Follow Me This Whey: A Look Into the Innovative and Growing World of Whey Proteins
Around 95% of the world’s whey comes as a by-product of cheese production. The whey ingredient industry has done a stellar job in turning the whey stream, which was once a waste product, into arguably one of the most technical and nutrient-dense ingredients of the global food ingredient sector.
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Whey is a favored source of complete protein due to its impressive essential amino acid profile, and as consumer awareness of whey’s benefits has grown, demand for it has increased.
“The whey ingredient complex has seen strong returns in the sports-nutrition, clinical-nutrition, and infant-formula industries, which have driven investments across the globe. As a result, over 90% of the global whey stream is now utilized, bringing value to dairy farmers, manufacturers, and consumers alike,” according to Tom Bailey – Senior Dairy Analyst.
There has been an influx of competition and some commoditization of whey ingredients as investments and volumes have grown. This has led to rising pricing pressure across the whey complex. Attempting to regain margins and differentiate in myriad ways, many ingredient players have leveraged their core R&D strength to seek further value, including focusing on the remaining by-products of whey concentrates, such as whey permeate, procream, and lactose. The R&D push has opened the doors to more complex product-development opportunities for the whey stream, with often high and relatively stable prices, helping whey ingredient manufacturers regain margin.