Yogurt Matrix: Benefits of Milk Composition and Structure

RESEARCHER: Maria Marco, UC Davis​

CO-FUNDER: National Dairy Council

TIMELINE: January 2022 – December 2023

BACKGROUND: Dairy foods, especially yogurts, are associated with reduced disease risk for cardiometabolic disease, type 2 diabetes, and inflammation. Plant-based yogurt alternatives are increasing in popularity and are promoted as being equal to or better than dairy for providing health benefits. However, these plant-based yogurts have very different nutritional and structural properties than dairy yogurt and are likely inferior in one or more ways

OBJECTIVE: To better understand how dairy yogurt and plant-based yogurts differ, this project will determine how those foods breakdown during digestion (stomach and intestine), impacting nutrient profiles and probiotic survival. To provide scientific evidence showing the benefits of a fermented dairy food matrix for delivering nutrients and probiotics.

INDUSTRY BENEFIT: The major benefit of this project is to be able to expand marketing of milk and fermented dairy foods based on their nutritional and microbial properties. With a longer-term goal of increasing dairy yogurt demand and consumption.