Alliance Enterprises says that its patented Benelact process has been found in testing to cut cholesterol content by about 90 per cent in skim milk and 35 per cent for the whole fat variety in order to address consumer health and dietary concerns. Interest in healthy ingredients continues to grow, particularly for alternative dairy ingredients that can potentially be linked to benefits regarding obesity. Product development The new claims regarding Benelact, which is already available globally on the market, both as a licensed production technique and a final ingredient product, forms part of the manufacturer's wider focus on targeting health functionality. "We are currently achieving further reductions in cream and will continue to improve and refine our process as well as search for new breakthroughs," a company spokesperson told DairyReporter.com. In order to develop Benelact into a product capable of meeting changing consumer demand, Alliance Enterprises said that it had to address a number of key concerns. "One of the challenges is to create an un-adulterated milk that does not have any adverse organoleptic effects," the spokesperson added. "In addition, the challenge is also to not introduce 'unnatural' components into a natural food." The manufacturer said that the latest testing has been carried out at its recently constructed R&D facility, which itself reflects its desire to expand applications of the process. To verify these latest claims, the product was voluntarily sent to AgSource and Northland Laboratories for independent testing, according to the company. In addressing costs of using Benelact, Alliance Enterprises believes that price per pound was relatively low, while allowing for improved revenues through added-value product innovation. The process The Benelact process combines mixing and separating operations with the addition of natural oils to the milk, according to the manufacturer During the ongoing processing, the group says that these oils work to 'grab' and then separate cholesterol from the actual milk under controlled temperature conditions. "Because temperatures and other factors are controlled throughout the process, proteins, calcium and vitamins are left undisturbed," said the company spokesperson. "Since none of the flavour is lost, no [taste-enhancing] additives are required."