Like opposite ends of a see-saw, as consumer pressure mounts for increasingly healthier snacks and greater amounts of protein, just as equally they’re demanding foods that are minimally processed with few to no additives, when possible.
Luckily, clean-label applications within the protein-centric category are within reach when clean label ingredients like eggs are available.
According to one presentation at the Global Food Forums Protein Trends Seminar in 2016, strong growth defines protein-centric categories. Sports nutrition bars and powder, protein supplements, energy bars and meal replacements lead the charge.
Active, healthy lifestyle consumers are choosing healthier foods and exercising more. Boomers recognize the value of protein for aging muscles. Millennials crave convenience and better nutrition in foods and beverages designed for on-the-go consumption, whereas parents want healthier snack options for their children.
Add to this the fact that more consumers report flexitarian eating patterns, with 44% of consumers serving a meatless meal at least 1-3x per week, and it makes a protein-focused formulating strategy a wise move.
Eggs have traditionally been used as the standard of comparison for measuring protein quality because of their essential amino acid (EAA) profile and high digestibility. Whether using a hard-boiled egg in a protein pack or using one of the different types of egg ingredients available for formulators in frozen, liquid or dried form, often these ingredients can appear simply as “eggs” on the label.
Admittedly, there are new protein ingredients available for formulators to try. There is now a distinction between new or so-called “legacy” ingredients, such as eggs. There are multiple reasons why legacy ingredients like the egg are well trusted within the industry. One primary reason is reliability. Egg ingredients have proven their functional value through decades of use in applications of all varieties.
Many baked goods owe their appearance, texture, taste and part of their shelf life to egg ingredients. Proteins from egg whites help control crystallization in select confections and frozen foods. The flexibility egg ingredients offer formulators fit a variety of applications in many different categories, including vegetarian and flexitarian formulations. Egg ingredients, through their various functional properties, a list comprised of more than 20, contribute to all of those properties, depending on the application. No need for seesawing concerns when using egg ingredients; they offer the perfect balance of protein, functionality and clean label benefits.