DAINME-SME - Dairy Innovation for Mediterranean SME

About Us

The dairy market in Mediterranean countries is substantially different from in east/north European countries. In the Mediterranean area, cow´s milk is mainly transformed to UHT milk and yogurts, but the other dairy products (principally ewe, but also goat and buffalo´s milk), are processed and transformed into cheeses (Manchego, Pecorino, Beyaz Peynir, Mozarella, Feta). The milk production is scattered, with smaller dairies than in east/north European countries. Moreover, some territories are marine islands, which increase the transport difficulties for milk and whey. Smaller dairies and fragmented milk production result in smaller and less automatized factories, and in a minor whey valorisation, which is destined mainly to feed, or even discharged to rivers. With these circumstances, dairies have a low competitive behavior, and they are unable to pay appropriately to dairy farmers. The proposed innovation of DAINME-SME is focused on sustainability, valorization of by-products, and reducing the environmental impact of dairy companies. This is quite important because almost all do not properly consider the benefits deriving from a better valorization of milk and whey on their business. The proposal seeks the validation of new technologies and strategies to improve the dairy value chain, producing new products and promoting the use of traditional by-products into high-value and nutritional products, with technologies that are scalable and reliable. The partnership of the proposal covers the key players on the dairy chain, including technology providers and dairies that are already working in the whey valorization. Different National Food Federations will be in charge of the diffusion of the results. All innovations and development are aimed to be more economical, compared with actual systems. Moreover, a consultant company specialized in agri-food studios will ensure the economic viability of all new processes. Communication and marketing strategies will be led by SME associations (National Food Industry Associations).

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Period of Implementations

Dec 1, 2019 - May 30, 2023

Total Budget

EUR 1.956,86



The aim of the project is to improve the circular economy of the dairy SMEs, in the Mediterranean countries. This objective will be achieved through the introduction of innovative technologies and the development of new valuable dairy products. 1. Valorisation of by-products of cheese-making dairies, through the separation of valuable protein fractions, or through their transformation into fresh foods 2. Turn the use of whey for feed or for waste (in some countries, directly to the rivers) into high valuable and nutritional products for human nutrition 3. Valorisation of milk and whey from goat and ewe’s milk. These animals normally are feed with grazing, which is very important for the biodiversity and rural maintenance of the biosystems 4. Validation of new food processing technologies, which will improve sustainability and final quality product, compared with actual processes. The development of these new technologies will also boost the creation of jobs in the area. 5. Enable small dairies to dry their milk or whey, with the development of a new system to dry liquid foods, with much less investment and energy costs, than traditional systems need at this moment. 6. Increase the sustainability of the spray-drying process (the most intensive energy user on food processing), by reducing 20-30 % of the energy used (and it can be from a renewable source). Afterward, this emerging technology may then be applied to all kinds of dairy powders, and other foods, all around the world. 7. Development of new whey protein fractions, for infant food and sports drinks, based on goat and ewe’s cheese whey. Afterward, the new technology may then be applied to cow’s milk/whey, at any place. 8. New strategy to valorise minor whey volumes, or for dairies without


The aim of the project is to improve the circular economy of the dairy SMEs, in the Mediterranean countries. This objective will be achieved through the introduction of innovative technologies and the development of new valuable dairy products Technologies like Pulse Drying Combustion (use of 25% less energy and investment), the development of alpha-lactalbumin-enriched dairy powders from cheese whey, and the development of new dairy products from whey protein, will be the development of new dairy products from whey protein, will be developing and validated for its immediate application

Impact Pathway

Expected impacts: 1.- Deployment of wider, faster, and profitable innovative solutions by smallholders and SMEs, overcoming the barriers to market uptake. All proposed solutions/innovations are especially suitable for SMEs, and developed by SMEs (like Ekonek), with the aim to solve problems, especially to small processors. All innovative technologies are already being used in other food/feed sectors, with reliable results. The risk of failure is in these cases, low. 2.- Strengthen the food-processing sector in line with Mediterranean values and heritage improving competitiveness. With innovative technologies applied to traditional dairy products, especially for cheese-makers using goat and ewe’s milk, which are typical foods of the Mediterranean Diet. 3.- Create opportunities for growth, diversification, and job creation particularly for smallholders and agro-food SMEs. New opportunities for companies that built the new processing equipment, for increasing the profitability of cheese-makers and dairies, resulting finally, with an increase in milk payment to farmers. The consequence is that rural activities will be enforced, and the creation of new jobs, or its stabilization, will be promoted. 4.- Strengthen Mediterranean food value chains, supporting product quality, healthy food consumption, and consumer trust. Whey protein is the highest nutritive protein for human consumption, and dairy products are included as Mediterranean Diet, already being trusted by the consumers 5.- Reduce the negative impacts of food value chains on the environment with particular reference to water. The new drying technology will cut the energy use by 25%, the innovation works are focused on ewe and goat milk (animals that graze), and to reduce the waste of whey to the Nile, an important environmental issue in Egypt. This contamination issue also affects the Sea, where this contaminated water flows. 6.- Support the transition from a linear to a circular economy. The use of all kinds of cheese whey, from feed or waste, redirected to human consumption, is a key strategy to increase the circular economy. Type of impact: 1.- Environmental impacts • 25% energy reduction on food spray-drying using PCD (the most energy-consuming food process). (1) • PCD may also be used to dry other food by-products, from the slaughterhouse, non-valuable fish, or by vegetable by-products (bagasse, fruit peels…). (2) • At least 1 million liters of cheese-whey is poured each day, to the Nile. Reduction of 25% on this contamination issue. (3) • Support to milk valorisation, for grazing ruminants (goat and sheep) 2.- Industrial impacts • Increased industrial activity for the SMEs builder of the new processing equipment (PCD and HPP), located in the Mediterranean area (most of the spray-driers are from Nord Europe). • Smaller equipment for spray-drier, at lower cost and less intensive on energy use, for small dairies along the Mediterranean Sea. (4). • Low-cost equipment to concentrate the whey protein, for small or low-tech cheesemakers along the Mediterranean Sea. (4) 3.- Economic impacts • Development and production of high-value economical dairy powders, carried out by SMEs in rural areas, which means that the SMEs will be able to increase the milk payment. (5) • New high technology companies developed in the Mediterranean Area • New source of income for low-tech or very small cheese-makers. 4.- Social impact • New source of high nutritive protein recovered from whey and made available for the consumers. (6) • Transformation of traditional activities on technological lever up to increase the economic wellness. • New tools to increase the availability of key ingredients in child nutrition 5.- Scientific and public impact • Study and scientific publication with the application of emerging food processing technologies (HPP and PCD), on dairy. The impacts of the project will be maximized through an extensive dissemination plan that will target SME dairies, but also the local, national, and European authorities and civil organizations. This targeted communication strategy will support the broad deployment of the project concepts and technologies developed in the framework of the project.

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