Special edition: getting more from your milk

Tetra Pak says technology can help dairy industry

By Jim Cornall

- Last updated on GMT

Tetra Pak's Homogenizer 500 is now in operation, and has applications within the dairy industry.
Tetra Pak's Homogenizer 500 is now in operation, and has applications within the dairy industry.

Related tags Tetra pak Milk

International Swedish packaging and production company Tetra Pak recently announced that the world’s largest capacity food processing homogenizer is in operation with its first customer.

The Tetra Pak Homogenizer 500, which can produce up to 63,600 liters per hour, was launched in partnership with Chinese food company YinLu to process peanut milk.

But the Homogenizer 500 (which can be used with both dairy and non-dairy products) is just one example of the technology in play in today’s industry, explains Tetra Pak's Kresten Hjortsballe, global category director dairy. He told DairyReporter that the role of such technology includes reducing operation costs, increasing flexibility and minimizing ingredient losses.

Dairy has always been core to the Tetra Pak business, and this focus continues into the future, he added.

While white milk still accounts for the largest volumes, value added products are growing rapidly in popularity and total global consumption of milk is forecast to reach 309bn liters by the end of this year, he added.

DR:​ How does Tetra Pak help its global customers in the dairy industry?

KH:​ Over the years we have developed a number of technologies and solutions focused on driving efficiencies and excellence in dairy production. Our aim is to drive the transition from batch to continuous production, reduce customers’ operational costs, increase flexibility, provide efficient cleaning-in-place (CIP) solutions, save ingredients and minimize loss.

DR​: Are there differences in markets to be taken into consideration?

KH:​ Staying on top of trends, as consumer tastes and lifestyles change, is why we investigate and produce our ‘Dairy Index’ each year, and have done since 2010.

Health conscious consumers have different needs in different developed and developing markets – from whey protein beverages for elderly in China, to probiotic milk for babies in North America  - we strive to support our customers to maximize emerging opportunities and achieve excellence.

DR:​ Are there other ways the company helps beyond technology?

KH:​ Spanning the entire spectrum of UHT technologies, we also look at more than just the equipment – for example our white paper ‘The role of raw milk quality in UHT production’ highlights the importance of the quality of raw milk and our ability to tailor a solution to fit the dairy producers’ requirements to be lean and smart, with greater efficiency and flexibility that matches the production parameters and capacity requirements they have.

DR:​ In 2015, Tetra Pak extended the application of its OneStep processing technology to milk production from powder.

What is the basis of OneStep?

KH:​ Producers can prepare UHT milk from powder in one continuous step, reducing operational cost by up to 40%.  The Tetra Pak OneStep technology offers a solution for producers of UHT milk by shortening the processing steps without any impact to product quality. It does this by removing the multiple steps of pasteurization and intermediate storage in the traditional process of preparing milk.

The OneStep technology with integrated automation and continuous operations, reduces milk waste that traditionally occurs between processing steps and improves consistency in product quality. On the reverse side we also provide drying solutions designed to capture economies of scale and turn surplus milk into powder.

In countries where producing milk from powder is common practice due to insufficient supply of raw milk, such as the Middle East, Far East and Africa, this is welcomed news. 

DR:​ How has that been integrated into other areas?

​​KH:​ Flavored and formulated dairy products create added value options enabling producers to reach new consumer groups with tasty and healthy products. Continuous multi stream production with OneStep technology means they can formulate products to add vitamins, minerals, proteins, and other ingredients such as Omega 3 or fiber.

Employing continuous production with OneStep technology will make our customers more flexible, significantly cut their operational costs through ingredient savings, less CIP requirements and with consistent product quality. We help address challenges producers will then face, such as taste, stability and consistency – and ensuring every last speck of cocoa powder is dissolved. Our customers have access to Tetra Pak Process Development Centres where they can test and perfect recipes before transferring them to the production line.

DR:​ What other innovations can increase efficiency and reduce costs?

KH:​ Our technologies have built-in sensors that monitor the CIP solution, IntelliCIP 2.0, which carries out cleaning based on actual need rather than at pre-set times, significantly increasing production up-time.

In February this year we released a white paper exploring the commercial technologies available to extend the shelf life for dairy products in order to provide our customers’ with a significant competitive advantage.

The quality of raw milk is the first prerequisite for good ESL quality plus different countries have different regulations in place. Food safety is the primary goal of all food preservation technologies, and this white paper explores ESL treatment options, processing line design, understanding the microbiological aspects of products, and measuring results for dairy producers.

These new products and technologies, like all innovations at Tetra Pak, aim to enhance our customers’ businesses, to help them secure orders, differentiate their products from competition, improve their environmental performance and cut operational costs.

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