Whey protein is a mixture of Beta-lactoglobulin, Alpha-lactalbumin, Bovine serum albumin and Immunoglobins. Whey is the liquid material obtained from cheese manufacturing. Whey protein can be of three primary types: whey protein concentrate (WPC), whey protein isolate and whey protein hydrolysate. Whey protein concentrate contains low level of fat and low level of carbohydrate.
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Lower end concentrates tend to have 30% protein and higher end up to 90% whey protein isolate are further processed to remove fat and lactose. It usually contains at least 90% protein. Whey protein hydrolysate are predigested and partially hydrolyzed whey proteins for the purpose of easier metabolizing. In addition, whey protein hydrolysate is commonly used in medical protein supplements and infant formulas because of its improved digestibility and reduced allergen potential.
North America has largest market share for whey protein products, closely followed by Europe. Asia-Pacific is the fastest growing whey protein ingredients market due to the increasing number of health conscious consumer and rising disposable income.
Increasing number of health conscious consumer, rising disposable income, increasing number of health clubs and fitness centers are some of the major driving force for whey protein ingredient market. Health clubs and fitness centers act as central distribution centers for whey protein products for all consumer groups, including bodybuilders, athletes and recreational users. In recent years, the number of health clubs has increased worldwide, creating more opportunities for whey protein manufacturers to target health club members. According to International Health, Racquet & Sports Club Association (IHRSA) Global Report, the number of health clubs and fitness centers globally rose from 128,500 in 2009 to 1, 53,000 in 2012.
The numbers dropped slightly in 2011 to 1, 33,000 from 1, 33,500 in 2010, before increasing again to 1, 53,000 in 2012. . Increasing disposable income in the developing countries such as India and China is expected to trigger the growth rate of whey protein ingredient market. Increasing disposable income allow the customer to spend more. According to the National Bureau of Statistics China, annual per capita disposable income of urban households in China increased from USD 2,271.0 in 2008 to USD 3408.5 in 2012.
The overall annual disposable income in India medium household income increased from USD 1,366.2 billion in 2010 to USD 1,587.6 billion in 2013.
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Alternatives like plant proteins act as restraint for whey protein ingredient market.
The major companies operating in the whey protein ingredient market include Glanbia, Hilmar Cheese Company, Milk Specialties Global, Davisco Foods International, Inc and Maple Island, Inc