Today, milk and whey based ingredients are one of the fastest growing businesses in the dairy industry worldwide. Membrane technology is used in the production of bulk and specialty products like WPC/WPI, MPC/MPI, MCC/MCI, Lactoferrin, high-fat, demineralised whey, as well as calcium phosphate, calcium phosphate, lactose, permeate powder, and hydrolysates.
Measured by volume processed and size of installations, ingredients derived from milk and whey are by far the largest application for membrane filtration.
The products can be grouped into, see illustration:
- Protein-based ingredients, applied in infant formula, food and sport nutrition products
- Mineral-based ingredients applied as nutritional supplements
- Lactose-based ingredients applied in snack, confectionary and nutritional products
- Hydrolysates applied in infant formula and dietary products
The trend in the market is a drive towards more and more sophisticated and purified products with higher and more stable value compared to commodity products, which are susceptible to relative large price fluctuations. Tetra Pak Filtration Solutions is focused on developing innovative applications to help our customers create such high-quality and high-value products.
Common for all these new products is that you need a combination of several processes to produce them. The ideal scenario is where a certain combination leaves no by-products, so that all process streams can be sold as valuable products.
Also common for ingredients is the requirement for relatively large volumes in order to make processing economically feasible.
The process technology steps involved in ingredients production serve the purpose of separation into well-defined components, preservation of quality and concentration of value streams. The main process steps are:
- Centrifugal separation
- Pasteurization/heat treatment
- Ion exchange/chromatography
- Powder handling
The individual process steps required for a given ingredients production can be combined in many different combinations and Tetra Pak Line Solutions provide examples of how a line can be set up. Often local conditions will dictate some variations to the solution.