- Arla Foods, a Denmark-based cooperative and the largest dairy company in the U.K., launched a fat-free milk product made with 20 grams of protein per serving, according to a company release. The product, Arla Protein Milk, reached British stores last week. It is designed to help boost the country's protein intake.
- Arla cited Mintel research showing 45% of British consumers understand it's important to increase protein intake when exercising, and 28% agree that products with added protein are "a good alternative to eating foods naturally high in protein."
- "We all know that protein is important in a healthy diet and especially for those that are exercising regularly," Steph Barker, brand manager for Arla Protein, said in the company release. "Arla’s new Protein Milk is an easy way to incorporate the nutrient into everyday life to optimize the workout regime. For gym goers and exercise lovers, it’s the perfect way to make a healthy choice without sacrificing on taste.”
This isn't Arla's only protein-enhanced product, but it is the first fat-free milk of its Arla Protein line. The brand includes yogurt, milkshakes, cottage cheese and protein pouches. The portfolio is a "hugely successful brand" for the company, garnering 72% year-on-year growth in retail sales value, according to the company.
According to Mintel research cited by Arla, about $87 million was spent on sports nutrition food and drinks in the U.K. in 2015. The company has launched this milk product to capitalize on the "big opportunity to provide high quality, natural ingredients that support an active lifestyle."
Arla has another product called Big Milk designed for young children, which is whole fresh cow's milk enriched with Vitamin D, Vitamin A and Iron. But the Arla Protein Milk, which is fat-free, is targeted at active adults who want more protein without extra fat or unnecessary calories.
The company doesn't explain the manufacturing process of the product, stating only that the new milk is made with "simple, natural ingredients" and is 30% higher in protein than standard skimmed milk. It's possible the company could be using hydrolyzed whey protein because it produces that ingredient and introduced it into the sport nutrition category in 2012.
Arla has been aggressive in developing milk-based innovations to undercut the growing plant-based milk trend. It plans to triple its milk-based drink sales by 2020. It recently announced a trial run for a new carbonated milk beverage in the U.K., Singapore and the United Arab Emirates.
A fat-free, protein-enhanced milk product seems like a good way to lure adults back to drinking milk regularly. Still, it will also have to taste good, be reasonably priced and preferably come in convenient packaging options so on-the-go consumers will find it easy to grab and drink during workouts and outdoor activities. If Arla can hit all of those targets, the product could be an instant hit.