Hilmar Ingredients was named 2009 Exporter of the Year by the U.S. Dairy Export Council and co-sponsor Dairy Foods magazine. The award recognizes Hilmar Ingredients’ leadership in driving global demand for U. S. dairy products.

Hilmar Ingredients is the whey protein and lactose products division of Hilmar Cheese Company.  As Hilmar Cheese Company makes cheese, a liquid called whey is drained. This liquid contains whey protein, lactose and water.  Whey protein is a nutritious ingredient used in products such as infant formula, nutrition bars and sports drinks.  Lactose is also used in infant formula, as well as in chocolate and baked goods. Through a processing system of filters and driers, Hilmar Cheese Company is able to capture the healthy nutrients of protein and lactose, and recycle the remaining water.

For Hilmar Ingredients the journey to becoming a leading exporter began in 1994.  The company shipped their first container of lactose from the nearby Port of Oakland, California to customers in Asia. Today, Hilmar Ingredients’ whey protein and lactose products are sent to more than 40 countries. Cheese from Hilmar Cheese Company is also sold abroad with the popularity, especially in Japan, of American fare such as pizza and burgers.

“Our employees and the dairy farmers who ship their milk to Hilmar Cheese Company have accomplished so much together,” said John Jeter, chief executive officer and president of Hilmar Cheese Company.  “From a small cheese plant on the corner in 1984 to this recognition for leadership exporting products around the globe, we are grateful to the employees, dairy farm families and communities that have supported our success.”

“We have traveled the world to learn first-hand how to provide customer service and to meet the unique needs of people in different countries,” said Kevin Vogt, vice president and general manager of Hilmar Ingredients. “We listen closely to customers in China who want different products from customers in Mexico. From our interactions, we pick up valuable insight – whether about a new product or a new appreciation of culture and attitudes. Although the U.S. market is core to our business, exports are a significant contributor to the success of Hilmar Ingredients and contribute to our growth.”

“U.S. Dairy exports totaled more than $3.83 billion for 2008, so it’s also essential that we are aware of dairy’s value to the local economy in Hilmar, in Dalhart, and throughout the United States,” added Jeter.  “We have to be strong here before we can compete abroad. We have a dedicated team of almost 1,000 skilled employees operating some of the most innovative equipment in the industry.  It is the fact that our people are always doing new and better things – from international customer service to the latest in water reclamation that led to this recognition.”

Source: Hilmar Cheese Company