Technology has advanced greatly in the food production industry. Innovative and emerging technologies have allowed food product developers to create a range of new food items with increased health benefits for the consumers. For the Vitasoy Soy Milky Regular milk, a technology called membrane technology is used to allow the developers to increase the calcium content of the milk.
Membrane technology refers to a number of different yet characteristic separation processes. It refers to using ‘smart filters’ that separate molecules on the basis of differences in their sizes, shapes and charges and includes a range of techniques that refer to the different sized pores in the membrane filters.
Below is a table of the different types of membrane filtration processes, used in water purification and the food industry.
Below is a diagram of how membrane technology uses membrane filters to separate fats, proteins, vitamins and other components from products such as milk, water and wine
Two of the most commonly used forms of membrane technology in food production are ultrafiltration and reverse osmosis. Consumers today are more informed about the benefits of milk, and therefore, this clearly has a positive effect on sales of milks, especially modified and specialty milks.
In the production of calcium enriched soy milk, the main form of membrane technology used is ultrafiltration. Ultrafiltration occurs when pressure separates and removes dissolved or suspended solids from a liquid. Food and biotechnological applications account for approximately half of the current ultrafiltrations undertaken. In the food industry, ultrafiltration is used for desalting, clarification, protein, mineral and vitamin concentration and protein fractionation (protein separation). These processes have been in use for a number of years, but protein fractionation is a much more recent development and offers many new challenges and opportunities for the food industry, particularly in developing new health-promoting foods.
Fig : The ultrafiltration process of milk
Ultrafiltration has revolutionized the taste and sales of skim milk. The taste of skim milk produced through ultrafiltration is less watery and similar to full-cream milk, leading to consumers more willing to use it as a substitute for its full-cream counterpart. The ultrafiltration process is used to recover protein lost in the whey byproduct during cheese manufacture. The concentrated dried whey protein produced is then used as a functional ingredient in skim milk and other products. Ultrafiltration is also used in the production of higher protein and calcium-enriched milk such as Soy Milky calcium enriched soy milks, expanding the range of dairy products in Australia.
Syed Mudabbar Hussain Shah
The Author is final year student of B.Sc (Hons.) in Food Engineering, Department of Food Engineering
University of Agriculture, Faisalabad