Protein is not just a product for athletes anymore; mainstream consumers now recognize it for its general health benefits.
 New uses for animal proteins

Bakers have long used dairy ingredients for their performance in formulations as they contribute to desirable crust browning, enhanced yeast fermentation and improved stability of the batter or dough. Protein fortification was an added perk. Today bakers seek out dairy protein ingredients, including concentrates and isolates sourced from milk and whey.

Idaho Milk Products offers concentrates with 80% or more milk protein. The concentrates are generally less expensive than whey, making them a more affordable source of dairy protein, according to the company.

“Muffins, brownies and baked bars are good candidates for milk protein fortification as these products are generally acceptable to be crispy or chewy,” said Ron Hayes, marketing manager, Idaho Milk Products. “Products such as cakes or breads, which have an airier or fluffier consistency, are less suitable for milk proteins, as milk proteins bind water. This ultimately firms the dough.”

Some suppliers offer refined and specialty versions of dairy proteins that provide extra benefits. For example, Agropur Ingredients uses proprietary ion-exchange technology to produce whey protein isolate with a leucine content of 13.1%. Leucine is the amino acid associated with promoting muscle health, making this ingredient attractive for sports nutrition products such as protein bars and muffins.

Boca Raton, Fla.-based Whey 2 Be! is rolling out protein-packed gourmet cookies that feature cold-pressed whey protein. The cookies come in five flavors: Banana oatmeal chocolate chip, chocolate chip, chocolate-chocolate chip, cran-orange white chocolate, and peanut butter. One cookie delivers 20 grams of protein.

“Whey protein is one of the most highly bioavailable types of protein, meaning it is easily absorbed and used by the body,” Ms. Kochenbach said.

With eggs being a common ingredient in baked goods, fortifying with highly bio-available egg proteins makes sense. Rembrandt Foods offers a range of egg proteins for baked goods and is in the process of commercializing a new egg white protein isolate that is more than 92% protein on a dry basis, making it comparable to whey and soy isolate.

“It is made using patent-pending technology that de-flavors the protein and reduces its foaming, gelling and whipping properties,” said Mindi McKibbin, director of R&D, Rembrandt Foods. “Depending on the formulation, a ‘good’ or ‘excellent’ source of protein is possible.”

Ms. McKibbin added that egg whites and egg protein isolates are great for nutrition bars. Rembrandt Foods has developed several paleo-friendly nougat bar concepts with fruit and nut inclusions.

“All-natural and simple ingredients are used, and the egg whites not only provide excellent protein source claims, but also act as the binder for other ingredients,” she said.

The company also has invested in natural fractionation technology that does not use chemical solvents to develop a new dried egg yolk ingredient. The yolk includes the entire fat content of the whole egg along with almost half of the protein and numerous vitamins, minerals and functional nutrients.

“Yolks are a rich storehouse of nutrients, including the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, which are associated with eye health,” said Thomas Domoras, director of business development, Rembrandt Foods. “They also provide more choline, a nutrient associated with cognition and brain health, per serving than any other food.”

The new yolk-based ingredient is a protein and phospholipid complex that is lower in fat and cholesterol than traditional dried egg yolk. It also contains around double the amount of phosphotidylcholine, a bioavailable form of choline that could be used in a bar or cookie.

Stephanie Lynch, vice-president of sales, marketing and technology, International Dehydrated Foods, said chicken is the most common animal protein consumed globally and often the food source that bodybuilders and serious athletes depend on most for quality protein. There are standard and organic versions of the chicken protein, both containing more than 80% protein and can be used in baked snack foods.

International Dehydrated Foods, Inc., developed chicken protein isolate powders using patent-pending technology. These defatted spray-dried protein powders contain no carbohydrates and are made from 100% real chicken raised in the United States.