WPC is a white to light cream-colored product with a bland, clean flavour. It is obtained by removing sufficient nonprotein constituents from whey so that the finished dry product contains no less than 25 percent protein. In food systems, milk proteins contribute significantly to the nutritional benefits of the finished product. The compositions of some typical WPC powders are adjusted accordingly to the desired functionalities.
Whey protein concentrates have many functional properties, most of which are associated with the whey proteins. Some of the basic functionalities that WPC can provide are water binding, whipping/foaming, emulsification, high solubility, gelation, viscosity development and browning. Generally, WPC with higher protein content have improved functionality over those with lower protein content.
The use of many industrial whey products as ingredients in various foods is based not only on the nutritional qualities but also on the desirable functionality of some of these products.
WPC of 35 percent protein is commonly used as a replacement for skimmed milk, as well as a stabilizer and fat mimetic in yogurt, bakery mixes, dietetic foods, infant foods, and confections. Its water-binding properties, fat-like mouthfeel, and gelation properties are of particular benefit when used in these further processed products.
WPC of 50, 65 or 80 percent protein are especially suited for use in nutritional drinks, soups, bakery products, meat, dietetic foods, low-fat products and protein-fortified beverages. They are especially noted for their ability to completely dissolve in a wide range of pH conditions.
Defatted WPC powder containing 80 - 85 percent protein is an excellent alternate ingredient to use in certain applications more notably as an economical egg-white replacer in whipped products such as meringues, modern ice-cream and toppings.