According to Arla, this is the first organic micellar casein isolate to hit the market. Micellar casein isolate is a slow-digesting ingredient as opposed to the faster-absorbing whey protein, the other protein fraction from milk. In a milestone for Arla Foods Ingredients, it is also the company’s first ingredient to be offered in an organic version, made from certified organic milk from Denmark.
The new micellar casein isolate contains a minimum of 87% native protein, is low in lactose and fat, heat-stable as well as taste-neutral. The ingredient can be added to functional health foods and active nutrition applications, such as ready-to-drink high-protein beverages and powder shakes.
“Protein’s benefits for muscle growth, recovery and weight management have driven consumer demand in a range of categories. But while the high-protein trend is definitely here to stay, manufacturers also have to meet many other needs. MicelPure combines high protein levels and functionality with an offer of healthy wholesomeness that increases appeal,” noted Joe Katterfield, Business Development Manager for Sports Nutrition and Health Foods at Arla Foods Ingredients.
Birgitte Kynde Ravn, Global Industry Marketing Manager Sports Nutrition and Health Foods, Arla, told NutraIngredients-USA that this supply and demand balance makes for perfect timing:
“Consumers are increasingly seeking organic, natural and wholesome foods which also deliver functional and health benefits. Therefore, this is the perfect time – both for dairy manufacturers and health food producers – to enter the organic market or to extend existing product lines with organic options.”
The extraction process
Using gentle processing, the protein is extracted from milk. This allows the protein to maintain its chemical structure, keeping products as close to nature as possible.
Claus Bukbjerg Andersen, Category & Application Manager, Arla, told us that their new products are produced only by means of filtration. “Unlike many other milk protein ingredients, no enzymes or acids are used.”
Barbara Jensen, Business Development Manager at Arla said: “A shortage of natural, organic protein ingredients has prevented many manufacturers from entering this market. MicelPure Organic fills the gap, allowing companies to extend their portfolios with products that are both organic and packed with high-quality protein.”
Ravn said the reason organic protein ingredients are in short supply is likely because production methods and regulatory rules for producing organic ingredients, from raw material to final processing, are often more complex – and therefore also more costly – than conventional standards. “At Arla Foods Ingredients, we benefit from a model where our farmer owners supply us with organic milk from cows in Denmark. This is then gently processed at our own organic-certified factory, also in Denmark. This means we have complete control over the entire process, with a short supply chain entirely in one country. In addition, with no external parties involved in the sourcing of raw material or production of the ingredient, we can offer markets an organic protein solution very competitively.”
Consumers are going for more organic products than ever before, according to the 2020 Organic Industry Survey by the Organic Trade Association. The US organic sector posted a record year in 2019, with organic sales in the food and non-food markets totaling a record of over $55 billion, up 5% from 2018.
In fact, Laura Batcha, CEO and Executive Director of the Organic Trade Association, said the pandemic has only increased consumers’ desire for organic products.
As the industry grows, so does concern over organic fraud, which has resulted in some enforcement lawsuits and consumer complaints that food being marketed as organic does not meet the USDA criteria. Currently, organic products are eligible for a USDA seal, but there have been concerns of fraud due to the complexity of the organic produce supply chain. As a result, government involvement in consumer protection in the organic food space has escalated.
In early August, the Agricultural Marketing Service of the US Department of Agriculture published a proposed rule designed to strengthen the agency’s oversight and enforcement of the production, handling, and sale of organic agricultural products.
The agency said the proposed changes in regulations are “intended to protect integrity in the organic supply chain and build consumer and industry trust in the USDA organic label by strengthening organic control systems, improving farm to market traceability, and providing robust enforcement of the USDA organic regulations.”
Public comments to this rule will be accepted through October 5, 2020.