Greek-style strained yoghurt has surged in popularity over the past few years, but the traditional straining process yields about 1 kg of yoghurt for every 3 kg of milk. The remaining two-thirds is acid whey, which is mainly sold to the animal feed and biofuels markets. However, this is generally uneconomical, meaning that other producers simply dump their acid whey waste stream on fields, with potentially detrimental consequences for the environment – as well as zero profit and overheads for yoghurt makers.
Arla Foods Ingredients says it has developed a process based on its Nutrilac-brand protein, which means manufacturers can use acid whey to make products like high protein fermented beverages, whey smoothies and fermented desserts.
“Until now it has simply been accepted that acid whey is an unavoidable waste product of Greek yoghurt production – but not anymore,” said Torben Jensen, application manager at Arla Foods Ingredients. “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.”
This process could hugely improve margins for Greek-style yoghurt manufacturers, eliminating storage and transportation costs for their acid whey waste, and producing foods that are good sources of calcium and essential amino acids – and potential profits.
Arla Foods Ingredients said the acid whey concept was also suitable for use in other applications where acid whey is a by-product, such as quark production.