The Cost of Quality: Factors Influencing Whey Protein Prices

Optimum Nutrition wants consumers to be fully aware of the factors contributing to increases in cost of producing superior quality whey protein powders.

Aurora, IL, February 09, 2012 --( Active adults the world over recognize the value of whey protein for promoting recovery from exercise. The stress of intense exercise breaks muscle fibers down so they can be rebuilt stronger. The process typically requires 48 hours along with amino acids from protein, which serve as the building blocks of muscle mass.

Like many commodities, including sugar, eggs and other farm products, the raw ingredients used to produce powdered whey proteins have become more expensive during the past few years. Price is determined by the available supply of these raw materials and consumer demand for the finished product. Of course, those are not the only factors involved in the continued increase of whey costs, and Optimum Nutrition, makers of Gold Standard 100% Whey™ – the world’s most popular whey protein – wants consumers to be fully aware of all the details.

Record Demand for Sports Nutrition

“The popularity of sports nutrition products is currently at an all-time high,” said Jay Jacobsen, Brand Advocacy Manager for ON in Aurora. “While this is a very positive trend, increased demand for ready to mix protein powders is only partially responsible for increases in whey commodity pricing. Greek yogurt and other foods fortified with whey protein are diverting large quantities of whey ingredients from the sports nutrition marketplace. In addition, escalating demand for whey-fortified foods in emerging economies is further stressing an already tight global supply of the raw materials used to produce whey protein powders.”

Tight Supply of Quality Raw Materials

Whey is a byproduct of cheese production. After it is collected, the raw whey goes through a series of processing steps to become Whey Concentrate, the basic ingredient found in many whey protein powders. Additional refinement is required to produce the purest form of whey known as Whey Protein Isolates (WPI). Rated at 90+% pure protein, WPI is recognized as the highest quality whey ingredient. Nothing else compares, which is why ON uses WPI as the primary ingredient in Gold Standard 100% Whey™ and Platinum Hydrowhey® where it is hydrolyzed for faster absorption.

“Of course, all whey is not created equal. Even the quality and processing of highly refined ingredients like WPI can fluctuate,” said Jacobsen. “This makes acquiring the materials needed to produce ON whey proteins even more challenging. Because of ON’s strict quality controls, our manufacturing facility rejects a significant amount of WPI delivered each month. We buy only the best of the best, and these ingredients are becoming more expensive based on availability and demand.”

A Long History of Consistent Quality

Optimum Nutrition was built on a commitment to quality that has withstood supply shortages and price increases for 25 years. Where other companies might be tempted to loosen their standards, ON has never and will never allow any of their products to be compromised. Consumers expect ON powdered proteins to mix up effortlessly, taste exactly as expected and deliver exceptional purity, and the company remains firmly committed to delivering on all of those expectations.


For more information on ON
or any of the company’s products, visit or contact
Tim Weigard, 975 Meridian Lake Dr., Aurora, IL 60504
Phone: 630-256-7442
Optimum Nutrition
Tim Weigard