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Casein is used in foods such as chocolates and noodles. Whey is used in the manufacture of products like ice cream and infant formula.

Casein and whey

Whey is a by-product of the cheese making process. Traditionally, this product was disposed of in liquid form. However, recognition of the value of whey’s components and properties has led to its use in a variety of applications

Food-grade whey powder is used in the manufacture of ice-cream, bakery products (cakes, biscuits), chocolate flavouring, infant formula, yoghurt, beverages and processed meat. Industrial uses include animal feed (for pigs, horses and poultry), calf milk replacer and even as a carrier for herbicides.

Whey protein concentrates are used in snack foods, juices, confectionery, ice-cream, biscuits, processed meats, (milk) protein drinks, desserts, infant foods and dietetic products. Products such as cosmetics, skin creams, bath salts and detergents also contain protein concentrates.

Australia’s whey production is also used domestically in the manufacture of infant formula, biscuits and ice-cream. The remainder is exported, with Singapore, Greater China, Japan, Indonesia, and Malaysia being the largest export markets for Australian whey powders in 2015/16.

Casein and caseinates are used as binding ingredients, emulsifiers and milk substitutes in processed foods such as noodles, chocolate, sweets, mayonnaise, ice-cream and cheese manufacture. Industrial uses of casein and caseinates include: plastics (buttons, knitting needles); the manufacture of synthetic fibres and chemicals (plants, glues, glazed paper, putty and cosmetics); a nutritional supplement and binder in calf milk replacers; and a range of other technical applications.

Australia is no longer a significant producer of casein and imports the vast majority of its requirements; mainly from New Zealand (over 75% of the total volume), with the balance from Europe in 2016/17.

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