In the soft drink and milk drink sector, there are currently two trends that food manufacturers simply cannot ignore: as far as possible, beverages should be made 100% from natural ingredients, and they should contain no added sugar.
Against this background, malt beverages promise plenty of potential, because the products are in line with both trends. Especially in the Middle East, Africa and Southeast Asia, malt beverages are very popular.
Malt can be used creatively in a huge variety of product formulations. So malt beverages can be positioned very widely. In the beverage industry, manufacturers can give innovative extra value to products in a wide range of different segments using malt as an ingredient.
Combinations of milk and malt are possible, as are formulations using fruit and malt, or yoghurt and malt. And malt extracts are also ideally suited for crossing with various natural flavours. Chocolate or coffee flavours are a perfect complement to malt, and it also combines well with fruit.
There are all kinds of possibilities for healthy and delicious beverage creations, and right now they promise good prospects of success”.
Malt is produced by germinating and drying cereal grains such as barley, wheat, rye or spelt in a malting process.
For the subsequent processing into foods, the grains are crushed or ground. In food applications, malt is best-known world-wide for its use in making alcoholic beverages – primarily in brewing beer.
Malt is used in the production of whiskey as well. And it is also used as an ingredient in bread and pastries, sweets, and alcohol, free malt beer or so-called ‘Nährbier’ (nourishing beer).
Another classic is the use of malt in breakfast drinks. The caffeine-free, sweet alternatives to coffee products are drunk not only by adults but by children as well. Brand names such as Ovaltine (Ovomaltine in some European countries) and Horlicks are well known players in the sector that have made a name for themselves in various parts of the world over many decades, with instant powder for malt drinks; but these branded beverages are also available as ready-to-drink products.
In Vietnam, for instance, FrieslandCampina markets Ovaltine beverages in aseptic carton packs.
Malt beverages were originally strengthening, restorative products for growing children, as well as for sick people and the elderly.
But athletes soon discovered the products as well. Malt beverages are a good energy source, because malt is packed full of vitamins, minerals, starch, protein and trace elements. The nutrients in malt beverages are quickly absorbed and processed by the body. Malt beverages, which naturally have a nutty-sweet, slightly buttery taste, are therefore an ideal source of energy for mental and physical activity.
Due to the high quality proteins, malt beverages can also alleviate stress. They are healthy and great tasting alternatives to sweet and thus high-calorie soft drinks.
Modern malt beverages in particular have the potential to sell well.
They are best sellers in countries where malt beverages have been popular for a long time, such as parts of Asia. But they are currently also finding their way into countries where malt is largely a new comer, for example in the Middle East and Africa. In Nigeria, for instance, malt beverages are establishing themselves as popular thirst quenchers.
Many people in the Middle East and Africa abstain from alcohol for religious reasons, but like the aromatic beer taste. The malt flavour is therefore extremely popular in these regions.