The symposium on Milk proteins and enzymes: Opportunities to Create New Products with Mixed Dairy and Plant Proteins was moderated and hosted by Hadi Eshpari, Tillamook County Creamery Association and co-hosted by D.J. McMahon. The symposium consisted of four sessions based on sensory perception, fermentation and hybrid processing of plant and dairy products. The session led to a discussion to understand the growing trends in the plant and dairy protein market and how the dairy industry can have a positive impact on adapting to the trends.
Here are some highlights and key takeaway points summarized from Mary Anne Drake, Professor from North Carolina State University’s presentation on “Sensory Properties of plant and dairy foods: Opportunities” during the Milk proteins and Enzymes symposium. The presentation was based on whether there are still opportunities for innovations in the plant and dairy hybrid. Before the pandemic, the key attributes looked upon by consumers were flavor, amount of protein and type of sweeteners used. After the pandemic, it has shifted into flavor, health and price of the protein products in the market. The top four highly rated claims discussed from the study were good sources of protein, tastes great, healthy, rich in vitamins and minerals.
On a theoretical or conceptual basis, consumers were willing to try new products in the market, but in reality, when a blind testing study was conducted with participants the study had noted that dairy protein products do have a different flavor profile in comparison to plant-based protein products in the market. Between then and now, consumers are looking for more protein-based products and are willing to try newer products. Irrespective of any claims, health and sustainability of products, FLAVOR STILL RULES the product market and what invests the consumers in various products. Hybrid products already do exist in the market like RTD, milk beverages and protein bars having a synergy however they are not called out on the label. The session concluded that there are more opportunities in today’s market and areas of innovation for dairy & plant proteins.
Sonali Raghunath is a 2nd year PhD Candidate in Food Science at the University of Minnesota under Dr.Tonya Schoenfuss and Dr. Kumar Mallikarjunan. She earned her M.S. in Food Science from the University of Minnesota and her B.Tech in Food Technology from Anna University, India. Her current research explores the relationship between non-thermal processing methods and milk protein concentrate.