Industrially produced sweetened condensed milk is one of the most important milk-based ingredients for the food and confectionery industry, alongside milk powder and anhydrous milk fat. The major nutritional trends of recent years, such as vegetarian and vegan products, products with an organic label, clean label or food for certain faith groups, also place new demands on the ingredients that are needed. WS Warmsener Spezialitäten GmbH, as a specialist for sweetened condensed milk, is reacting to the current market trends with new product varieties and packaging options.
Sweetened condensed milk (SCM) is mainly used in the production of high-quality caramel fillings, chocolate bars, pralines, toffees, dessert sauces, ice cream and many other confectionery products. There it not only provides the typical caramel taste, but also influences the desired consistency and mouthfeel of the finished product.
WS Warmsener Spezialitäten GmbH belongs to the Uelzena Group and is one of the largest manufacturers for SCM in Europe. The North German dairy based in Warmsen supplies the major branded companies in the confectionery industry. To further strengthen this position, the company is expanding its range of products for industrial customers and is also investing in a new, flexible filling line for bag-in-box systems to open up completely new markets.
Current food trends require new product solutions
The major trends of recent years, such as vegetarian and vegan products, products with an organic label, clean label or food for certain faith groups that for example comply with the rules for halal or kosher, are increasingly in demand by today’s highly informed consumers. Therefore, the demand for suitable ingredients for the development and production of these new product qualities is also growing parallel within the food and confectionery manufacturers.
“On the one hand, we are noticing a strong increase in demand for certified varieties such as organic and/or Fairtrade as well as Halal and Kosher. And completely new products are being added, such as sweetened condensed milk with the addition of vegetable fat, purely vegetable alternatives without milk or even replacing the sugar with certain sugar substitutes,” says Johannes Rother, Managing Director of WS Warmsener Spezialitäten GmbH, describing the rapidly changing requirements of his customers. The company reacted by developing new varieties and also has certified its products for various standards to meet these new requirements.
The dairy in Warmsen is currently a pioneer in the market for organic certified sweetened condensed milk, as well as for Fairtrade-licensed condensed milk. When using vegetable fats in the new recipes, the procurement of sustainably produced raw materials is a particularly important criterion; here the company uses RSPO-certified palm fat, for example. As a central organization, RSPO (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil) promotes sustainable cultivation methods for palm oil in the producer countries and has defined several principles and criteria that must be met for sustainable palm oil production.
New forms of packaging open up markets
Common packaging systems for sweetened condensed milk are sterile steel containers, drums and loading in tankers. Various bag-in-box systems (BIB) are also becoming more and more widespread, such as one-way and reusable containers with filling quantities of up to 1,000 kg or cartons with a capacity of up to 25 kg. And there is currently a strong demand for small BIBs with a capacity of 5 kg or more. They are used both in the restaurant and catering trade and also for smaller requirements of more artisanal processors from the confectionery, baking craft, ice-cream parlours and small speciality manufacturers, as the company has noticed.
“That is why we have invested in a versatile new filling line, so that we can react even more flexibly to the changing packaging requirements of our customers. It also enables us to expand our sales market, especially in the export of smaller packaging units and the new product variants with vegetable fat to the Asian market,” says Claudia Paland, project manager at WS Warmsener Spezialitäten GmbH.
The company also intends to supply the Asian region with the new recipes and container sizes in the future. In countries such as Vietnam or Indonesia, for example, sweetened condensed milk is traditionally used for whitening and sweetening tea, and there is a correspondingly high demand for GKM in the tea rooms that are widespread there. At the same time, this market in particular is seeing growing demand for the new recipes with added vegetable fats or the purely vegetable alternatives.
By expanding its product range with new recipes and investing in new packaging options, the company believes it is well equipped to expand its export activities and at the same time further consolidate its leading position as a supplier of sweetened condensed milk for B2B customers throughout Europe.