PATENTED TECHNOLOGY FOR INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION OF BLAND/ODORLESS SOY-MILK POWDER…..as published by National Business Extra |By Idika Aja, ACS|

batch close up cooking dry

According to July 2019 data from the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board, Nigeria’s annual milk consumption is estimated to be 1.7 million tons, while local production is about 600,000 tons, giving a supply gap of 1.1 million tons. Current global price of whole milk powder used by milk producers in Nigeria is $3,100/ton. Going by the latest demand and supply data, Nigeria needs $3.41bn worth of milk to meet the 1.1 million tons shortfall … (Punch Newspaper, September 24, 2019, Pg. 27).

The FG Forex restriction has even worsened the situation, at an exchange rate of N360/$, N1.23tn would be needed to fund the shortfall; $60.5m or N21.78bn more than what would have been required without the forex restriction.  This huge import bill is underpinned by the fact that the major producers import milk powder and reconstitute into liquid milk and other dairy products. Even the call by the Apex bank for the producers to start producing milk locally as the country was spending too much on importation has not been able to address the situation, mainly because Nigerian cows for now have very low yield because of poor genetic composition, poor feeding practices and the laborious nomadic systems of breeding.

This feed-stock restriction is not applicable for soy-milk production as the major feed-stock – soybeans are readily available.  Nigeria is the largest producer of soybean in sub-Saharan Africa with about 510,000 tons per annum. Its major producing states are Kaduna, Niger, Kebbi, Nasawara, Kogi, Kwara, Jigawa, Taraba, Borno, Benue, Bauchi, Sokoto, Lagos, Zamfara, Abuja FCT, etc.

Above and coupled with the global benefits (espoused in the ‘overview’ here-under) derivable from setting up this bland/odorless soy-milk production plant, having the plant in Nigeria is also in line with the recent government Export Facilitation Initiative espoused by the Bankers’ Committee at its 343rd meeting held on April 4, 2019; to “Complement government efforts to engender growth in the non-oil sector of the economy as well as enhance foreign earnings and employment generation.”

Generally, the need to have this plant is underpinned by the fact that good health and wellness consciousness has been on the increase worldwide recently, prompted by the pandemic of chronic diseases typically obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.  Humankind now has a new plague, widespread chronic, inflammations, which a century ago was typically an old-age infliction. In modern times, a variety of chronic inflammatory diseases creep in when people are in their prime. Intensive urbanization has greatly limited access to the consumption of freshly harvested foods from local neighborhood farms.  Instead, the predominant choice is the consumption of stale or over-processed foods which obviously are nutrients-eroded. This phenomenon coupled to sedentary lifestyles is partially debilitating humankind. In response wellness and lifestyle changes to promote health are progressively being adopted. Businesses are springing up in an effort to exploit the wellness-and lifestyle changes awareness.  Health-foods, beverages and nutritional supplements manufacturing and distribution are experiencing a boom.  

In recent surveys, more than 80% of people interviewed in the United States indicated that eating soybean-based foods promotes good health and expressed the desire to purchase such foods.  The participants strongly believe that soy nutrients reduce cancer and cardiovascular disease rates. Soybean processing research and development has responded to this desire. Soy-food sale as of present is no more a business done in niche markets, it has gone mainstream.  The manufacturing method of the most popular soy product – soymilk has been stepped up from the simple extraction of a low-fiber high-protein beverage, the traditional soymilk, to the production of a high-fiber, high-protein, high-antioxidant containing beverage, with a complementary content of polyunsaturated fats.  This is a sure recipe for good health, going by modern nutritional science.  

Dairy products analogs such as frozen desserts and cultured products are subsequently been manufactured utilizing the new soymilk as the raw material.  This obviously is a giant step in achieving better health and wellness in the new millennium. Foods which are high in fiber, antioxidants and polyunsaturated fats have been shown by nutritional science to be optimal for naturally controlling chronic inflammations. 

Global awareness of the health benefits derived from the consumption of soybean-based food and beverage products is increasing, and progressively is exploited for the development of multibillion dollar health foods industry.  Benefits which span from cardiovascular diseases prevention to obesity, cancer, bone and cartilage, and neurodegenerative diseases control are widely published in scientific journals and the mass media. The cardiovascular support health claim approved by the food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1999 for soy protein was the catalyst for the present global wave of commercialization of soy products.  Requests for other health claims in different countries have been receiving attention, particularly in Europe and Asia. The anticipated approval of newer requests for more health claims would further popularize the consumption of soy products. This most likely would translate to more intense commercialization of the products.

For example, in the United States, soymilk and shakes, soy protein nutrition/powder bars, and soy-based sports nutrition powder mixes presently are the most widely sold soy products according to 2010 Soyatech/SPINS Report.  Other increasingly popular soy foods include tofu, yogurt-type products, and frozen desserts. Powdered soy ingredients, most recently are added to numerous food products in manufacturing industries for protein enrichment and texture modification.  

The dairy industry which previously was averse to soymilk, in calculated steps, now adopts the addition of soy fiber to cow’s milk and other dairy products, as the nutritional value of fiber becomes common knowledge.  Soybean is very rich in fiber. Soybean oil utilization has almost outpaced other cooking oils, even in the United States. It is quite low in saturated fats, and has no cholesterol, the two most established scientific causes of cardiovascular disease.  Generally, soy foods sale has grown out of niche markets into mainstream supermarkets as the overall nutritional awareness of soy increases.  

Geographically, the greatest immediate growth potentials seem to be in third world countries, where sources of tasty, low-cost protein and energy are in greatest demand.  There are huge potential markets in the urbanized areas of China, Africa, Latin America, and parts of Southeast Asia, where cow’s milk is rarely consumed because of its prohibitive cost and its scarcity. 

The soymilk powder from this patented technology does not have the typical Grassy/Beany taste associated with traditional soy product. The product is non-genetically modified, with 48% protein content, Moisture – 6%, Ash – 6%, fat – 8%, and fiber – 3.5%.  The powder is fully soluble after reconstitution in cold or warm water followed by low pressure homogenization and ultra-pasteurization. There is no extraction. This soy ingredient is very rich in protein, fiber, and antioxidants. It is a good source of calcium, potassium and unsaturated fats, nutrients, which enhances cardiovascular health (anti-high blood pressure/stroke), are anti-diabetic, and help control body weight by promoting stomach fullness (satiety) among other health benefits like preventing bone weakness/loss.  

The technology stems from 33 years interrelated research of microbiology, biotechnology, food science, nutrition, dairy technology, chemical engineering, biochemistry and lately nutraceuticology (study of nutrients that confer pharmaceutical properties) by a US-based Nigerian Scientist.

The inventions are protected by two United States patents and one European Union patent and more than fifty patentable trade secrets.  The aggregate patents essentially describe a biological pre-digestion process for whole soybeans to produce soy base ingredients which is bland to taste, contains dehulled-whole soybean matrix ingredients (no extraction of any form), is predominantly soluble in water and contains activated soy matrix nutrients.

person holding piece of biscuit with milk in glass

PRODUCTION PROCESS, DESIGN AND SPECIFICATION

The production process entails the whole beverage-grade soybeans (locally grown and/or imported) be given optimum heat-treatment, dehulled, crushed and ultra-fine ground, followed by fortification with potassium and calcium and finally bagged in 25 kilogram packs. 

The soy powder would then be utilized for downstream food and beverage production.  The powder could be exported for the manufacture of products overseas. Ready to consume food and beverage products would be manufactured downstream at the same plant or at another location utilizing the powdered soy ingredients.  Big multinational corporations with backward integration experience could form joint ventures with the presently proposed venture for growing large soybean acreage in different parts of the country. Soybean farmers’ cooperatives also could be formed solely for producing soybeans to feed the large scale industrial manufacture.

The following food and beverage products (some well known and popularly consumed would be manufactured with the new soy powder as base ingredient.

Dairy products’ analogs

  • Dry formulations
  • Soy beverages and shakes (vanilla, chocolate-and fruit-flavored), soy-based frozen desserts (ice-cream analogs), and cultured (fermented) yogurt-type products.
  • Cow’s milk extenders (low cost cow’s milk volume booster)

Fortified beverage products

  • Fruit juices nutritionally enriched with soy (optionally frozen as popsicles)
  • Soy-enriched caramelized malt drinks (Vitamalt/Maltex-type beverage)
  • Yeast-fermented alcoholic beverage blends (soy and malt).
  • Soy-enriched sorghum malt powder formulation (Horlicks-type beverage powder)

Nutritionally enriched foods with soy:

  • Infant weaning foods
  • Baked products (biscuits/cookies, specialty bread)
  • Snacks: doughnut, gari mix/meal.
  • Extruded products (pasta-type), puffed corn.

The first generation soy products to be commercialized in the present business plan include a bland/odorless pre-digested whole (non-extracted full-fiber) soybean base ingredients (liquid or spray-dried) powder) with multiple applications on the manufacture of whole soybean-based beverages and shakes, high-protein/high-fiber reduced fat antioxidant-rich weight management specialized beverages, powders, nutrition/power bars, and snack foods.  These products generally are delicious, particularly when flavored with vanilla or fruit flavors, and most importantly, they control appetite.  This pre-digested whole soy ingredient also is applicable to the manufacture of frozen desserts and colored products.  This same pre-digested whole soy ingredient has been successfully blended with fruit juice (particularly orange), and cow’s milk.  Flavored/frozen yogurt-type products and highly nutritious soy-fruit juice combination slushes have been developed from this pre-digested whole soy ingredients.  Baked products could be nutritionally enriched with this ingredient to suppress appetite and enhance colon health. Supplementation also incorporates soy antioxidants in all the food and beverage products mentioned above.  Soy-yogurt/fruit juice blends have been prepared for drinking or frozen as a dessert utilizing the pre-digested whole soy ingredient.  Malt powders have been enriched with the pre-digested whole soy ingredient for non-alcoholic beverage production similar to malted milk products.  A giant breakfast cereal manufacturing company in the United States, in a pilot plant research study utilized this pre-digested whole soy ingredient to enrich a high-end breakfast cereal.   Two senior research scientists from this company also witnessed the manufacture of a frozen dessert from a blend of this pre-digested whole soy and cow’s milk ingredients in the dairy plant of a leading university in the United States.  In a similar development, a Business Development Director of a giant canned soap manufacturing company in the US, after tasting the shake prepared with this pre-digested whole soy, mooted the idea of developing an antioxidant-rich, fiber-rich and protein-rich soup base with this new ingredient, for appetite suppression and nutrient enrichment.  Breakfast puddings (oatmeal) also could be enriched with this ingredient, so suggested this Director.  Infant weaning foods could be developed from this pre-digested whole soy ingredient for early childhood development (initial gene modification) for obesity control; you become and are what you eat!

The 2nd generation (5th year upward) products will focus on the utilization of super-bioactive soy ingredients manufactured by specialized bio-process techniques commonly applicable in the pharmaceutical industry (bioreactor fermentation to produce supplements with highly elevated nutritional value.  Fermentation super-activate nutrients for enhanced biological activity.  In the healthy human body, this process is efficiently accomplished in the distal gastrointestinal tract (colon).  This process constitutes the immune health platform.  Comparatively, in ruminants, a more intense fermentation process occurs in the rumen.  Ruminant fermentation converts low nutrient-value grass, vegetable matter and roughage into difficult-to-fathom high-value nutrients! This is the mechanism for producing the nutrient-components for milk synthesis by the cow.  Milk has the envious reputation of being the single most nutritious food on the planet! Bioreactor fermentation of the pre-digested whole soy with probiotics has been accomplished at bench-top and pilot plant scales. The popular soy antioxidants (isoflavones-polyphenolics) were 90% bioactivated by this process.  Isoflavones are a scientifically documented antidote for oxidative stress, the physiological process that induces most chronic inflammations.  

FINANCIAL PROJECTIONS

  1. MEDIUM SCALE PRODUCTION

An initial medium scale production facility capacity of 5,000 kg/day is proposed for the first 3 to 5 years operation, after which the first phase expansion to a large scale operation may follow.

Projected Cost = $3.3-$4million

  • Land acquisition, 
  • factory construction, 
  • infrastructural facilities, 
  • manufacturing/analytical equipment purchase, 
  • operational vehicles, 
  • consultants’ fees, personnel (staff) salaries (3 years),
  • Contingencies/variations.

Projected Revenue

Annual derivable revenue before taxes and deductions = $3.5 million

Estimated annual taxes and deductions                                                                                           (customs & excise duties, etc). = $1.2m

Initial (first 3-5 years) average annual profit = $2m

For an export market (West-North/southern-Africa, Middle-East and Europe) is inbuilt, an annual final profit after tax deductions of $3–$4m is projected for the upstream company by the 5th year of operation, when a large scale operation would be in place.

  1. LARGE SCALE OPERATION

Projected cost = $14 – 17 million

  1. EMPLOYMENT CREATION OPPORTUNITIES

Total upstream (soy powder production to downstream jobs to be created by the 5th year of operation is projected at 700 – 5,000 jobs.

  1. CREATION OF NEW INDUSTRIES (SPIN-OFFS)

Closely related downstream industries development is expected with spin-off technologies.  Soybean oil pressing and refining (cooking/vegetable oil) is achievable by utilizing high oil-yielding soybean varieties in the soybean crushing operation. By-products of soybean oil refining include chemicals utilized in the cosmetics, chemical, pharmaceutical and nutraceutical industries.  An extremely popular universal industrial soybean oil by- product is lecithin. Its fractionation yields a variety of high-end ingredients.

landscape photography of green grass field

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