What is Whey Protein Concentrate and How is it Made?

What Is Whey ConcentrateConsumers are reaching for more natural and nutritious food options when grocery shopping, dining out, or even just grabbing a snack from the local convenience store. In turn, food manufacturers are looking for ways to add a healthy boost to their formulations.

Millions of Americans have made the high-protein diet a top trend, and more than half of U.S. consumers say that high protein claims are appealing and play a role in their food buying decisions. In stride, about half of American adults say they’re attempting weight loss and want to become healthier each year.

Food manufacturers can meet the demand for more protein and diet-friendly products by including functional whey protein in their formulations in place of costly and fat-laden milk, cream, butter and eggs. But what exactly is it and how is it made?

What is Whey Protein?

Whey is naturally found in milk and, when made into cheese, the protein from the whey can be isolated from the liquid mixture, leaving producers with one of the healthiest forms of protein available

  • It is a naturally occurring protein found in milk
  • When milk is curdled as part of the cheesemaking process, whey protein is separated from the remaining liquid
  • It is a complete protein and contains all 9 essential amino acids
  • It is easily digestible and absorbs into the body quickly
  • In concentrate form, it is used to replace ingredients like butter, milk and eggs in formulations
  • Food and beverage manufacturers often use whey protein concentrate (WPC) to increase protein levels, help reduce fat and calories, improve texture and cost savings, and make products shelf stable

Many are unaware of the difference between all-natural whey protein and plant proteins. When compared to plant-based proteins, it is proven to be superior in regards to digestibility, sustainability and nutritional value, as seen in the chart below.


How is Whey Protein Made?

Whey protein is dried and made into concentrate form for use in food, beverages and supplements. When comparing ingredient suppliers, it’s important to consider how they produce their products, as the facilities and results can vary widely. 

Unlike some commodity whey protein concentrates with questionable sourcing, Grande Custom Ingredients Group starts by sourcing all its ingredients from dedicated Midwest dairy farms in America’s Heartland as part of a strict chain of custody. The Grade A Milk is sent to our cheese production facilities where the whey is separated from the remaining liquid, and a proprietary drying process is applied to convert that liquid into a nutrient-dense concentrate in convenient powder form.

RELATED: Click to See the Entire Whey Protein Concentrate Process [Infographic]

What is Functional Whey Protein?

Grande Bravo® functional whey protein is set apart from commodity products like WPC34 because it is produced without any chemical modifications as part of an all-natural process. The result is more desirable functionality in different products, including a creamy mouthfeel, fuller texture and improved shelf-life stability. 

Is Whey Protein Concentrate a Natural Ingredient?

When people hear the words “whey protein concentrate,” it’s easy to assume something was done to modify the protein. In Grande Bravo’s case, however, it simply means that the protein has been physically modified, not chemically modified in any way. Much like other natural processed concentrated food products like frozen juices, tomato paste and granulated sugar, our whey protein concentrate is also all-natural, and manufacturers can tout it as such—it can even be used to reduce or replace non-natural fillers, gums, starches and other ingredients.

Food Applications Using Whey Protein

Another advantage of Grande Bravo is its ability to be used in a wide variety of applications. Here are just a few real examples of how this innovative ingredient can be used. Click each one to learn more:

Benefits of Using Whey Protein Concentrate — Grande Bravo

When you think about all the benefits that come with formulating your applications with whey protein, it’s easy to see why it is so popular in the food industry. 

Today’s consumers are willing to pay more for food with wholesome ingredients they recognize and trust, and all-natural whey protein ingredients make it easy for food manufacturers to clean up their labels and replace artificial ingredients. Grande Bravo also makes it easy to reduce fat and calories in your applications, as well as improve or maintain texture and mouthfeel thanks to its superior water-holding capabilities.

Using Grande Bravo can also help lower the cost of ingredients by providing a safe, consistent, low-cost alternative to cream, butter, fat, cream cheese and eggs which are susceptible to price volatility. It can also help decrease handling issues and improve nutrition. Grande Bravo can even be used to make an emulsion.

Taste the Grande Difference

While it’s easy to talk about the proven benefits and qualities of Grande Bravo, the best way to find out how it will work in your applications is by testing it for yourself! From soups and sauces to dips and dressings, there’s no shortage of applications that can benefit from functional whey protein.

If you’d like to try it in yours, we’ll be happy to send you a sample and show you how to get started! Contact one of our food scientists and you’ll see why the right combination of people, products and expertise is the best whey to naturally improve food.

Access the tip sheet below for even more reasons to use whey protein in your formulations!

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