Press release -

Protein enhances life quality

Global Ingredients has developed a special milk protein ingredient that will make life easier for a specific group of individuals

Instead of consuming special amino acids that have an unpleasant taste, they can now enjoy food where normal proteins have been replaced by the milk protein CGMP.
Imagine having to consume a particularly unpleasant amino acid while your friends tuck into a burger, a juicy steak or a piece of excellent cheese. That’s the grim reality for sufferers of Phenylketonuria (PKU) disorder who lack the enzyme that enables them to break down the amino acid Phenylalanine which is found in all food containing protein. As a result, Phenylalanine is accumulated in the blood and subsequently in the brain. Ultimately, this may lead to brain damage unless the sufferer follows a controlled diet.

”Until now PKU sufferers have been put on a special amino acid diet  where proteins are broken down in amino acids and the Phenylalanine removed. The problem, however, is that an amino acid diet which usually comes in liquid form, tastes pretty bad, explains Jesper Christensen, a project manager at Research & Development in Nr. Vium, Denmark.

And what has Arla Foods got to do with all this? Quite a lot, as a matter of fact.

Jesper Christensen is responsible for a Global Ingredients project that centres on the discovery that if the protein CGMP is sufficiently pure, it makes life much easier for PKU patients.

Proper food
The CGMP protein is created in the whey from cheese production and is similar to all other proteins except for the fact that it does not contain the amino acid Phenylalanine. This means that PKU patients can eat ordinary food made with CGMP as the main protein.

”As a result, it will be possible to make dairy products and protein bars with a low Phenylalanine content where ordinary proteins have been replaced by CGMP. PKU patients, therefore, can enjoy tasty food that is not harmful to them,”says Jesper Christensen who is particularly enthusiastic about the CGMP project.

"We’re helping some people to live a better life and I’m pleased that Arla is involved in that,”he says.

A significant niche
The CGMP protein, in fact, has considerable potential. One in 15,000 people is born with the disorder which, in a global context, is a significant number. At the same time, Arla Foods’ product is of a good quality, which is important in that the more you can separate CGMP from other proteins, the better. Arla, therefore, plans to increase production ahead of schedule.

”Our customer would like to buy 10 tonnes from us next year. We originally expected to reach that target two years from now, not one”, explains Jesper Christensen.

In the longer term, production can be increased further. Over the next five years, Global Ingredients expects to go from 10 tonnes annually to approximately 70. In principle, even this figure can be even higher.

”Our assessment is that the markets in the USA, China and Europe will eventually need 2000 tonnes per year. If Arla Foods can secure just 10 per cent, we will reach 200 tonnes per year. By comparison, our maximum production capacity for CGMP is currently 10 tonnes per year,”states Gitte Graverholt, a Senior Manager at Global Ingredients and a member of the CGMP project group.

For Arla Foods’ owners, the dairy farmers, CGMP is good news. Until now, the CGMP protein has generally been an undesirable component in the whey. This, however, is no longer the case.

”From being regarded as a waste product, the CGMP protein is now a product with added value,”says Jesper Christensen.

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Facts about CGMP

  • The protein is formed in whey from cheese production.  
  • CGMP is an abbreviation of CaseinoGlycoMacroPeptide.
  • CGMP is not a new protein. It can be used for PKU nutrition because of the more efficient purification method.