Specialised nutrition boost: Australia’s milk powder manufacturer sets sights in functional ingredients business

By Tingmin Koe

- Last updated on GMT

Australia firm ProviCo is looking to expand its functional dairy ingredient business. ©Getty Images
Australia firm ProviCo is looking to expand its functional dairy ingredient business. ©Getty Images

Related tags Australia Milk protein lactoferrin

Australia’s milk powder manufacturer ProviCo says that demand for specialised nutrition across different life stages has been growing and it is hoping to cater to such demand by utilising its expertise in milk protein fractionation.

Its milk protein fractionation is conducted using a specialised membrane technology. Lactoferrin is a component that could be extracted from the process.

Founded in 1999, ProviCo first established itself as a firm trading and distributing milk powder.

Noticing the market opportunities in specialised nutrition, the firm acquired in year 2020 a facility formerly owned by Nestle in Dennington, Victoria.

“Increasingly we've seen the trend around targeted, specialised natural nutrition, and that’s the reason and the motivation for us to acquire the site to build a facility around bio-nutrition fractionation.”

“This is​ because of the health and wellbeing trend and the demand for specialised nutrition from dairy that we're seeing globally,” ​Andrew Paterson, founder and commercial director of Provico told NutraIngredients-Asia.

The firm’s latest offering is its lactoferrin ingredient sold under the trademark FerrinPro.

A naturally occurring protein in human breast milk, lactoferrin is known for its immune health benefits​.

The company also manufactures nutritional base milk powder for pregnant women and seniors. The powder is made from a specialised oil blend and Australian skim milk.

These milk powders are then sold to clients who will then blend in micro-ingredients, vitamins, and minerals before selling the final products to consumers under their own brands.  

Some examples of the clients include pharmacy chains, supermarkets, distributors, mother-and-baby stores, and brand owners operating across APAC, Middle East, and Europe.  

Other products manufactured by the company are skim milk and whole milk powder, but the bestsellers are the nutritional base milk powder.

“The bestselling nutritional products for us are specialised nutritional base powder, such as the growing up milk and lactoferrin.

“We're increasingly seeing people choose the real functional benefits of a natural immunity booster over some synthetic or manufactured vitamin-based products," ​said Paterson.

The firm declined to reveal more about its functional ingredient business plans, but said that the bio-nutrition facility, which it commissioned and built for US$23 million after moving into the ex-Nestle site, will be crucial in building the portfolio.

“What we want to do is to use the specialised membrane technology to fractionate the milk proteins and enable them to be used as bio nutrition ingredients by specialised nutrition and international companies, and in turn, maximising the returns from milk solids," ​said Ben Anderson, CEO.

ProviCo site
ProviCo's manufacturing site at Dennington, Australia. © ProviCo

The company believes that the growing demand for nutritional milk products catered to the infants all the way to the seniors is here to stay.  

“We think that it’s [the trend is] around the health and wellbeing segment and the immunity benefits that come from the fractionated natural proteins,” ​said Anderson.

The company aims to produce 30,000 to 40,000 tonnes of milk powder annually.

Sustainability

As part of its sustainability initiatives, the company will be installing 5000 solar panels on its facility by February. This allows 25 per cent of its electricity to be generated from renewable energy.

The other initiative is building its own biological wastewater treatment plant that allows it to recover water from the processing facility for irrigation purposes in neighbouring farmland.

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