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Middle East: Region can enjoy consistent milk supply, says Tetra Pak

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Tetra Pak’s OneStep processing technology is now enabling milk producers to prepare ultra-high-temperature (UHT) milk from powder in one step, reducing operational cost by up to 40% and carbon impact by more than a half.

Bengt Eliasson, manager of Centre of Expertise, Dairy Aseptic, Tetra Pak, tells Food News International how consumers in the Middle East and Africa can enjoy milk despite an inconsistent fresh supply.

FNI: What challenges do milk producers need to overcome when preparing UHT milk from powder?

Eliasson: In the traditional production process, skim milk powder is mixed with water at a mixing station and sent to a tank, before being pasteurized and standardized.

Milk with a different fat content is stored in intermediate tanks before it is UHT treated.

The process demands heavy investment in equipment, is time consuming, and significant product losses are difficult to avoid.

FNI: What are the market reasons for such a process?

Eliasson: In some developing markets such as the Middle East and Africa, dairy farms are rare or less productive owing to factors such as the climate.

This means raw milk is not consistently available.

Processing milk from powder is popular in these countries because it offers an excellent alternative to fresh milk with similar nutritional value and enabling producers to meet consumer demand.

Tetra Pak’s OneStep technology approach has removed several processing stages from the traditional method of producing milk from powder.

In one continuous phase, skim milk powder is mixed with pre-heated water in a vacuum to make a concentrate, and then blended with the right volume of water and fat before undergoing UHT treatment and regenerative cooling.

Using the Tetra Pak High-Shear Mixer and Tetra Alfast in-line blending unit, the OneStep technology eliminates the need for pasteurization and intermediate storage of pasteurized milk, shortening the process, improving efficiency and reducing energy consumption and environmental impact.

tetra pak onestep 1

FNI: What gains can milk producers enjoy with the OneStep processing technology?

Eliasson: The OneStep technology eliminates several processing stages and thereby improves efficiency.

It enables complete automation and continuous operations, reducing milk waste traditionally lost between processing steps and improving consistency in product quality.

The technology also enables more accurate volumes of powder and water use than traditional processing.

Sadafco, a dairy in Saudi Arabia, piloted the OneStep technology solution and it was able to reduce total cost of ownership by up to 40%.

This resulted in a smaller carbon footprint, whilst also doubling production capacity.

In addition, the new system has enabled Sadafco to reduce production losses due to human error by as much as a third.

The dairy now has two lines.

FNI: How does Tetra Pak intend to tap into the market opportunities in the Middle East and Africa in 2016?

Eliasson: We have been working with our customers to develop products that meet consumer needs in these markets.

The OneStep technology offers producers the option to produce recombined as well formulated milk – such as lactic acid drinks or flavoured milk products – on one line and in the most cost efficient way.

We see great opportunities in these regions with the growing population and growing economy.

Consumers in these markets are becoming more and more affluent and they demand more nutritious healthy food.

At the same time, there are challenges, such as the shortage of raw milk, the high price of imported powder, and the competition among different brands.

Customers have to come up with better products while pushing down operational costs.

As in all markets, Tetra Pak needs to work closely with our customers to understand their needs precisely, and partner with them in finding solutions to support their business.

Working together with Sadafco to pilot the OneStep technology was a great example of how we work with customers and deliver value.

A93G8W Infant girl enjoying a glass of milk in her home kitchen
A93G8W Infant girl enjoying a glass of milk in her home kitchen