Processors reap benefits as milk and dairy product demand grows

1st April 2013

Global consumption of milk and other liquid dairy products is expected to increase by a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 2.2 per cent over the next three years, according to research released by Tetra Pak.

The forecast is contained in the Tetra Pak Dairy Index, a new biannual report on consumption trends in the dairy industry that is designed to help dairy producers identify opportunities for growth.

According to the Index, in 2008 global consumption of liquid dairy products, excluding soy and dairy alternatives, reached a record high of 258billion litres. This marks a worldwide increase of 1.6 per cent over 2007 - an additional four billion litres. Over the past four years, global consumption of milk and other liquid dairy products has grown by a CAGR of 2.4 per cent, despite a sharp spike in prices over the past two years, which saw milk prices increase by up to 75 per cent in some markets before stabilising in late 2008.

Dennis Jönsson, president and ceo of the Tetra Pak Group, said: "Milk is a basic food staple, which is considered part of a healthy and nutritious diet for all ages all around the world. We expect two trends to continue to drive global milk consumption over the next three years: continued growth in emerging markets and a shift toward consuming more packaged milk. Packaged milk continues to grow, based primarily on health and safety concerns and also a desire for more convenience to suit busier, more mobile lifestyles."

Leading much of the growth in the global dairy industry - 95.8 per cent over the past four years - are emerging markets, such as India, Pakistan, China and the Middle East. These markets are experiencing fast growth in the consumption of milk and other liquid dairy products based on growing populations, rising household incomes, new dietary trends and increased awareness and availability of dairy products. For example, from 2005 to 2008, consumption of liquid dairy products in China has grown by CAGR of 13.4 per cent, reaching a record high of 27billion litres in 2008. This number increases to 39.4billion litres when including soy and dairy alternatives such as rice, nut, grain and seed-based milks.

Another factor driving growth, particularly in emerging markets, is a fundamental shift in the way liquid dairy products are packaged and consumed. From 2005 to 2008 the global market share of unpackaged milk declined by 1.8 per cent. During the same time period, the global market share of ultra high temperature (UHT) milk - milk which can be shipped and stored before opening without requiring either refrigeration or preservatives - increased by 3.2 per cent.

In addition, the reduction in consumers' budgets generally is prompting a move towards budget and private label brands.

"In today's economic climate, we would anticipate that many consumers will go back to basics," said Jönsson. "For example, they may substitute white milk for higher priced, more value-added products like yogurt drinks or they may buy budget brands rather than premium brands. Even so, we expect the global dairy market to experience steady growth for the foreseeable future."

Meeting the challenge

As a result of the buoyant market for milk, demand for the associated processing equipment is also robust.

Belshina-Agro, for example, has chosen DeLaval International as supplier of modern dairying solutions, including 12 voluntary milking systems (VMS), to a 1000-head farm in the Belarusian Mogilev region. VMS is the DeLaval robotic milker, the latest dairy technology designed to meet the extreme requirements of automatic non-stop milking.

"We chose to partner with DeLaval because of its global leadership in the industry and its experience in automation technology and mega farm operations," said Belshina-Agro vice director general Alexander Kozlov said.

The VMS's complete automatic equipment allows for round the clock milking designed to optimise quality milk yield to help farm managers run dairy operations more carefully, professionally and productively.

"Belshina's choice is an acknowledgment of DeLaval's strong position in automated solutions as well as of milk producers' confidence in the quality and competence of our company," DeLaval regional president Europe, Middle East, Africa, Australia and New Zealand Jan Ove Nilsson said.

The VMS 2009 has just hit the markets. According to Nilsson it brings yet another round of enhancements with more than 30 new features improving user-friendliness, overall performance and safety. With energy consumption at an all time low, ranging between 15 and 25 kW per tonne of milk, VMS is one of the most cost efficient milking systems in the world, capable of harvesting 2000 to 2500 kg of milk per day (Fig. 1).

Productivity in the dairy farming business is defined by scale and efficiency. With the VMS technology, dairy managers have more time on their hands to deal with issues regarding business, herd management, health, genetics and feed-tables. Thousands of milk producers credit the VMS for making dairy production more profitable, predictable and easier to manage.

According to DeLaval, the Mogilev mega farm will be the world's largest VMS operation.

Meanwhile, environmental awareness is also becoming a much more important aspect of milk processing.

With only 2.5 per cent of the Earth's water being non saltwater and a strong world population growth, we are facing the tough challenge of managing a valuable and scarce resource, namely water. International water protection has resulted in strong environmental awareness and as a direct consequence; there are more regulations on the use and discharge of wastewater.

However, many food and dairy plants are located in areas with water shortages even though huge quantities of water are required for continuous production. So many companies face issues such as:

- Wastewater disposal costs and, or penalties.

- Difficulty meeting permissible discharge limits.

- High water costs and, or water shortages/restrictions.

- Limited sewer systems in rural areas.

One company heavily focused on these issues is GEA. The company offers technologies to: reduce disposal volume; recover by-products in the effluent as a marketable product; recycle water and reduce consumption; and handle wastewater discharge problems.

Recently it was approached by a customer looking for a solution to reduce wastewater hauling costs associated with its high pH, high electrical conductivity dairy effluent. The facility was hauling large volumes of the effluent at a very high cost by a wastewater management company.

So the volume of the effluent had to be reduced by large factor, involving the evaporation of 34 000 kg/h of water from its waste stream. The company needed to consistently reduce the wastewater volume by a factor of 20 - and sometimes up to 30 under certain processing conditions.

GEA designed, fabricated, installed and commissioned a multiple pass single effect mechanical vapour recompressor (turbofan) heated falling film evaporator. Designed for very high energy efficiency, the unit evaporates 86 kg/h of water for every kilowatt of electricity consumed by the turbofan.

High tube wetting rates are employed to minimise fouling of evaporative surface areas, allowing the system to operate over long periods of time before cleaning is required. According to GEA, another novel feature of this system is that no cooling water is needed during operation.

The much-reduced effluent output at the plant has now made the hauling strategy cost-effective for the dairy processor.





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