Whey to Go Essential Workers

Whey to Go Essential Workers

Essential dairy workers are busier than ever producing a variety of dairy products for consumers, as well as dairy ingredients that manufacturers need for their products. Here we take a deep dive into a high-use dairy ingredient: whey protein. From protein bars to sports nutrition shakes to meal replacement RTD or RTM, you might be surprised at all the ways this nutritious, functional ingredient is being used!

#Essential Workers Produce an Essential Ingredient: Whey Protein

As a major producer of high-quality whey products, Glanbia Nutritionals knows just how important whey is to the food industry. To support the wide range of manufacturers who depend on the nutritional and functional benefits of whey for their products, our essential workers must oversee a number of production steps. 

Whey begins as a liquid—a byproduct of cheese making that’s produced when milk is coagulated and separates into curds and whey. This sweet whey then undergoes a separation process such as microfiltration and ultrafiltration to concentrate the protein. Once the protein target has been reached, the whey is spray dried into a powder.

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Nutrition Benefits of Whey Protein

Whey protein is well known throughout the food industry (and by consumers) as a high-quality protein source. It contains just the right balance of essential amino acids for optimum protein utilization in the body. Its protein quality is reflected in its high PDCAAS and DIAAS values, making it a popular choice in sports nutrition, infant nutrition, and medical nutrition products.

Functional Properties of Whey Protein

Whey protein can also boast a wide range of functional properties. For example, whey protein’s water-binding ability makes it useful in thickening and gelation. It’s also an effective emulsifier and foam stabilizer. Due to its many functional properties, whey protein is especially important in bakery products, where it can be used to reduce fat, replace egg, enhance browning, improve flavor, and increase shelf life.

Types of Whey Products

Whey products can be divided into three major categories:

1. Whey Protein Concentrates

Whey protein concentrate (WPC) has a mild, pleasant flavor and comes in a range of protein concentrations. WPC 34 (which has about 34 percent protein) and WPC 80 (with about 80 percent protein) are examples of two very different whey protein concentrates, with WPC 34 commonly used in baking and WPC 80 for protein fortification. Products that use whey protein concentrate include:

  • Bakery products
  • Soups and soup mixes
  • Dairy products
  • Infant formulas
  • Beverage mixes
  • RTD sports and nutrition beverages
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2. Whey Protein Isolates

Whey protein isolate (WPI) has a neutral flavor and a very high protein content, at 90 percent or more. Whey protein isolates are often used in high protein products, which can include:

  • Frozen dairy desserts
  • Nutrition bars
  • Beverage mixes
  • RTD sports and nutrition beverages

3. Whey Protein Hydrolysates

A whey protein hydrolysate (WPH) is a whey protein concentrate or isolate that’s been broken down into smaller units for faster absorption by the body. Acid or enzyme hydrolysis is used to essentially pre-digest the protein. The higher the degree of hydrolysis, the more quickly it will be absorbed (but the more bitter it will become).

This fast-absorbing whey product has benefits in sports nutrition (particularly in muscle building) and in medical nutrition. In addition, whey protein hydrolysates work in easy-to-digest and hypoallergenic infant nutrition products. Whey protein hydrolysates can be found in products such as:

  • Sports beverage mixes
  • Enteral feeding products
  • Infant formulas

Celebrating Our #Essential Dairy Workers

Essential workers in the dairy ingredient industry and throughout the food industry are working hard to ensure a stable and safe food supply during the COVID-19 pandemic. For their commitment to doing their part, we owe them our heartfelt thanks. We especially wish to celebrate our own team members who continue to come to work in these challenging times to produce the whey products on which so many food and beverage manufacturers rely.

To learn more about using whey protein in your products, contact Glanbia Nutritionals.

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