Arla Foods Ingredients tips high-protein iced tea as “next big beverage” trend

Arla Foods Ingredients has identified high-protein iced tea as the “next big trend” in beverages. Demand for functional and fortified beverages is increasing rapidly. A Euromonitor study revealed that in the US alone, where sales grew by 51% between 2014 and 2019, the market is projected to be worth US$819 million by 2024.

To meet this demand, both sports and mainstream brands have sought after to create new functional beverage products, and many have turned their attention to tea.

Iced tea has long been popular as a healthy beverage due to its antioxidant properties, and many products now carry superfood claims. One way to further enhance its nutritional value is to add whey protein isolate (WPI). WPI support building and maintaining muscle mass, and has been used in ready-to-drink (RTD) beverages for many years.

However, delivering on the promise of a protein-rich beverage while maintaining tea’s clean, refreshing taste can be a challenge. Arla Foods Ingredients offers three different processing-stable WPI solutions that can overcome this challenge, allowing the creation of delicious, high-protein iced tea beverages.

For instance, Lacprodan ISO.Water can be used to make UHT-stable beverages with a clean and water-like taste, Lacprodan ISO.Clear can be used to make clear beverages with a natural and refreshing taste profile, and Lacprodan ISO.WaterShake can be used in a clear and water-like ready-to-shake iced tea that delivers 20g of protein and no sugar or fat.

Ulrik Bank Pedersen, general manager, North America, Arla Foods Ingredients, said: “Demand for innovative functional beverages is huge and high-protein iced tea is the perfect way to tap into it. One reason tea and protein are perfect partners is that both offer well recognised health benefits. Tea, which has been the drink of choice for millions of people around the world for centuries, has a powerful association with wellness. Similarly, protein’s benefits in areas such as weight loss and muscle growth are increasingly sought after by consumers.”

Clean-label claims are particularly important in the iced tea segment, according to Innova New Products Database, where there is strong preference for products that are natural and sugar-free.

“By offering high-protein iced tea, manufacturers can put a new spin on an established consumer favourite without compromising on taste. And unlike some beverage ingredients, protein doesn’t set alarm bells ringing – in fact it’s likely to increase appeal,” Pedersen concluded. “Whether it’s in an RTD or a shake, our solutions are the perfect way to create tasty, convenient high-protein iced teas that quench the thirst of health-conscious consumers.”