IDM ¦ Interview
In order to strengthen the image of milk as a healthy food, manufacturers have begun to expand the classic range with new,
enriched products (photo: Informa Markets)
IDM: Are there any pitfalls in this regard?
Bonvallet: It is a fact that the intestine is the largest organ of
the human immune system. But it is not that simplistic. Although
there are studies that prove probiotics can play a role in immune
health, there are no corresponding EFSA health claims. In the
minds of consumers, however, the connection is not in doubt.
Danone, for example, adds vitamins D and B6 to its Actimel shots,
for which an immune claim is permitted – but the milk drinks are
bought largely because of their L. Casei cultures. Of course, milk
in itself provides many other valuable ingredients that consumers
appreciate, and offer potential for product development.
IDM: What sort of ingredients?
Bonvallet: Definitely protein! Almost all dairies now offer products
with added milk protein. According to the cross-industry
trend "Sportification", which Julian Mellentin highlighted in
2017, foods and beverages with a high protein content are seen
as 'saviours' for a sporty-active lifestyle. Although many dairy
products are naturally high in protein – for example, low-fat
quark with around 13g, and certain types of cheese with around
30g – the new high-protein offerings are different, as they seek
to combine the indulgence factor with an active lifestyle. So it is
often chocolate puddings and sweet milk drinks that advertise
extra milk protein. According to EFSA, the claim "high protein
content" is permissible if the protein content accounts for at least
20 per cent of the total calorific value of the food.
IDM: So all in all, a win-win for producers and consumers alike?
Bonvallet: Consumers are of course still eager to buy high-protein
products – but more and more people are also interested in
the ingredient list and nutritional profile. And if the sugar content
is higher than the protein content, this could deter conscious
consumers. So in the dairy sector, sugar reduction is still a big
IDM: What other important trends for the dairy segment can be
observed at Fi Europe co-located with Hi Europe?
Bonvallet: For me, these are senior nutrition and, of course,
plant-based alternatives. It is their valuable ingredients that make
dairy products the ideal basis for healthy ageing products. And
we are talking about a huge target group here: according to Euromonitor
International, more than 990 million people will be 65
or older by 2030. These people want to live an active, self-determined
life for as long as possible, and not only with pills, but also
32 · September/October 2021 ¦ international-dairy.com