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Demand for whey and lactose ingredients is showing strong growth after a significant fall in demand in 2008/2009 following big price rises the year before, according to quoting a new report from food and drink industry analysts, 3A Business Consulting.

The report, Global Opportunities for Whey and Lactose Ingredients 2010-2014, attributes the growth to a return to regular pricing patterns.

The firm’s managing partner Tage Affertsholt, told “The extreme price increases in 2006 and first half of 2007 forced many food manufacturers to replace expensive whey and lactose ingredients with cheaper food ingredients, resulting in less demand for products. However, demand has been re-established at previous levels in 2010, assisted by lower prices and recovery of the global economy.”

Affertsholt added that dairy ingredient companies are moving towards more value-added products, so high-end protein products are continuously taking a bigger share.

The sectors driving these segments include the sports drinks and bars, infant formula and clinical nutrition sectors. Processed foods such as the bakery sector also use modified high end whey proteins to replace egg white.

The global market value for whey powder, whey proteins and whey protein fractions is forecast to reach US $6.4 billion (NZD$8.03 billion) by 2014 compared with its current value of US $5 billion. That amounts to a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4% at constant prices.

Lactose, pharmaceutical lactose, permeate and lactose derivatives are valued at more than $1.6 billion which is expected to rise to nearly $2 billion in 2014; a CAGR of 3%.

High growth markets for whey and lactose are located in Asia with China in particular showing very high growth rates.

Prominent products include a dairy drink containing whey protein launched by Coca-Cola in China under the Minute Maid Pulpy Super Milky brand.

Both the Asian and global markets for whey and lactose are dominated by suppliers from US, European Union and Oceania suppliers. But whey processing is also increasing rapidly in South America and Eastern Europe, notes the report.

Major players in the whey and lactose ingredient industry are the leading dairy and cheese companies such as Lactalis, FrieslandCampina, Fonterra, Arla Foods, Glanbia, Murray Goulburn and Hilmar.

But specialist whey and lactose ingredient companies, such as Meggle, Euroserum, Milei and Davisco, also play a significant role, particularly in various specialty products, the report said.

While the world’s two largest dairy companies – Nestlé and Danone – are not producers; they are major users of whey and lactose ingredients. – Source:


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