Dairylac: how to enrich dairy products and bet on the circular economy

The Galician company transforms raw materials and researches to obtain bioplastics from the by-products of this industry

When talking about the dairy sector, the first thing that comes to mind to many people is the obtaining and marketing of milk and its derivatives, such as yogurts, cheeses or a simple brick container for the food sector. However, advances in biotechnology and the commitment to a circular economy help to find new opportunities in compounds that few years ago went directly to waste. This is the case of Dairylac, a Galician business project, based in Melide (A Coruña), in one of the regions of reference for the dairy sector in Europe, and that has been committed since its birth for the commercialization of food products, but also for the search for new ways, such as the manufacture of bioplastics.

Explains its general director, Iago Quintana, that Dairylac arises “from the initiative of one of the great Galician dairy cooperatives, which today is Aira, and from the hand of the Autonomous Administration (Xunta de Galicia), with the aim of producing high value-added ingredients in a key sector such as milk”. Although the commitment to diversification is growing, “an important part of the product is still commercialized without transformation”.

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One of the main bets of Dairylac is the production of serums and infant feeding

Thus, one of the main bets of Dairylac is directed towards the sera. “From milk these by-products can be obtained, which are very interesting to convert them into demineralized serums, with a high value in those bought for infant feeding. In the company, in addition, we can manufacture powdered milk that can also be sold in that market of personalized milks”, explains Quintana. The children’s nutrition sector is precisely one of the company’s main R&D bets, “because it is a market that demands new products and will be much more important in the future” adds the head of the company.

Varal and Biopol

In recent years, within the framework of this commitment to R&D, Dairylac has participated in initiatives of the Axencia Galega de Innovación, such as the Agrobiotech incubator or the Conecta Peme Program. Quintana stresses that this department, led by Dr. Ángel Pereira and that has been created from scratch, is key to the future of the company, and already has three people focused 100% on it.

This bet has two proper names: Varal and Biopol. In the first of them, Dairylac participates in a consortium to develop new technologies that allow the collection of irrigation or process water and biogas from industry waste. The pilot project is to be developed Prestes cheese factory, located in Vilalba.

And on the other hand, Dairylac has also been involved in Biopol, whose objective is the research, development and validation of a process to obtain biopolymers from dairy subproducts. Within the final applications, the possibility of using these biopolymers as heavy metal adsorbents and in the encapsulation of essential oils or aromas has already been evaluated.

Fresh milk, cheeses and ice cream

But Dairylac’s business line is not only in this use of by-products. It has also developed its own brands for the end customer, which have an increasing importance in their turnover. On the one hand, Deleitar, as an umbrella brand, offers pasteurized milk (the first in a 100% renewable container, according to the company), in addition to butter, cream, bar and cream cheeses and ice cream, which are sold under Folerpas brand. Iago Quintana emphasizes that Deleitar “already represents 10% of our turnover, and is growing”.

On the other hand, the Tres Viajeros brand, with clear inspiration on the Camino de Santiago that goes through Melide, is the commitment to cheese with Protected Designation of Origin, both in the Arzúa-Ulloa and Tetilla types.

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