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21 April 2011

Coming Soon? Whey Protein Soft Drinks

The beverage industry, for those of you who aren’t aware, is a multi-billion dollar business. Whether it’s fruit juice, soda pop, or bottled water, consumers spend a lot of money on hydration every day. Beverage marketers spend gazillions advertising their products. It’s competitive as hell too. What’s amazing is that there are continually new innovations in the field.

We covered one such splashy (pun intended) product launch a few days ago. If you’ve been following Fooducate for a while, you know we are not fans of this industry. Tap water is where we’d like to see more people turn to. It’s healthier for you and the planet.

So each time we hear about new beverage trends and products, we shudder a bit.

What’s the upcoming buzz? Drinks “fortified” with whey protein. From the Beverage Industry website:

In 2010, performance beverages, juices, beverage mixes, enhanced waters, meal replacement drinks and even teas launched with whey protein included. Innovations such as Kellogg’s Special K2O Protein Water Mixes and Bolthouse Farms Protein Plus All Natural Protein Shakes have taken whey protein out of just the performance arena and beverage-makers continue to expand its use.

Promising scientific research is being conducted as well with whey protein focusing on several of its bioactive components that can offer protection against infections and viruses, enhance immunity, protect against some cancers and positively affect cardiovascular health and muscle tone, says Gwen Bargetzi, Hilmar Ingredients’ director of marketing.

What you need to know:

Whey protein comes from whey. Whey is the liquid part of milk that is left over when it coagulates into a cheese. The liquid whey is not very appetizing, but when dried, and after fats have been removed, the remaining powder is what we know as whey protein.

Bodybuilders have been adding whey protein to shakes for ages. The proteins in whey are quickly made available to muscles. The use of whey protein has trickled over to other fitness enthusiasts, and you can find whey protein in many energy bars.

But the big breakthrough comes when products and ingredients that make it to the big leagues – mainstream consumers.

So, will we be seeing a “Whey fortified Tropicana OJ” anytime soon? How about a “Pepsi Whey-back” ?

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