Curds and whey were a staple for Little Miss Muffet. But for the dairy industry, whey, a watery byproduct of cheesemaking, is waste that's increasingly expensive to get rid of. One solution: Balance Inc., a startup in Kent, Wash., has developed a milk substitute whose main ingredient is whey.
Roy Brog, a Utah dairy chemist, made such a product in the 1970s. But because it was in powder form, customers shunned it. Balance founder Sam Huffman rejiggered Brog's formula to make a tasty liquid product, called Milk-Lite, which it began marketing this month. Milk-Lite looks and tastes like milk but is low in lactose and has just 1% fat and lots of vitamins. It has 90 calories per serving, about the same as skim milk, and sells for $1.29 or less per half-gallon. Huffman says 25% of Americans are so-called lactose-intolerant, but he's targeting all consumers.