According to Beverage Marketing Corp., the size of the U.S. energy drink market is over $650 million. Although Red Bull’s market share has begun to slip, it is estimated there may be opportunity for the company to boost market share to greater than 60%.1

As the market expands, more opportunities exist for developing functional drinks with functional ingredients. One ingredient that has become desirable in the market is whey protein. Research shows whey protein can speed recovery time and promote muscle growth. Whey also has some advantages over soy proteins. “Additionally, a whey protein has now been developed that can be used as the sole source of protein, or in combination with other proteins, and can withstand higher processing temperatures (retort and UHT), allowing for expanded beverage applications,” says Richard Merrill, director of R&D at Leprino Foods Company.

Leprino has developed a patent-pending, heat-stable whey protein called Temp Pro Plus™, an 80% whey protein concentrate for UHT and retort processed RTD beverages and HyD Pro™, a low flavor, hydrolyzed whey protein concentrate for nutrition bars, adult nutrition, infant nutrition and nutrition mixes. When heated to a high temperature, typical whey protein normally gels and falls out of solution and therefore finds limited application in beverage formulas. Due to Leprino’s patent-pending process, Temp Pro Plus reacts differently to high heat processing, allowing for incorporation into more formulations. Temp Pro Plus works in both neutral and acidic beverages. It can be used to make heat-stable solutions of 12% whey protein or more; other whey protein concentrates for beverages are stable up to only 5%, and whey protein isolates up to only 7% in solution.

Temp Pro Plus works well with other ingredients and can even be used in vanilla drinks because of its clean flavor profile. It also works well with fruit juices and stabilizers in acidic drinks. However, according to Merrill, “We have found that carrageenans and divalent minerals do not work well with Temp Pro Plus. Both destabilize the protein, making it fall out of solution during heat treatment. Good product developers can successfully choose other stabilizers to get around these issues. In some cases, we have successfully developed beverages without using stabilizers in the formula.”

1 “Sports Talk,” Prepared Foods, September 1, 2005

For more information:
Leprino Foods, Denver
Laura Majors • 303-480-2600 •