Soy milk is an alternative for cow’s milk, made of ground soybeans mixed with water The milk is very nutritive. It is rich in proteins and isoflavones, low in fat and cholesterol-free. Isoflavones, certain organic chemicals, are in several ways beneficial to one’s health. Soy milk doesn’t contain lactose, which makes it safe for people with lactose intolerance. Because soy milk contains less calcium than cow’s milk, it is often fortified with calcium. Fortification with vitamin D and some vitamin B is also commonly done. By using appropriate processing techniques the beany taste of soy milk can be reduced or eliminated. Nevertheless often flavourings, sugar and salt are added to make the milk more attractive for consumers. In many recipes soy milk can be used as substitute for milk.
Production soy milk
In general, for the production of soy milk soybeans are used with less taste, which are slightly creamy, so the beany taste is avoided and a better texture is obtained. Large soy beans with clear hilum are preferred. The producers often work directly with farmers, so a soybean that produces the best soy milk is grown.
First the soybeans are cleaned. Undesirable parts are removed using a destoner, gravity and sieves. After that the soybeans are polished and sorted by colour.
The cleaned soybeans are steamed and mechanically split in half. By this the bean looses its hull. These hulls are sucked off and processed in animal feed. In this way only the cotyledons are left, which contain all the nutritient elements for the soy milk. An additional benefit of this process is the change in lecithin composition of the soybean, through which the emulsion stability of the soy milk increases.
Next the soybeans are blanched in water of 85 to 90°C during 15 to 20 minutes. Because of this the soybean becomes digestible and lipoxygenase is inactivated. In this way oxidation of the present polyunsaturated fatty acids is prevented. By absorbing water the bean swells, becomes softer and therefore better processable.
The hydrated soybeans are grinded with soft and cleared water in two steps. The weight proportion between water and beans has to be around 10:1. This ends in a white slurry with minuscule particles. Due to the grinding all the valuable nutrients are released into the water, which leads to a milky oil-in-water emulsion. By homogenisation the release of nutrients is increased, because of the extension of the product surface.
The insoluble particles of the soybean are removed with a decanter. These insoluble parts are pressed against the surface by centrifugal acceleration and are carried out of the decanter with an internal screw. The thick soy pulp of fibers that is removed is called okara and has to contain as less water as possible. After addition of water it is possible to pass the removed okara through a second decanter. The so produced wash-water can be returned and used for grinding the soybeans with water. In this way the yield might increase with approximately 10%. The protein content increase even from 4 to 5% in weight. After drying, okara is mainly used in animal feed.
In a large tank the other ingredients are added to the soy milk and the total is mixed well.
It is possible to extend the shelf life of soy milk by pasteurization or sterilization. After pasteurization, combined with cold storage, soy milk can be stored during 8 weeks. But often UHT-sterilization is applied. The soy milk is heated by using steam injection during 5 seconds at 145°C, after which flash cooling occurs. This flash cooling at the same time removes off-flavours.
To prevent creaming of fat particles, the hot soy milk is homogenized after sterilization.
Using a plate heat exchanger the hot, homogenized milk is cooled down to room temperature.
Soy milk is often packed through aseptic filling. The cooled soy milk is transported to the packaging machine, where it is wrapped in a cardboard packaging and immediately sealed. From here the packs are automatically packed in boxes and placed on a pallet.
Soft Drinks Industry Winters
The rich history of Soft Drinks Industry Winters BV is now in its third century. Today, the bottling company is alive more than ever. With a flexible attitude and high quality standards it has become the largest Dutch soft drinks exporter. In addition, the lubricants of Shell Lubricants make the machines run optimally and food safe.
"You ask, Winters fills": that's the motto of Soft Drinks Industry Winters BV in Maarheeze (North Brabant, The Netherlands). The company is not directly known to the consumers: the company has never sold soft drinks under its own name. Still, it can look back on a long and rich history. When William Van Hooff laid the founding stone of his brewery on August 5, 1797, he could not have realised that it would become an international soft drink company in two centuries time. By inheritance to the next generations in the year 1873 Jan Winters came in charge. Since then, the brewery was known by his name. In 1918 the production of soft drinks started. Until 1958 Winters only had regional ambitions. Then the company expanded business and Winters became producer of world renowned branded as Seven-Up, Sunkist and Canada Dry. When the domestic sales of soft drinks stagnated, the sight was set on various foreign markets in the seventies. In 1978 the company became part of TLC Beatrice International Holdings. Together with the Belgian soda bottling Sunco, who belonged to the same group, it took over the French mineral water producer St. Alban in 1996. After a management buyout the holding company Sun Beverages Company emerged in 1998, comprising Winters, Sunco and St. Alban.
In 1989 the licenses for the production of Seven-Up and other branded products for the Dutch market ended. Since then all attention is directed to 'contract filling'. This is done on behalf of major international food companies, retailers and other commercial organizations. Winters fills cans for a range of soft drinks, energy drinks, mixed drinks, juices, waters and beers with well-known brands. Between 5 and 10% of production is destined for its own brands, such as Sun Cola and Orange, Party Cola and Orange, Provita multivitamin drink, Maresca mineral water and Megaforce energy drink. Nearly 95% of the volumes is exported worldwide and thus Winters is immediately the biggest Dutch soda exporter. Every year more than 500 million cans are filled, packed and logistically processed. Winters currently employs 120 people in permanent employment and dozens of seasonal workers. Production runs per working day in three shifts for 24 hours and during the peak season in a four or five shifts.
To realize such large numbers, Winters has three production lines. An important part of each line is the can sealing machine running at very high speeds. Two machines seal 1,200 filled cans per minute and the third will do another 625 units per minute. Frans Cox, head of utilities and engineering projects: "Such devices are very capital intensive. It is very important that they remain in good condition to produce an excellent product with a constant quality. "
For the reliability of the sealing machines the right food grade lubricants are essential. Some parts are lubricated with oil, others with grease. Oils are able to dissipate more heat and are regenerable by filtration. They are applied for the lubrication of (plain) bearings and gears. Fats are oils encapsulated in soap skeleton. They have less heat-dissipating properties, and can not be reused. The fats serve, inter alia, for the lubrication of bearings in hemming rollers. Incidentally, their lubricating frequency is lower than that of oils.
Until ten years ago, Winters used lubricants from various manufacturers. F. Cox: "However, the need hasd arisen to rationalise the diversity of products and providers. To get a better overview, we decided to give one person decision-making authority and to work with just one supplier. The result is that if there are questions, there is only one firm where you can go to the right person. That's an advantage, because of the high speeds the machines are very sensitive and, if necessary, you should be able to rely on a rapid intervention of your lubricant supplier."
Arjan Nieuwstraten, food sector specialist of Shell Lubricants, adds: "The material of a modern beverage can is much thinner than before and therefore the method of sealing is more critical. So you can imagine the tolerances to have to work with will be smaller than before. The importance of the lubrication is thus become much greater. "
At that time Winters already bought around 70% of its lubricants from Shell Lubricants and, partly by this collaboration this supplier was chosen. "The people at Shell were always coming into action directly when needed. They were also always ready for the start up of new equipment, switching to newer oils or fats, assistance in making lubrication schedules, etc. That's why we did not have to think long about who we wanted to go into business with", F. Cox continues.
In practice, there is now a 'gentlemen's agreement' between the two parties. "A synergy has grown between our companies, based on years of trust", A. Nieuwstraten confirms. "The collaboration with Shell Lubricants is closely aligned with the expectations that we have with respect to our suppliers", F. Cox adds.
Incidentally Shell offers Winters an additional service with the Lubriplan software. This lubrication management system provides an accurate overview of the inspection points for fats and oils in the machines and generates user-friendly instructions. So it is indicated where and with what frequency there has to be checked or lubricated and with what product that needs to be done. "Moreover Lubriplan builds up a history of the objects to be lubricated. It may sometimes appear that periodic lubrication at a certain location is needed less frequent than planned. Such cost optimisations we do proactively for Winters", A. Nieuwstraten continues.
In this industry, food safety is of paramount importance and it is essential that no contamination of the filled product occurs. The past decades mineral (engine) oils were used to lubricate can seaming machines. Because these are unfit and improper to come into contact with food, Shell Lubricants has developed a range of food grade oils and fats which are suitable for the lubrication of such equipment. They may be used in the food industry and meet the European standard and the US FDA NSF H1-H1. The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) considers incidental contact of these lubricants with the food product to be acceptable to a level of 10 ppm (parts per million). The lubricants are food safe without compromising on their lubricating properties.
Incidentally, there are two types of food grade products. In some sealing machines the lubrication takes place in a closed circuit: this process is called "recirculating oil '. For such systems Shell Lubricants has developed the synthetic oil 'Shell Cassida Fluid GLE' series. That series has excellent lubricating properties and is recognized by leading suppliers of sealing such as Angelus (USA), FMC FoodTech (Belgium) and Ferrum (Switzerland). A second process is that wherein the lubricant is used only once: the "total-loss system. For this, Shell introduced the food grade mineral oil 'Shell FM Gear Oil TLS 150'. That delivers outstanding performance, even in the presence of water, juice or beer. Moreover, this oil absorbs water, preventing rust.
Remarkable is that these Shell products were developed in cooperation with Soft Drinks Industry Winters. A. Nieuwstraten: "We gave attention both to food security and to the optimization of lubricant performance. At Winter we have gained a lot of knowledge about the lubrication of sealing machines with these products and numerous tests have led to the most sophisticated lubricants for this sector."
Large beverage producers that have known branded products manufactured through contract fillers not only value high the quality of the final product. Also, the extent to which the production process is controlled and hygiene risks are avoided, plays a major role for them. Winters has responded and holds international quality certificates according to ISO 9000, 14001 and HACCP (hazard analysis critical control points). In addition, the bottling company is certified to the BRC standard (British Retail Consortium). That standard contains guidelines which food producers have to meet in order to supply the large English supermarkets. Finally, for German and French retail chains Winters has the IFS certificate (International Food Standard).
With the high quality food grade lubricants of Shell Lubricants and the high quality standards of Winter the consumer profits.
Featured expert: Pieter Van de Schepop