Thriving global cheese production is likely to spur new developments in whey processing, and combined with new process technologies, offer significant growth opportunities for specialists, reveals a new report.
Dairy companies are fast turning the commodity into valuable speciality products for the food industry, dietary supplements and nutraceuticals, leading to a growth of more than 10 per cent annually in individual specialities up to 2007, predicts the report by Denmark's 3A Business Consulting.
This compared to mere 0-5 per cent growth in whey commodities in general.Sales of lactoferrin could grow by as much as 50 per cent, add the consultants, and tagatose will also grow very rapidly although from a small base as the product is just hitting the market.
The report also examines the profiles of some 40 dairy and whey processing companies, 15 R&D organisations and 15 equipment supplying companies.
"Traditionally, whey was a by-product with a negative value from cheese production - today the application of sophisticated technology for manufacturing highly valuable whey derivatives determines the profitability of cheese production," explained Werner Kofod Nielsen, co-author of the report.
Australian scientists recently announced they had designed a method to extract the beneficial minerals and nutrients from whey for use in supplements and nutraceuticals. Such techniques will be invaluable as cheese processing continues to expand."The high value-added whey derivatives, relatively small in volume but with significant value of several hundred USD per kg, are already important food ingredients for industries ranging from infant formula to medical foods," said Tage Affertsholt from 3A Business Consulting.
Major dairy companies dominating the scene include Fonterra, Arla Foods, DMV, Borculo-Domo, Lactalis and Glanbia. However, a number of more specialised companies are also very active in this industry - Milei, Davisco, Armor Proteines, Tatua among others.
"In this highly competitive market, science and technology are key elements in providing the most adequate customer solutions," said Tage Affertsholt.
To a large extent the developments have concentrated on using the valuable content of the proteins in whey, while the remaining part, lactose and salts, has been not so easy to turn to profit. Given overall economics of whey processing, increasing activity can be expected in permeate use.
The report also details existing processing technologies, applications and products and offers current market size for whey and permeate derivatives and expected developments. The increasing trend of establishing strategic alliances in the field of whey marketing and processing is also described.
For more information on the report, 'Global Marketing and Production of Whey Products - Focus on High Value-Added Products and Derivatives', contact Tage Affertsholt.