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Whey Permeate

Whey permeateWhey permeate (also called dairy product solids, deproteinized whey or modified whey) is a coproduct of the production of whey protein concentrate and whey protein isolate. Good solubility and a pleasant dairy flavor make whey permeate formulator-friendly. Delactosed permeate is a byproduct created by removing lactose from permeate. It contains about three times as much mineral content as permeate and about 60 percent lactose versus 80 percent for permeate. The higher concentration of calcium, potassium and magnesium in delactosed permeate can enhance the nutritional profile of many foods.

Sample Composition of Permeate and Delactosed Permeate

ComponentPermeate (%)Delactosed Permeate (%)
Protein (non-protein nitrogen) 3.50 7.3
Carbohydrate (Lactose) 82.00 59.60
Fat <1.00 0.03
Moisture 4.50 3.00
Ash 8.50 26.97
Sodium 0.83 2.00
Calcium 0.44 3.76
Potassium 2.47 6.29
Magnesium 0.011 0.24

Technically speaking, permeate or delactosed permeate may be used in applications where lactose or whey are used. A reality of the food industry is that cost is an important factor when determining ingredient usage. The more functionality a food processor can get for the same cost, the better.

On the Label

The American Dairy Products Institute and the USDA have determined that permeate ingredients may be labeled in the United States as "dairy product solids" on product labels. Food processors using permeate will also need to add a milk-allergen warning statement on U.S. packaging.

Typical Applications

Whey permeate is used in dairy, baked goods, meats, soups, confectionery and dry mixes for various functional and nutritional benefits, such as:

  • Cost-effective method for sodium reduction
  • Browning of baked goods by the Maillard reaction of lactose and other reducing sugars, enhancing flavor and imparting a pleasant caramelized flavor
  • Softness retention attributed to better emulsification of the fat in the formula and the increase in water-holding capacity
  • Flavor and texture in soups Removal of sweetness while providing crystallization characteristics in confectionery