Yogurt Powder, an Innovative Dairy Product
Economy, Domestic Economy

Yogurt Powder, an Innovative Dairy Product

Yogurt is one of the most popular fermented dairy products worldwide which has great consumer acceptability due to its health benefits and special taste and texture. It is nutritionally rich in protein, calcium, vitamin D, riboflavin, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12. Lactose-intolerant individuals may tolerate yogurt better than other dairy products due to the fermentation of lactose to lactic acid carried out by the bacteria present in the yogurt.
A research on eating trends in America conducted by NPD Group —a global market research company specialized in providing consumer behavior and point-of-sale information— shows that per capita yogurt consumption has more than doubled during the past decade, with now nearly one in three individuals eating yogurt regularly. The trend has been fueled by yogurt’s versatility, as the dairy product is consumed for breakfast, lunch, dinner and in-between meals.
The widespread popularity and health benefits of yogurt have encouraged manufacturers to incorporate the dairy product into other foods. Yogurt powder is one such product that helps food and beverage manufacturers to capitalize on yogurt’s healthful image, without having to invest in costly refrigerated storage or processing facilities required while working with regular yogurt.
An article by Persian daily Forsat-e Emruz focuses on the functional properties and potential market for the innovative dairy product.

Yogurt powder is manufactured by adding cultures to non-fat milk, allowing the product to reach a specified pH before it is dried. Yogurt powder can be used in a wide variety of food applications, including snacks, pastry and breakfast cereals. Some of the more interesting products include shelf-stable desserts, ice cream bars and fruit-yogurt dressings.
The main intention of manufacturing yogurt powder is to store the product in a stable and readily utilizable state. It also lowers the packaging and handling costs due to lighter weight and reduced volume.  
Even though yogurt powder does not provide the live and active cultures available in the fresh yogurt—as the heat in the drying process kills these helpful bacteria—it is still a nutritious food that allows for convenient and novel uses of the tangy yogurt flavor. Yogurt powder is very high in calcium, carbohydrates and proteins, and is also a rich source of vitamin A.

  Manufacturing Method
At present, yogurt powder is commercially produced by using either spray drying method or drum dryers.  Hamid Reza Yousefzadeh, engineer at Arya Rama food processing company, has been conducting extensive research on the manufacturing techniques. The company is currently using drum drying technique due to lower costs. A drum dryer costs about €600,000 in the European markets and is the most expensive facility in setting up a manufacturing unit, says Yousefzadeh.
Arya Rama Company is aiming to manufacture yogurt powder which will be mixed with water to make dugh – a yogurt-based, salty drink popular among Iranians. Despite its high popularity, since dugh can turn sour and acidic in a relatively short time, handling and storage becomes a challenge for manufacturers. The product is expected to enter the market within a few months.

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