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Everything about industrial whey

11 July 2016

Whey manufacturing steps

The first step is milk coagulation achieved by actions of enzymes (addition of rennet) or by acidifying actions of lactic bacteria. Micelles of milk caseins then aggregate forming a gel called coagulum.

The second step is to separate milk from the curds. The water phase separated from the curds is whey.

In the cheese industry, the curds is then used separately to manufacture cheese.

Nutritional characteristics of whey

Whey contains 94% of water, globular proteins that have very interesting nutritional properties thanks to their high composition in essential amino acids (the most impotant are β-lactoglobuline and α-lactalbumine), minerals (calcium, phosphorus and sodium) and vitamins (thiamine-B1, riboflavine-B2 and pyridoxine-B6).

Industrial valorisation of whey

Dairy industry has long considered whey as an overly burdensome residual ingredient of cheese manufacturing. Indeed to manufacture 1 kg of cheese, you’ll need 10 litres of milk and will as a result produce around 9 litres of whey!

Consequently in the 1970s, whey was mostly used to feed cattle. Technical progresses have allowed to exploit nutritional and functional value of whey. Concentration and drying offer nowadays a broad variety of whey powder: sweet whey, acid whey, demineralised whey.

Diverse uses of whey powder in industry

Whey powder is mostly used:

  • In infant formula, whey powder helps increase protein content from milk serum that is lower than in breast milk.
  • To manufacture chocolates or biscuits as a partial alternative to milk.
  • To manufacture cheese, whey fat also called whey cream is used to manufacture melted cheese.
  • To prepare meat, cooked dishes and soups, whey is used as a bulking agent.
  • In cattle feeding.

Click to discover the whey offered by FIT.