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Innovations in Milk Processing 2024: Trends and Expert Opinions

World 17.05.2024
Source: The DairyNews
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In today's world, relevant and in-demand innovations for industrial production are fundamental to the stable existence of businesses. This is true for both food product manufacturing companies and solution and technology supplier companies.
Innovations in Milk Processing 2024: Trends and Expert Opinions
In the weekly column The Dairynews.today “Topic of the Week," we will examine trends and innovations in milk processing together with experts from GEA and SIG.


The food processing equipment market is projected to reach $103.82 billion by 2031, at a CAGR of 5.6% during the forecast period 2024–2031.

At the same time, according to different dairy processing equipment market growth drivers, the market will navigate its progress path at a moderate pace, projecting a CAGR of 5.5% and reaching US$ 18.3 billion by 2034. The dairy processing equipment market will be valued at US$ 10.7 billion by 2024 (Future Market Insights Global and Consulting Pvt. Ltd. Report).

Many participants in the global dairy market, surveyed by The DairyNews.today, stated that key factors in their decision-making about milk processing equipment include efficiency (in the current economic climate, it is crucial for enterprises to be highly adaptive and derive maximum benefit from each piece of equipment), eco-friendliness, and a sustainable approach. In some cases, government support for innovations is also important.

According to analysts, government initiatives in many countries around the world will indeed stimulate the market, including through the process of providing subsidies, encouraging dairy production enterprises, and softening tax policies.

An important factor in market development is also the growing demand for dairy products and the nutrients they provide. Meanwhile, the rising middle-class consumers in developing countries are increasing the demand for high-quality dairy products with functional properties. Reliable technological infrastructure will expand opportunities for innovation. And dairy enterprises will be looking for more advanced equipment to reduce labor costs. Equipment manufacturers are also strengthening their positions, not only by acquiring local players but also by implementing new solutions and enhancing existing.


Christian Becker, Product Manager Separation Dairy at GEA

GEA-exp.jpg Please tell us, what innovations in milk processing do you consider crucial today?
- Innovations in milk processing crucial today revolve around sustainability, efficiency, and adaptability. Technologies like the GEA ecoclear i bacteria removal separator with its integrated direct drive are pivotal. By reducing energy consumption and streamlining maintenance, it enhances efficiency for small to medium-sized dairies. Similarly, the GEA MSI skimming separators with EngySpeed system represent a significant leap forward in energy conservation, cutting consumption by up to 40%. These innovations address the pressing need to mitigate energy costs and reduce environmental impact, crucial amidst the climate crisis.

 What innovative solutions do you offer for the industry?
- Our innovative solutions cater to the dairy industry's urgent needs, including water conservation. Alongside the GEA ecoclear i bacteria removal separator, which offers service-friendly design and energy-efficient operation, the GEA Water Saving Unit optimizes water usage throughout the dairy processing cycle, further reducing resource consumption and operational costs. Moreover, the EngySpeed system in GEA MSI skimming separators revolutionizes energy consumption, making dairy operations more sustainable and cost-effective. Additionally, our KPInsight digital assistance system provides real-time monitoring and optimization for separators, enabling dairies to maximize efficiency and minimize waste. Together, these innovations represent a comprehensive approach to addressing the challenges facing the dairy industry, from energy and water conservation to product quality and operational efficiency.

Please share your thoughts on the direction in which innovations in dairy processing will develop?
- The direction of innovation in dairy processing is shifting towards sustainability, connectivity, and digitalization. Here, sustainability is paramount, necessitating solutions that optimize resource usage and reduce environmental impact. Connectivity and digitalization play crucial roles in achieving these goals, enabling real-time monitoring, predictive maintenance, and AI-based optimization. Moving forward, innovations will continue to focus on enhancing efficiency, saving resources, and meeting evolving consumer preferences, ultimately driving the dairy industry towards a more sustainable and profitable future.

Julia Trebels, Global Category & Consumer Insight Manager at SIG

Trebels Julia.jpg 
Please tell us, what innovations in milk processing do you consider crucial today?
- In today's dairy industry, innovation is crucial for meeting evolving consumer demands, ensuring product quality, and driving sustainability. At SIG, as specialist in aseptic packaging and filling technology, we are on a journey together with our customers to deliver better aseptic dairy products to the market. For SIG, better means long shelf-life, sustainable packaging, and high nutritional value of the products. To be able to deliver and develop better products, SIG is constantly investing and extending its global innovation hubs.

 What is crucial to deliver dairy innovation to the market?
- Recipe formulation: Customizing ambient dairy-based products to meet varying tastes and dietary requirements is imperative. Within SIG’s innovation hubs, equipped with state-of-the-art processing equipment and filling machines, customers can collaborate with SIG experts to develop new product formulations. Whether it's high protein dairy drinks, plant-based alternatives, or functional dairy products enriched with probiotics or vitamins, our focus remains on delivering innovative solutions that resonate with consumers.

Consumer-centric packaging solutions: Packaging plays a crucial role in preserving product quality, enhancing convenience, and communicating brand identity. SIG provides innovative packaging solutions that extend shelf life and provide engaging consumer experiences, all while aligning with sustainability goals.

Early-stage product testing: the global SIG innovation hubs feature state-of-the-art UHT processing and filling technologies. Due to the technology SIG enables customers to refine product ideas, test the concept technically and with consumers and ultimately bring products faster to the markets. One promising product example is the first concept of an aseptic long-life live probiotic yogurt, which has been successfully tested in one of SIG's innovation hubs together with a partner, demonstrating SIG’s commitment to pioneering advancements in dairy innovation.

What innovative products is your company currently producing?
- We consider ourselves fortunate to be able to offer a unique portfolio of packaging solutions. We are the only system supplier covering carton, pouch, and bag-in-box. Our versatile technology and product innovation capacity enable us to provide our customers with solutions across categories and channels, addressing consumer and market needs with flexibility and speed.

Looking at our recent innovations, our SIG Terra portfolio is worth mentioning, our most sustainable packaging material innovations that can be easily integrated into all SIG systems, across all packaging types. Featuring a full barrier aseptic carton packaging material with no aluminum layer, SIG Terra Alu-free + Full barrier is a simple yet powerful differentiator and embodiment of sustainability in aseptic carton packaging for an increasing number of product categories, for example for use with sensitive products such as fruit juices, flavored milk, and plant-based beverages.
SIG Terra Family.jpg

By taking out the aluminum layer and replacing it with an innovative ultra-thin polymer-based barrier, we're removing up to 25% of CO2 from the equation. By going from three to two main materials, we simplified the packaging structure and enable wider recycling opportunities while maintaining the full protective barrier properties, high quality standards, nutritional value, and shelf life.

Our latest innovation continues to offer the well-known SIG flexibility to change product volumes. This way, customers can run SIG Terra on the same machine as standard SIG packaging material with minor investment, fast changeover and the same production performance.

Another innovation we recently launched is our new aseptic spouted pouch filling system SIG Prime 55 In-Line Aseptic. This innovative filling equipment for pre-made spouted pouch features in-line pouch sterilization, removing the need for third-party pre-sterilization of spouted pouches. The resulting system reduces supply chain complexity and improves the overall costs to produce aseptically packaged products in spouted pouches.