The know-how: a key element to be successful in the infant milk industry
June 14, 2013 by Eric BLANCHARD
This article is Part 3 of a focus on "Investing in the infant milk production"
Know-how: how do you make high quality infant milk in powder?
The objective of infant formula is always getting closer to breast milk to offer the best start in life to bottle-fed children. Thus, the quality of infant formula must be defined by at least three aspects: the formulation including the choice of raw materials, the microbiological and the nutritional quality.
Formulation and ingredients
The formulation must be made following the rules and regulations of each country, respecting the recommended ingredients and dosages. Medical researches about nutrients are evolving every day, in order to offer the children the best nutrition possible. Each ingredient as its own hygroscopic properties and, in infant milk powders, you can find more than 30 different ingredients so selecting the right suppliers is important to ensure the quality and safety of you final production.
The microbiological quality
The accepted microbiological standards for infant milk and infant formula milk powder are close to sterility. They are obtained by a stringent hygiene control management of production areas throughout the process, from reception of raw materials and tins to the shipping to distributors around the world.
The nutritional value of infant formula can be assessed in quantitative terms (nature of permitted ingredients and their minimum and maximum grades) but also, increasingly, in qualitative terms. As early as tomorrow, it is the metabolic behavior of nutritional compounds which will be considered by health authorities as preponderant: the nutrients ingested should be both digestible and bioavailable.
Now we know that the various procedures of industrial processing (heat treatment, mechanical treatment ...) are likely to affect the native compounds by modifying their molecular structure, bringing up some newly formed compounds which are potentially harmful to infant’s health.
The Spray Drying Technology
Drying a product is removing the water from it thanks to heat. Said this way, it seems simple but it is not: drying properly a product means preserving its functional and nutritional properties. To do so, you have to master the entire process of drying as each ingredient has its own hygroscopic properties: each product needs different drying parameters.
In too many companies, the drying tower is like a “black box” and the empirical approach is the rule: they try and try again to dry and when they obtain an acceptable quality, they keep the parameters and follow the production without changing them. Except that when they want to add ingredients to the main product they usually dry, for example to develop specific formulas with allegations, it makes things more complicated…
A scientific approach is needed, first to guaranty the final quality of the product and also to stop wasting time, energy and money in numerous trials.
So, to increase the productivity of plant and reduce the cost of formulas evolutions, LISA has developed a patented spray drying modeling called SD²P to know exactly the parameters needed for the product you have to dry. The software SD2P ® “Spray Drying Parameters Simulation & Determination” is registered under the reference IDDN.FR.001.480002.000.R.P.2005.000.30100.
Thanks to this highly valuable tool, industrials can develop unique formulas, in which many ingredients are included, in a more efficient way and respecting the highest quality standards.
Deciding to invest in the infant milk industry to produce high quality formulas is part of a long term strategy in which you have to stay aware of:
- The technology available and the improvements of techniques
- The ingredients suppliers and their development of new ingredients: be yourself at the origin of tomorrow’s trends
- Your competitors’ strategy evolution on the market
- The consumers’ need
- The market’s rules and regulations
Of course it is not open to everyone, only the most determined, having a strong ethic to respect the consumer and aware of the stakes can succeed. Even these need help and that is why LISA exists.
- Drying by desorption: software SD²P (pdf, 870 KB)
- Prediction of dry mass glass transition temperature (pdf, 448 KB)
- This article in PDF (pdf, 194 KB)