Food and dairy powders: the latest improvements
June 13, 2012 by Stéphanie Perraut, Process Alimentaire
Translated by Lisa Infant Milk, from ProcessAlimentaires.com, 12/06/2012
"The 5th International Symposium on Spray Dried Dairy Products will be held from the 19th to 21st of June 2012. It will gather in St Malo (France)more than 500 participants from 37 countries: researchers, producers, and industrial suppliers.
As an introduction, the French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA), organized a press conference with Pierre Schuck, researcher at the joint research platform, INRA/Agrocampus, STLO (science & technology applied on milk and eggs). This was the opportunity to give a quick overview of current issues for the powder business and a presentation of the tools available to the industry.
In “dairy” countries, 50% of dried milk is transformed into powder. The most commonly used drying technique is atomization. However, the technique did not change a lot when it comes to the products, which evolve year after year. In the 50s, the powder was simply a form of storage for animal feed. 30 years later appeared the methods of extraction and separation. Today, twenty molecules (over more than 3000 found in milk) are well valuated.
50 to 70 ingredients in an infant formula
This has resulted in the apparition of the third generation of powders, so-called “associated powders”. Of these, infant formula is a booming market, with a double-digit growth in the world. It is easy to dry skim milk, but the association is considerably more difficult. Infant formula is made of 50 to 70 ingredients. The ingredients to be dried can have a dairy or non-dairy origin; they represent a good added value and require more and more technical attention. The symposium takes a horizontal point of view of the industrial sector, with a new pre-competitive approach.
The main research challenge is the identification and the consideration of the interactions between the drying processes and the product, in order to successfully dehydrate the liquid mix, without distorting its properties. To track changes in formulation, it is important to anticipate the effects of the drying parameters, to optimize them and to control them. From this perspective, the UMT STLO at INRA Rennes is constantly optimizing its SD²P prediction method for drying effects. Up to now, 20 licenses have been sold (19 to dairy companies). Through a scientific and financial partnership with Laiterie de Montaigu, the software is in its fifth version. The symposium will mark a milestone in the development of a fourth generation of powders, with a strong nutritional or medical vocation. And for the first time, the symposium will include a session on nutrition.
New equipments for the Bionov research platform
On the 22nd of June, a lab tour of the STLO platform is organized from 10.00 to 10.30 am. 150 people (of whom 80% foreigners) already registered. This is the opportunity to present the Bionov drying research unit, located near the laboratory. This technical research tool was established in 1991, under the initiative of 14 dairy companies in western France. They have already gathered in the Britain Food Biotechnology Association (BBA). Bionov is a company constituted of 23 shareholders with 14 current users. The facility is also opened to businesses from chemical, cosmetic, pharmaceutical and seafood industries. Its mission is to serve as a test platform for new formulas or for basic research but also as a production unit for small manufacturers. All profits are reinvested in the company equipment. Thus, Bionov has recently added a new system for the incorporation of gas, and a band dryer. In 2013, it will be possible to perform tests on an extrusion pilot plant."