General Mills files patent on using yogurt whey in food

by Jeff Gelski
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Yogurt whey
Yogurt whey is the by-product produced when straining yogurt to make Greek yogurt.
MINNEAPOLIS — General Mills, Inc. has filed a patent that relates to food products that contain yogurt whey, a byproduct of Greek yogurt production. Currently, yogurt whey is used as an agricultural liquid fertilizer, according to U.S. patent application No. 20160128346 published on May 12. Unlike other whey byproducts, it does not have suitable characteristics for use in processed foods and animal feed.

The whey byproduct produced from yogurt is relatively new and results from the popularity of separated yogurt often referred to as Greek yogurt, according to the patent. However, yogurt whey contains fewer solids and is more acidic than whey created in the production of cheese.

Minneapolis-based General Mills addressed those issues in the patent, which describes ways to use a neutralized yogurt whey in such products as baked foods, beverages, snacks, confectionery items, soup, dry meal products, cereal and dairy products. Neutralized yogurt whey refers to yogurt whey that has been neutralized with a basic material to raise the pH.

In many embodiments, the food product contains neutralized yogurt whey with the following composition: a pH of 6.0 or greater, at least 100 mg of calcium per 100 grams of yogurt whey, at least 1% by weight galactose, and at least 6% by weight solids. In some embodiments, a yogurt whey in a food product has the following composition: a pH of 6.2 or greater, at least 3% by weight calcium, at least 5% by weight galactose, at least 95% by weight solids, and less than 5% by weight protein.
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