In 2008, the UK government proposed a plan to require 90% of the milk sold in the country to be UHT milk by 2020. It was believed that a market dominated by UHT products would require far less refrigeration and, as a result, help to reduce greenhouse gases and ensure the UK met its emissions goals in the future. Unfortunately – perhaps fortunately, depending on your perspective – the promise of UHT milk never materialised.
UHT milk has a distinctive taste due to the caramelization of sugars that occur during processing. The government was afraid consumers would not be receptive to the taste, and they were right. The plan was eventually scrapped in its entirety. Interestingly enough, UHT milk is consumed as the first choice in countries such as France, Spain, and Germany. It has not done well in countries such as the UK and the US.
Basics of UHT Milk
UHT milk is sterilised by applying ultra-high temperatures to the product for 1 to 2 seconds. In some respects, it is similar to pasteurisation, but the process is significantly faster. Milk is heated in excess of 135°C to kill spores and other undesirables present in raw milk. By way of comparison, standard pasteurisation heats milk to 63° for up to 30 minutes; high-speed pasteurisation, known as HTST, achieves temperatures of 72° for about 15 seconds or so.
The main advantage of UHT milk is that it requires no refrigeration for up to 12 months. This is what the government was looking at when it set the goal of 90% UHT milk by 2020. They assumed the need for less refrigeration would mean fewer greenhouse gases being produced by those refrigeration systems in use. In the event of failure, a retail outlet would need fewer temporary refrigeration units to protect food because milk would be unaffected.
It is worth noting that the UHT process is not reserved only for milk. It is also utilised for purifying yogurt, soymilk, cream, fruit juices, honey, wine, and more. The process does not drastically alter the taste of some products in the same way it does cow's milk.
The largest of our freezer trailers, the 3.0m is popular with caterers, hotels and restaurants. Especially useful where a freezer breakdown has occurred or where extra frozen food storage is required.
Refrigeration Will Always Be Needed
While many appreciate the government's efforts to reduce greenhouse gases by reducing our dependence on refrigeration, the reality is that refrigeration will always be needed if we intend to maintain our current standard of living. We are critically dependent on the cold chain not only for our daily food choices but also for a variety of other necessities that span everything from medical supplies to technology. Very few people realise how important a role refrigeration plays in our daily lives. Without it, things would be very different.
Icecool Trailers is thrilled to be part of an industry that plays such a vital role in the larger culture. We do not provide permanent refrigeration units such as the ones used in supermarkets for storing milk, but we are experts in temporary refrigeration solutions. We provide the food service, medical, technology and education sectors with refrigerated trailers and freezers for both emergencies and planned events. Our service area extends from the Greater London region outward to cover most of England and South Wales.