'Acid whey' issue highlights 'inefficiency' of Greek yogurt production methods - AFI

By Mark ASTLEY contact

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Greek yogurt, Manufacturing, Milk

‘Acid whey’ issue highlights 'inefficiency' of Greek yogurt production
Arla Foods Ingredients (AFI) has waded into the current debate on the environmental impact of Greek yogurt by-product ‘acid whey’ by claiming that the issue “highlights the inefficiency” of traditional manufacturing methods.

In a statement issued yesterday, AFI application manager, Torben Jensen, said that traditional ‘acid whey’-producing manufacturing methods are unsustainable from “both an ecological and a commercial point of view.”

‘Acid whey’ - a by-product of traditional Greek yogurt production processes - is toxic to the natural environment.

Concerns about the potential environmental impact of ‘acid whey’ emerged last month following the publication of an article by Modern Farmer.

Speaking with DairyReporter.com earlier today, Jensen said that these concerns emphasise the importance of adopting new, more environmentally-friendly Greek yogurt manufacturing techniques.

“Preferable” to avoid waste products

“It is preferable for all manufacturers to avoid waste products such as ‘acid whey’,”​ said Jensen.

“From traditional Greek yogurt manufacturing processes, we are left with this ‘acid whey’, which basically means that manufacturers are throwing away around two-thirds of the milk they started with. At the moment, it is generally sold on as feed for animals or dumped on fields – which can have a big impact on the environment.”

“If a manufacturer of traditional Greek yogurt wants to become more environmentally-friendly, it will be necessary to make a change,” ​he said.

“It won’t happen overnight, but I would strongly suggest other methods to newcomers to the category, rather than encouraging them to invest in separation technology.”

“More environmentally-friendly process”

According to Jensen, AFI recognised the difficulties presented by ‘acid whey’ when developing its own Greek yogurt manufacturing concept​. The process - a combination of AFI's Quick processing method and Nutrilac proteins range - “completely”​ eliminates acid whey “without compromising taste,” ​said Jensen.

The concept provides Greek yogurt manufacturers “a good alternative and a more environmentally-friendly process,” ​he added.

According to last month’s Modern Farmer article, US-based Greek yogurt manufacturers are “scrambling to figure out what to do with”​ the increasing volumes of ‘acid whey’ being produced.

Speaking with DairyReporter.com last week, US-based Greek yogurt manufacturers, Chobani and Dannon, pledged to establish a wider range of “responsible” ​methods to dispose of the potentially-hazardous by-product.

Since then, New York-based Muller Quaker Dairy and  Canadian dairy processor, Ultima Foods, a have attempted to distance themselves from consumer concerns​ about the environmental impact of Greek yogurt by revealing details of their alternative, ‘acid-whey’-free Greek yogurt manufacturing methods.

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