What a dramatic title, right? I read a lot of healthy living blogs along side the food policy ones and the craze for Greek yoghurt has been noticeable in the last couple of years. Who can blame consumers that discovered a protein-rich, (often) low-fat, creamy source of deliciousness?
Well, I just read an article that gives you a peek behind the curtains of how Greek yoghurt is produced, and the problems associated with it. Mainly – the millions of litres of acid whey produced.
Greek yoghurt gets its characteristic thickness from being strained after adding the yoghurt cultures, and what is left is a watery, acid liquid with a tiny bit of lactose and protein in it. What to do with all the whey? Dumping it into the environment is not an option – not only is it illegal, but its decomposition would lead to eutrophication and could kill water ecosystems.
Now, industry members are searching frantically for a way to get rid of this by-product for the lowest cost, including paying farmers to use it up – for example to mix it into silage or manure, and to try to extract the lactose and/or protein from it to make it into a profitable revenue source. There are even Yoghurt Summits to brainstorm how to deal with the issue. According to one of the producers present there,
“If we can figure out how to handle acid whey, we’ll become a hero.”
Check out the article here if you are interested! It’s really a fascinating reminder on how our food industry is interconnected, and that to understand it you need to know all processes related to the production of a certain good.