Dairy Dialog podcast 122: Lactalis Ingredients, Optima Consumer, Good Culture

By Jim Cornall

- Last updated on GMT

Dairy Dialog podcast 122: Lactalis Ingredients, Optima Consumer, Good Culture
Dairy Dialog podcast 122: Lactalis Ingredients, Optima Consumer, Good Culture

Related tags Dairy

This week we again have three conversations on the podcast. We spoke with Elodie Macariou, senior product manager, Lactalis Ingredients; Sieghardt Lay, director sales food/beverage, and Werner Steidle, technical sales manager, Optima; and chief operating officer of Good Culture, Becky Gretebeck.

We also have our weekly look at the global dairy markets with Liam Fenton at StoneX.

Optima launches new infant formula machine

Optima Consumer GmbH has developed new equipment for the fully automated evacuation, gassing and seaming of infant formula containers.

Pic: Optima Consumer

Optima Consumer said it has responded to increased awareness about product safety by conducting product-based market research. These demands by the market were translated into a new machine concept, the OPTIMA EGS, a machine designed for the fully automatic evacuation, gassing and seaming of infant formula products.

"The OPTIMA FS filling machine and the OPTIMA EGS enable us to supply the centerpiece of infant formula production lines from a single source,"​ said Christoph Held, managing director of Optima Consumer.

The first OPTIMA EGS was put into operation in mid-2019 at the Mittelelbe dairy plant, also known as Elb-Milch.

"The OPTIMA EGS is a perfectly adapted system that combines high operating speeds and maximum safety and quality levels,"​ said Uwe Bedau, managing director of Elb-Milch.

The company is part of the Krüger Group and has been producing dry milk products since 1991.

“Officially, the residual oxygen levels are lower than 1%, and so are in a range that meets all the requirements of modern infant nutrition. In reality, in production the values are usually much lower than this,”​ Bedau said. 

Another feature is its compact design, as Optima Consumer said total cost of ownership (TCO) is an important basis for deciding whether to invest in new machines and systems.

All of the functions – evacuation, gassing and seaming – are contained within a small area. This effectively lowers the operating costs for the clean room. The space requirement has been reduced by more than 40% compared to conventional post-gassing systems. The OPTIMA EGS also operates with the high speeds of the OPTIMA FS filling machine.

"These points, along with Optima employees' commitment, has led us to purchase the OPTIMA EGS following the pilot phase,"​ Bedau said.

A Chinese customer has also commissioned Optima to supply a complete high-care room – the heart of infant formula lines.

As well as the machine's small footprint, the company said users also benefit from the traceability of all the containers. With the OPTIMA EGS, it is possible to assign production data to each container in a clear and traceable way via the processing procedures.

This also includes documentation of all process parameters, for instance the negative pressure stages for meeting the residual oxygen values required for each individual can at every step in the process. This is possible because each can is evacuated, gassed and seamed individually.

Production data can be stored using the line management system developed by Optima, and critical key figures are clearly displayed. It also means entire production lines can be networked with machines made by different manufacturers, optimizing overall equipment effectiveness in a targeted way.

In the past, foreign bodies found in product have resulted in recall measures being taken, so protecting unsealed cans is vital. This need is met by the patented function lid. The cans are not transported open once the product has been added. They are closed with a function lid during evacuation and gassing. This eliminates the need for the additional function of clinching, so reducing the risk of imploding cans.

Optima said the aim is to achieve reduced residual oxygen levels. This has been met by an evacuation process specially developed for infant formula. The product is "brought to the boil" in the process via different pressure stages without the need for valves and the oxygen contained in the product is released. Depending on the product, a residual oxygen content of 0.5% is achieved with an output of up to 250 cans per minute.

The machine is now available worldwide.

Good Culture partners with Dairy Farmers of America with Path To Pasture program

US dairy food company Good Culture has partnered with Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) to create the Path to Pasture program to help support soil health and utilize pasture on family dairy farms.

Through the Path to Pasture program with DFA's sustainability team and associated nonprofits, funds from Good Culture will be leveraged to provide farmers with education on and access to sustainable, regenerative agriculture farming practices.

The Path to Pasture pilot program will initially be offered to farmers in the Minnesota and Wisconsin milkshed interested in enhancing soil or pasture health. Initial outreach and commitments started in 2020, with implementation of new resources and processes to start in spring 2021. Consultations will continue through mid-summer 2021 with implementation for those in the program in the fall.

"At Good Culture, we are committed to creating good for people, animals and the planet, and soil health and regenerative agriculture plays a vital role in this,"​ said founder Jesse Merrill.

"Through the Path to Pasture program and our partnership with DFA, we aim to support farmers by providing them access to regenerative agriculture farming resources which will create healthier soil; grow more nutrient-dense foods; ensure that our animals are outside on pasture; and sequester carbon."

"DFA and our farm family-owners are committed to sustainability and reducing our carbon footprint,"​ says David Darr, senior vice president and chief strategy and sustainability officer at DFA.

"Continuous improvements in soil health, including development of pasture, are important parts of our overall sustainability strategy. We are excited to establish Path to Pasture as a new program to educate, share best practices and promote continuous improvement with our members."

The brand also works with Kiss The Ground to provide access to scholarships for soil health training and testing. For each cup of organic Good Culture sold, 1% of sales goes towards transitioning conventional farms to regenerative agriculture practices with a focus on planned grazing. Since 2017, 14 scholarships have been awarded to farmers and producers.

The Path to Pastures program announcement follows the company announcing it is a Certified B Corporation.

The company also recently announced the appointment of Becky Gretebeck as chief operating officer, who we interviewed for the podcast this week.

 Prior to joining Good Culture, Betty held roles at Century Foods (now owned by Hormel), Organic Valley, Organic Valley Fresh and most recently, Brookside Flavors in business development. In total, her 14 years of operations experience include R&D, procurement, commercialization, and supply chain management.

She also owns and operates a 100% grass-fed certified organic dairy farm.

Lactalis Ingredients launches Pronativ native micellar casein

Lactalis Ingredients has expanded its range with a micellar casein isolate.

The company pointed to the ageing population driving demand for functional food and drink.

The number of older persons worldwide should double by 2050. Lactalis Ingredients said healthy ageing will be one of the main concerns in the coming years, and people are looking for food to help them live healthier for longer and prevent the occurrence of health problems.

Senior nutrition is moving from cure to prevention, and ageing-well products are targeting not only older consumers but also younger consumers who are proactive about healthy ageing.

Muscle and joint health claims are, therefore, important given the potential for muscle loss due to ageing. Protein’s benefits for muscle growth, recovery, and weight management make them ideal for food and drink fortification.

Lactalis Ingredients’ new Pronativ Native Micellar Casein has been created to meet the needs of consumers looking to support their active lifestyle, as well as provide nutritional solutions for healthy ageing and medical applications.

Pronativ Native Micellar Casein is a minimally-processed protein, extracted directly from milk using gentle processing with no added ingredients or chemicals. The company said the non-denaturing process allows it to obtain a native protein, close to the conformation of the protein present in the milk.

Lactalis Ingredients’ new micellar casein isolate contains 88% protein and is suitable for protein-enrichment of food and beverages. It also features low viscosity, low spores, a neutral taste, and is heat stable.


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