01 June 2018
by the Tetra Pak Editorial team
From protein precipitation to pinkish milk, Bozena Malmgren has seen just about every challenge related to dairy processing. Known affectionately as the Milk Guru, Bozena has spent 36 years at Tetra Pak, the majority of which as a specialist in milk packaging and processing and aseptic technology. In her busy role, she helps customers hone product recipes, discusses aseptic technology benefits with pediatric doctors around the world, and works with Tetra Pak engineers and dairy manufacturers to ensure their dairy production lines work efficiently and produce high-quality products.
 
In celebration of World Milk Day, Ideas Unpacked talked with Bozena Malmgren to learn about milk consumption across countries, game-changing industry innovation, common misunderstandings about milk processing, and why education is key to feeding the world.
 
Q: Is milk consumption prevalent all over the world?
We’ve found that habits differ from country to country. For example, in Scandinavian countries, milk is consumed through a person’s entire life. It’s the main beverage for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

In other countries, milk is only consumed by children. While parents give them milk because it’s good nutrition for growing bodies, they aren’t consuming it themselves. In Asia, milk consumption in older people is uncommon, but this trend is changing. We’re seeing a shift in Asian populations where consumption of milk and other dairy products is growing. 
 
Q: What’s a typical day like in your life?
I spend more than 150 days a year traveling abroad to visit customers, teaching the principles and benefits of aseptic milk packaging and processing, and helping customers at their production facilities.
 
When I’m in the office, people call me with questions about production design, how to use specific plant components or which technology I would recommend for processing different products. I also fix problems. For example, sometimes the product quality isn’t quite right with a new unit installation. I may receive a call about why the product is not as the client expected, so I evaluate the design and operation of the processing line and recommend modifications to produce the product properly. Customers often send photos and videos of products or the operation and request assistance.
 
Q: What is the biggest consumer misunderstanding about aseptic dairy products, or UHT Milk sold on store shelves?
Many consumers think that there are preservatives in dairy products to make them possible to store in ambient (room temperature) conditions. But that’s not the truth. Our technology uses very fast heating, also known flash heating — to ultrahigh temperatures (UHT) — and cooling to kill the microorganisms and maintain quality. When packaged, the Tetra Pak multilayered cartons do not allow microorganisms or other contaminants to enter. As such, it is possible to make the product stable for ambient distribution without any preservatives.

In countries like the U.S. and Canada, many people think milk should always be stored cold. When they find it on regular store shelves instead of the refrigerated section, they think one must’ve added chemicals so that it doesn’t need to be cooled. So, they need education to understand that it is all about the technology and maintaining quality and nutrients is a priority.
 
Q: How does Tetra Pak contribute to the discussion about the benefits of aseptic processing?
As aseptic processing and packaging manufacturers, we help educate consumers whenever and wherever we can. For example, I have had the opportunity to participate in a symposium in Kenya and speak to pediatricians and nutritional experts about the principles of aseptic processing. When I have a platform like this, I can explain how gentle aseptic processing is to the nutrients in the products. When we educate pediatricians, they can transfer the knowledge to mothers so the mothers know that aseptically processed milk is good for children — and doesn’t have preservatives. The majority of children in developing countries consume raw milk, which is dangerous because it may contain pathogenic microorganisms that contribute to the diseases these children suffer from. Aseptic processing ensures that the milk is safe for consumption, everywhere.

I’ve also traveled to Indonesia and India to make the same presentation to local physicians. And those benefits are also relevant to developed countries where kids can safely consume milk stored in their lunch boxes or sports bags.
 
Q: What innovations have you seen that have had a significant impact on dairy aseptic processing?
Aseptic processing started with direct heating systems — systems where the product is directly mixed with steam. When I began my career at Tetra Pak in the ’80s, the world was facing an energy crisis, so we started to develop indirect ultrahigh-temperature (UHT) systems, which consumed five times less energy. At that time, the indirect systems were based on plate heat exchangers and were used only for processing a few applications like milk, cream, juices — products with low viscosity. By the early ’90s, product innovation included products with high viscosity, such as evaporated milk and products with small particles, while production requirements asked for higher volumes. Our answer to those market demands was tubular heating systems, which provided great advantages. Today, around 90 percent of the systems we sell are tubular.

Because of our technology, expertise, and industry tenure, Tetra Pak leads in aseptic processing. More than 50 percent of all ultrahigh-temperature systems that are sold globally are manufactured by us. In fact, we deliver more than 360 systems a year — that’s nearly one each day.
 
Q: How did the nickname Milk Guru come to be?
People from our market companies say that if I don’t have the answer to a question related to milk, then it must not be necessary to know.
 
Q: If you were to have another career, what would it be?
I’d be a medical doctor. But today, I’d say I’m a doctor in milk.
 
 
Learn more about Tetra Pak’s UHT systems for dairy processing, and the benefits of aseptic dairy packaging.

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