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Emerging new technologies in the dairy industry in India
Saturday, 25 November, 2006, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Dr J V Parekh
lk in the world, a status it has maintained since the late nineties. Further, India is also self-sufficient in milk. This has been largely achieved through a combination of favourable policies and an institutional network that has helped support millions of rural households in pursuing their livelihoods through smallscale dairy farming.

About one-fifth of the milk produced is collected and processed by the organised dairy sector. Cooperatives now link more than twelve million smallscale dairy producers to urban markets and provide them a stable source of income. The growth of this network of institutions has been acknowledged to be a key factor in the growth of the Indian dairy sector.

The dairy industry in India is going through major changes with the liberalisation policies of the government and the restructuring of the economy. This has brought greater articipation of the private sector. This is also consistent with global trends, which could hopefully lead to greater integration of Indian dairying with the world market for milk and milk products. India today is the world's largest and fastest growing market for milk and milk products with an annual growth rate of about 4.5%.

India is witnessing winds of change because of improved milk availability, a change-over to market economy, globalisation, and the entry of the private sector in the dairy industry. The value addition and variety in the availability of milk products are on everybody's agenda. There is an increasing demand for new products and processes. The main reasons are - an increase in disposable incomes; changes in consumer concerns and perceptions on nutritional quality and safety; arrival of foreign brands; increasing popularity of satellite/cable media; and availability of new technologies and functional ingredients.

New products and processing

Since time immemorial traditional Indian milk products have been an inseparable part of the socio-cultural life of India. Be it childbirth, wedding ceremony, getting a job, inauguration of a new house, feasts, festivals, social or religious occasions milk sweets are always offered. The mass appeal enjoyed by the indigenous sweets is underlined by the fact that about 50% of India's milk production is utilised for making these products. The market for these products far exceeds that of western milk products like butter, cheese and milk powders. The total output of indigenous milk products is estimated to be $12 billion. This is more than half of the total market ($22 billion) of milk and milk products in India. The traditional dairy products present a great opportunity for the organised dairy sector in the country to modernise and scale up their production. Their production and marketing can bring about remarkable value addition to the extent of 200%, as compared to only 50% obtained by western products. The consumption of traditional dairy products is likely to grow at an annual growth rate of more than 20%, but for western dairy products the growth rates are relatively much lower, varying from 5-10%. Thus, the expanding business prospect provided by the traditional Indian dairy products to the organised dairy sector triggers a thorough face-lift of these products.

Khoa and khoa based sweets

With the successful innovation of Scraped Surface Heat Exchangers these products can be easily adopted by the Indian dairy industry. Some of the dairy products manufacturers are already using this machine for manufacturing of burfi, peda and gulbjamun. About 15 plants in India have initiated industrial production of khoa with daily output of 1 to 4 tonnes using continuous khoa making machine. There are large number of khoa based sweets. These sweets are also gaining wide acceptance in South Asian and African counties, UK, Canada and the USA. Technologies have been developed for industrial production of sweets from khoa, non-fat dried milk, cream or butter, whole milk powder or full cream concentrated milk. The manufacturing operation in the production of burfi, commanding major market share, involves heating the mixture of the above ingredients in a scraped surface heat exchanger, cooling on a continuous conveyor belt, cutting to size and packaging.

Paneer chhana and chhana based sweets

Products made from traditional method have limited shelf-life not exceeding a few days. The entire traditional technology can be improved and modernised by employing mechanical systems such as casein parocess for chhana and paneer making.Extended shelf life of pasteurised milk

In order to cope with the increasing demand, it becomes necessary to produce pasteurised milk with extended shelf-life to extend the market reach at reasonable cost of production and distribution. Production of pasteurised milk with extended shelf-life would be economically beneficial for both t producers and consumers. Shelf-life of pasteurised milk could be extended by adoption of higher pasteurisation conditions, LP- system, bactofugation technique, micro-filtration technique, electrical process, thermisation process or use of bio-preservatives.

New whey products

In India, whey is obtained during the manufacture of paneer, chhana, casein and shrikhand. It has been estimated that about one million tonnes of whey is annually derived as a by-product which possesses about 70,000 tonnes of nutritious solids. Whey obtained in our country as by-product is mostly thrown away as waste. No proper attempts have so far been made particularly on a small scale to exploit this by-product. onsiderable economic benefit can also be secured from prompt utilisation of the whey.

Whey can be converted into a range of products viz. whey powder, lactose, high protein whey powders, whey protein concentrate, granulated high protein whey powders, These products can be used in infant foods, weaning foods, bakery products, confectionery products, dairy products etc. Beverages and soups are generally consumed by a large number of people for the reasons of their being refreshing, tasty and nutritious.

UHT processing and aseptic packaging

Considered as the single most important innovation for dairy products in the last half-century, it involves producing shelf-stable products by sterilizing the product and the packaging material or container separately and filling in a sterile environment. It was popularised in India with the success of fruit juices, drinks and milk such as Amul Taaza.

Super heated water spray steriliser

Early methods for sterilizing milk involved filling milk into heat resistant glass bottles, then sealing them with air tight, pressure resistant caps and heating in a commercial pressure cooker (or retort) to temperatures between 1150 C and 122.70 C for between 12 and 20 minutes. The retort process can include an agitation step which helps reduce heat transfer time and combats settling and separation.

A new method of sterilisation has been developed called "Super Heated Water Spray Steriliser" for heat sensate products. This is suitable for delicate containers like plastic bottles. This system is suitable for rapid heating and rapid cooling for heat liable products.

Membrane processing

Recently, membrane processing has gained importance over conventional processes in Dairy industry for its advantages that are well known and established. Membrane processing has presented new possibilities for the production of newer intermediate dairy products that can be used in different foods based on their functional properties.

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