Fast growth in a popular market

Products derived from milk and whey are of four main types:

  • Protein-based ingredients – used in infant formula, food and sport nutrition products
  • Mineral-based ingredients – used as nutritional supplements
  • Lactose-based ingredients – used in snack, confectionary and nutritional products
  • Hydrolysates – used in infant formula and dietary products

Across these products, we at Tetra Pak provide innovative membrane filtration solutions that help you create the high-quality and high-value products the market demands. 

Benefits

Expand in value-added products

Membrane filtration offers a gateway to expand production capabilities across a full range of value-added products – from WPC/WPI and MPC/MPI to lactoferrin and permeate powder.

Improve in infant formula

Membrane filtration is a popular process step in infant formula production thanks to its gentle, low-temperature treatment, which helps preserve important proteins and optimizes food quality.

Save money in powder drying

Drying powder by evaporation and heating is a energy-intensive process in powder manufacturing . Adding a reverse osmosis filtration unit to a powder line prior to evaporation pre-concentrates the product by removing excess water, saving valuable energy.

Uses

White powder in a spoon

Whey protein concentrate and isolate

High dry-matter content

Whey protein concentrates (WPC) are high-value products that are widely used in food processing and are produced using membrane filtration. WPC powder is created by drying the retentates from ultrafiltration of whey. Its protein content ranges from 35 percent to over 80 percent. WPC powder exceeding 80 percent protein is produced by ultrafiltration of liquid whey followed by diafiltration to remove lactose and ash. Diafiltration involves adding water to the feed to wash out lactose and minerals. These then pass through the filtration membranes. Whey protein isolate (WPI) containing more than 92 percent protein, measured as dry matter, is a popular ingredient in protein supplements. It is produced by microfiltration of whey that has been pre-concentrated by ultrafiltration.
Baby drinking infant formula

Milk protein concentrate and isolate

Functional properties

Milk protein concentrate (MPC) and milk protein isolate (MPI) are concentrated forms of milk protein that are commonly in sports nutritional, functional food and infant nutritional products. They contribute functional properties to food products, such as emulsification, water binding and texture enhancement. MPC is made by treating milk with ultrafiltration. The membranes allow water, lactose and minerals to pass through while retaining proteins. Further concentration removes additional water to create a concentrated milk protein product. MPI typically has a higher protein concentration than MPC and is also produced using microfiltration to isolate specific protein fractions and remove impurities.
Man preparing a sports drink

Micellar casein concentrate and isolate

Food and supplement ingredients

Micellar casein concentrate (MCC) and micellar casein isolate (MCI) are protein products derived from milk. They are made specifically from casein, the main protein in milk. They are widely used in the food and supplement industry. The production of MCC involves separating casein from whey by microfiltration. The process helps retain the micellar structure of casein – a natural arrangement of spherical clusters called micelles. MCI has a higher and more concentrated casein protein content than MCC and requires more filtration and purification steps to isolate and concentrate the micellar casein fraction while minimizing other protein presence.
Woman preparing a sallad

Mineral and lactose products

Diversification opportunity

Mineral-based ingredients such as calcium phosphate are commonly used as nutritional supplements, while lactose-based ingredients such as lactose and permeate powder have wide applications in snack, confectionary and nutritional products. Protein and lactose hydrolysates are popular ingredients in infant formula and dietary products. All derived from milk and whey and produced using microfiltration or ultrafiltration, these products represent an opportunity for dairy and food producers interested in expanding their portfolios and market reach.

Technologies

Ultrafiltration unit from Tetra Pak

Fat and protein separation

Ultrafiltration

Ultrafiltration is used for concentrating large molecules such as fat and protein in raw or pasteurized whole or skim milk and for reducing lactose and mineral content. Typical products include milk protein concentrate (MPC) and milk protein isolate (MPI). These are produced using polymeric spiral membranes. Diafiltration is often used here to increase the protein-to-dry-matter ratio to achieve high-grade varieties such as MPC 85. Ultrafiltration is also used to concentrate whole or standardized milk for the production of fully or partially concentrated cheeses. Ultrafiltration membrane pores are larger than in nanofiltration and the pressure applied is relatively low. Salts, sugars, organic acids and smaller peptides pass through as permeate. Proteins, fats and polysaccharides remain as retentate.
Nanofiltration unit from Tetra Pak

Ion and mineral removal

Nanofiltration

The diluted streams from microfiltration and ultrafiltration processes are often concentrated using nanofiltration or reverse osmosis – or a combination of the two. The nanofiltration process removes or recovers water and also separates monovalent ions, thus demineralizing the product. Nanofiltration plays a role in the production of products such as milk protein concentrate (MPC), milk protein isolate (MPI) and infant formula. The technology uses slightly more open membrane pores than reverse osmosis. These allow small ions such as dissolved minerals to pass but exclude larger ions and most organic components such as bacteria, spores, fats, proteins, gums and sugars.
Reverse Osmosis unit from Tetra Pak

Valuable concentration step

Reverse osmosis

Reverse osmosis is a highly useful and cost-effective way to pre-concentrate milk and whey powder mixes before drying. It is a powerful driver of energy efficiency in powder evaporation and drying because pre-concentrating the product generates valuable energy before the drying process. Reverse osmosis can also be used to concentrate milk, whey and solids as well as for further concentration of the permeate from ultrafiltration.

Relevant equipment

Membrane types

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Membrane types and applications​

The heart in any membrane filtration process is the membrane itself, and choosing the best membrane for a given process is often a complex task.

Man using membrane installation tool

Membrane tools

We offer a number of handy and easy-to-use systems and tools for installation, maintenance, and troubleshooting of your filtration system.

Multi pilot plant spiral wound 60 bar

Rental pilot plants

We offer different types of easy-to-use pilot plants for rental. All the various dairy filtration pro­cesses can be tested by means of our different types.

Insights and cases

Explore more solutions

Whey Powder

Whey processing

Whey processing

Tetra Pak supports customers with expertise and equipment in whey processing, such as protein-extraction fractionation evaporation, drying, and powder handling

Infant formula and baby bottle

Nutritional powders

Nutritional powders

Babies, the elderly, and just about everyone – nutritional powders have a wide appeal. Explore our solutions and expertise for safe and nutritious products.

Dairy operator with cows in the background

Dairy products

Dairy products

From white milk and flavoured milk to yoghurt and cream, our end-to-end processing and packaging solutions will help you succeed in your dairy markets.

Dairy lines

Dairy lines

Dairy lines

We thoroughly understand the complexities of dealing with sensitive dairy products.

processing equipment

Processing equipment

Processing equipment

We provide complete solutions and equipment for dairy, cheese, ice cream, JNSD and other beverages, powder, plant-based, food and New Food.

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