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Baraboo dairy cooperative partners with European co-op to innovate with whey

October 10, 2018

Baraboo-based dairy cooperative Foremost Farms USA is partnering with an international dairy co-op based in Denmark to distribute and find more uses for whey, a byproduct that forms during the making of dairy products.

Sydney Lindner, communications director at Foremost Farms, said the strategic partnership with Arla Foods won’t be the Wisconsin co-op’s first foray into the international market, but it will allow the companies to “provide whey solutions of the highest quality to the world using our members’ high-quality milk.”

“By working with Arla, Foremost Farms can leverage their global food supply connections and innovation expertise with our diverse plant network,” she said.

Officials from both companies met in Denmark in September to sign a memorandum of understanding to formalize their agreement.

Henrik Andersen, vice president of Arla Foods Ingredients, noted in an email from communications director Theis Broegger that Arla has been looking for a U.S. partner for several years with demand for whey protein ingredients growing.

Whey, the liquid left behind after milk curdles, is used in a wide variety of products, from infant formula to chocolate, Lindner said.

Andersen emphasized the importance of having high-quality whey, especially for products that will be consumed by newborn babies. Arla also needs a large, stable supply produced from a concentrated area, Andersen wrote, which Foremost Farms provides.

“To ensure that we always deliver the very best, we must be able to work also with the dairy farmers so that the milk quality will comply with the tough demands,” Andersen wrote. “The cooperative model is very well suited for continuous improvement in milk quality because the benefit will flow directly back to the farmer owners.”

Lindner said Foremost Farms works with other brands in the international food and infant formula markets but declined to disclose specifics.

Arla Foods Ingredients is a subsidiary fully owned by Arla Foods Group, headquartered in Viby, Denmark. It employs more than 18,000 people worldwide.

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