Issue 31

Licence to thrill - with lactose-free technology

Arla Foods Ingredients paves the way to producing delicious dairy nutrition without lactose

Lactose-intolerant consumers around the world may soon be able to obtain the dairy nutrition they need from lactose-free products with a real milk taste.  Arla Foods Ingredients has created the opportunity with a new licence package aimed at giving international dairy companies access to patented lactose-free process technology. Included in the deal is Arla Foods Ingredients’ extensive expertise in developing, producing and marketing lactose-free milk and yogurt.

Until now, the technology has only been employed by Arla Foods in Scandinavia and the UK, where the launch of new lactose-free consumer products has been well received. This leaves many openings for licence agreements on other markets. 

MilkHuge market potential
Internationally, the market potential is huge for premium lactose-free products that offer excellent nutrition and flavour. While only 3% of the Danish population are estimated to be lactose intolerant, for example, more than 15% are affected in the UK and Finland, and up to 90% in some African and Asian countries. 

”Soya or rice milk have been traditional dairy alternatives for lactose-intolerant consumers. Using our technology, manufacturers can take a major step forward in producing lactose-free products” says Hans Henrik Holst, innovation manager at Arla Foods Ingredients.

Patent-pending filtration
What makes the filtration technology special is its ability to separate half the lactose content out of milk by purely mechanical means without otherwise altering the milk’s overall composition. Afterwards, the addition of the enzyme lactase – the enzyme missing from the digestive systems of lactose-intolerant consumers – splits the remaining lactose content into the monosaccharides glucose and galactose. Heat treatment ensures the final product a safe, extended shelf life.

Complete dairy nutrition
“What the enzyme does is predigest the lactose in the milk so it no longer provokes an uncomfortable reaction,” Holst explains. ”By splitting the lactose into two monosaccharide components, the final product gains the same sweetness as standard milk.”He adds: ”Lactose-free drinks based on our technology contain all the natural dairy calcium, protein, minerals and other nutritional biomolecules of milk – and have a real milk taste.”

The technology’s track record speaks for itself. Now, through a licence agreement with Arla Foods Ingredients, international dairy companies can share in the benefits and bring appealing lactose-free dairy products to their markets.