The company, based in Denmark, said it combined its knowledge of milk components and its experience of working with the meat industry to develop the functional milk protein, called PSMD T45, for “cost optimisation of processed meat products”.
Dairy derived ingredients such as milk powder and milk proteins are subject to price fluctuations and the sector also faces growing competition from non-dairy derived alternatives, such as soy.
Arla is the latest in a string of ingredients companies developing products geared towards keeping costs down.
It claims that PSMD T45 can potentially cut ingredient costs by at least 10 per cent compared to current use of milk powder because it is “more functional”.
Arla said the powder has already been successfully tested in ham, pâtés, sausages, liver sausage, mortadella, frankfurters, salami and ready meals.
However, Niels Erikstad told FoodNavigator.com that the product would be suited to almost all types of processed meat products because milk proteins have “very good functionality in binding water and emulsifying”.
He said that milk protein is typically used in meat products for functionality. In some cases the fractionated milk protein has a similar texture and functionality as the meat and milk ingredients can also be used for taste.
He said: “The benefit of milk powder (in general) is texture and taste.
“Our ingredient is produced with highly specialized and modified proteins which in many recipes has a more effective functionality and taste than milk powder.
Erikstad added that PSMD T45 is easily dissolved in the formulation process and can be used in the same way as other milk ingredients.
Arla claims that the benefits of using PSMD T45 in meat products include improving flavour release, promoting appealing mouthfeel and texture as well as good water-binding with no syneresis (where water comes out of a processed meat product during its self-life).
The product also contains no E-numbers and is described as freeze/thaw stable as well as heat stable.
In November John Penno, head of the milk producer the Synlait Group, told delegates at the Horizons Livestock Sciences Conference that soy products were being developed to increasingly resemble dairy products and replace milk-based products and ingredients.
He warned that the industry needed to ensure that milk-derived products offered a niche area of unique functional benefits to the consumer, or face losing ground.
Arla boasts on its website that using a solution based on functional milk proteins allows poultry, ham, salami and other meat products to retain their flavour, texture and succulence after freezing, thawing and cooking.
It also offers customer advice on ways to make the meat go further without any unpleasant aftertaste or, for example, to create a smoother pâté.
Arla Foods Ingredients is divided into two areas: trading and industrial ingredients, which includes its permeate and lactose, functional milk proteins, nutrition and bakery business units.