Gulkis milk factory plant

From powdered to reconstituted milk in a brick: the thriving journey of IPI and Gulkis

The relationship between humans and milk dates back to a long time ago: starting from the Neolithic Period to nowadays, milk consumption has always been a staple and, while gaining increasing importance in our diets, the whole set of product processing methods and techniques at our disposal has evolved into new, efficient ways and tools.

What follows is a case study solely centered on Gulkis, a company based in Angola, on the west coast of Southern Africa. Founded in 2018, Gulkis is a leading manufacturer of dairy and other basic food products, including condensed and reconstituted milk, rice, wheat flour, yeast, sugar, cream, tomato concentrate, coconut beverages, wine.

With over 40 years of experience in aseptic carton packaging industry, IPI is an expert and qualified provider of full aseptic filling systems and reel-fed aseptic packaging material, which adapt to a wide range of different applications. That is why Gulkis has chosen IPI for the packaging of its highly nutritious and wholesome reconstituted milk.

Reconstitued milk and VAT pasteurization: a brief look

Widely distributed in 1940s to supply the need for milk of armed forces in wartime, reconstituted milk consists of a wide range of different preserved dairy ingredients - usually whole or skin milk powder, but also unsalted frozen butter and milk fat - which are processed in such a way to resemble, as much as possible, the fresh product.

Initially born as a method to process and supply fluid milk, recombination is now actually being applied to a larger group of food varieties, including yoghurt, cheese, and other dairy products. When it comes to the main topic of this case study, reconstituted milk can be easily defined as milk prepared by mixing milk powder with the right amount of water.

Before being filled and packaged, by the book, the product usually goes through a process known as “VAT pasteurization”, which is widely used in dairy industry to process milk into cheese, yogurt, and other dairy products.

How it works is that a steel tank is filled with water, which is pre-heated up to a temperature of 38-43 ˚C; next, a calculated amount of milk powder is added, mixed and continuously moved inside the tank through dedicated agitators to ensure uniformity in temperature distribution. After that, the product is filtered and then pasteurized at a temperature up to 60˚C. Finally, the mixture is evenly cooled to 5˚C, packaged and then stored.

Gulkis reconstituted milk: a reliable and safe sourcing option

Raw milk is a highly perishable commodity, that is a fact. However, while some countries can easily deal with this problem through a solid and self-sufficient dairy production, aided by the right storage and refrigeration system, milk shortages can be quite problematic, mostly in developing regions of the world and especially during lean season, when the lactation is much lower.

This is exactly when reconstitution comes handy: while still being able to provide a nutritious, nourishing and high-quality source of dairy proteins and nutritional values, reconstituted milk becomes an important staple food for many cities and geographical areas over autumn and winter, when dairy production decreases to a minimum. Moreover, the use of a VAT-pasteurized beverage obtained from preserved dairy ingredients allows to overcome the overall refrigeration and transportation problem, which is extremely common in those countries that keep experiencing a lack in cold chain and logistics infrastructure.

This is even more true when the product is aseptically packed. While saving on energy use and costs, since there is no need for refrigeration and preservatives, in fact, aseptic carton bricks keep the product safe from harmful bacteria, sterilized, nutritious and healthy for a very long time, even in in the absence of a precisely coordinated cold chain, making it possible to safely provide a high-quality dairy product almost everywhere.

When it comes to the beverage and liquid food industry, IPI, Italian manufacturer of full aseptic filling systems and roll-fed packaging material, is extremely skilled and Gulkis figured it out.

That is why, in 2020, the leading Angolan manufacturer of basic food products and current licensee of French multinational dairy corporation Lactalis, chose NSA EVO, IPI’s most popular roll-fed aseptic filling machine, to pack its reconstituted milk products in 1000-ml Standard carton with Twist cap. In over two years of business relationship, Gulkis and IPI teamed up to find the best and most suitable aseptic packaging solutions for the customer’s needs, never failing to ensure the maximum flexibility and reliability possible in terms of technical assistance, training and maintenance service.

Gulkis milk carton brick

With a great sales volume, in 2021 Gulkis further broadened the range of IPI aseptic filling machines in use and bought the 200-ml Caliz brick format, which is now used to fill dairy cream too and is now planning to additionally extend its business and start selling dairy cream too.

A new and exciting challenge backed also by a partner like IPI, with forty years’ experience in the aseptic carton packaging of beverages and liquid foodstuffs.

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