Arla Foods Ingredients has inaugurated a spray-drying tower in Argentina as the company looks to invest in South America and add value to its whey processing by-products.
Built at a cost of $35m, the new tower will be used to convert permeate left over from whey protein concentrate production into a non-hygroscopic ingredient for dairy and other food products.
Henrik Andersen, head of whey activities at Arla Foods Ingredients, told DairyReporter.com that permeate had previously been disposed of for use in animal feed products.
By building a second spray-drying tower at its whey processing facilities 600km northeast of Buenos Aires, Arla Foods Ingredients will now be able to add more value to its existing materials.
Explaining the potential of the permeate to be processed at the site, Bjarne Schack Pedersen, managing director of Arla Foods Ingredients, said: “Permeate has a lactose content of 90 per cent, making it a cost-effective alternative to lactose in food products,”
In addition to permeate, the new tower, which will have an annual capacity of 25,000 tonnes, will process functional milk proteins for use in food applications such as ice cream and chocolate.
Arla Foods Ingredients has been based in Argentina for 10 years, operating through a joint venture with the local dairy cooperative SanCor, which is its primary supplier of whey in the country.
The joint venture has grown successfully since then and now has an annual turnover of $50m.
Anderson said the latest investment should help grow the business further. He added that having very good access to the fast expanding Brazilian market is particularly advantageous.