Each year, 1 300 000 tons of whey occur in Switzerland as a by-product of cheesemaking: 24 % is used in the food industry, 31 % is transformed into high-value animal feed and 45 % is fed directly to pigs. Increasing the percentage made into foodstuffs would be desirable but is difficult to realize because production is scattered and concentrating the many small amounts of whey is transport intensive. Moreover, the composition of the whey varies according to the type of cheese manufactured, which complicates processing and makes it difficult to obtain milk protein powder with constant properties. Producing «ideal» whey would allow circumventing the problem but would require changing the cheese production processes. The economic impact of such a step has not yet been calculated. Estimates of the environmental impact can be positive or negative depending on the protein concentration and the lactose removal. Only little is known about the associations that the word «whey» evokes for consumers, and a strategy allowing to increase the amounts consumed remains to be defined.
Metschnikowia pulcherrima is a naturally occurring yeast with applications in agriculture, the food industry and biotechnology. Agroscope is investigating this yeast in particular with regard to biocontrol applications in plant protection.
Soya-, cereal-, seed- or nut-based plant drinks are consumed increasingly frequently as milk substitutes. Agroscope researchers have studied the macro- and micronutrients in these drinks and have identified major differences between the plant drinks themselves as well as in comparison with milk.
Cheese varieties from Switzerland are characterised according to various criteria. Agroscope analysed the free volatile carboxylic acids in ten cheese varieties and demonstrated that the latter are suitable for characterisation and differentiation.