Over the past decade, ready-to-drink, high-protein dairy-based enteral beverages have been in high demand because of their convenience and nutritional benefits. Enteral dairy beverages are defined as dairy beverages that are ingested orally to meet nutritional requirements. Milk protein concentrates (MPC) are one of the preferred ingredients to formulate dairy beverages because they have the same casein-to-whey protein ratio as milk. By using MPC, protein content in dairy beverages can be increased; however, mineral to protein and protein to protein interactions during storage can result in defects such as sedimentation and age gelation.
Casein micelle stability during storage is determined by factors such as ionic calcium, pH, composition of the beverage, and plasmin activity. Partial demineralization of casein was proven to improve functional properties of MPC as well as cause greater dissociation of casein micelles in skim milk. This study demonstrates how modified calcium content MPC can be used in enteral beverage formulations to improve storage stability.