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What is an Ultra-Filtered Milk Product?

Written collaboratively by Nikki Prosch, former SDSU Extension Health & Physical Activity Field Specialist; Suzanne Stluka, former SDSU Extension Food & Families Program Director; and Hasmukh Patel.

Dairy should be a part of everyone’s regular diet each day. Primarily, dairy products provide the human body with essential calcium and protein for regular body functioning. All fluid milk products and foods made from milk are categorized in the dairy food group on USDA’s MyPlate. In today’s society, Americans are constantly looking for products that offer the most nutritional value for their dollar. Additionally, on-the-go high protein products are of particular demand. In an effort to offer consumers a high quality liquid milk product with even more nutrition benefits, manufacturers have discovered a new processing technique known as an ultrafiltration process.

What is Ultrafiltration Processing?

Ultrafiltration processing is one of the commonly used membrane filtration techniques in the food and beverage industry, which allows retention and permeation of specific components through semipermeable membrane based on their molecular weight sizes. In the dairy industry, this technology allows the retention of high molecular weight, suspended solids such as milk proteins and removal of water and low molecular weight components such as lactose and soluble minerals from the milk using semipermeable membrane. Using ultrafiltration technology, it is therefore possible to produce designer milk, milk products and dairy ingredients containing high protein and lower lactose content.

Milk products made with this ultrafiltration technique offer higher contents of valuable components such as protein and calcium. Additionally, milk products filtered through this technique contain half the sugar and are lactose-free.

Where Are Consumers Seeing These Products?

One company offering milk products through this ultra-filtered process is Fairlife LLC. Fairlife milk products contain 50% more protein than regular liquid milk products. Additionally, fairlife liquid milk products are made with 30% more milk product than regular liquid milk products, making them creamier and a thicker consistency. This ultra-filtered liquid milk product is available in a number of different varieties, including fat free, reduced fat (2%), whole and chocolate reduced fat (2%) varieties.

Fat-Free Milk
Organic Milk Fat-Free Milk Almond Milk
(per serving)
13 grams 8 grams 8 grams 1 gram
(per serving)
6 grams 12 grams 12 grams 15 grams
(per serving)
370 milligrams 276 milligrams 299 milligrams 451 milligrams


Ultra-filtered milk products come at a higher cost to the consumer, with some stores offering the products as much as double the price of regular milk products. Next time you are in a grocery store, look for this ultra-filtered milk drink and give it a try!


Related Topics

Health, Nutrition, Dairy Cattle