The goodness of milk and products that stem from milk proteins can solve reformulatingchallenges affecting bakery foods caused by high-protein diet demands and health-conscious label readers.
Dairy products are one of most craved foods in U.S. households. This is evident in cheese sales, which grew from $8.8 billion in 1997 to $11 billion in 2002, according to Dairy Management Inc. Dairy has a positive image with consumers, and whey protein¯a cheese byproduct¯can improve bakery food appearance and functionality. Whey protein is chock full of nutritional benefits for consumers, and does not bring polysyllabic wording to ingredient panels.
Healthfulness of whey
With numerous pro-protein diets available to consumers, whey protein packs a marketability punch for bakery foods being developed to satiate diet demands. According to one whey protein supplier, "Consumers have no negative perceptions of whey proteins. This perception started years ago with athletes and bodybuilders, but has now expanded to include a growing number of healthand nutrition-conscious consumers."
Emerging research shows that whey proteins do more than just add muscle to the human form. Whey protein assists in appetite suppression, reduces blood pressure and protects the body from infections.
In taking a closer look at whey proteins, several healthful chemicals provide benefits for consumers. These include:
- Lactoferri ¯ This compound enhances immunity, stimulates growth of beneficial bacteria in the intestines, functions as an antimicrobial, and may increase iron absorption and transport.
- Glycomacropeptide ¯ This compound helps reduce tooth decay, is a beneficial protein source for patients with phenylketonuria, stimulates growth of beneficial bacteria in the intestines, and enhances immunity.
- Immunoglobulins ¯ Helps with antimicrobial activity and may neutralize toxins and viruses.
- Alpha-lactalbumin ¯ Believed to have immune-enhancing activity.
- Beta-lactoglobulin ¯ A retinalbinding protein thought to play a role in absorption and availability of vitamin A.
- Lactoperoxidase ¯ A natural antimicrobial agent that may inhibit tooth decay.
Even if a bakery food is filled with healthful ingredients, consumers need to be attracted to its eye appeal to make a purchase. The lactose and protein in whey provide the necessary components in developing heatinduced browning, one whey protein supplier says. Taste also is not affected. Whey proteins have a bland, clean flavor and do not need to be masked with other ingredients.
Whey protein also has water-binding capabilities for bakery foods. Once whey protein is heated, the bonds that are responsible for globular structure break down. When this occurs, additional water-binding sites are created, which increases dough viscosity. Water-binding properties add thickness and texture stability to dough, according to whey protein suppliers.
Consumers are scanning supermarket aisles for protein-rich foods, and bakers can draw potential buyers to their products with nutrient content claims. When five grams of protein per serving are in bakery foods such as bread, tortillas and muffins, bakers can label their products as a "good source of protein." When bakery foods have 10 grams or more of protein per serving, bakers can label their products as an "excellent source of protein," one whey protein supplier says.
However, one warning needs to be given to consumers about whey protein. Because whey protein is derived from milk, bakers should inform allergen-stricken consumers by highlighting whey ingredients in the ingredient panel or add the comment, "contains milk ingredients" at the bottom of the ingredient panel, as recommended by Food and Drug Administration.
Whether bakers want to jump on the protein diet bandwagon or increase the healthfulness of their bakery foods, whey protein provides an excellent opportunity to satiate these demands.