Dairy Proteins Unsung Heroes of Global Innovation

Innova Data Affirms Whey and Milk Proteins Shatter New Product Launch Records

Global Whey Protein Launches Are Growing Strong

Tracked global product launches: In 2020, tracked new whey protein launches were up 3.3% globally over 2019.

ARLINGTON, Va., June 01, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — As consumers and the dairy community across the globe unite today in celebrating World Milk Day, many are sure to be enjoying the nutritional benefits of milk both in – and beyond – the glass. Consumers are the winners as the range of products powered with dairy protein ingredients continues to climb, providing plentiful choice to deliciously consume dairy-based products in new and exciting ways.

Tracking data from Innova Markets Insights’ Innova Database affirms this upward growth trajectory, revealing that the number of new global food and beverage product introductions made with whey proteins and with milk proteins both set new records in 2020. As further outlined in a new infographic unveiled today by the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC), a record 7,409 whey protein products were introduced around the world in 2020, with annual launches nearly doubling from 2015. This represents a double-digit (13.9%) compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from 2015 to 2020, demonstrating that food formulators are tapping into these nutritional and functional ingredients to fuel innovations that deliver on consumer desires.

Milk protein product launches also smashed prior year records, reaching 9,413 products in 2020, a 3.7% CAGR from 2015 to 2020. Aggregated dairy protein product introductions outpaced plant proteins in 2020 by over 3,000 products (17,652 dairy proteins, 14,584 plant proteins), maintaining a consistent lead held for the past decade.

Did You Know?

Plant Protein: Dairy protein product launches continue to exceed plant protein product launches.

“This impressive growth in whey, milk and dairy protein introductions aligns with other Innova Market Insights’ survey data showing strong consumer demand for proteins from both animal and plant based sources,” says Lu Ann Williams, Global Insights Director, Innova Market Insights. “Innovation potential remains bright across global markets and diverse product categories for these versatile ingredients from cow’s milk, offering formulators the sweet spot of nutritionally high-quality proteins that complement today’s plant forward lifestyles.”

The number of whey and milk protein products carrying a high or source of protein claim is rising in tandem with the growth in new product launches. 60% of tracked whey protein and 28% of milk protein product introductions carried a high or source of protein claim on-pack in 2020, signaling that global manufacturers are harnessing protein’s powerful consumer allure for marketing advantage.

“Consumer interest in protein for health is no longer just in Western markets where the protein trend started but gaining momentum and driving new product introductions around the world,” said Kristi Saitama, vice president, global ingredients marketing for USDEC. “Launch activity is likely to accelerate in coming years as manufacturers in Asian, Latin American, Middle Eastern and African countries further discover and seek out whey and milk protein’s powerhouse nutritional package to develop local-friendly products supporting consumer health and wellness goals, such as fitness, weight management and healthy aging.”

More than one third (35.4%) of whey protein new product introductions in 2020 were outside of Europe and North America, with one in five (21.2%) launches in Asia. The top five markets — United States, China, Germany, United Kingdom and Brazil — accounted for 40% of tracked 2020 introductions. On a country by country basis, the United States accounted for 16% of the 2020 whey protein food and beverage launches followed by China (8.2%), Germany (6.5%), the United Kingdom (5.6%) and Brazil (3.8%).

Category wise, Sports Nutrition led with a 36.9% share of total whey protein product introductions last year followed by Baby & Toddlers (27.4%), Dairy (6.4%), Cereals (6.1%) and Bakery (5.8%). Additional key categories included Desserts & Ice Cream (4.3%), Snacks (2.4%), Confectionery (2.2%), Ready Meals & Side Dishes (2.2%) and Soft Drinks (1.9%), reflecting broadening performance strength across both traditional and novel end-use applications

“U.S. whey and milk protein ingredients deliver on formulator goals to boost protein content in health and wellness product offerings while providing the right flavor, nutrition, functionality, and clean labels in ways where newer proteins may struggle,” says Saitama. “And with a long-legacy of environmental stewardship and ambitious environmental goals to become carbon neutral or better by 2050, global manufacturers can count on the U.S. dairy community for sustainable ingredient and innovation solutions that are healthful for both the body and the planet.”

Visit ThinkUSAdairy.org to download the new infographic snapshot of whey and milk protein product introduction data as well as further information on U.S. dairy protein nutrition and innovation opportunities.

Data Source and Product Information
Innova Market Insights, Innova Database.
Food and Beverage category only, excludes supplements and medical nutrition.

  • Whey Protein group includes Whey Protein, Whey Protein Concentrate, Whey Protein Hydrolysate, and Whey Protein Isolate.
  • Milk Protein group includes Milk Protein, Milk Protein Concentrate, Milk Protein Hydrolysate, Milk Protein Extract, and Milk Protein Isolate.
  • Dairy Protein group includes 32 whey protein, milk protein, casein protein, and other dairy-based protein ingredients.
  • Plant Protein group includes 70 ingredients, including soy, pea, almond, potato, wheat, rice, oat, lupin, and more.

About U.S. Dairy Export Council
The U.S. Dairy Export Council® (USDEC) is a nonprofit, independent membership organization that represents the global trade interests of U.S. dairy producers, proprietary processors and cooperatives, ingredient suppliers and export traders. USDEC aims to enhance U.S. global competitiveness through programs in market development that build global demand for U.S. dairy products, resolve market access barriers and advance industry trade policy goals. As the world’s largest producer of cow’s milk, the U.S. dairy industry offers a sustainably produced, world-class and ever-expanding portfolio of cheese varieties as well as nutritional and functional dairy ingredients (e.g., skim milk powder, lactose, whey and milk proteins, permeate). USDEC, together with its network of overseas representatives around the world, also works directly with global buyers and end-users to accelerate customer purchasing and innovation success with quality U.S. dairy products and ingredients.

Photos accompanying this announcement are available at:




Molly Halter