CHINA – Arla Foods Ingredients, the food ingredients business of Danish dairy giant, Arla Foods has launched a first of its kind clean-label concept to help brands meet growing demand for ambient yogurt in China.

According to the company, the new solution uses Nutrilac YO-4575, a 100% natural whey protein, to give unrefrigerated yogurts a premium positioning with all-natural ingredients.

Arla Food Ingredients explains that Nutrilac YO-4575 is unique due to its heat-stability and texturizing properties: it keeps ambient products smooth and stable throughout shelf life without the need for additives or preservatives.

The solution is expected to enable manufacturers in China cope with the exploding demand of ambient yogurt.

Yogurt sales are growing faster in China than anywhere else in the world, with ambient yogurt the fastest growing segment in the country’s liquid dairy market.

According to insights by Innova, the category accounted for almost 30% of China’s entire yogurt market in 2019. Data from Mintel shows that the category has seen a significantly higher growth rate than either chilled yogurts or liquid milks.

Additional consumer insights on organic foods from Lindberg International indicates shows that “made with real ingredients” and “no artificial flavor/colors” are the most important claims for Chinese consumers.

Arla Foods Ingredients therefore sees clear potential for unrefrigerated yogurts with clean labels and has created an ambient stirred yogurt concept containing just five all-natural ingredients to help manufacturers meet this demand.

The company says that its new solution contains more than 3% protein, with Nutrilac YO-4575 providing high nutritional value due to its high amino acid content.

“Ambient yogurts with a natural label are looking more and more like a major opportunity to capture a slice of China’s growing yogurt market,” said Torben Jensen, Senior Category Manager, FDP, at Arla Foods Ingredients.

“But to be part of this journey, manufacturers need to offer something different. Clean-label products are the perfect way for brands to differentiate in the category, while tapping into demand for premium products.

“We’re proud to have developed the first clean label ambient yogurt. Our concept is delicious, convenient and made with all-natural ingredients. It offers a premium edge, with an ideal texture, fresh taste and great stability.”

The yogurt contains skimmed milk, cream (38% fat), sugar and native tapioca starch. To highlight the concept’s flavor possibilities, Arla Foods Ingredients is offering it in three varieties: vanilla, peach and green tea.

Like all its whey products, Arla Foods Ingredients maintains that the new solution is sourced from the milk of grass-fed cows in the EU.