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Brown Cheese Brother reimagines leftover whey as a sweet treat

When milk is made into cheese, a whopping 90% is left over as whey, which is mainly processed into cattle feed or human protein products. Aiming to add higher value to a plentiful by-product, Brown Cheese Brother is turning whey into cookies instead.

The brand uses a Norwegian recipe to cook and reduce whey into a naturally sweet and slightly acidic cream. Brown Cheese Brother sandwiches the caramel-like filling between two buttery biscuits. The cookies are sold in plain and chocolate flavors, retailing for JPY 3,240 for a box of 10.

Brown Cheese Brother was launched in 2022 by GOODNEWS Co., Ltd., a startup that aims to solve regional (social) issues through a combination of design and food. Its cookies were introduced as a 'recommended snack' at Tokyo International Airport and are now on a pop-up tour of Japan, starting in Osaka, Nagoya and Sapporo. A permanent store will open in HND's Terminal 2 in June 2023.

Box of Brown Cheese Brother cookies, with cows on the front

Trend Bite

Brown Cheese Brother — rediscovering brown, reduced whey as the overlooked sibling of pale-colored cheese — is one of a creative and growing batch of entrepreneurs seeking better uses for common by-products. Is there a surplus ingredient, fabric or other 'low-value' material your brand has too long neglected? 

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