Arla provides whey shortages for organic infant formula
Arla Food Ingredients has developed a patented fractionation technology that bypasses the cheese production process. Under the ORIGIN brand, patented “milk to can” technology makes it possible to create infant formula directly from organic milk rather than relying on whey.
“Until now, our infant nutrition portfolio has relied – to a large extent – on whey, which, of course, is a by-product of cheese making. By adopting our ‘milk in a can’ approach and eliminating the use of whey, we have been able to produce infant formula made from organic milk. This process involves significantly reduced processing steps by creating organic infant formula directly from milk instead of relying on organic cheese production first,”Henrik Anderson. CEO of Arla Food Ingredients, Nutraingredients told.
15% of infant formula launches tracked by Innova Market Insights over the past three years made organic claims.
According to figures from Euromonitor, global retail sales of organic infant formula are expected to increase by 10% (CAGR) in value over the next five years.
The main driver is parents and caregivers rejecting chemically synthesized products in favor of nutrition free of chemicals, artificial ingredients and additives.
Organic growth curve hampered by shortages
However, according to Arla, with demand for organic whey and lactose rapidly outpacing supply, the insufficient availability of infant-grade organic raw materials has – to date – threatened to stunt growth.
“The problem to date has been a shortage of organic whey protein and lactose, precisely because the supply of these ingredients has been dependent on the size – and demand within – of the organic cheese market,”Andersen said.
“The market for organic infant formula is experiencing tremendous growth globally, but manufacturers have had to rely on the supply of by-products from organic cheese making, which has limited their ability to produce enough formula organic baby food to meet growing consumer demand,”he added.
The ORIGIN process allows manufacturers in the infant nutrition sectors to circumvent whey protein shortages by drawing directly from milk produced on Arla’s organic farms – the largest organic milk reservoir in the world according to Danish Council data. agriculture and food.
“Traditional cheese making requires significant amounts of organic raw milk to produce the volumes of whey needed to meet demand. Now that we are no longer dependent on this, we can significantly increase production.
“At the same time, we can offer parents and guardians greater clarity on where the organic infant formula comes from because only a few Arla farms supply the milk to our factory in Videbaek,” Andersen said.
The ORIGIN process
Infant formulas start with organic milk, which is then separated by fractionation into different milk components: milk protein concentrate, whey protein, lactose, milk fat and casein. The first three of these ingredients are blended with oils, minerals and vitamins to create a complete organic infant formula.
The formulas will be produced at Arla Food Ingredients’ Arinco factory in Videbaek, Denmark. Private label options will be available in both finished formulas and base powders. In terms of certification, organic infant formulas produced at Arinco already have EU and Chinese organic approvals.
Arla Foods Ingredients launched its first organic ingredient, MicelPure, in August 2020. The launch of organic micellar casein isolate marked the start of the company’s long-term strategy to fill the void in the ingredients market natural and organic proteins.
Hendersen confirmed the importance of infant formula in this strategy by stating: “As a company, we believe organic infant formula is an important growth market and it will be one of our key target markets going forward.”