Directly injecting steam in order to sterilize and dilute liquid drink products is a well-established methodology for beverages like plant-based milk products, which are becoming quite popular now-a-days.
As per the reports, sales of vegan-friendly, plant-based milks have increased rapidly since the last two years. In response to this surge in customer demand, HRS Heat Exchangers has added a new direct steam injection system to its established portfolio of pasteurization and sterilization systems.
The advantage of sterilizing by means of direct steam injection is the speed of the procedure, with sterilization temperatures of 100-145 ͦC. being reached in just a second; much faster than the quickest heat exchanger systems. For products like plant milks, this instant heating averts cooking of the product and formation of caramel-type compounds which can darken the product or generate undesired flavours.
Some products, like oat milk, also get benefitted from the additional dilution with water which is provided by the steam injection. In most of the cases, however the water which is added during the steam injection procedure needs to be eliminated from the end product. This is generally accomplished using flash evaporation to expel excess steam and aid in cooling the product but there is a risk that volatile aromatic compounds can be wasted, which could have a detrimental consequence on certain products, like fruit juices. Due to this reason, not all products are appropriate for steam injection.
For products where direct steam injection is preferable, the company injects food grade steam into liquid products, granting an instant increase to the thermal process.
Matt Hale, international sales and marketing director of HRS Heat Exchangers stated- “At HRS, we are always striving to offer full system solutions for the thermal treatment processes needed by our clients. As part of this mission, we have launched the DSI Series of steam injection modules for the pasteurization and sterilization of products such as plant milks which is becoming increasingly famous at present. The first DSI Series unit has been running victoriously since few months and we are glad to be able to provide another solution to our customers.”