Measure the Effectiveness of Packaging
*Mr. Bridreth Khokhare
India, the “Oyster” of Global diary industry, is one of the largest milk producers in the world with an estimated output of 85 million tons in the year 2001. Dairy industry in India is a rapidly growing and evolving industry. There are various factors that supplement the growth of this sector which include sources like cows, buffaloes, camel, and sheep. The Agrigarion Economy, Crossbreed Technology in Indian dairy, Favorable price environment, Government support and promotional initiatives etc. are some of the important constituent of this sector.
Milk is an emulsion containing about 87 percent water and 13 percent solids. known as the nature’s perfect food, the regular consumption of milk provides major macronutrients & many essential micronutrients. The fat portion of the milk contains fat soluble vitamins. The solids other than fat include proteins, carbohydrates, water soluble vitamins, and minerals. Milk also contains the following nutrients: calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium.Milk is also a significant source of riboflavin (vitamin B2) which helps promote healthy skin and eyes, as well as vitamins A and D.
Milk is a multipurpose ingredient and can be used as various products including but not limited to Fluid milk, Ghee, Butter, Curd, Khoa, Milk powder, Paneer, ice creams etc.
Due to content of water, lipids, proteins, milk tend to get spoiled within few days and to increase the shelf life there are various methods are including, freezing, flash pasteurization, Aseptic packaging etc.
Apart from other methods, packaging and material of packaging of milk play an important in the shelf life and Nutritive value of the milk and milk products. Like SPF (sun protection factor) in sunscream LPF (light protection factor) is a parameter to measure the effectiveness of packaging material in Nutrients available in the milk. This is essential as many micronutrients specially B-Complex vitamins are heat and light sensitive and get destroyed during various processing, packaging process of milk. Light induced reactions in milk leads to development of off-flavors and reduction in nutritive values of milk and has a impact on dairy industry.
Scenario of Milk Packaging
Packaging materials and type of packaging are essential to avoid this particular deterioration of milk. Few days back, glass bottles was the common packaging material for milk. Currently, most common packaging of milk is TetraPack which is a part of Tetra Laval, a multinational Company. With latest technology advancements, there are various materials that are being studied to create effective packaging against Uv light. polyethylene terephthalate (PET) packages is studied extensively.
Colored PET bottle with different make has positive effect on the shelf life of milk. Following are few types:
1. PET bottle provided with an active oxygen-binding inner layer
2. PET bottle provided with a UV-absorbing additive.
3. PET bottles with material unaffected by static charge and sunlight like X-ray etc.
Tetra pack is in used from many decades and with continues innovation has set the goal post for aseptic packaging of milk and providing long shelf lives with protective effects. As the name suggest, tetra pack is made up of 6 layers, of which polyethylene makes 3 layers and one layer is of aluminum sheet and one major layer is of paperboard.
- Polyethylene layers: Both inner most and outer layers are made up of Polyethylene that protects from outside moisture and enables the paperboard to stick to the aluminum foil.
- Aluminum Foil: Aluminum foil protects against oxygen and light to maintain the nutritional value and flavors of the food in the package in ambient temperatures.
- Paperboard: Paperboard is the main material in our cartons. It provides stability, strength and smoothness to the printing surface.
Methods of SPF
Studies indicates that photo-oxidation of milk occurs in the presence of light (artificial, sunlight) and in both UV and visible region. There are various packaging type and ingredients that can have positive effect in SPF of milk. Following are few:
Aseptic and material of use for packaging:
- Tetra packs
- polyethylene terephthalate (PET)
- Amber or dark colored glass bottles
Material or additive
- Synthetic salts of additives like BHA (butylratedhydroxyanisole), synthetic vitamin E
- Natural extracts/ anti-oxidants like Rosmarinic acid, MixedTocopherols
To provide a good shelf life to the packed milk, sterilization is essential. There are various ways to sterilize the milk including pasteurization, heating, autoclaving etc. Process selection depends on the scale of batch to be sterilized and shelf life of product. Post sterilization, packaging type/ material and addition of anti-oxidants is done. Choice and selection again depends of the production scale and shelf life. Following are the key machines required in a small to medium production plant for milk.
- Storing tanks, Holding Tank, Homogenizers
- Sterilization setup in the form of pasteurizer. There are two types including UHT/ST (Ultra high temp/ short time) and HT/ST (high temp/short time). UHT is very expensive and generally HT type can do the job for shelf life of 7-15 days for milk.
- Aseptic filling system.
- Cold storage facility.
Above mentioned equipment will help in running a small milk processing plant
India as a nation has witnessed White Revolution decades ago and we can see lot of progress in dairy industry. This industry has lot of scope and challenges as Indian being mostly a temperate nation. To save all key nutrients and a better shelf life product, pasteurization technique along with packaging has a vital role. SPF or oxidation of milk can be contained to a great extent using various kinds of packaging techniques.
Senior Manager – Research & development,GENOMELABS BIO PVT LTD.