muscle mass due to insufficient intake of proteins in their diet.

The elderly population require high protein in their diet ranging from 50-60g per day, but as older people cannot consume a large quantity of food to make up for the protein requirement, this need to be replaced with a smaller amount but protein-enriched diet.

With the fast-aging population in this region, there is a huge opportunity for food manufacturers to develop protein-enriched food products for this segment of the population.

According to Martin, older adults needs to consume protein-enriched food but they also want to enjoy delicious traditional snacks and not compromising on taste. They also like to consume food that are ‘nostalgic’ and familiar to their taste buds.

There is also a need to correct the general misconception in this region that protein food is associated with only bodybuilders and athletes. Manufacturers should focus more on product innovations as well as differentiation, specifically to cater to the needs of the aging population.

Martin added that protein-enriched foods for older adults and seniors should go beyond the ‘regimented’ health supplements and protein premixes. These consumers also want to have sensory enjoyment in terms of flavor, taste, mouthfeel and appearance. For example, the traditional porridge which is popular for Asian communities can be protein-enriched while continue to be wholesome and delicious, and at the same time, suitable to the Asian palate. Manufacturers and food services that want to capitalise on the growth of traditional meals like instant porridges should note that US dairy ingredients offer quality proteins while its milk permeate provides solutions for salt reduction and flavor enhancement.

During the webinar, Martin highlighted the versatility of US milk and whey proteins and its applications in a wide variety of Asian and traditional food and beverage products from RTE meals to snacks, desserts and beverages. Generally, traditional sweet snacks like honeycomb puffed rice and sesame seeds candy are often considered as unhealthy, however with US dairy ingredients, these snacks can be transformed into ‘Better-For-You’ snacks which are low-sugar and rich in protein. This will help manufacturers as well as food services to re-package and position their products as premium and healthy.

The moral of this story is that manufacturers and consumers do not have to compromise taste for products that provide protein benefits. All consumers especially seniors do want to enjoy food while maintaining their health.  US dairy ingredients offer the right solutions to achieve that.

To find out more, contact USDEC representative at info@usdecsg.org or visit www.usdairyexcellence.org.




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