For as long as any of us can remember, the phrase protein powder has conjured up memories of some very specific tastes and textures. Traditional whey powders – which have dominated the supplement protein market for decades now – have a chalky, milky mouthfeel.
Because of this, the range of possible flavors for protein powders has been constrained. While flavors like chocolate, vanilla, and maybe strawberry can work well with whey’s texture, those that are heavy on fruits, citrus, or acidity usually don’t. Generally speaking, it’s the difference between ice cream flavors and sorbet flavors – the former work well with whey and casein, while the latter don’t.
Texture can also limit application. While a thick vanilla whey shake might be welcome after a weightlifting session, athletes sweating hard during workouts aren’t interested in a whey drink’s dessert-forward taste and texture profile. In those situations, even a whey protein isolate just feels too heavy. Most people would prefer something lighter and crisperlike a fruit punch flavored electrolyte drink.
Clear Protein Drinks: The Sorbets to Whey’s Ice Cream
In the past year, we’ve seen some really exciting industry innovation that promises to dramatically expand the range of whey flavoring and applications.
We’re talking about the new clear whey products from Arla Foods Ingredients.
Clear whey proteins are exactly what they sound like. Instead of a chalky texture and opaque appearance, these proteins are lighter with a clear, watery texture and appearance.
In other words – again, clear whey proteins are more like sorbet than ice cream.
Arla Foods Ingredients is not the first to attempt the clear whey protein, but they are the first to perfect it. Past attempts were hampered by astringencywhich created a dehydrating flavor that made them totally unsuitable for the niche they were designed to fill. What makes Arla Foods Ingredients’ clear wheys so special is the total absence of astringency.
Understanding Arla Foods Ingredients’ Proteins
After kicking off our education in a podcast (Arla Foods Ingredients: Innovating Whey Protein | Episode #108)we’ve covered their ingredients a few times here on The PricePlow Blog – you can review some of our past content here:
This brings our readers to the next question — what are the differences between these proteins, and when do you use each one?
Four Whey Protein Ingredients – Which One Is Best for Which Application?
But if we want to be more precise, what are some of the specific possibilities that these exciting new products can afford the supplement industry?
Let’s go through them, product-by-product:
Arla Foods Ingredients’ Clear Whey Protein Isolates (WPIs)
This is Arla Foods Ingredients’ acidified clear whey. It’s the go-to clear whey if you want to, say, make a high-protein lemonade drink. This is comparable to the clear whey isolate ingredients already on the market, although we’ve found it to be more palatable and with better mouthfeel than the competition.
Examples might include rehydrating and replenishing glycogen following an intense athletic event. We might even see protein-rich Arnold Palmerswhich would be awesome.
This has the most pleasant mouthfeel of any of the clear wheys, with less acidity and astringency. If you don’t need a sour flavor, but would like something like a cucumber lime style of flavoring, then this is clear whey protein isolate the ingredient to use.
Picture this: You’re entertaining house guests in the courtyard of your villa on a sweltering summer day. That’s the perfect setting for drinking cucumber-mint-infused water – and your guests will love it even more if you’ve thrown a great dose of protein into the bargain!
You can read more about this in our article on Lacprodan® ISO.WaterShake.
Arla Foods Ingredients’ Beta-Lactoglobulin
Now what if you want to go heavier on leucinecramming 3 grams of the uber-essential amino acid into a 20 gram protein serving?
For specialty applications like that, we turn to something a bit more powerful. The next two clear proteins aren’t just run of the mill WPIs – they’re actually beta-lactoglobulin (BLG)which is a specific component of the whey protein fraction.
If you want the full explanation of what BLG is and how it works, check out our Lacprodan® BLG-100 article. The quick summary is that it’s richer in leucine than ordinary whey, making it well-suited for athletic performance and recovery applications. That’s because leucine is the most anabolic amino acid – it has a disproportionately high positive impact on the body’s anabolic response to exercise.
So, in general, brands can consider BLG-100 when the target market is focused on maximizing muscle growth and generally getting the most out of their workouts.
For this, there are once again two materials from Arla Foods Ingredients to consider:
This powder is designed for sports shakes with neutral flavors. Its palette profile is supposed to be water-likesort of like ISO.WaterShake’s.
There are many useful applications, but we think this would be best suited for the next generation of intra-workout drinksdesigned to be consumed during a workout. That’s a situation where you don’t want too strong of a flavor – and mid-workout, you probably won’t feel totally parched to the point of needing an aggressive rehydration flavor.
This BLG flavor is more aggressive in its acidity and is better suited than the Neutral flavor for recovery drinks. This is the BLG that will help you feel restored after an intense workout, when you’re craving something really refreshing to quench a big thirst.
For example, if you’re looking to go with a sour candy flavor system, then BLG-100 Acidic is the way to go.
Another benefit is that you can get a higher amount of protein into a smaller amount of liquid, meaning efficacious protein shots — something we expect to see on the market in the coming year.
Considering RTD vs. Powder Applications
Note that the above four bullet-pointed ingredients are the options formulators have when looking at powdered applications. For RTD (ready-to-drink) purposes, Arla Foods Ingredients has materials made specifically for those applications as well.
Talk to Arla Foods Ingredients if you’re considering the aforementioned protein shots or some other liquid bottled beverage.
Conclusion: Several Great Clear Whey Isolate Options
No matter what your goal is – rehydration, recovery, sustained performance, or simple enjoyment – Arla Foods Ingredients has a clear whey that’s suited for it — and in powdered or liquid form to boot.
Their release of these clear WPIs and BLGs is the closest thing we’ve seen to a real revolution in protein powder for quite some time. And that’s pretty high praise, considering how resistant this category has been to innovation.
You can sign up for our Arla Foods Ingredients news alerts on PricePlow for more information: