Saturday, November 9, 2013

Making Milk Matter: Reinventing Fluid Milk for Today's Consumer

I was very excited to attend the National Milk Producers Federation and Dairy Management Inc. (DMI) Joint Annual Meeting (#JAM13 / #DairyChat / #AgChat) which took place at the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix, AZ from Nov. 11 - 13.

As I have spent most of my dairy career working on various extended shelf life processing technologies and packaging systems for fluid milk, I was particularly interested to see this statement by Tom Gallagher, the CEO of  DMI in a letter sent to all Annual Meeting attendees, describing the dairy industry's long-term strategy for rejuvenating the category, "As we've sat at the table with dozens of industry leaders, they too have looked at the longer-term issues and have committed to addressing the fundamental inhibitors to and opportunities for growing fluid milk. In the coming years, there will be hundreds of millions of dollars of investment in plant infrastructure renewal, often focused on new extended shelf-life (ESL) and aseptic plant capabilities that will bring the right products to consumers.

Indeed, ESL processed and packaged milk has already begun to play an important role in the dynamics of many dairy markets including the U.S., along with the rapid development of new processing and packaging concepts. However, while thermal processes such as pasteurization, UHT, and sterilization have a long history of use and are well defined by regulators, there is no similar definition of ESL milk products, and the methods that can be used in ESL milk processing operations. 

The lack of clarity in the definition of ESL processing alternatives is what prompted Dr Tatiana Koutchma and I to write an article focusing on various treatments for ESL, and the way in which new non-thermal UV (ultraviolet) treatment can improve the microbiological quality of both raw and pasteurized milk. This article entitled Shelf Life Enhancement Of Milk Products appears in the October issue of the IFT's Food Technology journal. 
The article covers the various types of thermal processing that are available for treatment of milk products to extend storage life of raw and pasteurized milk, as well as  innovative processing technologies such as bactofugation, microfiltration, and turbulent flow UV processing as adjunct treatments before and after pasteurization. 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Shelf Life Enhancement Of Milk Products

Demands for longer shelf life and wider distribution of chilled milk products have resulted in the concept of extended shelf life or ESL milk. ESL milk has begun to play an important role in the dynamics of dairy markets along with the rapid development of new processing and packaging concepts.
The role of UV processing in extending the shelf life of milk.

While thermal processes such as pasteurization, UHT, and sterilization have a long history of use and are well defined by regulators, there is no similar definition of ESL milk products, and the methods that can be used in ESL milk processing operations. This article focuses on various treatments for chilled distribution and the way in which new nonthermal UV (ultraviolet) treatment can improve the microbiological quality of both raw and pasteurized milk.

Ultraviolet or UV photosterilization via turbulent UV technology is one of the promising novel nonthermal adjunct processes that could provide milk processors with a safe, energy-efficient, and cost-effective process to gain an added measure of quality and extended shelf life as compared to pasteurization. Studies from commercially available turbulent UV photosterilization systems such as SurePure have found that UV processing of raw milk can reliably achieve a 3–4 log 10 reduction of initial microbial load measured as standard plate, psychrotrophic, coliform, and thermoduric counts, and extend shelf life up to 14 days.

Shelf Life Enhancement Of Milk Products was co-authored by Tatiana Koutchma, Ph.D., Research Scientist at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Guelph, Ontario, Canada and Gail Barnes, Ph.D., a member of IFT and  a Partner at Personify LLC.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Summer Of Sustainability As International Industry Conferences Convene In Chicago

This July could be called the summer of sustainability in Chicago as two major international industry conferences shine the spotlight on sustainability, from ingredients and processing through to packaging.

Sustainability has become an important part of the business for both food manufacturers and ingredients’ suppliers. With an increasing population, reduced land for cultivation and consumers looking for cleaner labels, the challenges faced by the sector are huge. Businesses with sustainability credentials are favored due to this increased awareness with their customers, and consumers.

The IFT International Food Nanoscience Conference takes place from July 12 – 13 at the Hilton Chicago. An 8:30am session on Saturday July 13 entitled, “Emerging Applications for Food System Sustainability” includes my presentation entitled, “UVC Shows Potential for Improving the Quality and Safety of Liquid Dairy Products,” along with presentations by Rajender Varma of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Annette McCarthy and Timothy Duncan of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Susann Bellmann of the TNO and Lacy Simon of the Louisiana State University.

A panel discussion as a part of the scientific sessions at the IFT Annual Meeting + Food Expo which takes place at McCormick Place in Chicago from July 13 – 16, is focused on identifying what steps to sustainability are being taken by industry at the present, and what is being done to lead discussions for future sustainable methods to help advance our lives from the farm to the brands we like.

Entitled “On-going efforts by the industry on sustainable practices, and effect on our lives from farm to table,” the panel discussion takes place on Sunday July 14 at 10:30am, and includes presentations by Sudarshan Nadathur and Scott Harris of Givaudan, Cristian Barcan of BASF as well as myself.

I will be focusing on discussing opportunities for energy reduction in milk processing and packaging, and how smart on-line tools are encouraging identification and adoption of energy management best practices in milk processing plants. This presentation has been highlighted by the U.S. Dairy Export Council as one of six dairy related presentations at IFT13.

Produced by Packaging Digest, in association with Plastics Today, The Global Food and Beverage Packaging Summit takes place from July 17 – 18 at the Hyatt Regency in Chicago, with notable presenters including Denise Lefebvre and Bill Eaton of Pepsico, Mike Okoroafor of H.J. Heinz, Ken Kernes of Procurian, Patrick Finlay of Pepsico / Lipton Partnerships, Jane Chase of the Schwan Food Company, Dennis Young of the MSU School of Packaging and Brendon Gember of the Centre for Sustainability Excellence.

I will be moderating a panel on the first day of the Summit entitled, “Is sustainability in packaging delivering on the goals?” Panelists will include Jim Hanna of the Starbucks Coffee Company, Megan Daum of the Can Manufacturers Institute and Colin Taylor of Uniloy Milacron.

Following the panel, I will also be making a presentation entitled, “Designing for sustainability – Dairy industry case study shows how to get the most product to the consumer with the lowest carbon footprint,” which will include examples from around the world of dairy processors using new materials that lower the carbon footprint of milk packaging.

A video of me speaking with Lisa McTigue Pierce, executive editor of Packaging Digest, at the 2013 Global Food & Beverage Packaging Summit, about some surprising results from a dairy industry life-cycle analysis study, which I covered in my presentation on Day 1 at the conference.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Spencer's Jolly Posh Foods Lets You Bring Home The British Bacon!!!

Reliving a memory can be fun, but actually eating a memory...ah, that's an order of magnitude of difference on the remembrance scale! I recently had a chance to both take a stroll down memory lane, as well as eat a memory, when I joined Nick Spencer for afternoon tea at Spencer's Jolly Posh Foods in Lake View, IL.

Nick Spencer, owner of Spencer's Jolly Posh Foods.
Growing up and going to university in Natal, South Africa (aka "The last outpost of the British Empire"), we didn't have a Downton Abbey or a Highclere Castle, but we did have a university students' club called the Empire Loyalists, on a campus that we renamed King George Land, with a Governor, and the cherry on the top of the parfait of pomp and pageantry, a venerable lady know as the Dowager Duchess of College.

As the lady-in-waiting to the Dowager Duchess, I spent many a sunny summer's afternoon in full garden party attire (floaty pale dress, hat, lacy white gloves) sipping tea and eating teeny cucumber sandwiches in one of the local parks or botanical gardens. So, as I stepped into Spencer's Jolly Posh Foods, it was like stepping into my past, into a store fashioned after a British country kitchen, where the memories were not just in my mind, but on the shelves all around me.

All the foods that those who long for the classic flavors and tastes of Britain when they move abroad are here: British and Irish cheeses, Granary loaves, Ballymaloe Relish, Yorkshire Chutney, Colman’s mustard, Lyle’s Golden Syrup, McVities, Walkers Shortbread, and joy of joys, Thorntons! 

The Easter Eggs have arrived!
Also in stock, Spencer's famous banger sausages, pork chipolatas, back-bacon, and black and white puddings. The back-bacon has achieved particular acclaim and, has been featured in Zingerman's list of Top Foods of 2010, and in Huffington Post.

Spencer's sells to mainstream and specialty retailers, restaurants, and distributors across the country, and they also take part in Farmers’ Markets in and around Chicago. 

The in-store cafe where Nick and I had afternoon tea goes live to the public on March 20, and the gentlefolk in the Lakeview and Chicagoland area will be able to enjoy a variety of famous British teas along with scones, jams and of course, clotted cream. 

On St Patrick's Day, Sunday 17 March, Nick and Spencer's Jolly Posh Foods will be featured on 190th North at 11.00pm Central on ABC (Channel 7 in the Chicagoland area).

Having experienced how sweet the taste of memories past can be, I have already scheduled my next visit to Spencer’s Jolly Posh Shop. It is situated at 1405 W. Irving Park Rd., Chicago, IL 60613. Their phone number is (312) 415 6919 and hours are, Wed – Fri: 11 am – 7 pm, Sat – Sun: 10 am – 5 pm.

My relationship with Spencer's Jolly Posh Foods is that of lover of afternoon teas, particularly when accompanied by scones, strawberry jam and clotted cream. 

Sunday, March 3, 2013

CNG Transportation Solution An Important Step In Increasing US Supply Chain Sustainability

Left to right: Mike Nosewicz, VP Dairy 
Group-East, The Kroger Company, 
Dr Mike McCloskey, President and Owner, 
Fair Oaks Farms, Erin Sharp, VP Operations 
Manufacturing, The Kroger Company.
Fair Oaks Farms is a well known mid-west regional tourist attraction and popular field trip destination that promotes the importance of sustainable farming. Facility tours give visitors an opportunity to see cows being milked, calves being born, and artesian cheeses being produced. The latest chapter in Fair Oaks Farms' sustainable farming story is their new compressed natural gas (CNG) fueled milk hauling fleet. 
At an historic event on March 4, AMP AmericasFair Oaks Farms, Greater Indiana Clean Cities and the Indiana Office of Energy Development celebrated the grand opening of AMP Americas’ renewable CNG, I65/I75 Corridor at Fair Oaks Farms.
Fueled by the dairy’s waste from 11,000 head of cattle, the system pulls biogas from the digester that is then cleaned and odorized to be compressed and dispensed at the station, ready to provide CNG fuel on demand to their 42, Class 8 milk transports. 
"This will change American history,"
Dr Mike McCloskey, President
and Owner, Fair Oaks Farms
commenting on the CNG waste
to transportation solution.
While this large-scale CNG transportation solution is an important step in the US effort to create an increasingly sustainable supply chain, and reduce the independence on imported oil, the way the tractors will be used is just as noteworthy. According to an article published in a trade magazine, it is planned to run the 42 tractors virtually around the clock in a milk-hauling relay operation designed to squeeze maximum productivity from the equipment.
“AMP Americas produces biogas from dairy cattle waste and after cleaning and odorizing this gas, pipes the resulting renewable natural gas directly to the Fair Oaks Station for onsite use as CNG vehicle fuel,” according to Mark Stoermann, AMP Americas Project Director. “The anaerobic digester is so big, the energy it produces also powers a 1 megawatt generator for the cleaning process and dairies’ electrical needs.”
“The dairy’s CNG truck fleet will allow them to transport more than 90 million gallons of milk per year on a reduced greenhouse gas footprint,” according to Kellie Walsh, Executive Director of the Greater Indiana Clean Cities Coalition, a designated U.S. DOE Clean Cities Program partner that works with local public and private sector fleets to deploy alternative fuels and related technologies. Walsh continued, “By using dedicated compressed natural gas engines this deployment will reduce our nation’s dependence on foreign oil by 1.5 million diesel gallon equivalents (DGE) a year, while moving the dairy industry closer to it’s greenhouse gas (GHG) U.S. EPA mandated levels.”
In addition to dual saddle tanks, two CNG fuel tanks are mounted behind the cab giving the Fair Oaks Farms tractors a range of almost 600 miles. Photo credit: Fair Oaks Farms.
The Indiana Office of Energy Development in partnership with the Greater Indiana Clean Cities contributed $750,000 toward the RCNG Station at Fair Oaks Dairy. These funds were from the U.S. Department of Energy Clean Cities Program American Recovery and Reinvestment Act competitive award of $10,125,000.

This post is based in part on information in a PRWeb press release.

Personalized Healthy Eating - Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day

March is National Nutrition Month, a nutrition and education campaign that is annually sponsored by the Academy of Nutrition and DiateticsThe campaign focuses attention on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits.

The 2013 theme, "Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day," encourages personalized healthy eating styles and recognizes that food preferences, lifestyle, cultural and ethnic traditions and health concerns all impact individual food choices.

Here are some favorite food and food-life philosophy quotes from the Twittersphere to inspire during National Nutrition Month.

"Eat food, not to much, mostly plants." Michael Pollan via @David Grotto

 "Just toss it in." 

"Try not to eat food with a label on it and you'll feel good!" @TheHealthyApple

"We must have a pie. Stress cannot exist in the presence of a pie." David Mamet via @Pillsbury

"A crust eaten in peace is better than a banquet partaken in anxiety." Aesop via @MomsOfAmerica

 "Love is food for your soul." 

"The most remarkable thing about my mother is that for thirty years she served the family nothing but leftovers. The original meal has never been found.Calvin Trillin via @Moonalice

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Best Chili Recipes, Ever!!!

As one of our regularly scheduled blizzards howls across the prairie, it seems seasonally appropriate that February 28th is National Chili Day, because nothing warms like a tummy filled with a heartening bowl of chili!

Here are some chili favorites, including recipes from +Amie Valpone of The Healthy Apple+Jennifer Silverberg of  Eat Yourself Well, Pillsbury and Hooray Puree.

The recipe list below was created in a free Facebook app called myList, and will dynamically update as new recipes are added!

Have a to sigh for chili recipe? Please add a URL in the comments and I will be happy to add!!! In the meantime, enjoy!!!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Top 10 Twitterati Tweets About Flowers

This list was inspired by an Instagram moment involving a jar of tulips, and made possible by a search on Twitter. The blogging equivalent of a random act of flowers.

1.   A flower has to go through a lot of dirt  

      before it can bloom. Unknown Ann Tran

2.   Personality is to a man what perfume is to 

      a flowerCharles M. Schwab Nina Garcia

3.   Happiness held is the seed.....Happiness  

      shared is the flower. Unknown Kevin 

4.   Love is a flower, let it grow. John Lennon 

      Rock Christopher

5.   Autumn is a second spring when every 

      leaf is a flowerAlbert Camus A.R. Karthick

6.   Life is the flower for which love is the honey. Victor Hugo Loren Ridinger

7.   The flower that blooms in adversity is the rarest and most beautiful of all. Mulan Elizabeth   

8.   There are always flowers for those who want to see them. Henri Matisse Bobbe Brooks

9.   Every flower is a soul blossoming in nature. GĂ©rard de Nerval Brainy Quote

10. If I had a flower for every time I thought of you, I could walk through my garden forever. Alfred,  
      Lord Tennyson Roger McNamee 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Processors see the big picture in packaging

If product is spoiled or damaged, then it doesn’t matter how “green” or sustainable the packaging is. Dairy processors are moving beyond waste and recyclability and taking a holistic view of product packages. 

While cost is the top factor driving the packaging industry today, sustainability concerns will dominate packaging industry work in 10 years in both Europe and North America, according to a recent study conducted by Packaging World magazine and DuPont Packaging & Industrial Polymers. Consumers also care increasingly about the environment, and they expect the products they buy to be produced in an environmentally responsible way. Milk is no exception.

Friday, February 15, 2013

How to save and share your favorite Facebook photos and posts

 myList helps Facebook users and Pages discover, save and share things 
  with their friends, all inside Facebook, like this album of Moonalice posters.
As the social network manager for his band, Moonalice, I have often heard Roger McNamee say that serendipity is the greatest force in the universe. So, it was apt that I met +Jennifer Silverberg, VP of marketing for myList, when both of us made a bee-line for a front row seat to hear Roger share his newest insights into the future of digital during his presentation on How to Revive the Web at last the MashableConnect conference, last year.

Roger McNamee, acclaimed technology investor and co-founder 
of  Elevation Partnersat Mashable Connect 2012 during his 
presentation on How to Revive the Web.
After Roger's presentation Jennifer and I stayed behind at our table and she showed me what was at that stage a very early version of myList. My first reaction was, "This is pure genius! It's like Pinterest for Facebook, but way, way cooler!"

I had often wished that there was a way to create "Favorites" on Facebook, so myList's value prop. of not having to leave Facebook to be able to save and share favorite photos and posts, was compelling.
In the announcement of the launch of myList at the end of last year, +Rob Wight, Chief Executive Officer of myList, described the free Facebook app, “While myList was born from our 14-year ecommerce business, Channel Intelligence, it takes a completely different approach. myList focuses on the Facebook user, allowing them to personalize their experience to what matters to them – an online world of things that have been filtered through the collective lenses of the people and organizations that they know and trust.” 

According to myList the app, "Transforms the social sharing experience from “crowd-sourced” picture viewing into a connected community of self-expression and discovery made up of things and people that matter. This provides an unprecedented opportunity for Facebook Pages of all kinds, including manufacturers and retailers, to share the things they make, sell, or recommend in a connected, contextual way with their Facebook audience."

So, what does myList for a Facebook Page look like? Thanks to the myList "Embed" feature now available to Pages using myList on Facebook, you can share your favorite lists, like this +Moonalice News list and the +Hooray Puree recipe list. Not only can lists easily be shared, but when doing so, lists retains the full functionality that they would have on Facebook. Click on any of the images in the two lists below and see for yourself.

My relationship with myList is that of very early adopter (I created the first myList page for a brand, for +Roger McNamee's band, San Fran. carnival rock phenom. +Moonalice ), and major fan.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Social PR campaign helps The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust smash though their petition target

Say NO to ivory by signing the iWorry petition
A social PR campaign initiated by +Roger McNameefounding partner of the venture capital firm Elevation Partners and leader of the band +Moonalice, is leveraging collaboration between conservation and entertainment communities, namely the +The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT) and +Moonalice's highly cohesive social network fanbase on Twitter and Facebook, to support the DSWT in gaining the required number of signatures targeted for their iWorry campaign which aims to raise awareness of the urgent need to stop all trade in ivory internationally, in order to protect the future of elephants.

The results are exceeding all expectations. The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust has smashed though their target of 36,000 signatures for their iWorry petition a full month ahead of schedule, and is now targeting 50,000 signatures by the end of March.

Barsilinga, one of the orphaned elephants being rehabilitated by the +The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT).
The DSWT was founded by Dr Dame Daphne Sheldrick in Kenya in 1977, in memory of her late husband, David Sheldrick, the naturalist and forrunder warden of Kenya’s Tsavo National Park. The DSWT embraces David Sheldrick's vision for the protection of wildlife and habitats and undertakes a variety of projects aimed at ensuring a viable future for animals and people, where they might live in harmony.

+Moonalice is a band of seasoned musicians who feel that live music should be a communal experience where the listener and musicians feed and derive inspiration from each other. Their songs try to speak to everyone, mixing a variety of genres with extended musical improvisations that evoke a sense of adventure and exploration. 

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Super Bowl Sunday Healthy Snack Down

Twice-baked potato skins with a delicious filling of Hooray Puree Carrot.
It's Super Bowl Sunday and when it comes to what to put on a snack down menu, I am reminded of the +Moonalice song by +John Molo and +Roger McNamee, which includes the refrain, "Everyone has an opinion."

With obesity levels reaching astronomical levels in the US, much of the advice is health focused, including some from the CDC with an article on how to kick off a healthy Super Bowl celebration. The word on the tweet is also all about health with +The Huffington Post heading the Top News on Twitter with where to find healthy food in the Big Cheesy.

Closer to home, chez moi we are going the healthy / Google+ crowd-sourced route at our snack down today, with twice baked potato skins and deviled eggs using Greek yogurt and pureed carrot from +Chobani and +Hooray Puree.

Deviled eggs.
Also on the menu is guacamole from a recipe by +Jim Carver with avocados from +Whole Foods Market.

+Jim Carver's Killer Guacamole
"Take the avocados and slice them around the middle as close to the center as possible. Lose the seed and remove the material and make your favorite blend. I like to mash it with a fork or mortar and pestle if there is a lot and add garlic, maybe onion or green onion, salt, pepper, chili powder and some lemon or lime juice. I usually don't use mayo in this. Put the mixture back in the "shells" and serve with some tomato slices, cheese and whatever. Depending on what the "fans" like, you can also have hot peppers around and of course some nice corn chips."
Veggie bites including broccoli, celery and carrot sticks will complete the party tray. Yes, we will be snacking down, but in a healthier way that we have done before.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Greek Yogurt - The Gift That Keeps Giving

Connie Tipton, CEO, IDFA, Hamdi Ulukaya Founder & President, +ChobaniKyle O'Brien EVP Sales, +Chobani.
My favorite quote from the IDFA Dairy Forum so far is undoubtedly Connie Tipton, CEO of IDFA, describing Greek yogurt as the gift that keeps giving. As a major consumer of yogurt in its many forms, I can relate.

About 1000 processors, producers and suppliers from throughout the dairy industry are gathered in Orlando Florida for IDFA's Dairy Forum this year, with the theme of unlocking dairy's potential. In a regularity environment where 57% of food standards are for dairy, and where the consumers' desire for variety is not reflected in terms of regulation, this will be no easy task. As Connie Tipton said in her opening address, "Washington doesn't get it!"

Connie Tipton, who describes herself as an idealist without illusions, said that this is not an economy for the timid. The opportunity lies in innovation where science and technology have produced what she calls a tectonic shift, and where technology is not only required to survive, but can become the vehicle by which to thrive.

Old paradigms no longer work. The opportunity lies in the dairy industry becoming dairy based nutrition providers. In highlighting opportunities for innovation Connie Tipton said to look for even more protein claims, less sugar and more convenience. In this context, yogurt is the ultimate convenience food. As Connie Tipton said, "Yogurt is what US consumers want!"

When I talked to the Dairy Foods' Editor in Chief Jim Carper, his comment on the Greek yogurt inspired growth spurt in the yogurt category was, "Yogurt really has refocused the attention on the inherent wholesomeness and nutrition of milk. A cup of yogurt is like having eight cups of milk because that's how much milk it takes to produce a tub of yogurt."

As Will Smith famously said, "The first step before anyone else in the world believes is that you have to believe it." The Dairy Forum has only just begun, but the message, not just from Connie Tipton but from many participants that I have spoken to, is that if there is one golden opportunity for dairy innovation, it is in the yogurt category. Greek yogurt is today's gift that keeps giving. There will be more. Watch this space! 

Friday, January 25, 2013

Extended Shelf Life - The Future For Chilled Dairy?

Dairies from Tokyo to Toronto, Beijing to Berlin are examining the opportunities created by Extended Shelf Life (ESL) technology, while new processing, filling and packaging systems are being developed and launched. Behind this technological drive are strong commercial arguments. Even a few extra days of shelf life can be a significant benefit to the producer, the retailer, and the consumer. Further days beyond that - up into the spectrum of an extra 30 or even 90 days - opens up new and unique horizons for the marketing of milk and other dairy products.

The definition of ESL differs depending on geography and which products are being processed. In the USA, the objective is to use ESL technology to maximize the shelf life of ‘white’ and value added chilled milk products to between six and nine weeks, under storage below 6°C. The ESL processing treatment used to achieve this longer shelf life is a high heat treatment, and benefits include larger marketing and distribution areas and more efficient production and distribution.

The key to ESL technology is hygiene. The shelf life of a chilled dairy product cannot be extended without first raising the levels of hygiene across the whole dairy. New processing and filling/packaging offers good opportunities for lifting the hygiene level in most dairies. However no single piece of equipment will do the trick. ESL is not just about technology and equipment, it is about a system, the success of which is dependent on the hygienic strength of the entire production and distribution chain. 

Starting off with the same quality of raw  milk, it can be seen that ESL processing technology reduces the microbial load by a much greater degree than regular pasteurisation. Then, due to the superior hygienic design, ESL filling technology provides a much greater degree of protection against re-contamination from the filling environment. Thus in effect, the quality of the product fed to the filler is largely maintained without re-contamination. The combined effect of the processing and filling, results in the ESL product having a reduced microbial load compared with a regular pasteurised product - which will be spoiled in shorter time, due to this load. Broadly, this means that an ESL product will tend to be safer and of superior quality than a pasteurised product, as a result of having been produced in a more hygienic and tightly controlled environment. 
Food safety
ESL technology offers advantages in terms of both product safety and product quality. The basis for this is improved hygiene and the reduction of the risk of re-contamination by pathogenic and spoilage organisms during production and distribution. 

Efficient production
Globally, consolidation within the dairy industry has led to fewer and larger plants, distributing over wider geographic areas. ESL technology allows dairies and other manufacturers to exploit the economies of scale that result from such consolidation. Indeed, exploitation of economies of scale has become the key to growth and even survival for many producers in the dairy industry. Longer runs translate into less product wastage during changeovers while the improved hygiene and longer shelf life that ESL technology offers result in fewer returns for the dairies and considerable cost savings.

Wider distribution
ESL technology allows wider distribution of chilled products, allowing for national distribution in major dairy markets such as the USA, pan-European distribution in Europe, or export to other regions.

Value Adding
ESL technology allows entry into higher margin  "Value Added" product sectors within the dairy industry. Examples of higher margin value added products include flavored milks and active functional dairy products.

High heat treatment or ultra-pasteurisation, the dominant ESL technology used in North America, offers good processing flexibility when it comes to product quality and shelf life range. Direct heat treatment is commonly used due to what is perceived to be better sensory quality. Processing temperatures range typically from 120°C/248F up to around 140°C/284F, with holding times between 0.5 and 4 seconds.

Shelf life potential
The shelf life potential with ultra-pasteurisation is influenced by both environmental and operational factors. At a distribution temperature of 4C/40F, a shelf life of 30 - 90 days is possible, depending on the type of product. To leverage the full shelf life potential of this type of processing, re-contamination must be minimized, e.g. ESL fillers (including filler sterilization and packaging material disinfect ion) must be used and package integrity and stability must be maintained. A gas and light barrier in the packaging material would also be required. 

Non-thermal processing technologies
While the dairy industry under current high temperature/ultra-pasteurisation conditions and sanitary standards achieves a safe product with excellent quality, combining non-thermal technologies such as UV illumination with pasteurization, could achieve a similar level of quality and safety, but with a smaller carbon footprint as a result of less energy used for processing. 

The future for chilled products?
The global trend towards dairy industry deregulation has created a competitive market situation for local dairies as well as for multinationals. Consolidation and exploiting the economies of scale have become the key to growth and even survival for many dairies. 

In this new scenario, ESL technology is a key tool to ensure that the milk can travel the greater distances required by wider distribution areas, while remaining fresh and having the required shelf life after arrival at its destination. In a generally highly commoditized and low profit industry, ESL technology also allows entry into and leveraging of highly profitable, value added segments. 

With the current focus on food safety issues in the food industry, and with the recent well-documented food scares and consumer food poisoning incidents, product safety is fast becoming the major driver for ESL technology in many markets.