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Puerto Rico’s Tres Monjitas Paves Way for Long-Life Fresh Milk Products

By on April 18, 2019

With More Than $7.5 Million Investment in Millisecond Technology, Products Can Stay Fresh up to 30 Days

Editor’s note: The following was first published in the April 18-24, 2019, issue of Caribbean Business.

The Puerto Rico dairy company Tres Monjitas announced this week the launch of a novel long-life fresh milk product, which will be available in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

The announcement was made by Gov. Ricardo Rosselló Nevares, who indicated that the product, which can stay fresh up to 30 days, will be available in May and is expected to give the needed boost to the local dairy industry, which continues its search to adjust to the island’s pattern of milk consumption.

“This Tres Monjitas innovation puts the local dairy sector at the forefront of the industry worldwide, as pioneers in the commercial use of this technology. This will benefit local farmers by providing them more opportunities to sell fresh milk inside and outside of Puerto Rico and will have a multiplier effect on the island’s economy,” explained Rosselló Nevares during the launching of the product, which will be integrated into the Tres Monjitas plant in San Juan’s Hato Rey district.

With an investment of more than $7.5 million in local private capital and acquisition of the exclusive rights to Millisecond Technology (MST) for Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, Vaquería Tres Monjitas launches its new product in whole fresh-milk varieties, 2 percent reduced fat, 1 percent low in fat and fat free, in 59-ounce carton packs.

The lactose-free variety includes whole milk, 2 percent reduced fat, 1 percent low in fat, and fat free in 48-ounce packages. Specialized fortified milk with 67 percent more calcium than whole milk will also be launched, without fat, in addition to chocolate 2 percent milk reduced in fat in 32-ounce packages.

Through the MST process, which occurs prior to pasteurization, the milk undergoes a process of sudden pressure changes in a very short period, at temperatures lower than those used in the pasteurization process. This allows the flavor of fresh milk and all its nutrients to be maintained, while eliminating bacteria and micro-organisms that affect its durability.

Vaquería Tres Monjitas President Jaime Fonalledas said, “For 101 years, Tres Monjitas has been an integral part of the local dairy industry and Puerto Rican families by producing and distributing dairy products of the highest quality. That same quality, recognized by our corporate customers and consumers, is now our factor with the greatest durability, to provide a fresh milk product that is superior to that we now know.”

“We began the celebration of our second centenary, with the most important innovation in the industry since they awarded the milk produced in Puerto Rico ‘grade A,’” Fonalledas added.

MST is a technology developed by the group of engineers from JCS Systems, in coordination with the Integrated Food Manufacturing Center of the Food Science Department of Purdue University. The technology has been in the process of testing and validation for more than 15 years. Today, Puerto Rico is the first market in the world to use it commercially.

The implementation of MST technology involves the transformation of Puerto Rico’s dairy industry, which will henceforth produce traditionally imported products.

The executive vice president of Tres Monjitas, Jaime Luis Fonalledas, explained that “this will allow us to grow the market, by selling in the Virgin Islands, and continue to innovate with new fresh milk products and close the door on imports of this product since the technology is now exclusive to Tres Monjitas.”

Jaime Luis Fonalledas added that the company has invested more than $17 million in machinery, technology, fleet renewal, a new warehouse in Mayagüez, new offices and new product launches.

Meanwhile, the general manager of the company, Orlando González Núñez, said: “This launch is the result of teamwork that has been extended for a period of more than 18 months, in which we not only have the support of our more than 500 employees, but also the suppliers and business partners, who have contributed their knowledge and experience to make possible the launch of this product in Puerto Rico, first of all in any other market.”

Vaquería Tres Monjitas is the only processing plant for fresh milk with purely Puerto Rican capital that is still in operation today. It was founded in 1918 by a local family group and currently produces fresh milk and dairy products, juices and fruit drinks, water and mixtures for milkshakes and ice cream, as well as distributing refrigerated products for other companies.

Tres Monjitas is an integral part of Puerto Rico’s agricultural industry and has more than 500 employees.

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