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"Milk Valley" is developing in the West

The ten leading French dairy companies grouped within the Association Bretagne Biotechnologie Alimentaire (BBA) have decided to combine their efforts with INRA researchers in order to determine new, viable and sustainable outlets for dairy products.

milk. © adimas - Fotolia, adimas - Fotolia
Updated on 12/26/2013
Published on 12/13/2013

The ten leading French dairy companies grouped within the Association Bretagne Biotechnologie Alimentaire (BBA) have decided to combine their efforts with INRA researchers in order to determine new, viable and sustainable outlets for dairy products. This strategy, targeted by the PROFIL project on functionalised proteins for the dairy industry (Protéines fonctionnalisées pour l’industrie laitière) is intended to improve the competitiveness of the western France production region.

In the future, milk proteins could constitute the wealth of western France

Western France is one of the principal regions for dairy production in Europe, accounting for 10% of European production and more than half of French production. Under the new CAP which accelerates the specialisation of production regions, Brittany, the Pays de Loire and Normandy are likely to become even more important to the dairy industry.
The ten leading French dairy companies (see insert 1) have decided to combine forces with INRA scientists who are collaborating with other organisations (Agrocampus-Ouest, UBO, ONIRIS) in order to identify new outlets. This strategy, which has been accredited by the Valorial competitiveness cluster, will receive support worth €4.3 million over six years from the Brittany and Pays de la Loire Regional Councils.

Innovating to remain at the forefront

PROFIL (multi-Fonctional PROtein assemblies for Innovation in the dairy industry) is an innovation project that involves 80% of the French dairy processing industry. Its aim is to exploit the multifunctional properties of milk proteins in order to create new and additive-free dairy products that will respond to consumer demands.
Current scientific advances in protein plasticity have enabled the generation of protein assemblies with different sizes and geometric shapes: globule/micelle, tubule/fibril, network/crystal.  The scientists involved in this project hope to exploit the properties of these protein assemblies to the maximum in order to produce their innovations.  
Four research areas will be explored to create new protein assemblies with different functional properties:

  • antifungal properties
  • textural properties of dairy products (gel, viscosity)
  • emulsifying and foaming properties of dairy products
  • vector of compounds of interest (minerals, active components and aromas).

The PROFIL project is being led by BBA, a consortium of ten companies active in western France. The scientific coordinator is Joëlle Léonil, Director of the INRA Joint Research Unit for the Science and Technology of Milk and Eggs (UMR STLO) in Rennes.

Contact(s)
Scientific contact(s):

Project partners

10 industrial partners with a combined turnover of €29 billion and employing 98,871 people:

  • SODIAAL: turnover of €4100 million, employing 7091 people - no. 1 in the drinking milk market
  • LACTALIS: turnover of €14,700 million, employing 52,000 people - no. 1 in France for cheese and no. 2 in drinking milk
  • Bongrain: turnover of €3981 million, employing 18,550 people - no. 1 in cheese products
  • CF&R: turnover of €600 million, employing  1500 people - specialised in soft and raclette cheeses
  • BEL: turnover of €2527 million, employing 11,400 people - no. 1 in processed cheeses and hard cheeses
  • Coopérative d'Isigny: turnover of €223 million, employing  580 people - powdered infant milks, cheeses, AOP cream and butter
  • LaïTA: turnover of €1159 million, employing 2300 people - strong market positions in butter, cheeses and cheese specialities
  • Laiterie de Montaigu: turnover of €179 million, employing 200 people - specialised in butters and creams
  • SILL: turnover of €320 million, employing 750 people - fresh dairy products, cream and butter