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Opening the Gateways to Dairy Process Innovation


Teagasc Food Research hosted an industry targeted Dairy Process Innovation event in Moorepark, as part of the Teagasc Gateways to Food Innovation series. The day focussed specifically on current and next generation dairy processing and technology utilised by the dairy and infant formula industry. The event was a showcase of technologies for food enterprises and highlighted the research and development activities, at both Teagasc and University College Cork (as part of the UCC/Teagasc Strategic Alliance in Food Research), including expertise and services available to the sector.

The event opened with presentations by five speakers; Chris Bloore, Dairy Industries Systems Consultant; Mark Faherty, Economist and Dairy Market Analyst, IDB; Mary Nyhan of Nyhan Tax Advisors; Richard Fernandes - Luxcel Biosciences and Tom Mulqueen, DACAER Consulting (former VP Global Operations at Wyeth Nutrition).

Chris Bloore, from New Zealand outlined the steps taken by the milk processing industry in New Zealand during times of an expanding milk pool. He said that the increased milk volumes provided opportunities to upgrade existing production facilities, to construct new facilities and to retire old facilities. He gave examples where pre-concentration by membrane filtration can be beneficial during the production of dairy based powders and formulations. Chris outlined that increased milk volume can put pressure on processors’ finances, organisational management and staff.

Mark Faherty, an economist and dairy market analyst with the Irish Dairy Board, said that since 2007 EU and world milk prices have converged. He advised that when we see a price decline like that which is anticipated, it’s important to focus on the fundamentals which are that the world’s population will increase and the wealth of consumers is increasing. Both these trends increase demand for dairy products. He said that he is extremely positive about where markets are likely to go in the next five years, notwithstanding the difficulties we are facing into.

Mary Nyhan gave a very interesting presentation relating to tax breaks and benefits associated with the R&D sector.

Richard Fernandes outlined the advantages of, and advances within the oxygen sensor technologies developed by Luxcel Biosciences, for microbial control in the dairy sector.

Tom Mulqueen’s presentation covered the elements for success within the infant milk formula sector.

The event included 23 exhibits, highlighting the relevant research activities taking place in both Teagasc and UCC. These included smart ingredients, infant formula, high protein powders, cheese diversification and technology, flavour chemistry and functional dairy nutrition. There were additional stands from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Enterprise Ireland, Bord Bia and Luxcel Biosciences.

The Gateways event concluded with a tour of the ‘proof of concept’ pilot plant and a viewing of a range of technologies.