Valorisation of whey: A tale of two Nordic dairies

Simon Bolwig, Andreas Brekke, Louise Strange, Nhat Strøm-Andersen

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This chapter explores the transition towards a sustainable bioeconomy in the dairy sector. Different valorisation strategies employed by two dairy companies are scrutinised through a comparative study of the dairy sector in Denmark and Norway. Theoretical underpinnings such as lock-in mechanisms, value chain governance and directionality through industrial practices are used to understand how differences in company strategies and capabilities affect the utilisation of side streams from cheese and yoghurt production. We examine factors at the level of the firm, the industry and the market, which influence whey valorisation in the two countries. We find that the organisation of the dairy companies, such as the separation of main products and by-product processing into different legal units, affects capabilities and the utilisation of whey, as well as their abilities to exploit economies of scale and scope in raw material sourcing, production and marketing. These factors, together with the national economic and political context, place the two dairies in very different positions in the global value chain for whey-based products.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFrom Waste to Value: Valorisation Pathways for Organic Waste Streams in Circular Bioeconomies
Number of pages25
PublisherTaylor & Francis
Publication date2019
Publication statusPublished - 2019


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