Mintel predicted in a June report that the Western European market for sports drinks will grow by 4 per cent a year until 2014, and as it strives to capitalise on this trend ADM is touting the benefits of its cocoa powder in chocolate-flavoured dairy beverages, as an alternative to “sugar-rich commercial sports recovery drinks”.
Alongside exercise recovery benefits linked with milk, ADM claims that key benefits for adding its deZaan D21MC cocoa powder to dairy-based recovery drinks include added flavonoids – linked by several studies with beneficial cardiovascular effects – an improved flavour and long shelf-life stability, where the latter is traditionally something of a problem when adding cocoa.
New cocoa application
The firm predicts appeal for chocolate milk products amongst professional and amateur athletes alike, and Rinus Heemskerk, technical director, ADM Cocoa told FoodNavigator.com: “While it is not new for ADM to produce ingredients used in sport drinks, the application of cocoa in dairy-based sports recovery drinks is new.
“As a result of recent research on chocolate milk as an effective sports recovery drink, our customers are looking for innovative cocoa solutions in order to tap into this new market.”
Heemskerk said that, given increased consumer awareness about the importance of sports recovery, sector growth meant ADM was “seeing more interest from our customers in providing consumers with dairy-based chocolate flavour sports recovery drinks”.
He said that ADM was using cocoa solutions like deZaan D21MC powder to develop new applications for clients, adding, “These products are not yet well-represented in stores, so we see room for growth.”
Milk the real hero?
The principal study ADM Cocoa cites to substantiate claims that chocolate milk helps replenish nutrients lost during exercise is a 2006 paper by Karp et al. entitled ‘Chocolate Milk as a Post-Exercise Recovery Aid’, published in the International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism.
Steve Laning, innovation director at ADM Cocoa, said, “Chocolate milk offers nutritional benefits during the recovery phase after physical activity, when the muscles need to be repaired and the body refuelled.”
Other marketing advantages stressed by ADM include underlining chocolate milk’s status as a rich calcium source and its “performance” benefits as a carbohydrate-rich product, while the firm said it is also exploring use of D21MC that ADM as a flavour-masking ingredient in other protein-rich sports recovery drinks.
Asked if it was milk, rather than chocolate, that provided most of the benefits in chocolate milk, Heemskerk said: “Besides the obvious taste and colour benefits of the deZaan D21MC cocoa powder, it is also contains polyphenols, antioxidants and minerals that are not present in milk.”
In formulation terms, ADM claim that one “key functional advantage” of D21MC in dairy beverages is its ability to inhibit protein agglomeration, which helps avoid sedimentation and provide stability and a smooth mouthfeel.
Said Heemskerk: “The higher the alkalinity/pH of the powder, the stronger the tendency of protein agglomeration. To solve this problem, deZaan D21MC powder has a low alkalinity, allowing a dark cocoa colour and rich chocolate taste without the risk of protein agglomeration.”