Protein Manufacturing: 3 Benefits of Native Whey Protein
Native whey protein offers a number of health and lifestyle benefits for consumers. But the biggest differentiator is that it’s an efficient, nutrient-dense protein obtained in a natural way. In this blog, we review how other proteins are made—and why native whey protein manufacturing is better.
Native whey protein is a pure, sustainable, minimally-processed protein that offers a neutral taste and more nutritional value compared to traditional whey and alternative protein products. And that nutritional value is obtained with greener protein manufacturing processes.
Protein Manufacturing: Traditional vs. Plant-Based vs. NWP
While protein quality is often associated with the nutrition of the end product, the differences actually begin with the raw ingredients and how they are processed.
The processing methods used to manufacture protein ingredients have a significant impact on the quality of the protein. Let’s briefly examine how the three main types of supplemental protein are made.
Traditional Whey Protein
Traditional whey protein manufacturing involves enzymatic, acidic or solvent extractions. Whey protein is produced as a byproduct of cheese manufacturing and undergoes extensive processing, including:
- Multi-site Heat Treatments
- Chemical Reactions
- Enzymatic Reactions
Extracting protein from plants in a solid state is extremely difficult. As a result, isolated plant proteins are heavily processed with heat treatment and chemical agents.
Also, some plant-based proteins incur a heavy carbon footprint because they are shipped to China for processing then shipped back to their end destination for manufacturing. This approach is highly unsustainable.
Native Whey Protein
Compared to traditional whey and plant proteins, native whey protein manufacturing is far more minimal. NWP uses only three steps in its manufacturing process:
- Milk preparation pasteurization
- Cold membrane filtration
This process is much gentler than traditional whey and plant-based protein manufacturing, using only cold filtration from milk and drying. And manufacturers can even go a step further by only using locally sourced milk.
Native Whey Protein Manufacturing: 3 Benefits
There is no question that NWP is more sustainable and yields a much better, naturally more nutrient dense product than traditional whey and plant-based powders. Here’s how this alternative type of protein manufacturing helps manufacturers:
In a market as competitive as protein supplements, creating products that can still stand out and build a following is costly and requires years of R&D.
Unless of course you have newer ingredients.
More supplement and functional food manufacturers are turning to native whey because it allows for instant differentiation for their products. With native whey, you can create a unique, premium product that you can be transparent about for consumers. The market is still maturing, which means manufacturers currently exploring how to innovate with native whey will have an advantage over late adopters.
Due to the protein manufacturing process, manufacturers can harp the following qualities in their marketing:
- Naturality and sustainability: NWP is sustainably produced in less manufacturing steps with less energy and no chemicals, heavy metals or toxins.
- Protein quality: Minimal processing preserves the native form of the protein up to 95% on a dry basis with a neutral or better taste, fewer additives and fillers, no lactose and overall higher purity and nutritional density. Because of this quality and nutritional density, less protein is required to achieve the same results.
- Efficacy: NWP is clinically proven to offer better protein digestibility, lower calories and fast absorption—an effective protein supplement that requires lower quantities of protein to get the desired results.
#2. LESS COMPETITION & MORE OPPORTUNITY
While the broader protein supplement market is highly competitive, the market segment for premium, natural and quality protein supplements is still emerging. As such, manufacturers entering the market will face less competition while simultaneously exposing their products to an entirely new demographic of users.
And our research shows that
#3. NEW & INNOVATIVE APPLICATIONS
Working with NWP provides a way to formulate and introduce new products that wouldn’t be possible with other protein sources. Here are some of the ways leading manufacturers are working with it.
So far, manufacturers are primarily using NWP to formulate powdered beverages. There are two routes you can take.
The first is to take advantage of NWP’s higher efficacy to create effective protein supplements with lower quantities of protein. However, this message often doesn’t resonate with high protein users. They respond more to quantity – as in grams of protein – than the quality and efficiency. Some brands are getting around this by blending NWP with other protein sources to optimize margins while reaching a bigger demographic.
The second option is to develop a premium powdered beverage marketed as containing native whey. This enables manufacturers to highlight the unique benefits of NWP while targeting specific segments of the sports nutrition powder category, which is the largest and easiest application to formulate for.
Either way, think out of the box to capture a new audience with NWP. Now, the protein health benefit goes way beyond traditional high protein users. NWP is not just for heavy users of proteins living intense active lifestyles.
Protein Bars & Ready-To-Drink Shakes
Leading manufacturers are also using native whey to produce premium offerings for protein bars and ready-to-drink shakes. Though it may require additional technical knowledge and other sources of protein to formulate, adding native whey to these products offers consumers and manufacturers the same benefits as powdered applications.
Another NWP opportunity—for powdered beverages, protein bars and ready-to-drink shakes— is to develop co-branded products with ingredient manufacturers. Many small and medium-sized manufacturers use this approach as it provides the credentialing of a recognized brand on their packaging while also highlighting the science, benefits and uniqueness of the protein.
Native whey is a unique ingredient that has a number of unique traits to keep in mind during the protein manufacturing and formulation process.
In short, no other source of protein offers the same combination of nutrition, science, sustainability, efficacy and naturality. It’s clear NWP benefits consumers. And by delivering it to consumers, manufacturers can only benefit, too.