New Year's Resolutions: Focus On Low-fat Is an Opportunity for Food Manufacturers

low-fat-dressing.jpgNew Year's resolutions: we’ve all made them…and we’ve all broken them. One of the most cited reasons for falling off the wagon when it comes to resolutions related to dieting is that the food that’s low-fat, low-calorie, low-carb and other “lows” just isn’t as good as rich, or as decadent as other food that are available; we’ve all tasted light versions of our favorite foods and felt the disappointment. Food and beverage manufacturers continue to rush to the shelves with products that tout their healthier versions of popular products, hoping to capture people who, as of January 1, are committed to changing their eating habits. But usually by about January 3, they’re back to the better-tasting products.

So, what are manufacturers doing wrong?

Most have a standard way of approaching low-fat formulations; basically, they remove some of the cream and/or fat and, to make up for the decrease in creamy mouthfeel, add corn syrup and flavors that “make up for” what’s lost when removing fat. Many don’t know there’s a better way to address people’s never-ending desire to eat better and have the flavors and textures they love (have their cake and eat it, too, so to speak). The solution is an ingredient that allows for replacement of fat/cream without affecting texture, and eliminating the need for corn syrup and added flavorings.

Take dressings, for example. Most low-fat versions of popular favorites like Ranch compensate for the lack of fatty mouthfeel and richness by adding flavors and ingredients that, when compared to the original, are sweeter and at the same time more tart – almost vinegary, with little of the original product’s creaminess, and much less viscous. When manufacturers substitute whey protein for some of the fat and/or cream in the formulation, on the other hand, the results are pretty remarkable. There’s no tart/sour taste and the rich creaminess is unchanged from the original. In the case of Grande Custom Ingredients Group’s Grande Bravo functional whey proteins, this is because of the product’s water-holding capability. By holding water, viscosity is similar to that of a product with fat.

Dips benefit in much the same way when some of the fat is replaced by whey protein. Most low-fat versions are thinner, less creamy versions of what consumers prefer so the “better for you” options are indeed a compromise – one they probably won’t buy again. Using whey protein in the formulation, however, results in an equally rich, creamy product with no ingredients need to be added to make up for the reduction in fat.

The same results have been found with sweet products, too, like cheesecakes and frozen desserts. Without the cream and/or fat of original versions of these types of products, consumers are left with less appealing textures. But the water holding of Grande Custom Ingredients Group whey protein mimics the characteristics of fat, with the result being a product one can’t differentiate from the original.

This New Year will be no different from the last: millions of people putting “Eat better” at the top of their resolutions lists. Now it’s possible to address those desires with a product that will help people stick to their resolution and maintain better health – but not have to give up on the taste and products they love. Learn more about the unique capabilities of our whey protein ingredients by reaching out to our food science team!

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