Exploring the World of Powdered Milk: Nutritional Benefits, Production Process, and Diverse Applications” – Discover the nutritional richness and versatility of powdered milk, its production methods, and global market trends. Learn about its applications in various industries, including infant formula, confectionery, and biotechnology.

Korlapu Kousalya

M.Sc. Food Technology, Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University Anantapur (JNTUA, OTPRI Ananthapuramu, Andhra Pradesh, India)

Email ID: kkousalya128@gmail.com

My liquid milk doesn’t stay for more than seven days but I have my camp vacation for two weeks and I am going to miss my coffee during the whole trip. The solution to that is powdered milk or milk powder. This provides great relief to this problem faced by many in quick need of a milk substitute for their coffee or tea. 

According to FSSAI, milk powder is a milk product which can be obtained by partial removal of water from milk or cream. It is the best alternative to fresh milk and has a long shelf life. The bulkiness in transporting milk is also reduced and it is economical. In the 1800s, it was developed in the paste form, and later in the 19th century, Russian scientists developed the technology to create powdered milk which retains nutrients at a fraction of its weight. The low moisture content in it gives it a longer shelf life than fresh milk. Milk powder is prepared industrially by spray drying or roller drying methods. The spray drying method uses the principle of atomization of milk (hot air stream 180° C – 200 ° C). It involves pre-heating and concentrating to form a spray of very minute droplets. These are directed to a large, suitably designed drying chamber, where they mix intimately with a current of hot air. The two principle means of atomization are centrifugal and pressure nozzle.

The market size in 2022 was US $34.47 Bn. Europe is set to dominate the Global milk powder market during the forecast period 2023. It is expected to hold the largest market shares by 2029. For milk powder imports, developing countries like China, India, and Africa depend on Europe. Asia Pacific is expected to grow rapidly during 2023-2029. Lifestyle changes and an increase in the working population is driving the milk powder market. 

Powdered milk is highly nutritious and is rich in vitamin B12, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium selenium, and pantothenic acid. During manufacturing, some beneficial nutrients were added to produce fortified powdered milk such as vitamin A, vitamin D, and calcium. The government plays an important role in the production of powdered milk by providing subsidies to farmers producing milk. Dairy entrepreneurship development scheme (DEDS) is a central government subsidy to promote dairy farms. 

The most important stage before drying milk is its concentration which is done by means of vacuum evaporators. Removing water by drying is more costly than vapour evaporation. Therefore, as much as water is removed during the concentration stage. After the concentration stage, the concentrated milk with a dry solids content of 40-45% is fed to the drum dryer.

During drying, liquid milk droplets are transformed into solid particles with individual powder surfaces. A powder particle consists of a mass of amorphous lactose and others like fat globules, casein micelles, and serum protein. The shape of the powder depends upon the raw material, degree of heat treatment, and processing parameters. For example, skim milk powder (SMP) has a folded surface with a solid inside whereas whole milk powder (WMP) has small molecules with air vacuoles. Every powder has fat-bound protein beneath the outer layer. Spray dried powder a

particle usually ranges from 10 to 250 μm, spherical in shape. The measure of the ability of the powder to absorb water on the surface is known as wettability. It can also define as the temperature of the water. SMP is wetted in less than 15 s hence termed “instant powder” WMP requires around 30 to 60 s. While solubility is a measure of the final condition to which the constituents of milk powder can be brought into stable suspension. The quality requirements of milk powder were diverse. Technologically can make powder for diverse food applications.

Specifications by FSSAI for four major types of milk powders namely whole milk powder, partly skimmed milk powder, and skimmed milk powder should have moisture 5.0%, protein 34.0%, Acidity 18%, and between 1.5% to 42%. Powdered milk is used in infant formula, confectionery such as chocolate and caramel candy and in recipes for baked goods. It is mostly used in developing countries because of reduced transport and storage costs like reduced bulk, and no refrigerated vehicles. It is used in biotechnology as a saturating agent to block non-specific binding sites on supports like blotting membranes (nitrocellulose, polyvinylidene fluoride PVDF or nylon) preventing binding of further detection reagents and subsequent background referred to as blotto.

Some other kinds of milk powders include Buttermilk powder (BMP) – Buttermilk can be dried into a value-added BMP, rich in lecithin, for use as a cheaper milk solid with functional benefits. With high heat treatment, there is an increase in the free sulfhydryl group results in low protein solubility. Encapsulated butteroil powder (BOP) – butter oil can be converted into dried form by encapsulating it. A protected core is used to deliver bioactive additives (usually carotenoids, omega 3 fatty acids). Higher fat content in the slurry formulation led to lower flowability. Malted milk powder – the use of malt solids reduces costs and extends the supply of cereal proteins. It has 3 % moisture, 8.4% fat, 16.5% protein and 62.5% sugar. Food is not rational. Food is culture, habit, craving and identity.