Speaking with DairyReporter.com, Claus Andersen, cheese category manager at Arla Foods Ingredients (AFI), accepted that opting for cheaper alternatives to often expensive traditional ingredients could impact the quality of finished dairy products.
He added, however, that by bringing down the cost of production, manufacturers can offer products that are financially more attractive to consumers in Asia, Africa, and other developing markets.
“Yes, risks certainly do exist,” said Andersen.
“When you take milk fats, milk proteins or milk solids out of a product and substitute them, there is always talk about the impact on appearance, flavour and quality.”
“But these ingredients make dairy products available to a wider group of consumers, because they are cheaper," he said.
“This is something that should not been seen as a negative.”
"Stretch out the supply"
But interest in cost-cutting ingredients is not confined to developing regions, said Andersen.
“With us, all our ingredients already come from milk,” he said. “We select the proteins that work best in specific products.”
“For example, we have effective solutions for the substitution of milk powder."
"We have some proteins that are actually much more efficient. So you can keep the product all-dairy and maintain quality, but cut the cost.”
“We also see milk shortages in Eastern Europe. In this case, ingredients can be used to stretch out the supply.”
“Another way of cutting-costs”
He also reminded DairyReporter.com that reducing the cost of production doesn’t need to involve the development of cheaper, alternative ingredients.
“We are working a lot with the elimination of acid whey,” he said.
Last year, AFI unveiled a new concept that involves the enrichment of acid whey - a by-product of Greek yogurt production - with one of its Nutrilac protein ingredient.
This method, according to AFI, allows Greek yogurt manufacturers to produce value-added dairy products from what ordinarily would have been waste.
“It is another way of cutting-costs because you need less equipment and you save money because you do not need to handle this acid whey. We can totally eliminate it," he said.