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Milk Specialties Global provides custom ingredient solutions for superior quality

Editor’s note: Welcome to Ingredient Innovation, CMN’s new segment exploring recent innovations and trends in the dairy ingredients sector. For this segment, we will profile a leader in the ingredients industry as well as share updates on mergers and acquisitions and new offerings for cheese and dairy in ingredients — where flavor begins.

By Alyssa Mitchell

Photo courtesy of Milk Specialties Global

PROBEV BREAKTHROUGH — Since PRObev’s commercial introduction for the sports nutrition and functional foods markets several years ago, Milk Specialties Global’s R&D and manufacturing teams’ expertise has led to significant improvements in the product, including better heat stability. PRObev was recognized last year by the American Dairy Products Institute and Dairy Foods magazine with a Breakthrough Award.
Photo courtesy of Milk Specialties Global
INVESTMENT IN INNOVATION — Milk Specialties Global recently announced a multimillion-dollar investment at its Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, facility for lactoferrin. Lactoferrin also is part of the company’s NutriPRO family of products and comes in a wide range of concentration options. The product is highly functional and can be used in a wide range of applications.

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Milk Specialties Global has established itself as a custom dairy ingredient solutions provider with a reputation for innovation and superior quality.

Led by CEO David Lenzmeier, and with corporate headquarters in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, Milk Specialties Global is comprised of three business units — Human Nutrition, Animal Nutrition and International Group — that share a singular focus: to create specialty proteins designed to optimize health and nutrition.

“Our name fits with our focus of making specialty protein products and not commodity,” Lenzmeier says, noting these products require special processing and display significant product benefits because of their attributes.

Milk Specialties Global’s Human Nutrition unit is a customized protein ingredient provider serving the rapidly growing sports nutrition, weight loss and infant formula segments of the food and beverage industry. From its state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities across the Midwest and California, this unit offers a broad portfolio of value-added whey proteins, milk proteins, hydrolysates and specialty proteins.

“High-protein ingredients and products continue to dominate the trends market,” Lenzmeier says. “Whether powdered shakes, clear RTDs (ready to drink), protein bars or high-protein yogurt and ice cream, the continued consumer recognition of protein’s health benefits means increased demand for these products.”

He adds, however, that it’s more than just delivering high-quality protein, particularly for consumers who are newer to the high-protein market.

“Taste and functionality are critical factors, and developing great-tasting applications that utilize our ingredients has been a key part of our growth over the years,” Lenzmeier says.

Milk Specialties Global utilizes state-of-the-art membrane filtration manufacturing processes to produce the highest-quality whey and milk protein ingredients. The company utilizes several membrane technologies including microfiltration, ultrafiltration and nanofiltration that allow the isolated dairy proteins to remain in their native state.

“By keeping our proteins in their native state, they retain full functionality, taste and superior quality,” Lenzmeier says. “In addition to our broad range of standard protein products, we also specialize in customizing proteins to meet the specific needs of our customers.”

Milk Specialties’ Human Nutrition business unit is focused on developing and supplying ingredients that enable superior taste while delivering health benefits to meet a range of consumer needs, he adds.

“From high-protein ingredients, such as whey protein concentrate, whey protein isolate (WPI) and milk protein isolate, to PRObev for protein waters and clear protein RTMs (ready to mix), to lactoferrin and MFGM (milkfat globule membrane) for enhanced health functionality, our R&D and production teams stop at nothing to ensure Milk Specialties satisfies our customers needs,” Lenzmeier says.

One of the company’s newer offerings is its NutriPRO line of ingredients — including lactoferrin, alpha-lactalbumin and MFGM — offering concentrated levels of protein fractions for enhanced health and well-being.
Milk Specialties’ PRObev WPI90 enables production of great-tasting protein waters, carbonated protein drinks and transparent RTM formulas, providing the consumer with high-quality whey protein in refreshing flavors and a light format compared to traditional protein shakes, Lenzmeier notes.

Since PRObev’s commercial introduction for the sports nutrition and functional foods markets several years ago, Milk Specialties Global’s R&D and manufacturing teams have worked to make the dairy ingredient even better through significant investments, including better heat stability, he adds. The product was recognized last year by the American Dairy Products Institute and Dairy Foods magazine with a Breakthrough Award.

“We have a dedicated cross-functional team that works hard to lead innovation and continuously improve our ingredient offerings to give the best possible product to both our customers and the end consumers,” Lenzmeier says. “There is always room for improvement, and we don’t stop until we achieve the best possible outcome.”

Meanwhile, Milk Specialties Global’s Animal Nutrition unit offers a spectrum of specialty dairy ingredients used in the formulation and processing of animal nutrition products, as well as a comprehensive line of milk replacers, ration supplements and rumen-inert fats. The group uses a combination of leading-edge research, precision processes and industry expertise to deliver consistently superior products, Lenzmeier says.

Research and manufacturing operations are located in New Holstein, Adell and Boscobel, Wisconsin, and Paris, Illinois.

Finally, Milk Specialties’ International Group exports basic and high-performance nutritional ingredients to a number of international markets, including Asia, where there is growing demand for dairy proteins and carbohydrates.

While it continues to focus on product improvement and innovation, Lenzmeier says what really sets Milk Specialties Global apart is the passion and dedication of its people. The company has more than 900 employees across 10 manufacturing plants and a global sales force.

“Our strong customer focus has been critical to the growth we have experienced around the world. Specifications and key country requirements take an organizational commitment to execute,” he says. “Each day, we collectively explore new, innovative ways to enhance product performance and value.”

Lenzmeier adds that the COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically heightened consumers’ focus on their diet and health. With this, demand has skyrocketed for more functional ingredients that deliver health benefits beyond just high-quality proteins from milk. For example, lactoferrin demand has surged in the last year due to its proven immune-supporting properties and the fact it is a natural ingredient, he says.

With this in mind, the company recently announced a multimillion-dollar investment at its Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin, facility for lactoferrin. Lactoferrin also is part of Milk Specialties’ NutriPRO family of products and comes in a wide range of concentration options — from 0.15% purity up to 95% purity. Lactoferrin is highly functional and can be used in a wide range of applications, Lenzmeier notes. Along with being a core ingredient in infant formula, lactoferrin is ideally suited for health supplements, medical nutrition products, RTM drinks and functional foods.

“The research around the health and immune benefits of lactoferrin is very compelling,” Lenzmeier says. “We recognize that consumers are becoming more health conscious, and we make it a priority to stay in tune with our customers. We are simply excited to play a key role in the development of the next generation of health focused products.”

Lactoferrin comprises only a tiny portion of the overall whey protein but offers powerful health benefits when concentrated, he adds. There is a growing body of research around the benefits of concentrated lactoferrin for all life stages including enhanced immune system support, promotion of “good” prebiotic bacteria for positive gut health and improved iron status. Recent studies have brought lactoferrin’s antiviral properties to the forefront, demonstrating that it can favorably influence human cell response to COVID-19 infection.

Looking forward, Lenzmeier says Milk Specialties Global will continue to focus on its offerings for enhanced health functionality, meeting consumer demand for proactive health management through natural food products.

“Whether it’s helping build muscles for an athlete or providing the right nutritional start for an infant calf, we know what we do has meaning every single day,” he says.

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