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Whey to Go - New Zealand's biggest waste to riches story

Whey to Go book - New Zealand's biggest waste to riches story

New Zealand’s biggest waste to riches story

A new book, Whey to Go, just published by Ngaio Press, tells how New Zealand turned a potential deluge of surplus whey into extremely valuable products through world-leading science and engineering, clever marketing and a secret association with Coca-Cola.

This work led to a billion dollar industry that gives the lie to the still-repeated canard about the dairy industry having only a commodity mentality and not understanding added-value specialised ingredients for the food industry.

In the early 1970s, Britain was about to join the EEC and our dairy industry was desperate for new markets and new products. They were found, partly thanks to a group of talented young technologists, scientists and marketers, a multi-national beverage company and a transformational new technology called ultrafiltration.

At the time, casein products were seen as an important part of the diversification push, But there was a problem: how to deal with the potentially polluting whey byproduct from large new casein plants?

One answer came through ultrafiltration, a technique that enabled the production of whey protein concentrates. They could be tailored as specialised food ingredients and were so valuable that processing highly dilute whey became profitable. These concentrates, along with other whey products, are now an established industry and almost no whey is wasted. It is New Zealand's biggest waste to riches story.

Whey to Go is the story of the early decades of development, written by several of the pioneers: Ken Kirkpatrick, Kevin Marshall, Dave Woodhams, Mike Matthews, Peter Hobman, Lee Huffman, Jim Harper, Robin Fenwick, Arthur Wilson.

Whey to Go reveals the hitherto secret relationship with Coca-Cola, which led to NZ getting into ultrafiltration and whey protein concentrate in the first place.

If you wish to talk with one of the authors, I suggest Kevin Marshall. Kevin is still active at a high level in primary industry matters, especially in the area of adding value through technology.

Whey to Go is available through Ngaio Press at


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