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Milk powders

Updated on 07/08/2014
Published on 06/30/2014

INRA is positioned as an essential actor in French research on milk powders, which has been one of its scientific priorities for many years, in close interaction with inter-branch organisations and companies in the dairy industry

Long considered as by-products of the dairy industry, milk and whey powders have now become real food ingredients that are produced at very large scales.  Although the core global market remains dominated by whole milk powder (2250 million tonnes in 2011), infant formula powder (600,000 tonnes in 2011) is now seeing two-digit growth, particularly in emerging countries such as China or the Middle East.

 

In parallel, the European dairy industry is now confronted by numerous problems linked to changes to the CAP, which in the future will result in the abolition of refunds on butter and milk powders.  Another economic factor will be the end of milk quotas in 2015, which is already raising questions regarding growth in the milk powder market.  In this changing context, France has numerous advantages: a dense industrial fabric, which notably includes companies of international importance, a highly structured inter-branch organisation, and a global reputation for know-how and research and innovation capacities, etc.

 

Under this new configuration, although staple first-generation products such as milk powders still have a role to play in regulating stocks, more technical products with a higher added value (2nd to 4th generations) that are better adapted to market demand appear to constitute a particularly pertinent area for development.  But more technical products mean a greater need for research, notably in terms of their characterisation with respect to their technical and functional properties.

 

INRA is positioned as an essential actor in French research on milk powders, which has been one of its scientific priorities for many years, in close interaction with inter-branch organisations and companies in the dairy industry.  The issues addressed are wide-ranging and may cover spray-drying, rehydration, water transfers, energy savings, nutrition or the functionalities of proteins, etc.

INRA teams working in the field of powders

INRA is an internationally renowned research institution which benefits from skills in this field that are mainly concentrated in three research units:

  • STLO (Joint Research Unit for the Science and Technology of Milk and Eggs): studies by the Transfers and interactions during processes in the dairy industry(TIPIL) team in UMR STLO aim to understand the physical, mechanical and biochemical mechanisms involved in the concentration and fractionation processes used for foods, such as membrane separation or spray drying.   Scientific contact: Pierre Schuck – pierre.schuck@rennes.inra.fr
  • PIHM (Interface Processes and Equipment Hygiene Research Unit): UR PIHM  produces knowledge to understand the structural/functional changes that occur in milk powders from their production to their use (ageing during storage) and studies the transfers which occur during the processes implemented when using these powders (rehydration, mixing/granulation). Scientific contact: Guillaume Delaplace – guillaume.delaplace@lille.inra.fr
  • IATE (Joint Research Unit for Agropolymer Engineering and Emerging Technologies):UMR IATE generates knowledge in the field of cereal powders, from their production using fractionation processes to their food and non-food uses.  Studies are based on multi-scale methods, modelling and the simulation of phenomena, as well as the characterisation of particle properties. Scientific contact: Bernard Cuq – cuq@supagro.inra.fr