Directly injecting steam as a means of sterilising and diluting liquid drink products is a technique for beverages such as plant-based milk products, which has seen increase in consumer demand. In response to this, HRS Heat Exchangers has added a new Direct Steam Injection System to its range of pasteurisation and sterilisation systems.
HRS Heat Exchangers pointed out one advantage of sterilising using direct steam injection is the speed of the process, with sterilisation temperatures of 100-145-degree Celsius being reached in around a second. For products such as plant milks, this rapid heating prevents cooking of the product and formation of caramel-type compounds which can darken the product or produce unwanted flavours.
Some products, such as oat milk, also benefit from the additional dilution with water which the steam injection provides. In most cases, however the water which is added during the steam injection process needs to be removed from the end product. This is achieved using flash evaporation to remove excess steam and help cool the product, but there is a danger that volatile aromatic compounds can be lost, which could have a negative impact on certain products, such as fruit juices. For this reason, not all products can be used for steam injection.
For products where direct steam injection is desirable, HRS Heat Exchangers has introduced the HRS DSI Series, which injects food-grade steam into liquid products, providing an increase in the thermal process.
Matt Hale, international sales and marketing direct at HRS Heat Exchangers, commented: “We have introduced the DSI Series of steam injection modules for the pasteurisation and sterilisation of products such as increasing popular plant milks. The first DSI Series unit has been running successfully for a number of months, and we are pleased to be able to offer another solution to our customers.”