Heat treatment is often inappropriate for expensive ingredients such as lactase, flavours, or probiotics. That’s why our precision dosing technologies are designed to function after heat treatment, just before filling. This is the key to creating value-added beverages with great flexibility, while holding production costs down.
Consumers around the globe are increasingly choosing milk products and other beverages that offer something extra, going beyond nutrition and taste into health and wellness. The coming years will see many more products launched with special ingredients, ranging from milk to plant-based dairy drinks, juices and nectars, drinking yoghurt and soft cheeses. Vitamins, omega-3, aromas, probiotics, and enzymes like lactase are used to add value to the base product – and new ones are appearing every year. Moreover, on-demand production of small volumes will likely increase, using the same base and changing the additives for variations in colour, flavour, or nutrients.
Many ingredients for value-added products are heat-sensitive and require special handling – especially when used in UHT or ESL production – in order to maintain product quality and minimize waste and energy costs. Lactoferrin is very sensitive to heat, and probiotics must be added after heat treatment, or they would be killed off. But these, and many other ingredients, yield premium products that command premium prices.
We offer dosing equipment for inline continuous processing, which permits greater flexibility than batch systems. Tetra Pak® Aseptic Dosing units provide very accurate dosing of heat-sensitive ingredients in very small quantities, on the scale of a few grams per litre and after the heat treatment, just before filling. And the additives are pre-sterilized, except for live cultures such as probiotics, of course, which are filled securely in a sealed bag for safe handling in production areas.
Dosing inline reduces costs by reducing the amount of ingredients needed – no need to overdose to compensate for losses during heat treatment. For example, when adding lactase enzyme to make lactose-free UHT milk, you can save as much as 80-90% of the enzyme by dosing the milk after heat treatment. If you add lactase before heat treatment, the enzymatic reaction is slower at a lower temperature and the time is limited, compared to being in the final package at ambient temperature for several days. Likewise, if you add vitamins and flavours before heat treatment, you are likely to lose 10-30% of the ingredient. Dosing inline also eliminates storage tanks, avoiding major CIP costs and downtime. This is better for the environment, and your bottom line.
Thirdly, you enjoy great production flexibility with just-in-time production formulation with ingredients such as flavours, colours, vitamins and minerals, which could be used for seasonal products or small special promotions. Starting with the same base formulation product, you can quickly change one or more ingredients before filling. While before it might have taken you several days to produce a few product variants, with aseptic dosing it can be done in a single day.
In addition, aseptic in-line dosing enables easier and faster product innovation and evaluation, as you can avoid continually adjusting the process to the heat treatment, and just focus on the recipe formulation, working with one parameter at a time.
Tetra Pak® Aseptic Dosing unit F has a 141 x 149cm footprint, easily fitting into existing installations. It is an aseptic in-line dosing unit with offline preparation of ingredients, either by filtration or UHT treatment. The pre-sterilized ingredients are delivered in 5-litre or 10-litre aseptic bags from a variety of ingredient suppliers.
It uses a flow transmitter, weight systems and speed-controlled peristaltic pump to accurately dose the ingredient via a patented sterile hose and needle into the aseptic injection chamber on the main product pipe. There it is blended to a uniform formulated product by the turbulent flow. The whole operation is overseen by an advanced recipe management and control system that enables tight dosing control and full traceability.
All ingredients are handled in an entirely closed system, ensuring safe aseptic transfer. Barcodes on the ingredient bags eliminate human error. Just select the recipe, load the bag, and scan the barcode to make sure it is approved.
Using new ingredients allows you to differentiate yourself from your competitors, develop new trend-setting premium products, build your brand and achieve handsome profits.
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For more information about our aseptic dosing offer, see Aseptic dosing of heat-sensitive ingredients | Tetra Pak