Milk Specialties Global continues to expand in performance nutrition, food protein markets

Rising up on a dairy farm close to Pearl Lake in Minnesota, David Lenzmeier questioned what occurred after the truck picked up the milk and drove away.

That query fueled Lenzmeier’s profession within the dairy protein and dietary substances trade. As chief government of Eden Prairie-based Milk Specialties International, Lenzmeier has numerous solutions about what occurs after the milk truck leaves.

On this case, the 16 billion kilos of dairy equivalents that Milk Specialties buys every year from Wisconsin cheesemakers and different suppliers goes to processing vegetation within the Midwest and California after which on to greater than 40 international locations.

Lenzmeier launched and offered a protein ingredient firm earlier than becoming a member of Milk Specialties in 2008 to start out its human diet division. He grew to become CEO in 2011. He was Ernst & Younger’s Younger Entrepreneur of the 12 months in 2013 for the Higher Midwest.

When Lenzmeier joined the corporate, it had $80 million in income and three processing areas. Now income is “most likely 10 occasions” extra, and it has 11 vegetation and 1,000 staff, he mentioned.

In August, Milk Specialties acquired Kay’s Processing facility in Clara Metropolis, Minn., and Kay’s client model. It additionally just lately entered the lactoferrin market, investing in a Wisconsin plant to provide an ingredient searched for toddler method amongst different purposes based mostly on analysis pointing to its “enhanced immune system assist,” in line with an organization launch.

“We have executed a tremendous job of executing, however I do not assume that we might have envisioned that protein demand would have gone to the extent that it has,” Lenzmeier mentioned.

Lenzmeier’s fundamental focus is increasing manufacturing at most vegetation, which generally run full time.

Milk Specialties’ whey proteins, milk proteins and different substances go into such merchandise as milk replacers for calves and well being and wellness, efficiency diet and useful meals merchandise. The corporate packages lots of these jugs of protein powder on cabinets at GNC, Costco and Walmart, Lenzmeier mentioned.

Lenzmeier, who has a level in agribusiness and meals science from the College of Wisconsin, River Falls, is on the manager board of the Hendrickson Basis, which helps accessible hockey packages.

Milk Specialties’ administration workforce and a personal fairness agency acquired the corporate in 2016.

Q: What do you acquire with the Kay’s acquisition?

A: Kay’s is an extrusion facility at its coronary heart. Everyone’s acquainted with Rice Krispies or Cheerios; these are extruded grain merchandise. A number of our prospects need these extruded substances with protein in them. It is a new section of the enterprise to extrude protein into one thing like Rice Krispies which can be 50 to 60% protein. They will put that right into a protein bar and possibly make it extra palatable or useful.

Q: What’s your technique in making acquisitions?

A: We have made acquisitions however they’ve most likely been extra asset acquisitions or shopping for amenities which have the capabilities we’re on the lookout for after which placing in our equipment of kit. We use numerous membrane know-how, successfully taking whey popping out of cheese vat at 12% protein and purifying that as much as 80, 90% purity. Then it could actually go right into a protein drink, a protein powder, a protein bar. We do it with milk, skim milk, as properly.

Q: What’s a differentiator for Milk Specialties?

A: We attempt to do numerous custom-made merchandise. We maintain very targeted on driving the worth in our ingredient facet. We contemplate ourselves a model accomplice. We must be bringing innovation to the manufacturers that we provide, to assist them compete and develop.

Todd Nelson is a contract author in Lake Elmo. His e-mail is

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