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What Is Optipep?

Independent consumer research has established Optipep as number one hydrolysed protein for taste performing significantly higher than leading products on the market in terms of overall taste and palatability. When tasted in an end product by serious sports enthusiasts and users of sports nutrition products, the new clean tasting hydrolysed whey protein was evaluated significantly better on overall taste, aftertaste, mouth feel, aroma and appearance.

Our raw material supplier commissioned the in-depth sensory study to better understand consumer attitudes towards taste and acceptability in the sports nutrition arena. 300 serious sports enthusiasts between the ages of 26 and 35 based in the Netherlands participated in the study, each tasting one sample and providing detailed preference data. The research carried out by Opinion-Group who specialise in sensory evaluation of food & beverage products.

Mr Paul Donegan, marketing manager, of our raw material suppliers: “We are strongly encouraged by the results of this detailed study, which validate our own research into the outstanding taste profile of Optipep . As the sports nutrition market expands, consumer demand in the sector will place more and more pressure on manufacturers to produce nutritionally impressive products that provide an enjoyable sensory experience. Optipep hits the mark on both accounts.

“The framework set out in this study will allow us to benchmark new products to ensure our ingredients continue to surpass consumer taste expectations, enabling our customers to develop innovative, cutting-edge products.”

Optipep allows sports nutrition manufacturers to incorporate hydrolysed whey protein without any compromises in terms of customer experience or flavour in final products. Nutritionally, Optipep offers high levels of di- and tri-peptides which are ideal for rapid delivery of essential peptides for recovery and strength building. Optipep also enables manufacturers to make a hydrolysed whey protein claim on their product labels to appeal to specific customer sectors.

New research has highlighted the increased insulinotrophic effects of hydrolysed whey protein, Optipep, compared to native whey protein. The research, carried out at the Department of Physical Education and Sports Science at the University of Limerick highlights the value of an increased insulin response in aiding recovery and reducing muscle injury post exercise.

The market for sports products continues to increase, boosted by growing interest from recreational sports people and active consumers. The added performance offered by Optipep will be of interest to manufacturers looking to tap into opportunities in the lucrative sports nutrition market such as cereal and protein bars, beverages (RTD and IRTD) and recovery powders.


In trials using young healthy adults (mean age of 22.4 years and average BMI of 20.3), Optipep produced 28 per cent higher peak insulin levels than native whey protein as well as a 43 per cent increase in circulating insulin levels in the three hours after ingestion. In parallel, circulating amino acid levels were also significantly elevated over this period. By enhancing the body’s insulin release, Optipep will assist rapid glycogen synthesis and, alongside adequate carbohydrate intake, increase the rate of muscle refuelling after exercise.


Aine Hallihan, head of R&D, of our raw material suppliers: “The combined effects of increased insulin response and elevated circulating amino acid levels demonstrated by Optipep in the critical post exercise recovery period point to the ingredient’s effectiveness for refuelling muscles and preventing muscle injury. In addition, the high biological value of the ingredient and the antioxidant effects of its amino acids offer further benefits for professional and amateur sportspeople. In effect, the enhanced insulinotrophic response of Optipep relative to other proteins means that less protein is required to provide the same rise in insulin.”


Paul Donegan, marketing manager adds: “The opportunities available to manufacturers and marketing companies in sports nutrition are becoming more abundant as the market evolves. Traditionally marketed to hard-core bodybuilders, protein-fortified products are becoming more main stream and must now deliver on nutrition, convenience and taste. The new research proves Optipep’s nutritional suitability for sports nutrition. R&D and applications expertise has also ensured the ingredient’s ability to improve shelf life of fortified products, making it a smart choice.”

Earlier generations of whey proteins presented food manufacturers with a range of technical and processing challenges. Optipep dissolves quickly with excellent heat stability and overcomes issues of native whey by improving shelf life and moisture retention while reducing hardening, bitterness and costs.

What is Optipep?

Optipep is a range of protein hydrolysates manufactured from whey proteins, whey being the liquid recovered following cheese production from cow’s milk. Whey Protein Concentrate hydrolysates contain 80% protein and Whey Protein Isolate hydrolysates contain 90% protein. The hydrolysis process enzymatically digests the protein into smaller peptides and fractions. The Optipep range includes products with varying degrees of hydrolysis and many have been developed for maximum performance in a variety of applications.

How is Optipep produced?

Optipep is produced by enzymatic hydrolysis of whey protein concentrate and whey protein isolate. Non GMO Food Grade enzymes are used with specific emphasis on reduction of bitterness. After the hydrolysis step, the preparation is heat treated to irreversibly inactivate the enzymes. Optipep is spray dried and instantised for optimum solubility in water.

What is the shelf life of Optipep?

Optipep is a spray dried powder that is stored in high quality packaging. When stored under the correct conditions – under clean, cool dry conditions not exposed to direct sunlight or strong odours and avoiding direct contact with walls and floors – Optipep has a recommended shelf life of 24 months.

How does Optipep taste in comparison to other hydrolysed proteins on the market?

All hydrolysates are bitter in nature because of the exposure of bitter amino acids during the hydrolysate process. The manufacturing process and the enzyme cocktail selections have been optimised to produce the best tasting hydrolysate. Our hydrolysates have been evaluated in a specialist sensory lab against competitor products, showing our superior sensory profile.

What are the advantages of using a hydrolysed whey protein (Optipep) instead of an intact whey protein?

During the production process for Optipep, the protein is pre-digested into di- and tri- peptides resulting in faster absorption into the bloodstream and hence promotes quicker recovery after exercise.

What claims can be made using Optipep?

For claims in the EU relating to Hydrolysed Whey Proteins, an Article 13.1 dossier (2006/1924/EC) for claim registration in foods has been submitted containing the following claims:

  • Accelerates recovery from exercise
  • Helps faster recovery
  • Helps enhance endurance
  • Increases the time to fatigue during exercise
  • Helps better performance
  • Helps to increase physical performance
  • Is Optipep Lactose Free?


No, however within the Optipep range there are a number of options for low lactose. The whey protein isolate hydrolysate has a lactose of ~<0.1%. The whey protein concentrate hydrolysate has ~ 2-3% lactose. Optipep is available as a whey protein concentrate hydrolysate with a lower lactose level where the lactose has been hydrolysed into its component monosaccharides glucose and galactose. This product has <0.5% lactose. 

Is Optipep Kosher and Halal?

Yes, Optipep is Kosher and Halal.

Does Optipep have Low Glycemic Index status?

Yes, Optipep has low Glycemic Index status

Is Optipep suitable for vegetarians?

Yes, Optipep is suitable for vegetarians.

What sort of applications can Optipep be used in?

Optipep can be used in a wide variety of applications including:

  • Instant Powder Beverages
  • RTD Beverages
  • Protein Bars
  • Protein Gels
  • Tablets/Capsules
  • Protein Fortified Juice
  • Protein Fortified Smoothies