Ingredients enhance functionality in protein-based dairy beverages

Stretch, run two miles, lift weights, stretch again and rehydrate with a glass of milk. While being active and replenishing your body can be a normal routine, the replenishing beverage of choice is taking an interesting, yet healthy, turn. Milk is increasing in popularity as a choice for a post-workout drink.

Research shows that milk can be just as effective in replenishing nutrition in the body as commercially available sports drinks1. Milk provides proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals that can be rapidly absorbed and metabolized by the body. As consumers are increasingly focused on physical health, more and more products are hitting the shelves to help promote healthy recovery and increased muscle growth.

Price and overall value of the product often differentiate products in consumers’ minds. But for ICL Food Specialties, the differentiator lies within the formulation of products. Protein fortification can be difficult to manage if you don’t have the right ingredients. The viscosity, pH, processing conditions, fortification and flavor components are critical considerations.

“Whenever we’re dealing with beverages, we need to pay extra attention to the formulation process,” says Jenny Zhou, food technologist at ICL Food Specialties. “Increasing protein levels, especially to levels as high as 30 grams per serving, creates additional challenges within the formulation and processing.”

Nutrient Information for milk and various sports drinks

Milk Chart


All presented information is based on a 250 mL serving of each of the different beverages. Data is from webcite, webcite, and webcite. *Chocolate milk has added sucrose and cocoa, and the macronutrient composition of chocolate milk varies depending on the specific manufacturer.

Roy Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 2008 5:15 doi:10.1186/1550-2783-5-15

Zhou says there are many intricacies that factor into developing protein-fortified dairy beverages. The JOHA® Specialties product line includes ingredients that enhance functionality when developing such products.

“Protein sources, pH, processing conditions, and packaging all play a role in the formulation,” Zhou explains. “Products like JOHA KM2 and PZ35, or the lower-sodium JOHA B50, enhance protein stabilization at increased protein levels, while our other ingredients such as Cal-sistent ® and Mag-nificent ® assist in mineral and nutrition fortification.”

Milk and other protein-based drinks aren’t only served as a post-workout drink for professional athletes and active weight lifters. They also provide important nutrition for maintaining good health and wellness for most consumers.

“The current market provides high protein beverages with anywhere from 20-30 grams of protein per serving. We often get requests from customers to help develop products that are much higher than that,” Zhou adds.

Chocolate milk used to be primarily considered as a drink for kids, but that has changed in the expanded market that includes meal replacement, weight loss or healthier beverages. Protein beverages are convenient and now come in flavors such as chocolate, strawberry, cookies ‘n crème and cake batter. The protein-fortified, dairy-based beverage industry will only continue to grow as the demand increases.