- Arla Foods Ingredients launched its first organic ingredient: a micellar casein isolate called MicelPure that contains a minimum of 87% native milk proteins, according to a release.
- The casein isolate ingredient is low in lactose and fat, heat stable and taste neutral. Arla said this ingredient is suitable for use in cooking-stable cheeses, yogurt, ice cream and puddings along with ready-to-drink high-protein beverages and powder shakes.
- Arla said the organic micellar casein isolate, the first on the market, addresses an unmet need for consumers. Research shows European consumers consider organic products healthier, tastier and more nutritious, the company said, with one in three saying they would buy more organic, high-protein snacks if they were available.
Arla's new ingredient could stand out as an animal-based protein option in a market that seems to have growing demand for plant-based alternatives. The plant-based protein market is projected to jump from $4.6 billion in 2018 to $85 billion in 2030, according to investment firm UBS. The increase in demand for plant-based alternatives has pushed both ingredient manufacturers and investors to double down and launch more products to cater to this demographic.
MicelPure bucks the plant-based trend but gives a nod to three other major trends: protein, organic and better-for-you. The ingredient is intended to appeal to consumers looking for high-protein products with wholesome appeal, the company said.
“When consumers hear ‘organic’, they think healthy, sustainable and wholesome," Barbara Jensen, business development manager at Arla Foods Ingredients, said in a statement. "However, a shortage of natural, organic protein ingredients has prevented many manufacturers from entering this market. MicelPure Organic fills the gap, allowing companies to extend their portfolios with products that are both organic and packed with high-quality protein.”
Research and Markets estimated the global protein ingredients space could reach $48.77 billion by 2025. Organic food sales remain on an upward climb, too. Organic food sales hit a record $50.1 billion in 2019, up 4.6% from the prior year. The pandemic has pushed the popularity of organic even further, according to the Organic Trade Association.
Arla will be able to step in with its new MicelPure ingredient that is tailored for use in a variety of dairy products. In addition to and perhaps more importantly than food applications, this milk-based protein is designed for use in ready-to-drink products. Snacking has held strong throughout the pandemic which could bode well for Arla whose ingredient is targeted at manufacturers producing ice cream and yogurt. As more people return to the office from working at home, portable uses could become more prevalent for MicelPure.
Arla isn’t alone on the market peddling a milk-based protein ingredient. Ingredient manufacturers such as Kerry, Batory Foods and Milk Specialties Global all offer milk protein isolates. None of these companies though calls out its ingredients for being organic. By differentiating itself with the organic label, Arla may have a chance to attract the interest of manufacturers who are looking to shift their portfolios to align more with consumer demand and market trends.