The big moment came not long ago, when sacks bearing the wheyco logo were filled with whey permeate in Hoogeveen, in the Netherlands, for the very first time. That was the first visible sign of the merger between wheyco and DV Nutrition, creating one of the world’s biggest producers of whey derivatives. Employees from the two companies had already become one single team. On January 1, the day of the full takeover of DVN, 69 new colleagues were integrated into the Industry Business Unit at the DMK Group. Just as in Altentreptow, WPC and permeate are produced there, too. The Hamburg sales office handles customer contact. The DMK Group held shares in the DVN joint venture since 2004, together with Volac. At the start of the year, the company was merged as part of the group’s expansion into European and Asian growth markets within Vision 2030. “The full takeover of the joint venture is another step enabling us to expand our whey business further into value-creating markets,” says Alexander Godow, COO DMK Industry.
“The takeover enables us to keep expanding our whey business into markets where value is created“
Alexander Godow, COO DMK Industry
The takeover did not only suddenly double product volumes, it also brought benefits for employees working on site. “We don’t have to communicate across such a long distance now,” says Mirjam Vreugdenhil who works on the Hoogeveen customer service desk. “It’s great to get to know our new colleagues from DMK.” Kerstin Aue, a wheyco marketing manager, can only return the compliment. “It’s been really good to get to know our colleagues in Hoogeveen better and to grow together with them as a team.” The restrictions imposed due to the coronavirus pandemic, which also affected the location in Drenthe province, did not prove to be a hindrance. Of course, sometimes, things took a little bit longer to coordinate with the new group, says IT project manager Pim Draaisma. “Most of us here in Hoogeveen haven’t worked with an organization as large as the DMK Group before.” In software terms, there is still work to be done before both sides are completely synchronized, he said.
“It’s been great to get to know our colleagues in Hoogeveen better and to grow together with them as a team“
Kerstin Aue, Marketing Manager
There is already a real team feeling. “We have profited from the power and extent of the DMK Group’s network more than once over the past few months, when we had to solve problems quickly,” says Draaisma. His colleague, human resources officer Monique Compagner, adds, “Integrating DVN into wheyco opens up a lot of new possibilities for us. The knowledge and experience of both locations will help us keep growing and enable us to be more successful.” It’s no surprise that employees are seen as the binding ingredient throughout the whole business unit and the Dutch location has also embraced this maxim since 2020. Every hour, 120,000 liters of whey flow into the highly modern dairy park “Zuivelpark” from the neighboring DOC Kaas plant, through pipes into the wheyco plant. The proximity to cheese production is an important reason behind wheyco’s high-quality end product, as the freshness and quality of the whey are decisive when it comes to producing whey derivatives. A small part of the whey is also supplied from Alteveer and Edewecht, and is processed in Hoogeveen. “We have the shared duty to bring the best of both worlds into the future organization,” says Managing Director Martin Humfeldt. “That’s the only way we will succeed together.”
First, the whey is pasteurized at exactly 72 degrees, to ensure the proteins are not destroyed. It’s important that the whey is fresh and contains relatively little bacteria, however, because not all bacteria is destroyed at this relatively low temperature. The finest-quality ingredients are needed in order to produce a top-quality end product. Then, in a complicated separation process, a whey concentrate is extracted from the whey, which consists of 95.5% water. It is then processed further, while the water released during this process flows back to DOC Kaas in pipes, to be used in the production of cheese. Whey Protein Concentrate WPC 80, one of the main products made in Hoogeveen, is produced in an instantized and non-instantized form. Instantized whey protein concentrate is mainly used to make sports and fitness drinks. Permeate, Hoogeveen’s other main product, is mainly used by the bakery and confectionery industry, because the sweet and salty taste components deepen the flavor of many foods and the product also gives baked goods an even goldenbrown color. Large quantities of permeate are also used in animal feed. Many customers have adapted their recipes specifically to Hoogeveen’s permeate as they trust the product’s high quality level. This has been a benefit to the whole of the DMK Group since January.
“We have the shared duty to bring the best of both worlds into the future organization. That’s the only way we will succeed together”
Martin Humfeldt , Managing Director