China 'sparked idea' behind whey protein bakery improvers: Arla Foods Ingredients

By Kacey Culliney

- Last updated on GMT

The improvers are not application-specific but function-specific, Arla says
The improvers are not application-specific but function-specific, Arla says

Related tags Arla foods ingredients Whey protein Better

China was part of the inspiration behind the development of whey protein bakery improvers, a senior manager at Arla Foods Ingredients says.

The Denmark-headquartered ingredient major has developed a range of four whey protein bakery improvers for use across a range of applications including bread, cake, muffins and cookies.

The ‘Nutrilac Natural Improvers’ will launch in Europe and China on May 6 and in the US, Middle East and Southeast Asia in October, after six months of development.

Speaking exclusively to, senior manager at Arla Foods Ingredients Søren Nørgaard said China has played a big and important role in the development of the improvers.

“China was actually part of the inspiration behind this whole concept,”​ Nørgaard said.

“Arla’s history in bakery has always been egg replacers…The challenge we faced in China is that the price of eggs have been quite low. We were selling egg replacers in the market that could not deliver cost savings for manufacturers, but they ​[manufacturers] kept buying them,” ​he said.

‘Your egg replacers have more functions’

“Customers said they were buying the egg replacers for other advantages. That kind of sparked the idea,”​ he said.

The quality of ingredients in China is often variable, Nørgaard said, and customers found that our whey protein egg replacers improved the quality and processing of baked goods.

This feedback prompted the research and development (R&D) team at Arla Foods Ingredients to head back to the labs to take a new look at whey proteins and their role in bakery, he said.

Multi-functional improvers

Arla Foods Ingredients has conducted over 500 trials on the improvers in a number of applications, including testing in Sashima, China on traditional Chinese baked goods.

“These are not application-specific, these are function-specific,”​ Nørgaard said.

He said that while applications would vary between markets like China and Europe, some properties are the same such as a consumer desire on mouthfeel or manufacturers wanting whipping tolerance during processing.

“It’s some of the same challenges you’re facing whether you are making Sashima muffins, Magdalena cakes or waffles,”​ he said.

Importantly each ingredient does more than one thing, Nørgaard said, and the profile of each one is very, very different.

Processing and end product improvements

Overall the range is designed to ensure smoother and more efficient processes and provide stability.

At a processing stage, among other things, these improvers can work to improve binding, prevent or promote whipping, strengthen dough, enable control on viscosity and create easier handling.

In an end product the use of the whey proteins can for example increase volumes, improve crust, color and texture, add creaminess to imitate fat in fillings and foster longer shelf-life.

“With these ingredients, you can expand parameters more…there is no question that they expand the window of opportunities for manufacturers,” ​Nørgaard said.

Tackling wheat woes?

Asked whether the range would be positioned to tackle the difficulties manufacturers across the globe are facing with wheat quality, the senior manager said that this was not the aim.

“We would have launched this range no matter what the market situation. But if we have an opportunity to tap into a market-driven situation then we will do what we can to help our customers,”​ he said.

“What we know for a fact is that these proteins offer stability in many ways and that will always be relevant, not only if there’s a specific crisis on the market,”​ he added.

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