Improved low fat cheese with Chr. Hansen’s FLAVOR CONTROL(TM) ripening cultures

Chr. Hansen’s range of FLAVOR CONTROL™ cheese ripening cultures is expanded as the market request for low fat dairy products grows stronger.

A pioneer in dairy ingredients, Chr. Hansen offers starter cultures, ripening cultures, dairy flavors, natural colors and enzymes for all types of low fat cheese. Now two new ripening culture blends - CR-530 and CR-550 - are introduced in the FLAVOR CONTROL™ CR-500 series. FLAVOR CONTROL™ stands for:
• Improved texture
• Rich and balanced cheese flavor
• Reduced ripening time

Improved taste and texture of low fat cheese
The FLAVOR CONTROL™ CR-500 ripening blends are designed to improve the taste and texture of low fat variants of traditional yellow cheese with high moisture content, e.g. Continental, Gouda and Cheddar. Containing many different strains a key objective of the CR-500 blends is to give the low fat variants sensory qualities to match the full fat varieties to the highest possible extent.

“Thanks to the FLAVOR CONTROL™ ripening cultures consumers can now get reduced and low fat cheeses with high sensory qualities as well as a firm and sliceable texture,” explains Nanna Borne, Marketing Manager, Cheese Cultures, Chr. Hansen. “For example it is possible to have low fat Continental without bitterness - or reduced fat Cheddar with full savoury flavor.”

Significant effect
“We arranged a sensory evaluation to test the effects of using the CR-520 and CR-540 blends and the results were significant,” says Mikkel Laust Broe, Application Manager, Innovation, Cheese, Chr. Hansen.
The test cheeses were low fat Gouda cheeses made with two different FLAVOR CONTROL™ blends. They were evaluated after 9 weeks of maturation. The reference cheese was made with starter cultures only and it was labelled “bitter notes” and “simple flavor”, where the test cheeses had “no bitterness”, “high intensity”, “complex cheese flavor” and “sweet and nutty flavor”.

Meeting the general health trend
Low fat cheese is on the rise in the world market due to an increased focus on healthy food and an international consumer awareness of the benefits of dairy products. According to market research company Mintel, more than twice as many new low fat cheeses were marketed in 2007 compared to 2005. In Q4 of 2007 nearly 90 new low fat cheese products were introduced.

Also suited for full fat cheese
While the ripening blends are very well suited for low fat cheese they can also bring out a special flavor profile in full fat cheese. “In certain markets we have noted a growing interest for gourmet cheeses with rich flavor. Here FLAVOR CONTROL™ fits in as well,” says Nanna Borne. “In full fat cheese the CR-500 ripening cultures are typically used to brand a special flavor and the manufacturer can sell brand cheese with a premium.”

Faster ripening process
Another important factor for the cheese producer is cost efficiency. FLAVOR CONTROL™ can speed up the cheese ripening process and save money by shortening the storage time at the dairy.

The FLAVOR CONTROL™ range has been developed in co-operation with selected dairies in Europe providing input, guidance and feedback on the needs of the market. The first CR-500 blends were developed in cooperation with Scandinavian customers who were early pioneers on the low fat wave.

Chr. Hansen will be demonstrating the effect of FLAVOR CONTROL™ ripening blends in low fat cheese at the 5th IDF Symposium on Cheese Ripening in Bern, Switzerland, March 9-13 2008. Chr. Hansen is participating as a sponsoring partner.

About Chr. Hansen
Chr. Hansen is a global biotechnology company that provides ingredients to the food, dairy, human health and nutrition, and animal health industries. The company is a leading supplier of food cultures, probiotics, enzymes, colors, flavors and seasonings, which are applied in foods and beverages, dietary supplements, and agricultural products.
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