The Scoop: tera’swhey® Protein Process 101
Have you ever wondered what separates tera’swhey® protein products from other whey proteins on the market?
It’s all about our simple ingredients and small batch process.
At tera’swhey®, we take pride in producing a clean, healthy protein with pure nutrition and simple ingredients. Our earth friendly sourcing process touches the planet lightly while delivering that delicious tera’swhey® taste that you know and love. From our simple, ethically-sourced ingredients to our unique, earth friendly production process, tera’swhey® gives you so many reasons to celebrate how you’re nourishing your body.
So, here’s the inside scoop on how we make our whey protein.
Step 1: Milk Sourcing
Our tera’swhey® story begins on small, Wisconsin family dairy farms where farmers care for and watch over their cows. We source from local farms within 200 miles of our earth friendly facility in Reedsburg, Wisconsin.
Producing clean and healthy tera’swhey® protein begins with raising healthy and happy cows that are grass-fed and pasture raised without the use of artificial growth hormones.
Wisconsin dairy farmers milk their cows, then the milk travels directly to a local artisan cheese maker.
Step 2: Artisan Cheese Makers
Once the milk reaches the cheese maker, it undergoes FDA required heat processing, called pasteurization. Then, the cheese making process begins.
The cheese maker combines the milk with flavor-producing cultures that, by the end of the cheese making process, contribute recognizable flavors to cheese varieties like cheddar. Then, the cheese maker adds enzymes to the milk that assist in separating the milk into two products: solid curds and dilute, liquid whey. Every 10 pounds of milk produces roughly 1 pound of cheese and 9 pounds of liquid whey.
The cheese makers use the curds to make cheese and drain off the whey. This liquid whey contains one of the purest forms of complete protein. Before 1972, this liquid whey was typically disposed of on farm fields, but today it’s turned into nutrient-dense, concentrated whey protein powder.
That’s where we come in.
Step 3: Our Earth Friendly Facility
Our earth friendly facility in Reedsburg, Wisconsin is unique in that it features two separate operations under one roof. The first operation produces dry whey protein concentrate and whey protein isolate from the liquid whey. The second operation blends, packages, and ships our whey protein powders to distributors. We challenge the norm with this vertically integrated, two part system, as it allows us to maintain high quality and cleanliness standards throughout the process from liquid whey to whey protein powder, and trace our whey from farm to canister.
Our facility was built to touch the planet lightly. It features advanced water recycling techniques that reuse water from protein filtration to clean the plant; a solar white roof to keep us cool; and state of the art energy recycling, through heat exchange, to decrease our overall energy consumption.
When the liquid whey arrives to our facility, it’s incredibly dilute, containing 93%-97% water. The remaining 3%-7% contains whey protein, fat, lactose (the sugar in milk), and minerals.
Upon arrival, liquid whey is pasteurized again to remove cheese cultures and to ensure that it’s safe to consume.
Next, the liquid whey passes through our unique filter technology. This efficient filtration system contributes to low energy costs and to our low carbon footprint. These filters, called ultrafiltration membranes, are named for the size of their holes because they only allow whey proteins and a small amount of tiny molecules, minerals, and lactose sugar through them. We cold press our whey protein to eliminate the chance of heat-induced protein breakdown, called denaturation.
We cycle the liquid whey through these ultrafiltration membranes several times, adding clean water back to the whey each time it cycles through them. This process separates the solid whey protein from the large majority of the lactose sugar, as well as some of the minerals, and repeats until we reach a mixture that’s pure enough to be sprayed into a dryer to remove the rest of the water.
The product of this process is called Whey Protein Concentrate, which contains roughly 80% whey protein content in addition to a small amount of leftover minerals, fat, and
We then send this product to our second operation, where tera’swhey® products truly come alive. Here, we blend the instantized whey protein with ethically-sourced ingredients like real organic Bourbon Vanilla, Fair Trade Certified™ Dark Chocolate Cocoa, and organic Wild Blueberries. We taste and test each batch to ensure high quality standards. We then package each of our powders by hand before shipping them across the nation.
What about Whey Protein Isolate?
If you’re familiar with our Whey Protein Isolate product, you know that it contains more protein per gram than Whey Protein Concentrate. Whey Protein Isolate contains roughly 90% whey protein content compared to the roughly 80% in Whey Protein Concentrate. We are one of the few plants in the United States that’s capable of achieving this level of protein purity. So how do we get a protein that pure?
Before the spray drying step, we take the wet Whey Protein Concentrate and use an additional system of filters called Microfiltration membranes. These membranes produce an ultra-filtered, lactose and cholesterol free protein with no sugar and naturally low carbohydrates. Then, this product can be sprayed into a dryer, and the result is Whey Protein Isolate. We then send this product to our second operation to be packaged.
As you can see, our simple ingredients and small batch process make us unique. The process to retrieve whey protein powder from milk can be extensive, but it can be done in a sustainable, earth friendly manner, and that’s what sets us apart from other brands. We have a vertically integrated process, meaning that we start with liquid whey from Wisconsin cheese production, and end with the tera’swhey® protein powders that you know and love. We stay true to our roots in Wisconsin dairy while reducing travel costs and lowering our carbon footprint. We make sure to minimally process each batch so that we touch both the planet and the protein lightly. By purchasing tera’swhey® products, you can trust that you know exactly where your whey is coming from and love how you’re nourishing your body.