Chr. Hansen introduces two feta cheese cultures

by Keith Nunes
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HORSHOLM, DENMARK — Using its DVS culture technology, Chr. Hansen is introducing two cheese cultures intended for the production of white brined cheeses like feta and halloumi.

"Our launch of the cultures is global and we expect sales in several markets but initially we focus on Greece, the Balkan countries and Turkey," said Nanna Borne, marketing manager of cheese cultures for Chr. Hansen. "Long term, we want to promote the cultures to Middle Eastern dairies as well. Also, the Australian market has shown interest in the new cultures."

The U.S. has potential as well, according to Chr. Hansen. Using data from G.N.P.D. Mintel, the company said the number of new cheese product introductions has been climbing throughout the past decade, and in 2008 there were several new product introductions in Greece, South Africa and the United States.

Seven per cent of the 14 million ton global cheese production falls into the feta category, according to Chr. Hansen. Feta is a major cheese type in the Asia-Pacific-Middle East-Africa region, accounting for one third of total cheese production in the region.

The new cultures are intended to improve product texture while also allowing cheese manufacturers to benefit from direct-to-vat production practices.

"Compared to traditional bulk starter cultures, which are usually based on pure thermophilic strains, the new blends from Chr. Hansen give the cheese a better texture thanks to the mesophilic strains," said Christos Tsitsos, business dairy manager of Chr. Hansen Greece. "Traditional white brined cheeses are matured 1 to 3 weeks and during storage there is a risk of having yeast growth on the cheese. When using culture blends based on both mesophilic and thermophilic strains the risk of yeast attack is eliminated due to a better controlled acidification of the cheese under production."

The new culture blends are named FD-DVS WBC-01\25X100U and FD-DVS WBC-02\25X100U.

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