The whey factor: Volac targets the “active” consumer


04 Dec 2017 --- At Food Ingredients Europe, held in Frankfurt last week, Volac exhibited their Volactive UltraWhey Velicious ingredient, which is a specifically engineered whey protein concentrate powder that can be used in everyday products such as ice cream, baked goods, ready to drink shakes, smoothies, soups and many more.

It is high in protein and imparts a luscious creamy mouthfeel and delicious neutral dairy flavor, with no drying aftertaste. It has proved a great hit with a new fast-growing audience: the active nutrition consumer.

Volactive UltraWhey Velicious is the ideal ingredient for many applications. It can be processed at high temperatures, is easily dissolved in hot water and is suitable for use in acidic products such as fruit smoothies. It can be added to existing recipes with minimal reformulation. Whether it is in smoothies, ready to drink shakes, soup, cookies or ice cream, to name but a few, it is the perfect versatile, high-quality solution for developing tasty high protein products. 

NutritionInsight caught up with Marketing Manager Mel Billows (right) and Applications Manager Rebecca Farr (left) at Volac. Click to Enlarge

Billows began by discussing consumer trends in the market: “Focusing on what we would call the ‘performance consumer’ – just your typical kind of bodybuilder in the gym, taking his protein shakes, having his whey protein every single day. What we’ve identified is there’s an even bigger market outside of performance, which we’re calling ‘active nutrition.’ These are people who go to the gym three times a week, doing 5K park runs, and their health is very important to them because they just want a lot of energy and wellbeing.”

“We’ve identified that their need for protein is great and they know that, they’re just not very familiar with the different types of protein they should have. And they also want to get their protein from normal, everyday foods. So they don’t want to go to specialist websites or specialist shops and buy their foods in there. So what we’ve developed are ingredients that can be applied to what we’re calling ‘everyday foods’,” she explains. 

Farr explained further: “It’s now far more people who want protein-enriched foods that actually still taste like proper food. So in all the applications that we’ve developed, it was all about making it something that a customer would not only buy once, there would be a repeat buy as well. So it tastes like a cookie, it tastes like ice cream or a smoothie.”

“It’s a good time to be in protein, as long as you’ve got the right protein products to support your customers who are all looking toward active consumers and protein enrichment and making it more accessible to everybody,” states Billows. 

“Taste was a really important factor in the development of this line,” notes Farr. “Velicious is incredibly versatile, so it can be used in sweet and savory applications.”

On display at the Volac stand, there were many concepts for visitors to try out: an ice cream concept, a protein cookie and a smoothie concept, which were all well received. 

“In the ice cream, in a 100ml scoop in the vanilla flavor, you’ve got eight grams protein. We’ve also got a salted caramel and a chocolate, which are 12 grams in a 100ml scoop, which is high. And especially the fact that it’s not got any added sugar in it as well. Sugar’s kind of the evil at the moment. It works on two levels – high protein and no added sugar. And then the spoonable yogurt, for example, it’s 20 grams in the bottle, the 330ml bottle you get 20 grams, and what we know from talking to the consumers as well is that 20 grams is considered quite high, and it’s about what they’re expecting, but some of the products we’ve got, 10 grams, and for the active consumers again that’s a big number for them and that’s a motivating amount of protein,” explains Farr. 

A growing market for whey protein products
Click to EnlargeActive nutrition consumers are looking for whey protein products to incorporate into their everyday diets. They want rewarding taste experiences and healthy products without chalky grainy textures or dry aftertaste.

In blind testing, active nutrition consumers showed an overwhelming preference for ice cream, smoothies and baked goods that contained Volactive UltraWhey Velicious and loved the creamy texture and lack of aftertaste the product provides. 

“So we blind tested it against products that are available on the market at the moment, and with both audiences – particularly the active nutrition – and we found that they’re all over this, but it didn’t alienate performance either. So performance consumers are still very motivated by this proposition as well, so we’re not alienating our core and we’re growing the category,” Billows tells NutritionInsight

“We’ve been working on this product for almost exactly a year now. It’s been the technology itself to develop them both has been difficult to develop, and then actually turning it into products that we are happy to showcase here has taken a lot of time,” says Farr.  

“So it’s been a combination, and actually, Volac’s had a bit of a turnaround about how we approach ingredients as a whole. So we’ve got a newly formed R&D department who our whole reason to be is developing new applications that we can put in front of our customers to give them ideas and concepts about what they might be thinking of going forward,” she adds. 

“As a business, we’re getting more focused now on the end consumer. Although we’re B2B, we’re kind of looking at what the needs of our consumers are so we can take those solutions to our customers and giving a bit more love to the Volactive brand as well. So in the past it’s traditionally been just the whey protein concentrate the whey protein isolate but growing that brand through the products like Velicious is getting us focused on further concepts and developments for the end consumer,” Farr finalizes.  

You can view a video interview with both Billows and Farr here

By Elizabeth Green and Paul Creasy

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