In the field of membrane filtration, new solutions within milk and plant-based products are constantly in the mold.
Our customers within the dairy and food industry are working relentlessly to meet new demands from consumers; quickly, efficiently, and with the highest utilization of raw materials. One market in strong growth is protein concentration of goat and sheep whey for baby food, particularly in China where products with special properties and nutritional benefits are in demand. These types of milk are easier to digest than cow's milk and have properties that are closer to breast milk. Also, the lower lactose content in goat's milk makes it interesting. Standardization of the same milk types for cheese is a growing market as well. Another major growth area is concentration of plant proteins from grains, nuts, beans, peas etc. for a wide range of plant-based foods.
The development in the concentration of dry matter from whey and milk is a constant focus area. Both because a higher solids content ensures savings on transportation costs for the next stage in the production chain, as well as savings on the consumption of water and power for the evaporation into powder.
Within a few years, we expect to reach a dry matter content of approx. 45% by RO concentration. This makes filtration an even more interesting technology for customers, because improved raw material utilization and thus efficiency and sustainability go hand in hand.
A refinement of the bacterial and fat rich WPC60 fraction that results from bacterial removal on whey is a growing market, just as we will see further fractionations of whey proteins or casein. An example is filtration to separate alfa-lactalbumin and beta-lactoglobulin for infant nutrition, as filtration is a cheaper solution compared to other alternatives.
At the same time, we partner with other protein fractionation players, with demand for ever-cleaner fractionation being one of the most important business drivers.
Removal of calcium is an important part of the filtration process. The calcium content is crucial for the concentration of dry matter. Removing calcium from the UF permeate not only achieves higher solids content, but, equally important, avoids acid dosing in the whey to keep the calcium dissolved. Thus, the whey can be classified as clean label, which many customers want.
In addition, the removal of calcium in lactose powder production means that the evaporator has a longer production time and requires less cleaning.
New types of membranes, where we ensure an even higher utilization of raw materials, will see the light of day; a process which is well under way. Furthermore, there is an issue regarding disposal of the polymer membranes, which we also work with our membrane suppliers to solve.
Where the ceramic membranes have a lifetime of approx. 10 years, there is greater replacement of polymer membranes, which typically lasts 1-3 years.
The new filtration systems from Tetra Pak have optimized water and power consumption. For existing systems, customers are offered energy-saving upgrades. The VarioBoost software, which significantly reduces the power consumption of the booster pumps, is an example. Another software solution is Green Flush, which reduces water consumption during flushing with up to 40%.
Our dedicated water optimization specialists offer a review of production to ensure that as much water as possible is recycled rather than discharged as costly wastewater. A business area that is growing rapidly as water is, or within a few years, becomes the most critical resource in keeping food production running.
A major growth area is concentration of plant proteins from grains, nuts, beans, peas etc. for a wide range of plant-based foods.