Boom in dairy product bone health claims

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 22nd September 2011

Research conducted by the research-house Innova Database group has
revealed a shift over the past few years in the way dairy products are

According to the research, dairy product development and marketing in Australia and elsewhere has become more sophisticated. There are more ingredient blends, not only with calcium, but also vitamin D, vitamin K2, lysine, prebiotic fibres and isoflavones in dairy (or dairy substitutes). These are claimed to help boost calcium absorption and bone formation.

While gut and digestive health remain very popular claims for functional dairy products, dairy launches using bone health or added calcium claims (or both) featured in over 17% of all international dairy product launches in the 12 months to 30 June 2011.

Lu Ann Williams, Research Manager at Innova Market Insights said that, previously, drinking milks traditionally focused on ingredients being added (vitamins, minerals, probiotics, etc.) with a general health positioning. More specific functional health claims such as bone health claims are increasing.

Meanwhile, in the yoghurt market, specialist bone health products are starting to appear in Europe led by Danone with its Densia yoghurt with added calcium and vitamin D. “This yoghurt was launched in Spain in 2009 and was targeted at older women, whereas most added calcium products in the past have tended to be aimed at the children’s market,” Ms Williams said.

“It was met with some initial success in Spain and has since been launched in Portugal and also in Italy, where it is called Danaos. Testing of Densia in France proved disappointing, however, and it was announced in the autumn of 2010 that it would not be launched onto the French market. In 2011, it was introduced in Brazil in both the more usual spoonable and a dose-delivery drink format,” she said.

Ms Williams added, “Interestingly, General Mills, which has just purchased a 51% controlling share in the world’s number two yoghurt brand Yoplait, having held the US licence for the brand since 1977, announced in July 2011 that it was looking for new ingredients or technologies for fermented dairy products to move ‘beyond the known impact of calcium and vitamin D’ to boost the bone formation process, as well as looking at solutions to increasing calcium absorption.