Pumping up milk

by Jeff Gelski
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Not just calcium and vitamin D are showing up in milk drinks. Just like juice and bottled water formulators, dairy product formulators have options when developing products for the fortified beverage market. Recent ingredient innovations have paved the way for inclusion of iron, lycopene and omega-3 fatty acids.

LycoRed, based in Israel, introduced iron fortification in milk drinks at the FIE show in London last year.

"The biggest challenge with iron is the ability to offer meaningful levels of fortification," said Udi Alroy, vice-president of global marketing and sales for LycoRed. "Our new iron formulation allows us to fortify dairy products with up to 30% of the RDI for iron.

"This is important because our experience in product innovation tells us that consumers are aware of the health benefits of iron and are looking for foods that provide them with levels that can deliver those health benefits."

The iron fortification formulation for dairy products does not interact with milk fat, protein or lactose and will not affect product color, taste, aroma or texture, according to LycoRed.

LycoRed also claims a milk drink fortified with carotenoid may support skin health.

According to LycoRed, natural carotenoid colors may deliver such health benefits as cell protection, cardiovascular protection and maintenance of healthy skin. Such natural food colors are derived from antioxidant-rich extracts of lycopene, beta carotene and lutein.

Omega-3 fatty acids, meanwhile, may deliver cardiovascular benefits to milk drinks. Kemps, St. Paul, Minn., has launched Plus Lifestyle Milk with omega-3 fatty acids. The milk comes in three varieties. Kemps Plus Healthy Lifestyle offers omega-3 fatty acids and is an excellent source of calcium. Healthy Kids, a 2% milk made for children’s nutritional needs, offers omega-3 fatty acids and is an excellent source of calcium and an excellent source of vitamin C. Kemps Plus Extra Calcium, a skim milk, contains omega-3 fatty acids and twice as much calcium as regular milk.

Kemps promotes the Meg-3 brand of omega-3 fatty acids from Ocean Nutrition Canada, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. The Meg-3 brand offers omega-3 fatty acids in the form of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

The Meg-3 brand has entered the Irish market, too. Dale Farm Ltd. in January launched a low-fat milk containing vitamins A, B12, D and E along with 37.5 mg of Meg-3 in each 250-ml glass.

"Dale Farm Mega Milk was created to help people contribute to their daily nutrient requirements," said Brian Beattie, head of marketing for Dale Farm. "Omega-3 EPA and DHA have been proven, by many studies, to promote several health benefits such as promoting brain function and heart health. As a result, we did not feel we could make a milk product without providing these essential nutrients."

Ian Lucas, executive vice-president of marketing at Ocean Nutrition Canada, said, "We are very excited to be working with Dale Farms to launch the first product containing the Meg-3 ingredient in Ireland. Milk is such an important part of the diet, and we believe it is a perfect fit with the Meg-3 omega-3 ingredient."

Pizzey’s Nutritionals, Angusville, Manitoba, offers omega-3 fatty acids in the form of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). The company’s BevGrad flaxseed goes well with milk and soy protein beverages, according to the company. The flaxseed, the source of the ALA in BevGrad, contributes to the creamy character of milk and soy milk and does not detract from fruit flavors. MeadowPure 03 Ultra, a Pizzey’s ingredient that combines ALA, DHA and EPA, also may be added to beverages.

Innophos, Cranbury, N.J., aimed for the clear fortified beverage market last year when it launched VersaCal Clear. The highly soluble calcium phosphate delivers an excellent source of calcium and phosphorus and was designed for use in juices and clear beverages. The ingredient has no effect on color and a minimal change in beverage pH. It contains 14.5% to 15% calcium.

Cargill, Minneapolis, promotes the joint health benefits of its Reganasure glucosamine in beverage formulations. In acidified beverages, Reganasure may be a drop-in ingredient, said Brent Rogers, technical services manager for Cargill. Reganasure works in lemonade, juice and water and has an effect at an amount of 1.5 grams per serving. A small molecule, Reganasure is absorbed well in the gut, according to Cargill.

In sports beverages, juice flavored drinks and fitness waters, Reganasure is shelf life stable. In neutral pH dairy products, the ingredient maintains integrity for 60 days. It exceeds the typical shelf life of yogurts and smoothies.

This article can also be found in the digital edition of Food Business News, March 4, 2008, starting on Page 61. Click
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