From transportation and farming technologies to ingredients solutions and lab-grown milk, the dairy industry is rife with technological advancements. Here, FoodBev provides a roundup of some of the industry’s most recent innovations.
Transporting fresh products internationally is a challenge for many global dairy companies. In 2019, major European dairy cooperative Arla began testing a new natural, preservative-free technology to enable this international movement of goods using a new technique.
Arla’s ‘supercooling’ tool enables fresh products to travel long distances by ship. Lars Dalsgaard, SVP product and innovation at Arla said: “We’re seeing more and more markets requesting chilled, fresh-tasting and natural products rather than frozen products that require defrosting or products with preservatives.”
“The relationship between time and advanced cooling is one of the keys to unlocking portfolio limitations in markets outside of Europe,” Dalsgaard explained. “Controlling these variables enables us to put the product into hibernation mode”.
The first shipment of supercooled Castello Decorated Cream Cheeses, which cannot be frozen, successfully reached Australia from Denmark, having been stored in special containers under supercooled conditions.
This supercooling technology will be particularly beneficial for global dairy companies and those with the aim of creating new global growth opportunities.
Mastitis detection technology
An udder infection in dairy animals known as mastitis has devastating impacts on the dairy industry worldwide. According to Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology, global dairy industry losses are estimated to reach a staggering €30bn per annum. This is due to poor milk quality, significant milk losses and culling of chronically infected animals.
Early diagnosis for bovine mastitis is crucial for dairy farmers, and EIO Diagnostics new technology has done just this using a combination of machine learning and multi-spectral imaging. The start-up began in 2017 and was backed by food innovation incubators and accelerators, including Food-X and Yield Lab.
Dairy animals with mastitis will show specific patterns of swelling and heat in their udders. Co-founder, Tamara Leigh said: “Our technology combines advanced sensor imaging and machine learning to detect these early indications of infection days before there any physical signs of infection in the udder or the milk.”
EIO Diagnostic’s technology is game-changing for the dairy industry. The sooner infected animals are detected, the sooner they can be pulled from production and treated, ultimately saving the dairy industry billions.
Transparency in the dairy industry’s food supply chain is key to gaining consumer trust, from sustainable sources to ingredients and processing claims. In 2018, Nielsen claimed transparency was driving the growth of food in fast-moving consumer goods.
Earlier this year, food safety company Neogen entered a partnership with Ripe Technology (ripe.io) to bring blockchain technology to its food safety diagnostics and animal genomics. Ripe.io essentially enables companies in the food industry to use its blockchain technology platform to ensure transparency in their food supply chain.
Blockchain is a digital technology platform that ‘chains’ together information ‘blocks’ to create a permanent record. This blockchain creates a history of products and animals in food and livestock in the dairy industry throughout the whole production cycle.
Neogen’s CEO, John Adent said: “There are countless potential benefits to adopting the technology. For example, the genomic profile of a dairy cow could be connected with the feed the animal eats, its medical history, barn environment, quantity and quality of the milk it produces, etc. Blockchain can serve to optimise the entire supply chains of many of the markets that Neogen serves.”
This technology ultimately adds a high level of transparency for the dairy industry from the beginning of the supply chain all the way to consumers.
Consumer demand for clean label and ‘clean taste’ is high in the current dairy market. There have been various technological developments in the ingredients sector in recent years that focus on improving the texture and taste experience of dairy products.
One example is US-based Synergy Flavors Inc’s taste solution ‘Dairy by Nature’, developed to address the needs of dairy and plant-based applications alike. The solution claims to provide the means to cleanly build back the creaminess of full-fat dairy and mask undesirable off-notes in plant-based alternatives.
Synergy claims to have created technically-layered ingredients for taste and enhanced functionality by combining flavour science with modern dairy fermentation expertise. For example, unlike typical flavours that add a singular top note, such as caramelized butter or condensed milk, Synergy has developed advanced solutions that enhance quality, mouthfeel and flavour retention.
Its applications range from fresh and cultured dairy products to nutritional, bakery, beverage and confection, as well as savoury applications such as dips or cheese.
‘Dairy by Nature’ is a key technological development for the dairy and dairy-alternative industries as it offers a simple natural flavour enhancement of dairy indulgence.
Cow’s milk is extremely versatile and used in many products all over the world. For instance, in Canada alone, 70% of milk sold goes on to be used in further processing. However, according to an IPSOS survey, 48% of consumers buy both dairy and plant-based milks.
The industry has seen its fair share of innovation in plant-based milk alternative products over the years, with soy, pea, oat, almond and rice milk taking the foreground. But what if scientists could grow a vegan lactose-free version of cow’s milk, without cows?
One of the main technology innovations mentioned in our dairy trends for 2020 article was lab-created dairy. California-based startup, Perfect Day Inc., has developed a form of genetically modified microflora that produces whey and casein – the proteins found in cow’s milk. The company claims this lab-grown dairy provides the same high-quality nutrition as conventional dairy protein.
This innovation could have a significant impact on the dairy industry, as many consumers may want to reduce their intake of dairy products but enjoy the taste of cow’s milk.