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Arla Foods Ingredients

The Journey of Whey – From Waste to Feed to Food

High raw material waste is a long-standing problem in the manufacture of strained dairy products such as Greek yoghurt and cream cheese. As these products have grown in popularity, the issue has reached new heights, with implications for the environment as well as manufacturer profits.

The challenge lies in the high-volume waste stream – acid whey – which accounts for around two-thirds of the milk that goes in at the beginning of the strained dairy process.

Added-value upgrade

Today, manufacturers have the opportunity to upgrade acid whey to an added-value raw material. And all with the help of another ingredient which, just a few decades ago, was regarded as a waste product itself: whey protein extracted from the whey by-product of cheese production.

Whey used to be seen as waste but Today, it is a valuable resource in the production of nutritional and functional food

Until the 1980s, whey was either spread on fields as a fertiliser, turned into livestock feed or disposed of by other means. That was when Danish scientists discovered whey’s potential as an efficient and natural source of protein. Arla Foods Ingredients and a promising new industry was born.

A powerhouse of benefits

Whey is now known to be a nutritional and functional powerhouse of benefit to consumers right from infancy to old age. Arla Foods Ingredients uses every protein and all other components in whey to help food manufacturers produce more natural, functional and sustainable foods.

That includes the Greek yoghurt manufacturers who can now make 100% use of the milk that goes into their production. Thanks to whey proteins, their acid whey side-stream has become an ideal, calcium-rich base for beverages, dips, desserts and processed cheese.