The company said this means it is increasing the availability of its Flowhey range of whey powders through its two production sites at Mayenne and Verdun.
The global whey market is highly dynamic. The quantity of liquid whey available to the international industry is growing more and more each year. This growth is mainly driven by the production of dairy products: 2% per year for cheese.
While the US remains a major exporter of whey and whey derivatives, with 400,000 tons per year, Lactalis Ingredients said Europe is the world's leading exporter with more than 600,000 tons exported per year.
Lactalis Ingredients said it is now positioned as the world's leading producer of sweet whey. Lactalis Ingredients develops products such as whey powders and other dairy ingredients to meet the specific needs of food industry players.
The Verdun plant was integrated nearly three years ago and has benefited from a complete renovation plan. With an investment of €40m ($47.3m), this large-scale project is nearing completion.
The company said its new drying tower improves the availability of Flowhey and ensures flexibility between the two sites.
The drying technique, developed by Lactalis Ingredients since 1970, makes it possible to obtain whey powders with very high fluidity while fully controlling the production chain. It said its Flowhey products are easy to transport and store thanks to the high stability of the ingredients and their resistance to high temperature and humidity conditions.
It can also be used as a bulking agent for its lactose content (about 80%) and as an economical milk substitute for its protein content (about 11%).
The Flowhey range consists of thermostable and demineralized sweet whey powders. Whey is suitable for a wide range of applications such as bakery, confectionery, chocolate, processed cheese, sweetened condensed milk and dairy products.
The technical process used to produce Flowhey optimizes the crystallization of lactose, reducing its hygroscopicity. Thus, agglomeration, hardening and browning phenomena are avoided. The very good fluidity properties observed are due to a high crystallization rate. Flowhey is three times more fluid than standard products, the company said.
Lactalis Ingredients also said a study contract has been signed with a start-up for the production of hot water using solar energy at the Verdun site. It will be one of the largest solar power plants in Europe supplying an industrial site, with 4.5 hectares of solar panels.