UK – The UK market has seen a surge in high-protein dairy products, with Danone being the latest to join the trend with its GetPRO range.

From cheese bars to yogurts, these products have been modified to cater to both active individuals looking to build muscle and health-conscious consumers seeking added nutritional value in everyday staples.

However, the question of whether these products can truly be deemed ‘healthy’ is now in the spotlight.

At the Anuga 2023 trade show in Cologne, Germany, a myriad of high-protein dairy options took center stage.

Ranging from spoonable yogurts to milk drinks, and even high-protein cheese bars, these products often tout a low-fat profile achieved by processing methods that reduce the fat content in milk.

High-protein yogurts, a fixture on British supermarket shelves, have been launched by various companies like Arla, Nestlé, and now Danone.

Marketed as ‘healthy’ due to their low fat and sugar content and elevated protein levels, a closer look at the ingredient lists reveals the inclusion of additives such as artificial sweeteners, starches, and thickeners.

This raises the question of whether these products can genuinely be considered a nutritious choice.

Manufacturers defended the use of additives, asserting that they are necessary for enhancing the safety and nutritional quality of the products.

They argued that the safety and nutritional value of a food item should not be solely determined by whether it is processed or not, emphasizing the importance of understanding the role of additives in ensuring the stability and safety of the final product.

Meanwhile, the ongoing debate extends to the classification system used to categorize foods, with critics arguing that the system, in place since 2009, might be too broad.

Despite these concerns, the high-protein dairy market is thriving. IRI data indicates a substantial 44.2% year-on-year growth in the dairy protein market in 2023, reaching a value of £117 million.

The high-protein segment within dairy yogurt is expected to be the fastest-growing this year, projecting a growth rate of 17.2%, according to Circana.

According to the data, consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of protein in a balanced diet, driving the demand for high-protein dairy products.

However, as the market continues to evolve, manufacturers revealed that they face the challenge of balancing nutritional quality with consumer preferences, with the ultimate goal of offering healthy, protein-rich options that meet the diverse needs of today’s health-conscious consumers.