The New Normal for dairy industry is the value-added market
The New Normal for the food industry, in particular the dairy industry, is the value-added market. Due to Covid -19 and there confinement into homes, the spending capacity of Indians is increasing, so is their willingness to buy healthier, super foods which we like to call as value-added products.
Value-added products in the dairy industry are products like cheese, paneer, ghee, yoghurt and probiotic drinks. These are products which have been created by alteration, enhancement via microbial fermentation, additives, and segregation of liquid milk.
Adaptation of various methods to create a more profitable product out of milk has allowed dairies and FMCG companies to make good revenue out of mostly loss-making liquid milk. Due to the increased consumer awareness and interest to follow healthy nutrition and dietary strategy in achieving health benefits from foods beyond their basic nutrition, the market for value-added functional foods has expanded manifold.
World Health Organization (WHO) survey indicated that about 70-80% of the world population rely on non-conventional medicine mainly on herbal sources in their primary healthcare. Over 60% of the world’s population and 80% in developing countries depends directly on plants for their medical purposes.
Healthy food is defined as the “building blocks to good health”; our immune system and body cannot function if the immunity foundation is weakened. The important aspect is to add variety and natural colour (that comes from a variety of food) to your diet. Eat a wide variety of foods, that bring together vitamins, minerals, antioxidants otherwise known as vitamins A, C, and E, and the ‘sunshine vitamin’-D. Super foods are nutrient-packed foods that are useful building blocks and supplements for a healthy lifestyle. They also strengthen our immune system and keep us healthy and active.
It has been noticed that Indian consumers are increasingly getting health-conscious and that value-added dairy products industry is seeing a marginal growth. A change in consumer mindsets has led to various changes. Lifestyle alterations have led to an increase in the demand for value-added dairy products as compared to just the base product, liquid milk.
For example, doctors today have started recommending probiotic drinks to consumers with digestive issues. Such recommendations make a lot of impact on the consumers’ purchase patterns and the overall industry. As lifestyles are getting faster, people are getting busier leaving no time for themselves. The simplest of items like curd and lassi which we have seen being made at home, are now purchased from stores to save time and effort.
Amidst the Covid-19 outbreak, the pandemic has stirred questions about how effective is the body in fighting infections. Naturally, the body fights infections by activating its immune responses which activate cascades of mechanisms in the body to eliminate the pathogen from the system.
Direct health value drivers are influencing food consumption of individuals and households as well as that served at restaurants largely through additives acting as immunity boosters and enhancing nutrition.
Herbal medicines add inputs to boost immunity not necessarily against Covid-19 but a host of other ailments as well. For instance, many restaurants are using additives in tea (chai) such as ajwain-saunf, lemongrass and Kashmir kahwah to boost immunity against seasonal ailments. The addition of turmeric (haldi) has become widespread and gooseberry, wheat-grass, honey and kokum are fast catching up. New dairy products launched at coffee outlets include honey turmeric latte and vitamin-rich raspberry kiwi.
Value addition which enhances storage and diversification in new-age food products like milk products, vegetable protein concentrates can enhance its market potential and consumer acceptability further.
As lockdown starts opening up, sales of immunity boosting foods double. There has been little emphasis on health as a value element barring the obvious cases of food and health products. However, in the post-Covid era, health considerations appear to have assumed great importance triggering a rush by product manufacturers and service providers to revisit the drawing board and redesign their product or service.
Improve Your Diet
Few herbs can help in extending the shelf life of dairy products (especially fermented dairy products) through their suppressing effect on fungi and bacteria. Hence, judicious use of herb application in dairy products may result in raising their nutritional and medicinal values and enable development of value-added dairy products. Fortification of herbs in dairy products could help in providing value-added, functional dairy foods at the same time boost the sale of important herbs.
India is the largest producer of medicinal herbs and is referred to as the ‘Botanical Garden of the World. Since the ancient times, herbs have been used not just as food flavourings, but also as medicine and preservatives. With the emergence of fortified foods, there is a worldwide increase in health awareness and interest in adding herbs as prized food additive in dairy and food products.
Herbs have found many uses in treating number of diseases and their herbal extracts can be used in pharmaceuticals, Ayurvedic formulation, confectionery, nutritional foods, ready-to-drink mixes, instant foods, seasonings, dairy products, seasoning blends and so on.
Therefore, fortification of herbs in dairy products could provide value-added, functional dairy product. The objective of collating literature on some important herbs will unravel the mysteries, enabling us to know the causative factors for alleviating health issues otherwise plaguing certain individuals. Moreover, use of some specific herbs will help in shelf life extension of otherwise perishable dairy products.
Functional properties of herbs used in milk products to boost immunity-
Natural antioxidants, derived from plant sources are presumed to be safe as they occur in nature and are being used by human being from ancient time. Antioxidants help in delaying the oxidation of molecules by inhibiting the initiation or propagation of oxidising chain reactions by free radicals and may reduce oxidative damage to the human body. The antioxidant properties of herbs are due to presence of some vitamins, flavonoids, terpenoids, carotenoids and phytoestrogens. Some examples of spice and herbs containing antioxidants are basil, cinnamon, clove, dill, ginger, mint, oregano, rosemary, saffron, sage and thyme.
The examples of few important herbs that have conferred medicinal or functional properties to dairy foods are dealt below:
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera)
One of the most esteemed medicinal plant used in Indian Ayurveda since centuries. It hails from Solanceae family, grown in Africa, the Mediterranean, and India. Ashwagandha is considered to be a vitaliser, adaptagen, facilitating the ability to withstand stressors, and has antioxidant properties.
Turmeric (Curcuma longa)
Turmeric is widely used as a spice, preservative, colouring matter and has wide range of medicinal and pharmacological applications. It exhibits anti-inflammatory, anti-HIV, anti-bacterial, and antioxidant, nematocidal, antiparasitic, antispasmodic and anti-carcinogenic activities. Used in ice creams as the current trend, flavoured milk, yoghurt, lassi, milk-based energy drinks.
Arjuna (Terminalia arjuna)
Terminalia arjuna Wight & Arn is a deciduous and evergreen tree that belongs to Combretaceae family. The plant is rich source of natural antioxidants and hence finds usage in both Ayurvedic and Yunani systems of medicine. It is reported to possess properties such as styptic, anthelmintic, alexiteric, tonic, and useful in fractures, heart diseases, urinary discharges, biliousness, ulcers, asthma, tumours, anaemia, excessive perspiration and so on. It is used in milk based savouries such as Sondesh.
Sage (Salvia triloba)
Sage is the dried leaf of a mint family. The leaves of Sage plant are well known for their antioxidative properties and anti-inflammatory activities. The oil extract of sage has been found to possess antimicrobial activities against a wide range of bacteria, which are mainly due to the cineole component. It is used as a flavouring and antioxidant in cheeses, pickles, vegetables, processed foods and beverages.
Cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum, synonym Zeylanicum)
Cinnamon is a herb traditionally used by many ancient cultures. In addition to being used as a spice and flavouring agent, cinnamon is added in certain food for mouth refreshing effects and in milk-based products.
Cumin (Cuminum cyminum)
Cumin is a small annual herbaceous plant that is a member of the aromatic plant family Umbelliferae. Cumin is cultivated in India, Morocco, Iran, Turkey, China and the America. The seeds of the plant are used to add flavour to spicy dishes. They are also used as an appetite stimulant and to ease stomach disorders. It is used in chaas (buttermilk).
Garlic (Allium sativum)
Garlic is used as important ingredient in some Indian spicy dishes. It is a rich source of phytochemicals and organosulfur compounds showing health benefits and anti-ageing effects. It is used to spice food, cure colds, heal infections, and treat ailments like heart disease and cancer. Garlic cheese spreads, mayonnaise with garlic are the milk-based products that are booming in market.
Fenugreek (Trigonella afoenum-graecum Leguminosse)
Fenugreek is found all over India and the fenugreek seeds are usually used as one of the major constituents of Indian spices.
In India, the ground seeds are used in spice mixtures and as a condiment, and therefore constitute an important ingredient in Chutneys and spice blends and milk-based energy drinks for gaining appetite.
Peppermint (Mentha piperita)
The leaves and stems, which contain menthol (a volatile oil), are used medicinally and as flavouring in food in tea, coffee and in flavoured milk-based products.
Basil (Ocimum basilicum)
Basil is commonly known as Tulsi. Since ancient times, this plant is known for its medicinal properties. These plants portions find their applications as culinary herb or as minor adjuncts to salads and herbal tea and as aromatic agents in the food, pharmaceutical, functional food and nutraceuticals industries.
The description of each dairy product incorporated with herbs has been discussed herein.
Ghee (clarified butterfat)
Herbs contain high amounts of phenolic compounds which possess potent antioxidant properties. These products possess typical flavour, bitter or pungent taste and a dark colour.
Sage (Salvia officinalis) and Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) extracts have been the most widely used herbs for prolonging the shelf life of ghee and butter oil
Yogurt and Labneh (concentrated yoghurt)
Herbal yoghurt was prepared using cinnamon and licorice, incorporating probiotic bacteria. Yoghurt containing cinnamon had greater shelf life.`
Dahi (Indian yogurt) and lassi (fermented drink)
A functional Lassi and Dahi were developed by supplementing the herb Aloe vera and probiotics.
Herbal flavoured yoghurt spread with salt and coriander and mint. Such mint flavoured yoghurt spread is recommended for use in sandwiches, burgers, chapattis and other leavened bakery items.
Shrikhand (sweetened and flavoured concentrated yoghurt)
Shrikhand being a semi-soft, sweetish sour, whole milk product prepared from lactic fermented curd can easily harbour herbs/herbal extracts without undergoing significant changes in its sensory quality, stored under refrigeration temperature.
Different forms of ginger i.e., ginger juice; ginger shreds, sugar syrup treated ginger shred and ginger powder were used to prepare ‘ginger flavoured herbal ice cream. In the preparation of ‘basil flavoured herbal ice incorporation of basil juice led to decrease in fat, protein, carbohydrates, ash and acidity and an increase in pH; melting resistance of ice cream was reduced.
Clove essential oil showed antibacterial effect against feta cheese.
Incorporation of herbs in dairy product may result in improvement of health and medical condition of human being. Herbal products with promising health benefit, should comply with the regulatory requirements with respect to safety, efficacy, quality testing and marketing authorisation procedures. It should be devoid of any side-effect.
It is important to note that all these food remedies can be consumed to boost and maintain the immune system against a wide range of infections and diseases and to help manage some diseases as well as relieve certain signs and symptoms caused by diseases.
The bad news is that there is no magic pill or miracle broth that will ‘boost’ our immunity against coronavirus overnight. The good news is that there are many ways we can give our immune system the best possible chance of operating at its optimum level.
When it comes to maintaining good health, the immune system is our most precious asset- A silent wonder.
Source : fnbnews