Joint md Adrian Ulrick said the project illustrated a wider extension of protein ingredients from specialist health supplements to mainstream consumer products, a movement that had begun with sports drinks. "I suspect in the next year we will see a lot of new products fortified with protein."
Protein supplements had originally been used to build muscle and aid muscle recovery among professional athletes, but consumers with active and healthy lifestyles had become increasingly aware of the importance of protein intake. "There is a growing band of people who are making purchasing choices based on nutritional profiles," said Ulrick.
Wheat protein offered a cheaper alternative for food processors than other forms, particularly those derived from dairy sources, prices for which had rocketed in the past two years, he said.
"We have developed a wheat protein complex that has broken the protein up into hydrolysed dipeptide, which is much easier to digest by the body. It has a much faster effect and can be absorbed at double the rate of whey protein.
"We are working with one bakery on a high protein loaf to start with, which will be on shelf within three to four months, although we could then easily apply it to bread rolls. We will start to see the trend flowing through into sandwiches and snacking products, not just in retail, but also coffee shops."
The fortified bread products would target standard retailers, rather than health food stores, said Ulrick. Other product categories that would benefit from protein-fortified products too, he added. "People want to have a protein-enriched cake or muffin and it will be big in the dairy sector. I think in the next year we will be seeing more mainstream products sold on their nutritional profile."
Breakfast snack bars had historically varied greatly in nutritional terms, with health benefits offset by high sugar and salt content, but the category would also shift towards more nutritionally balanced lines, he said.