Arla Food Ingredients acid wheyIt's not turning lead into gold, but a new process does allow turning acid whey into value-added dairy products, such as high-protein fermented beverages, whey smoothies and fermented desserts.

The innovative processing solution from Arla Food Ingredients has been named "Best Beverage Ingredient" at the Beverage Innovation Awards, held at the Drinktec trade show in Munich this month. The company is a subsidiary of the Sweden/Denmark-based Arla Foods, the seventh largest dairy processor in the world, according to Rabobank.

According to Arla, for every 100kg of milk used to make traditional Greek yogurt, 33kg ends up used in the final product and the remainder is the by-product acid whey. Greek yogurt makers have tended to send the acid whey to the animal feed or biofuels markets, or dispose of it into the waste stream.

The solution from Arla Foods Ingredients uses its Nutrilac protein, which is derived from milk, to turn acid whey into a range of dairy products that can be sold at a high margin on consumer markets. The result is a fresh-tasting and nutritious product that is a good source of calcium, protein and essential amino acids, Arla claims. In addition, using acid whey in this way eliminates the storage and transportation requirements associated with other methods of disposing of it.

“With the addition of our Nutrilac protein solution to the acid whey, what was once a waste product is now a raw material that can be used to create a high quality product with added value,” said Carsten Valentin, senior director – functional milk proteins.

The acid whey concept is also suitable for use in other applications where acid whey is a by-product, including quark production.

Arla Foods Ingredients is a developer and supplier of nutritional and functional milk-based ingredients to the global food industry. The company operates production facilities in Denmark, Sweden, Argentina and Germany, application centres in Denmark and Argentina, and a worldwide network of sales offices. Its North American sales office is based in Basking Ridge, N.J.