The whey business, once the byproduct of the cheese-making business, has evolved into a completely separate business, mostly in powder form for sports nutrition and to replenish and build protein muscle.

Dale Farm in Northern Ireland is trying something different with partners Arla, transporting a whey liquid (80% protein) to the Arla infant formula plant in Denmark. Arla puts this liquid into the infant formula and sells it under the Arla brand to the infant formula market in China. So, rather than taking the protein through the final drying phase, they are transporting it in sealed containers to Denmark.

This reflects the fact that high-quality, high specification dried powder is now a commodity product that has reduced in value considerably over the last few years. Prices have lifted in last six months.

While obviously this product is not realising its full shop shelf value for Dale Farm, it’s comparable to what some other Irish dairy businesses are doing with partners in the protein business.