Fonterra is cashing in on the credentials of a milk component in helping to manage society's growing stress levels with a major new product launch in the US market.
NZMP, the business-to-business dairy ingredient solutions arm of New Zealand's biggest company, is offering American consumers access to milk phospholipids, complex lipids in milk which it says have been clinically proven to help manage the effects of stress.
After 18 months of research and development by Fonterra's New Zealand scientists, several ingredient-based applications have been developed for milk phospholipids, including nutritional bars, ready-to-mix powders and supplement sachets.
The launch signals Fonterra's move into the mental wellness edible products market with NZMP citing a US survey which showed 67 per cent of consumers reported they were concerned about their stress and anxiety levels in 2020.
A company spokesman said consumers want mental health and wellbeing solutions beyond traditional pills, and edible solutions to everyday stress are highly sought-after in the US active lifestyle market.
Milk phospholipids are complex lipids naturally present in milk.
In the US market, Fonterra is pushing the product's attributes as non-genetically modified, animal growth hormone-free and made from grass-fed New Zealand cow's milk.
The company said milk phospholipids are high in beneficial whey protein which supports muscle build and recovery and low in lactose and sugar content.
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"We're helping food brands tap into new consumers' needs, such as mood enhancement and cognitive performance under stress - issues that have recently amplified due to the pandemic."
A "clean tasting" dairy solution, phospholipids were suitable for delivering functional food benefits to many food and beverage products, the company said.
NZMP, the business-to-business dairy ingredients brand of Fonterra which sells products to more than 100 countries, is a major tool in the big dairy co-operative's "operational reset", a back-to-basics business strategy, as it recovers from heavy financial losses in 2018 and 2019.
In China, where Fonterra's farm and Chinese company investments became synonymous with disaster, the strategy change has seen the company focus on new premium and specialised ingredients and products - such as single-shot probiotics and specialised immunity-support consumer powders - tapping both its strong intellectual property skills and pandemic-driven consumer demand for health and wellness products.
The strategy also pitches New Zealand milk as increasingly rare and valuable, and works on getting dairy ingredients into Chinese cuisine.
In China, the ingredients and food-service businesses, respectively its largest and second-largest in that country, and its consumer operation are now all focused on product innovation.
Fonterra is the world's fifth largest dairy company by revenue.