Sunday, December 09, 2018
 Proliant Dairy Looking To Develop Greek-Whey Market With New Drying Process  

For years, Fage U.S.A. officials believed there was simply no way to turn their whey into a profitable substance.

Some cheese and yogurt manufacturing produces whey that is easily dried and sold into other products, but not Fage's . Fage makes Greek-yogurt that is so protein rich, that the whey leftover after the yogurt is made is a low-protein substance that is difficult to dry using conventional means.

Subsequently Fage has always viewed its whey as costly waste, dumping about 25 million gallons of the stuff down the drain in 2013. All of this whey waste is treated at the New York, Johnstown-Gloversville Wastewater Treatment Facility, which, since 2008, has undergone two major upgrades aimed primarily at increasing the facility's capacity to treat the growing volume of whey waste from Fage and its Johnstown Industrial Park neighbor Euphrates Cheese. But now it appears that whey volume is about to go down significantly.

In November, Prolient Dairy announced a deal to purchase Fage's whey and turn it into a, "shelf-stable, easily transportable, dry ingredient for global food and feed industries."

When the Johnstown-Gloversville Wastewater Treatment Facility began its $10 million expansion in 2008 to handle the increasing volume of whey from Fage no process existed for drying Greek-yogurt whey into a shelf-stable product.

In 2013 Proliant Dairy decided to invent one. Proliant Dairy President and CEO Gary Weihs said they saw the potential in the popularity of Greek-yogurt to create another unique byproduct stream.

"The thinking was, here's an opportunity to add value to a waste stream, but what was needed was some creativity to figure out how to do it," Weihs said. "Nobody's ever done this before. So we created a process at our research center in Ankeny, Iowa and then we contacted Fage."

Fage Vice President of Marketing Russell Evans has expressed that when Proliant Dairy demonstrated to Fage that its process worked, Fage officials saw that, "It was a commercially viable option that made sense for the business."

Weihs said after Proliant Dairy is granted the patent for its new whey drying process, the company intends to build a facility somewhere on the east coast to dry the whey. He said his company is currently considering locations inside the Johnstown Industrial Park.

Proliant Dairy plans to sell the Greek-whey byproduct as animal-feed as well as a food ingredient to the baking and candy industries.

"This will be a brand new product, so there will be a challenge in developing the market for this Greek-whey. We think there will be a number of valuable properties for customers in this product, but we have to develop those markets," Weihs said. "This Greek-whey will have a more tart than sweet taste-profile, so I think there will be some very unique food uses that we'll be able to help food manufacturers to reformulate their products to take advantage of."

Source: Leader Herald (NY)


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