Bakers have long used dairy ingredients for their performance in recipes because they contribute to desirable crust browning, enhanced yeast fermentation and improved stability of the batter or dough. Protein fortification was an added perk. Now, it’s often the attraction.

At IFT18, the Institute of Food Technologists’ annual meeting and food exposition, Agropur Ingredients ­debuted its whey protein pods. These crunchy balls, which may be inclusions or toppings in baked foods, contain 70% protein and feature a dairy flavor with a clean label. They may be used either plain or enrobed with chocolate or flavored coatings.

“They add light and airy texture to nutritional bars while fortifying with protein,” said Corrie Drellack, communications and marketing manager, Agropur. “Not only are the pods neutrally flavored but these unique extrusions also provide a fun texture and allow for improved protein content without being disruptive to the base formula.”

At IFT18, Apgropur sampled a savory Asian granola with whey permeate and protein crisps. The 70% protein crisps are made with whey protein concentrate and whey protein isolate, providing 6 grams of protein per serving.

Innovations across a variety of baked foods also were presented at IFT18. Arla Foods Ingredients introduced its latest solution for softening high protein bars. When the specialty whey protein ingredient is 5% of the total product, formulators saw 45% improved texture and 60% reduced hardness after 15 to 18 months, compared with a bar made with standard whey protein.

Idaho Milk Products showcased an 85% whey milk protein isolate and whey protein crisps in a white chocolate-coated bar containing 9 grams of protein per 40-gram bar. The isolate allows for a desirable texture and color while still delivering a high dose of protein and amino acids, said Ron Hayes, marketing manager. The crisps add an extra dimension of texture. The company uses low heat membrane filtration to ensure the protein remains undenatured for functionality and nutrition. It has a clean, sweet dairy flavor and aroma as well as solubility and emulsifying capabilities, delivering improved texture and hydration.

Milk Specialties sampled an almond mango coconut nutrition bar made with the company’s highly functional dairy protein system designed specifically for soft-textured, high-protein bars. The system includes whey protein isolate and milk protein isolate and in studies has been shown to reduce moisture migration for a softer bar. Studies also show significantly reduced browning and hardening over shelf life. The bar contained ­15 grams of protein per 60-gram serving.

Where most whey proteins are produced from cheese whey, FrieslandCampina is differentiating itself with a new native whey protein ingredient derived directly from fresh raw grass-fed dairy milk. This is a story that can be conveyed to the consumer.

The 80% protein ingredient is isolated and concentrated using proprietary ultrafiltration and ceramic microfiltration, which results in a high leucine content. Leucine is the amino acid associated with promoting muscle health. At IFT18, the company showcased the ingredient in a high-protein cookie.

“This native whey protein ingredient meets this demand for natural food propositions, offering sports nutrition manufacturers differentiation in their portfolio for premium positioning,” 
said Benjamin Maclean, product group manager, FrieslandCampina DMV.