Issue 40

New plants bring more lactose to the world market

Dry-blend quality targets the fast-growing premium infant nutrition segment

A multi-million Euro investment in two new production facilities for dry-blend lactose is gearing up Arla Foods Ingredients to support the fast-growing global infant nutrition industry. Once fully up and running, the plants’ combined capacity will increase the global supply of lactose and set new quality standards. Long-term demand for lactose is solid as the middle-class population expands in the boom economies of China, India, Southeast Asia and South America. Growing disposable income is causing more and more families to turn to infant formula products, in which lactose is a main component.Today infant formula is the fastest growing food industry segment, with an annual growth rate of 17% forecast in China up to 2015.

Right quality for premium trend
Globally the trend shows a clear move towards more premium infant nutrition products. It is here that dry-blend lactose is making an increasingly important contribution. “Basic quality requirements are increasing with regards to food safety,” says Luis Cubel, business area director. “The new volumes of superior lactose that we are bringing to market will help our infant nutrition customers meet these expectations.”

Production start in 2014
The two new plants under construction are located in Germany and Denmark. Scheduled to start production in spring 2014, the German plant is part of a major whey processing joint venture with DMK, Germany’s largest dairy company. The plant in Denmark is located at the site of Arla Foods Ingredients’ largest European whey processing facility, where a major capacity expansion was recently completed. Here, dry-blend lactose production is expected to commence towards the end of 2014.

Four-fold increase in lactose production
Both plants will be equipped with the latest sophisticated technology. When at full capacity, they will increase the company’s total lactose production four-fold. “Processing dry-blend lactose places many demands on the procedures and quality system. To ensure our production meets all these demands, our process optimisation team has been involved in the plants’ design,” says Cubel. “The implementation of new quality standards also requires us to adjust our daily routines. This is an area where our experienced plant staff have really taken ownership of the need to adapt working procedures.” The increased availability of dry-blend lactose supports the business growth of infant nutrition manufacturers in line with the escalating global consumption of high-quality products.