Arla Foods Ingredients has announced that it has doubled its capacity for producing the protein alpha-lactalbumin in a bid to meet growing demand from the global infant formula market.

It is the dominant protein in human milk, but is also found naturally in cows’ milk and incorporating it into infant formula enables manufacturers to create products that more closely resemble breast milk, it says.

Anne Staudt Kvistgaard, Head of Pediatric at Arla Foods Ingredients, said that the protein is very rich in essential amino acids.

This means that protein levels in infant formulas can be optimized in regards to protein concentration and composition while maintaining compliance with the amino acid levels set by regulations.

Alpha-lactalbumin is produced at the company's Denmark Protein facility in Jutland and the company has added a second production line at the factory, which will increase output of the protein by 100%, it says.

"Human milk will always be the gold-standard for infants but commercial production of alpha-lactalbumin means babies fed with formula can benefit from similar levels of protein composition.

"In recognition of this, worldwide demand for alpha-lactalbumin is growing fast, especially in China, and we’re delighted that this increase in our production capacity will help to secure further supplies for our customers," she said.

Besides infant formula, alpha-lactalbumin’s rich protein content means that it is also suitable for use as a high quality ingredient in health foods and in sports and clinical nutrition products, Arla Foods Ingredients says.