The EU Blending Company was set up by Erie Foods International, manufacturers of specialty processed ingredients for the food industry, and United Dairymen of Arizona, a US dairy cooperative. Based in Case Grande, Arizona, the company aims to simplify and speed up the manufacturing process for dry packaged ingredients in both domestic and international markets, according to Ryan Tranel, business manager of EU Blending Company. He told FoodNavigator-USA.com: "EU Blending Company is primarily a dry blending facility. However, due to the size and structure of the company, the blending that is occurring is for pre-mixes and custom formulations for specific end uses. "By remaining small and flexible, the company looks to create value added blends that increase functionality of the inbound raw materials. In addition, our size allows us to react quickly and appropriately to any reformulation of finished products for food manufacturers." He said that it is just starting production and receiving inbound dairy powders such as lactose and caseinates. They then create custom blends for the use in cheese manufacturing, ice cream production, bakery applications, and general food preparation. Tranel added: "Our customers, by taking in a pre-mix product rather than a whole host of raw materials, are realizing net savings of time and money through efficiencies in raw material testing, inventory costs, and in house formulating." Milk protein alternatives There has been a trend in the ingredients sector for alternatives to be used in place of milk protein as the price of wholesale milk doubled between 2006 and 2007, which had a knock-on effect on dairy derivatives. From May 2006 to May 2007, prices for casein increased by up to 23 percent ($3.02/lb to up to $3.70/lb), and for caseinate by 41 percent ($3.20/lb to $4.50/lb). Tranel said that the only way the EU Blending Company can become viable is by offering some sort of savings, whether it is time, people or monetary, and the most immediate need in today's market place is monetary savings. He said that in light of the "high cost or increased prices" of casein and caseinates, there were monetary savings in having a pre-mix which include them rather than adding them separately. Earlier this year Solae's vice-president responsible for product line management, Dan Camerer, told FoodNavigator-USA.com that sodium caseinate costs, for example, had grown by around 85 per cent. And as a result he said that "there is potential for food manufacturers to manage some of these cost increases by switching to lower cost proteins such as soy". Similarly in February the Cosucra Groupe Warcoing promoted its Pisane Pea Protein range, which it originally launched on a dairy-replacement platform eight years ago. It said that caseinates, which are typically used as dairy replacers in dietetic foods like infant formula, sports products and slimming foods could at that time cost around €6.50 per kg ($10 per kg or 2.2lbs), whereas pea protein can cost about half the price. Erie, a private company, specialize in offering manufactured dairy ingredients and custom processing services. This includes casein, caseinates, milk protein concentrates and bioactive dairy proteins.