Process Innovation
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Much of the technology used in the west to produce and pack dairy products can be adapted and adopted for the manufacture of traditional dairy products in India. In fact, there is an immense potential for growth in this sector, should the initiative be taken by Indian entrepreneurs.
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Potential for Process Innovations

The modernization of the manufacturing process of traditional dairy products is long overdue. But, there is no need to reinvent the wheel because some of the food processing methods available in the west can be usefully adapted to mass produce traditional products. Some process modifications may, however, become necessary.

Pioneers in the field

  • In recent years, process innovations have been initiated at the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) and the National Dairy Research Institute (NDRI) for the assembly-line production of burfi, dahi, kheer, shrikhand, gulabjamun, rasagollas, mishti doi and the like, by adapting the Western tools and technology. The use of western products like concentrated and dried milk powder for making chhana and khoa needs to be adopted in modern dairy plants, as also at the halwai level.

  • An outstanding example of Western technology adaptation is the manufacture of shrikhand on a large scale, using basket centrifuges, quarg separators and planetory mixers, used by bakeries. Today, the volume of shrikhand manufactured by the organized sector exceeds that of processed cheese sold in India.
  • The most modern plant associated with the manufacture of traditional dairy products is the Baroda District Cooperative Milk Producers Union Ltd. (Sugam Dairy) at Vadodara in Gujarat. It markets its products through a large network of 150 retail outlets in the city. The Sugam Dairy uses the traditional grocery/general stores that have a refrigerators to market its products. The product range includes shrikhand, gulabjamuns, pedas and lassi, apart from flavored milks. The dairy has the highest turnover of a single unit, marketing traditional dairy products.
  • The Mother Dairy in Calcutta markets mishti doi and dahi in a similar fashion.
  • Dairies in Punjab and Haryana market paneer and kalakand (also, lately, milk cake).
  • Cooperative dairies in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka also sell makkhan(butter), khoa, peda(a form of sweetmeat) and kulfi.
  • Warana and Mahanand dairies in Maharashtra are also marketing shrikhand through their sales outlets.

Potential for more

  • The manufacture of khoa, using roller dryers and other scraped surface heat exchangers, is instance of the use of the Western technology.
  • UF/RO technologies can also be used for the making of chhana and concentration of milk for many indigenous dairy products.
  • The use of meat ball forming machines and potato fryers for manufacturing gulabjamuns on large scale is a good example of integrating modern technology with the traditional process.
  • The packaging of these products can also follow a similar approach.
    • In Italy, Mozzarella cheese balls are being packed in whey in consumer packs. This can be tried to market rasagollas and gulabjamuns.
    • Chocolate and candy packaging lines can be used to pack burfi and peda.
    • Tetrapaks can be used to pack lassi, basundi, kheer and sevian.

An example of this technique is the process by which the Japanese manufacture Tofu, which resembles paneer.

  • The modernization of this sector will also result in energy savings.
    • While manufacturing sweets in the traditional manner, a lot of heat energy goes waste which can possibly be recovered in a modern plant.
    • Evaporation of milk in a karahi consumes five times more energy than in a vacuum evaporator.
    • Whey is being drained, today, from the small scale manufacture of paneer and chhana . This causes pollution and degradation of the environment. Most of the whey in a modern plant can be recovered for the manufacture of lactose/lactates. Then, India need not import some 5,000 tonnes of lactose annually. Rather, it may be in a position to export it.

The preparation of these products by traditional methods needs to be studied and well documented on a scientific basis. The technological parameters, biochemical changes and the perishability of these products should be further researched to develop unit processes required for the large scale manufacture.

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Foreseeable Advantages of Process Innovation

  • Many ingredients used in the preparation of traditional dairy products are adulterated. In fact, many food colors used in these products may actually be carcinogenic. Branding of these products will lead to the use of pure ingredients as the manufacturers would make serious efforts to protect their brand names. The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) has now worked out standard specifications for the quality of khoa, shrikhand, burfi, rasagollas and gulabjamuns. This is encouraging, and the quality standards should be specified for all other important traditional products.
  • Large scale manufacture of these products will also open possibilities for trying out newer ingredients. The processed food industry in the United States has emerged as the largest user of corn syrup solids and high fructose corn syrup. These sweeteners add to the moisture retention properties of many foods apart from adjusting the sweetness to a desired level. These are exciting possibilities that can be explored to the advantage of the processors and consumers.
  • The production of traditional products through modern technology can ensure utilizing larger quantities of milk during the flush season, thus helping in stabilizing farmer prices. The technology of recombining milk constituents can also help in making these products available in the lean season,.and in far-off places. Shrikhand is being manufactured in the winter for consumption in the summer months, reducing the pressure on limited milk supplies during the lean period. Khoa has also been stored at low temperatures for use in the summer.

How far these modifications will be accepted will ultimately be decided by the consumer. The advent of convenience foods and their increased acceptability will further support the modernization in this sector.While some attempts have been made to strengthen the R&D base for indigenous dairy products, very little use of modern technologies is being seen in the market place. A focussed attempt is needed in this direction.

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