Soy protein, possibly in tandem with premium bioactive whey protein fragments, is uniquely able to serve as a base for functional drink formulations, including soy beverages with probiotic bacteria (such as lactobacillus) that fight viruses and may protect against autoimmune diseases by increasing white blood cell counts. Soy-based beverages are also a logical platform from which to launch specific health segmented spin-off products. It is outside the scope of this book, but there are hundreds of well-researched, approved microcomponents based on vegetables, fruits, herbs or botanicals, including lycopene, cacao polyphenols, seaweed extracts, phytoesterols, soy isoflavones, rice bran, or oryzanol and prebiotic inulin.
Due to skyrocketing health care costs—ironically caused by aging populations—governments are encouraging proactive nutrition initiatives. Functional foods and beverages are a logical pathway to address this.