Extending Shelf-life without losing Fresh Taste
The further that dairy producers can extend the shelf-life of their products (aseptic and ESL), the more those products will appeal to customers able to pay a premium for that convenience. Key to extending shelf-life is exposing raw milk to ultrahigh temperatures that kill bacterial spores that might otherwise proliferate. But in the process, conventional heating methods change the chemical composition of the milk so much so that the fresh taste is lost.
Although taste itself may be subjective, associated chemical processes can be measured precisely. SPX FLOW food scientists have developed advanced models that monitor chemical changes across the dairy production lifecycle. The models have guided the develop of industry-leading processes and equipment that protect the chemical structure of raw milk as it passes through ultrahigh temperature (UHT) sanitation operations.
These SPX FLOW models can also help you manage process tradeoffs. If, for example, you needed a shelf-life of 12 months — maybe for marketing or regulatory reasons — the model would dictate the exact temperature exposure needed to achieve that life without changing the chemical composition. The models also factor in ambient temperature and humidity that may be operant in the plant at the time of the production and whether the product will be distributed through ambient or cold channels.
And, as with all SPX FLOW products, SPX FLOW has built-in innovations that conserve energy and reduce carbon footprint, which is especially important in high-heat applications. This also adds consumer appeal, because users of long-life dairy products also tend to be more likely to buy products produced through environmentally sustainable processes.
SPX FLOW’s shelf-life extension expertise spans the entire spectrum of UHT sterilization technology, including indirect plate, indirect tubular, steam infusion, steam injection, indirect scraped surface heat exchanger (SSHE) sterilizers and instant infusion pasteurizers.
Because of this wide-ranging capability, many of the world’s leading suppliers of long-life dairy products come to SPX FLOW to co-develop products for this growing market. Many such co-development projects are now underway right now at our Global Innovation and Design Centers.