Answers to Common Questions About Functional Whey Protein & WPI


Having worked with food manufacturers and food service providers in nearly every sector of the market, our food formulators have had to accommodate a wide range of challenges. We’re often asked questions about how a product may perform in certain environments or which type of product is best in a particular application.

This article highlights some of the FAQs about whey protein that we receive; in particular, Grande Bravo® functional whey protein, Grande Gusto® cheese replacement, and Grande Ultra® whey protein isolate (WPI) and their uses. 

If you’re considering Grande Bravo or Grande Gusto to improve the texture, flavor and nutrition of your products, or Grande Ultra to boost protein to nutritional beverages, read on!

1. Does using Grande Ultra WPI require including sugar on the label?

Food manufacturers must consult their own legal teams to finalize their labels, but Grande Ultra WPI is very low in naturally occurring sugars, with typical lactose values of less than 1%. No additional sugars are added to Grande Ultra during the production process. In fact, sugar that’s present in milk is removed as part of the purification process during production. 

This is an important factor for food manufacturers. For years, many low-fat products on the market were promoted as “better for you,” but they actually contained a laundry list of artificial ingredients and high amounts of sugar to make up for lost flavor. Savvy consumers have caught on and realize these products weren’t as healthy as they claimed to be. Now, consumers demand clean labels and ingredients that are naturally low in sugar.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) now requires that added sugars be listed on the nutrition facts labels of all packaged foods. According to the FDA, added sugar is defined as “sugars that are either added during the processing of foods, or are packaged as such (e.g., a bag of table sugar), and also includes sugars from syrups and honey, and sugars from concentrated fruit or vegetable juices.”

2. Can Grande Gusto Be Used in Dry Mac & Cheese? How Does it Affect the Texture, Taste, Etc.?

Yes. Using Grande Gusto whey protein in a dry Mac & Cheese sauce is an ideal application. It can help to reduce the cost of a formulation by replacing cheese powder and even fresh cheese. The addition of Grande Gusto will enhance water binding of the finished product, reducing syneresis or pooling while improving the texture of the finished product so that its mouthfeel is creamier and more “fat like.” The cheesy notes consumers desire are also maintained and an independent study showed that participants actually preferred a mac & cheese formulation containing Grande Gusto when compared to the control.

3. How does Grande Ultra affect the finished product in a Beverage Application?

Adding Grande Ultra to a beverage may have an impact on the finished product, so it’s important to answer a few questions during your formulation process when considering whey proteins:

Does your beverage require clarity?

The finished beverage needs to be formulated at a pH below 3.5, which is the isoelectric point of whey proteins. A formulation with pH above 3.5 that includes whey proteins may result in turbidity.

Is the beverage a dry mix or Ready To Drink (RTD)?

If the product is RTD, a regular WPI will work in the production process. If the beverage is a dry mix, the WPI needs to be instantized to incorporate into the solution quickly.

How much protein do you want in your beverage?

Grande Ultra can be formulated into a beverage at various levels of protein; it is typically formulated into an 8 oz. beverage to contain 10-20 grams of protein per serving. Higher levels of protein could result in the product gelling during processing when heat is added.

What flavor(s) are used in the formulation?

The vast majority of flavor profiles are conducive to using WPI. However, products and trending beverages that are high in tannins may not interact well with whey proteins. Some examples of products containing high tannin levels include tea, grapes, ciders and coffee.

4. How is Grande Bravo incorporated into a food system?

Grande Bravo is a functional whey protein that can be used to reduce cost and improve the texture and mouthfeel of many different applications. The primary applications that are ideal for Grande Bravo include soups, sauces, dressings, gravies, dips and spreads. It is also used in baked goods, desserts, confectionaries, coatings, seasonings and processed meats. 

Grande Bravo has the ability to bind water, so it’s important to hydrate it prior to adding it into an application to maximize its functionality. When used to replace or reduce traditional dairy, eggs or oil, it has the capability to perform as well or better than its fresh counterparts and eliminates many of the drawbacks of using fresh ingredients. Because of its long shelf life under a range of conditions, food manufacturers do not need to be worried about price volatility, refrigeration, spoilage and quality control.

5. What types of food processing equipment does Grande Bravo work in?

Grande Bravo is an extremely versatile ingredient that allows it to work in many different types of food processing systems. It is conducive to a wide range of environments, including kettle cook, high shear, pumping, homogenization, retort, freeze/thaw and baking.

6. What Steps Do I Need to Take to see If Whey Protein Will Work in My Applications?

Each application has its own unique challenges, and the best way to discover whether a Grande whey protein product will work is to connect with one of our food scientists who have the experience — and passion — to create top-notch formulations that consumers love. They’ve seen it all and, if there’s a way, they’ll find it. 

Contact us today to begin exploring your options. Meanwhile, learn more about the many reasons to use whey protein and why it’s the superior choice for nutrition, flavor, functionality and cost savings in our guide below. Just click the link!

Top 10 Reasons to Use Whey Protein - Tip Sheet

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