The objective of this work is to determine the extent to which changes in the skim milk powder (SMP) manufacturing process alter the volatile profile of SMP, and whether these changes are carried through to a final product when the SMP is used as an ingredient and subjected to further processing. The manufacture of SMP is a multistage process involving a preliminary concentration step, heat treatment, and a drying stage. However, the methods and conditions used by the industry are not standardized, and the inherent variability in the production of SMP has consequences for the end-users, such as the confectionery industry, where the SMP is used as an ingredient during the production of milk chocolate, white chocolate, and caramel. This study investigates the effect of each stage of the manufacturing process on the concentration of reducing sugars and available amino groups (as precursors of the Maillard reaction) as well as on the volatile products of the Maillard reaction and lipid degradation. Eight types of SMP were produced using combinations of different processing conditions: concentration (by evaporation or reverse osmosis), heat treatment (low heat or high heat), and drying (spray-drying or freeze-drying). Maillard precursors were quantified after each processing stage and volatile compounds were extracted using solid-phase microextraction, and analyzed by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. The resulting SMP were incorporated into a model white chocolate system, produced under varying conching conditions. We demonstrate not only that changes in the SMP manufacturing conditions affect the volatile profile of SMP, but also that these differences can be carried through to a final product when the SMP is used to prepare a model white chocolate. Understanding these differences is important to the industry for controlling the flavor of the end product. Copyright © 2018 American Dairy Science Association. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.