01 Nov 12 Clover takes ESL milk to new level
After many years investigating the technology, Clover, SA’s biggest dairy player, took the plunge into ESL (extended shelf life) milk in late 2006 with the launch of its SealFresh-branded milk in the Tetra Top package, and with a 14-day shelf life. Six years on, it has upped the ESL milk bar in this country with the launch of a 30-day shelf life product, and more!
Ultra pasteurised 30-day milk
As of mid-October, South African consumers have been able to purchase this milk range which bridges the gap between fresh and long-life milk, with a shelf-life of up to a month from the date of packing.
Available nationally in Elopak two-litre cartons, in full cream and 2% low fat, Clover’s ultra pasteurised variant fulfills the dairy producer’s promise of making the quality, freshness and convenience of its milk “Way Better”.
“At Clover, we understand that many of our customers schedule grocery shopping in a diary that is bursting at the seams. For this reason, we have focused our efforts on extending the shelf-life of our milk using ultra pasteurisation so that time-stressed shoppers can cut down on the hours they spend replenishing their fridges at home,” says Clover senior brand manager, Sherian King.
Independent research has, in the past, shown that expiry date is the No 1 purchase decision factor within the fresh milk category.
The secret to 30-days shelf life lies in Tetra Pak’s VTIS steam injection technology and ultra-clean filling technology, with the filling machine supplied by Galdi, and installed at Clover’s Queensburgh, Durban, site.
“While the packaging may have changed, ultra pasteurised milk is still the same great quality Clover milk that consumers know and love. It simply features a longer shelf life and provides added value for money,” explains King.
And there’s more!
In an equally noteworthy development, Clover has now added ESL to a big proportion of its fresh milk.
Consumers in KwaZulu-Natal and inland regions can now expect the freshness of their Clover fresh milk to last up to 18-days, whether they purchase two-litre, one-litre, 500ml or 250ml variants in regular HDPE bottles (supplied by both Nampak and Dairypack).
This milk goes through glycol deep cooling to ensure that the cold chain is maintained at below 4°C. Bactofugation units have also been installed at Clover’s fresh milk pasteurisation plants to remove certain spoilage organisms capable of surviving the pasteurisation process.
New ultra-clean filling machines for the two-litre variant have been installed at Clover’s Clayville, Gauteng, and Queensburgh plants, supplied by Stork Food & Dairy Systems in Holland and commissioned at the end of September.
This processing and filling effectively serves to ensure the extended 18-day shelf-life, nine days better than traditional production.
“Clover’s perceived quality by consumers has always been a strong contributor to our market leadership. We have built a reputation for quality and our milk delivers on our shelf-life promise. I believe we have achieved this status as a direct result of not only our investment in technology and new equipment, but also in human capital thereby ensuring well-trained operational staff are always on the job,” King concludes.
“As milk’s market leader in South Africa, Clover is at the forefront of technology and innovation and nowhere is this more evident than in these shelf-life extensions that will surely change consumer buying habits in the future.”
She adds that the ESL SealFresh range in Tetra Top packaging will remain available.