Donald Pszczola

Donald E. Pszczola

Although cheese is an age-old food, its popularity continues to grow. Not even a reoccurring emphasis on low-fat products could diminish that passion, that enthusiasm dairy marketers would call, “the power of cheese.” If you’re skeptical, then consider a recent study by USDA which revealed that while Americans consumed less whole milk than in previous years, they actually increased their cheese consumption.

Flavor combinations and colors can be introduced into cheese by an injection technology–one of several ways to enhance value and make a product more exciting.A variety of statistics compiled by USDA and Dairy Management, Inc. also bear out cheese’s popularity. Sales of cheese in the United States reportedly reached more than 8.5 billion pounds in 2000. Furthermore, total retail cheese sales (including both sales of cheeses produced in and imported into the U.S.) were up 6% to nearly $10 billion.

According to the USDA’s Economic Research Service, the average person consumed 18.6 pounds of cheese in 1970, while in 1999 that figure had risen to 30.2 pounds of cheese. Mozzarella had a 360% increase in consumption, growing from 2.0 pounds per person in 1970 to 9.2 pounds per person in 1999. The natural cheese category grew 146%; Cheddar cheese, 60%; and processed cheese, 6%.

Why is cheese so popular? Well, for starters, people obviously like its taste and texture, and it is very compatible with a wide range of dishes. (Although I am not allowed to endorse any one product, off the record I have to confess that I’m a cheesehead myself, putting cheese in chili, in soups, on sandwiches, in eggs, and even on some desserts.)

However, there is another very important factor that helps fuel cheese’s continued growth. The dairy industry doesn’t seem to take cheese for granted. Over the past 18 months, for example, a wide range of ongoing research studies have been conducted, aimed at improving cheese—its quality, flavor, performance and functionality, health attributes, and added value. New technologies, experimental manufacturing procedures, and inclusion of a variety ingredients, such as enzymes, cultures, flavors, and colors have all been utilized in an attempt to anticipate or meet consumer needs, and, at some level, reinvent traditional concepts.

Here are some of these developments, which will include a broad range—from potential soy inclusion to the custom creation of rainbow-colored cheeses.

Making cheese with bacteriophage resistant bacteria. An improved method for reducing or preventing bacteriophage attack on bacteria used in a cheesemaking process is the subject of U.S. patent 6,297,042, issued October 2, 2001 to Clair L. Hicks, and assigned to University of Kentucky Research Foundation, Lexington, Ky. The following description is taken from the patent.

The lactic acid starter cultures utilized in cheesemaking may consist of single or mixed strains of bacteria—all must convert milk sugar in the curd into lactic acid within a reasonable time if a high-quality cheese is to result. Several factors may, however, prevent this conversion. Of these factors, the most important is bacteriophage attack. The author of the patent notes that specifically, cheese production loss due to phage attacks on lactic culture is the number one problem faced by the dairy products industry today.

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Bacteriophages or phages are viruses that attack a lactic acid bacteria cell. They can effectively slow down or totally inhibit the activity of the starter culture. As a result, the milk fermentation medium is often insufficiently soured and insufficient acid is produced to retard the growth of bacteria that cause undesired fermentation products. Consequently, the cheese spoils, resulting in an undesired consistency, flavor, and aroma.

The primary object of this invention is to provide an improved method of reducing or preventing bacteriophage attack on bacteria used in cheesemaking. Another object of the invention is to provide a simple and effective method of controlling bacteriophage attacks on lactic acid bacteria used in cheesemaking wherein the bacteria are protected against attack.

The method includes (1) treating a blocker peptide precursor with a protease enzyme that hydrolyzes the precursor; (2) collecting the blocker peptides produced by the hydrolysis of the precursor and subsequent formulating and heat treating of a starter media with the blocker peptides; (3) growing bulk cultures of cheesemaking bacteria in the inoculated starter media; and (4) adding bacteria grown in the inoculated starter media to a fermentation medium for producing cheese.

Say cheese with soy? At the 2001 AACC Annual Meeting, a Nutrition and Healthy Ingredients Forum was held where participants discussed the challenges they faced in incorporating soy-based ingredients. During the meeting, one participant from the dairy industry noted the potential value that whey may have as an ingredient in soy products.

A partnership between soy and dairy may not be that farfetched. From a soy perspective, dairy ingredients may provide an additional functionality that a soy ingredient might not. From a dairy perspective, soy’s increasing popularity and health emphasis may give dairy products an added value which marketers can capitalize on. Because of these mutual advantages, researchers from dairy and soy areas may find it beneficial to share information or even develop cooperative ventures.

Because of consumers’ growing interest in specialty cheeses, cheese processors especially can help lead the way in incorporating soy into their products. If developed successfully, the resulting combination—or, if you will, dairy-soy hybrids—can offer desirable taste and texture as well as maximum health benefits.

Of course, for such products to be successful, this would mean that researchers would have to develop processes or ingredients that would remove the beany flavor note associated with soy. Over the past several months, there have been various ways developed that can reportedly accomplish this. One possibility, which was reported in Cheese Market News (August 3, 2001), is a fractionation process developed at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. This process fractionates alkylphenols or flavor molecules in milk, boosting their intensity.

Another possibility is the development of starter cultures which contain bacteria that can remove soy’s off notes and add more flavor to the product. For example, International Media and Cultures (IMAC), Inc., Denver, Colo., developed proprietary live cultures, which are fermented with other ingredients in the manufacturing process, to create a line of cultured cheese extenders designed to improve and intensify the flavor of hard grated cheeses. 

More and more, companies are already involved in developing hybrid cheese and dairy products. Furthermore, the future probably will see a variety of dairy and soy combinations, especially if the competition between these two industries continue to grow. 

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To pasteurize or not to pasteurize. The question of pasteurization for all cheeses in the United States may become an increasingly important issue. (Diverse publications ranging from Discover to Cheese Market News have recently reported on the subject.) I briefly mention this issue here because it can have impact on the future manufacture of cheese and the ingredients that make up that cheese. Certainly such an issue is important enough to merit a serious look either as a Back Page of this magazine or even as a feature article. 

Currently, the Food and Drug Administration requires pasteurization for all fresh or soft-ripening cheeses, but allows use of raw milk for hard cheeses such as Cheddar that are aged for at least 60 days. However, a concern that certain strains of pathogenic bacteria such as E. coli O157:H7 and Listeria monocytogenes may survive this aging period could eventually prompt a change in the law, making it illegal to use raw milk in any cheese manufacture. If this happens, it would, of course, have impact on international trade as well.

Papers from researchers and organizations are being submitted to FDA regarding its review of the 60-day aging process. One paper prepared by a microbiologist consultant for the American Cheese Society finds that there are very few outbreaks linked to aged cheese made from unpasteurized milk. Furthermore, these outbreaks had nothing to do with whether they were pasteurized or not, but occurred because of post-production contamination. The paper maintained that aged cheese made from raw milk are microbiologically safe when manufactured under conditions that use milk screening procedures, Good Manufacturing Practices, and Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point programs.

Cheese makers who use raw milk would argue that a rich natural microflora adds flavor and aroma to the cheese. Pasteurization, while it eliminates pathogens also takes out the good microbes which do the fermenting. Then a few selected microbial cultures are added to the pasteurized milk, but the resulting cheese, these manufacturers maintain, cannot compare to the diversity of flavors that result from the wide range of microorganisms evolving in raw milk.

Furthermore, pasteurization eliminates the good microbes which help keep the bad microbes in check, ironically creating a safer product. Critics of the possible FDA revision point out that France has used raw milk in its cheese manufacture and yet has avoided major outbreaks of food illnesses caused by cheese contamination. The critics, further argue, that strict hygiene is the reason that the French cheeses are safe. And are tasty as well.

No definitive time line has been set as to when FDA might issue a ruling on the issue.

Pursuing low-fat cheese options. Researchers frequently approach a common problem from different directions, utilizing new technologies, processes, and ingredients at their disposal. One excellent case in point is improved low-fat or reduced-fat cheeses.

As a result of this ongoing research, today there are several options available for creating low-fat cheeses that have improved performance and taste. Here are some of these options:

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A bench top process for removing the fat from a full-fat Cheddar cheese to create a reduced-fat Cheddar with superior flavor has been developed by researchers at Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y. An alternative to the use of reduced-fat milk in reduced-fat cheese manufacture (which can result in Cheddar with less flavor intensity), the process removes fat through centrifugation, while controlling temperature and other variables. Removing fat from a fully aged block of Cheddar cheese (34% fat) can result in a product with about 16% fat. A taste panel reportedly scored this reduced-fat cheese as high in flavor intensity.

Culture selection can play an important role in forming a flavorful, functional low-fat cheese. The proper culture can affect both flavor development and quality, as well as cheese browning and texture. The California Dairy Foods Research Center studied the effect of treating various adjunct cultures used in Cheddar manufacture and their subsequent effect on modifying the sometimes bitter flavor of Cheddar cheese. The researchers found that freeze-shocked Lb. Helveticus culture BS provided the best results as a debitterase agent in low-fat Cheddar cheese, enhancing and improving flavor quality and modifying the texture. Best applications for use of this adjunct culture would be for a smoother texture in a processed cheese spread and more uniform particle sizes and smoother end result for cheese powder.

The moisture level in low-fat Mozzarella can be improved by the use of a particular culture. Researchers at Utah State University, Logan, Utah, in collaboration with the Western Dairy Center, isolated the gene in the culture Streptococcus thermophilus MR1C that is responsible for producing an exopolysaccharide (EPS)—a factor that improves water binding. By pairing this strain of culture with another, non-EPS producing culture, processors can get a 1.5% increase in moisture. The researchers also believe that this isolated gene might be technologically transferable to other cheese-producing cultures. This means the increased moisture level through EPS-expression can be achieved on a consistent basis while still using the proper rotation of phage-resistant starter cultures.

Traditionally, reduced-fat cheese does not melt like full-fat cheeses. However, in response to this challenge, Northeast Dairy Foods Research Center scientists at Cornell University identified a process that prevents the formation of skin, enabling the cheese to melt and flow like its full-fat counterparts. This process gives manufacturers the power to control cheese melt. A thin coat of any hydrophobic material, such as canola, hydrogenated or other similar oil that evaporates slowly, is sprayed onto the cheese shreds or slices to prevent a hard shell from forming, which can limit the melt and flow of the cheese. The impact of this technology can reportedly be tailored even more through the addition of flavors to the hydrophobic surface-coating ingredient.

Post-bake chewiness is a common defect in reduced-fat Mozzarella cheese. This problem is due to the calcium-protein interaction within the cheese matrix during the melting process. Researchers at Cornell University have looked at altering the calcium-protein interactions through pH reduction. They attempted preacidification with acetic acid and citric acid and found that post-bake chewiness was reduced when low-fat Mozzarella’s calcium content was equivalent to that of low-moisture, part skim Mozzarella cheese. Although further modifications are necessary to eliminate this defect, reducing texture differences would be a major step in improving the product.

Material for these studies has been provided by Dairy Management, Inc., 10255 W. Higgins Rd., Suite 900, Rosemont, IL 60018-5616 (phone 847-803-2000; fax 847-803-2077). More information about these studies can be obtained from DMI.

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Pairing cheese with flavors and colors. Although cheese lovers would probably argue that cheese can stand by itself, it can also be partnered with a variety of different flavors and colors, making it especially appealing as a convenience or specialty food.

Flavor profiles such as pesto, salsa, and bacon horseradish have been added to Cheddar. Roasted garlic and tomato basil can help spice up Mozzarella. Cottage cheese may be paired with such flavors as peach, pineapple, blueberry, raspberry, and strawberry. String cheese may be stuffed with real pizza sauce or combinations of cheese such as Mozzarella and Cheddar cheese may be swirled together to form a colorful and fun-to-eat string cheese snack designed for children or those seeking novelty. Or a variety of different cheese blends (4-cheese, 5-cheese, etc.) may be used in prepared food applications such as spaghetti sauce or tortellini. And, of course, these are just a few examples of products already in the marketplace.

And one can expect there will be many more products as flavors are designed for specific types of cheeses. For example, Sartori Foods, P.O. Box 258, Plymouth, WI 53073 (phone 920-893-6061; fax 920-892-2732) have developed five new “Designer Parmesans” which are being commercially produced with several more in initial development stages. Most recently, the company introduced Cotija Cheese, described as a Mexican-style hard grating cheese which delivers a distinctive savory flavor that may be used in topical application on a variety of Mexican dishes.

A new injection technology for customizing cheeses has been developed by the Western Dairy Center at Utah State University, Logan, Utah. The system uses high pressure to inject a narrow stream of fluid directly into a block of cheese, effectively distributing color, flavor, even enzymes and cultures for ripening. By controlling the concentration of ingredients in the fluid, the intensity of the flavor or color in the final product is controlled, making possible a wide variety of custom-made specialty cheeses.

According to the researchers, the liquid is injected into young cheese, one to two days old, when the curd hasn’t knit together. The injected colors or flavors follow cracks in the curd, giving the cheese a marbled effect. This system allows a manufacturer to inject into a small quantity such as a one-pound block of cheese, and to adjust the intensity of the injected flavor or color.

Researchers recommend using mild-flavored cheese for this process, such as Muenster or Monterey Jack. A number of different flavors and flavor combinations, ranging from traditional garlic and sage to lemon, cranberry, and peppermint, have been tested with focus groups as well various colors. While adults tended to prefer more familiar, traditional flavors and milder colors, children had a different reaction, liking flavors such as grape, berry, and pepperoni, as well as brighter colors. In fact, don’t be surprised if you see a rainbow-colored cheese someday.

More information about this system can be obtained from DMI.

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Helping cheese to mature. A new approach to cheese aging has been developed by researchers at The University of Wisconsin-Madison and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and University, Blacksburg, Va. The process is said to reduce the amount of time required to age a hard cheese such as Parmesan, but also successfully produce a cheese with full flavor and acceptable moisture/texture profiles.

The modified aging technique can help processors produce Parmesan cheese in less humid conditions where Staphylococcus aureus and other safety-compromising bacteria would have less time to develop and multiply. The technology may also help control problems with moisture migration, which can contribute to poor composition and resulting shredding and slicing characteristics.

Improved cheese salting techniques have also been developed which can help cheese to mature rapidly. A new processing technique can infuse Italian cheese varieties with controlled levels of salt solutions during manufacture. Salt addition in cheese such as Mozzarella provides such key properties as flavor, texture, and stability.

The Salt Infusion System (SIS-II), a joint effort between Wisconsin Center for Dairy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Basic Concepts, Inc., Hartford, Wis., introduces a patented aqueous solution containing sodium chloride crystals directly into the warm interior of cheese, achieving up to 2% salt in each cheese loaf. Because of internal and external processing manipulations, the injected cheese is said to mature rapidly, permitting shredding in 24 hours after manufacture.

According to the researchers, the processing technique would allow cheese makers to eliminate conventional salting methods such as brine immersions, enabling increased quantities of cheese production, improved precision of salt addition, and reduced levels of waste material. Shorter ripening time also offers production benefits.

Cheese that lowers cholesterol. Adding plant sterols to cheese can help reduce blood cholesterol levels. The application was highlighted at the Worldwide Food Expo 2001 by Forbes Medi-Tech, Inc., 200-750 West Pender Street, Vancouver, British Columbia V6C 2T8 Canada (phone 604-689-5899; fax 604-689-764.

The Canadian biotechnology company has developed technology to extract phytosterols from coniferous trees to produce a natural food ingredient clinically proven to reduce cholesterol levels. Numerous studies have shown that a daily dose of one to two grams of phytosterols can lower low density lipoprotein by up to 24% when consumed in different foods.

The calorie-free ingredient reportedly can be incorporated into cheese and a wide range of other products without changing the taste or other sensory products of the food, and it is easy to use. Designed for consumers who suffer from high cholesterol, the ingredient can find particular use in cheese which is a popular ingredient in snacks, pizza, and a wide range of other foods.

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Genomics and cheese flavor development. Researchers from University of Wisconsin and Utah State University are working together to assemble a draft-quality genomic sequence of the cheese flavor adjunct Lactobacillus helveticus CNRZ32 and to use the data to create an overview of the organism’s metabolic capabilities as they relate to cheese flavor. The project is being supported by Dairy Management Inc., Chr. Hansen, Inc., Utah State University, the Wisconsin Center for Dairy Research, the Western Dairy Center, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Anticaking agent with natamycin available. An anticaking agent, designed to give the particular flow character and adhesion properties needed by cheese processors or shredders to help move cheese through production and packaging, can be custom blended to include an antimicrobial, natamycin, which helps to prolong shelf life and prevent spoilage. Called Free Flow, the product is available from Allied Starch & Chemical, Darien, Conn. (phone 877-260-1235).

The anticaking agent, a combination of potato starch and cellulose, is described as a powder with a particle size and shape ideally suited to delivering natamycin. Unlike pure cellulose, it does not need to be coated with oil. The product is reportedly invisible on cheese, even at higher usage levels above 2%.The level of natamycin can be carefully controlled because the powder is applied evenly and uniformly to the cheese without sticking to equipment, floors, and walls.

According to the manufacturer, natamycin can be dry blended to whatever level cheese processors require. In addition to the antimicrobial, the product contains other functional ingredients such as oxygen scavengers.

Improved coatings and fillings. A new sauce-filling technology called FlavorCore™ is available from Kerry Food Ingredients, 100 E. Grand Ave., Beloit, WI 53511-6109 (phone 608-363-1200). The process allows cheese to be coextruded with a mash at the time each piece is formed, creating a center sauce core, while offering higher throughputs, flexibility, and other benefits. Examples of products that can be made include a Mini Beef Taco with Cheddar Cheese Filling and an Apple Cinnamon Breakfast Bite with Bavarian Cream Filling.

Adding cheese coatings can enhance the value of a variety of products, including breaded fish items such as fish nuggets or fish sticks. Aseptic Liquid Coatings which are compatible with standard batter equipment, are offered by Amboy Specialty Foods, 820 Palmyra Ave., Dixon, IL 61021 (phone 847-699-8310). The coatings are formulated to deliver consistent viscosity and superior quick-freeze adherence and can set up quickly on frozen and refrigerated substrates.

A variety of different forms. Cheese is available today in a variety of convenient forms such as cubes, shreds, slices, and spreads. The addition of different flavors and colors to these forms as well as unique packaging can help create novel, useful, and convenient products.

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In the 2000 Sargento Corporate Report, Sargento Foods, Inc. describes a number of innovations recently introduced. For example, Pizza Creations® offer consumers a one-stop shopping experience for homemade pizza. Everything pizza lovers need in exactly the correct proportions are merchandised together in the dairy case. This product includes pizza-style sauce, spicy sliced pepperoni, three types of pizza crust, and a choice of shredded cheese blends.

For a copy of the report, write to Sargento Foods Inc., One Persnickety Place, Plymouth, WI 53073-3547 (phone 920-893-8484; fax 920-893-8399).

Possible future developments. A variety of recently issued patents related specifically to cheese suggest that several important developments may be on the horizon.

The incorporation of whey into process cheese is described in U.S. Patent 6,270,814, issued August 7, 2001, assigned to Kraft Foods, Inc. The cheese product is made with a cheese and dairy liquid containing casein, whey protein, and lactose. The dairy liquid is contacted with a transglutaminase for a time and under conditions sufficient to crosslink at least a portion of the casein and whey protein to provide crosslinked protein conjugates in the dairy liquid. The process permits replacing part of the cheese proteins with the crosslinked proteins of the dairy liquid. Also, crystallization of lactose in the process cheese product is significantly inhibited such that lactose levels higher than commonly introduced in cheese products may be employed in the process cheese product.

A process for making an enzyme-modified cheese flavoring was the subject of a patent assigned to Kraft Food Ingredients, Inc. The process treats a composition containing dairy proteins with a proteolytic enzyme occurring prior to any heating step. The dairy mixture containing the dairy proteins is incubated at a temperature and for a period of time sufficient to partially hydrolyze the proteins.

Other patents recently awarded to Kraft include increasing cottage cheese stability and a rapid method for the manufacturing of grated Parmesan.

Dairy ingredients highlighted at Worldwide Food Expo
The following is a roundup of some of the recent dairy ingredient developments that were showcased at the Worldwide Food Expo, held October 18–21, 2001 in Chicago.

Dairy Spread, a ranch vegetable dip for fresh vegetables, snacks, and chips was highlighted with a new modified food starch called Inscosity™ B656. Designed to hydrate rapidly in cold water or when mixed with sour cream and mayonnaise, the corn-derived instant starch provides viscosity without heating or cooking. It is said to maintain a clean flavor and smooth surface appearance with clarity and sheen, and provides excellent freeze/thaw and steam table stability without syneresis. According to the manufacturer, the starch is ideal for hot or cold water dispersible applications, especially those where sugars, salt, or other dry solids usage levels are minimal and ease of mixing is needed. For more information about the cold-water-swelling starch, write to Grain Processing Corp., 1600 Oregon Street, Muscatine, IA 52761 (phone 563-264-4265; fax 563-264-4289;

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Pure Vanilla Bean Paste is said to offer a full-bodied vanilla flavor with the addition of distinctive vanilla seeds. These seeds and paste texture give custards, sauces, icings, and other products an upscale gourmet look. The paste is used measure-for-measure in place of vanilla extract, and one tablespoon of vanilla paste equals one vanilla bean. Also, vanilla extracts add a rich and mellow flavor that is suitable for such dairy products as flavored milks, yogurts, ice creams, and novelties. For more information, write to Nielsen-Massey Vanillas Inc., 1550 Shields Dr., Waukegan, IL 60085-8307 (phone 847-578-1550; fax 847-578-1570).

Cream Cheese Spread with improved mouthfeel and increased creaminess is formulated with a whey protein concentrate called Proliant 8200. The ingredient is said to exhibit strong gelling characteristics, emulsification ability, and high heat stability for a variety of dairy and other applications. For more information about its benefits and functionality, write to Proliant Inc., 2325 N. Loop Dr., Ames, IA 50010 (phone 515-296-7100; fax 515-296-7110;

Flavor Creations in innovative dairy-based beverage systems were featured. Prototype formulations included Rainbow Sherbet Flavored Juice Milk Smoothie Beverage, a hybrid beverage containing 10% fruit juice and 10% milk with a rainbow sherbet flavor; Decaf Tea with Elderberry Flavored Beverage, a fusion of decaffeinated tea with elderberry juice; Blue Raspberry Flavored Milk Beverage; and Citrus Punch Flavored Beverage (California Style), a tangy, sweet-tart 10% juice beverage that will hold particular appeal to Hispanic-American consumers. For more information, write to Robertet Flavors, 10 Colonial Dr., Piscataway, NJ 08854 (phone 732-981-8300; fax 732-981-1717).

Highly Soluble Soy Protein—called Alpha™ 5800—is suitable for use in liquid ultra high temperature, pasteurized refrigerated and retort soy and dairy beverages, powdered drink mix applications, cultured items such as yogurts, and other dairy-type products. The spray-dried, powdered soy protein is carefully processed to retain the natural solubility of the protein. Having a low viscosity and a smooth, rich mouthfeel similar to milk, the ingredient is being marketed as an alternative for whey protein concentrates and isolates, soy protein isolates, nonfat dry milk, and other proteins in food products. Other benefits include superior emulsion characteristics, compatibility with low-flavor food systems, and naturally occurring isoflavones. The ingredient may be labeled as a soy protein concentrate or soy protein. For more information, write to Central Soya Co., Inc., P.O. Box 1400, Fort Wayne, IN 46801-1400 (phone 219-425-5570; fax 219-425-6360;

Pina Cola-Flavored Frozen Drink, made with soy milk, was one of several applications that demonstrated the use of natural flavors and masking agents for fun and fitness. Other beverages included vitamin-fortified Island Passion Fruit containing 10% juice, Northern Breeze Black Tea, and Southern Spice Green Tea. Also, ice cream in soft serve mini cones were formulated with such flavors as Ginger Peach, Bananas Foster, Orange Vanilla Mint, and Key Lime. For samples and more information, write to Virginia Dare Extract Co., Inc., 882 Third Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11232 (phone 718-788-1776; fax 718-768-3978;

Product Ideas and Key Technologies related to dairy applications were focused by specialized business units of Kerry Ingredients. For example, Kerry Sweet Ingredients—a supplier of customized sweet ingredients for use in the manufacture of ice cream and other products—showcased chocolate inclusions, pure or compound chips with custom flavor profiles, variegates, chewy chunks, and sweet coatings. On the menu of ice cream flavors were Dulce de Leche (a calcium-fortified dulce de leche variegate), Margarita (a margarita variegate and lime mini nuggets), Banana Cream Pie (a banana creme variegate and graham cracker pieces), Root Beer Float (a root beer variegate), and Bailey’s and Coffee (an Irish cream variegate and coffee chunks). Kerry Coatings, a supplier of batter and breader systems highlighted its FlavorCore™ sauce-filling technology, the next generation of cold form extrusion technology. On the menu were a mini beef taco with cheddar cheese filling and a sausage and egg bite (maple pork sausage and a scrambled egg and cheddar cheese core). For more information, write to Kerry Ingredients, 100 E. GrandAve., Beloit, WI 53511 (phone 608-363-1200; fax 608-363-1200;

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Ice Cream Flavors for 2002 included Apple of My Pie (French apple crumb pie ala mode), Snickerdoodle Dandy (brown sugar and cinnamon flavored ice cream with cinnamon caramel swirl and snickerdoodle cookies), Going Coconuts (coconut flavored ice cream with macaroon cookies and Coconut Zig Zag®), and Mt. Berries (wild berry ice cream with blackberry variegate and a pound cake pieces). In addition to these newly introduced flavors, Millenium Vanilla® ice cream was served. Also sampled were flavored milks, Candy Bar and Mocha. For more information, write to David Michael & Co., Inc., 10801 Decatur Rd., Philadelphia, PA 19154 (phone 215-632-3100; fax 215-637-3920;

Soft Cheese Product—called Soft Cream Cheez Blend—is suitable for use in traditional and nontraditional applications such as chicken nuggets filled with cream cheese and jalapeno peppers. The ingredient is said to have a richer, creamier taste than other cream cheese replacements, as well as improved freeze-thaw stability, and can be substituted in such cream cheese dishes as appetizers, casseroles, sauces, and soups, or in the development of French, Italian, Mexican, and other ethnic cuisines. Formulated with real cream cheese, it gives the same smooth texture and flavor functionality as real cream cheese without the higher costs. For more information, write to Kraft Food Ingredients, 8000 Horizon Center Blvd., Memphis, TN 38133 (phone 901-381-6500; fax 901-381-6524).

Cheese Products include cheese flavors, specialty cheese flavors, and cheese flavors for acid food systems. The product lines are said to offer balanced and true to flavor profiles, functionality, easy blending, and versatility. For a copy of a folder containing data sheets on these lines, write to Ingretec, Ltd., 1500 Lehman St., Lebanon, PA 17046 (phone 717-273-0711; fax 717-273-1364).

Ingredients for Dairy Products are offered such as cocoa and chocolate powders, flavored milk products, egg nog powder, variegates, vitamins, and fruit dairy bases. For more information, write to Dairy House, 4238 Utah St., St. Louis, MO 63116 (phone 314-776-2755; fax 414-776-2737;

Berry Blend —called Tripleberry Seasoning for Cream Cheese SS#95560 —adds color and flavor to plain cream cheese. The blend, which consists of dehydrated fruit (raspberry, blackberry, and blueberry) is used at a level of 23.15% in cream cheese. It is ideal for use with plain bagels, it may be mixed in whipped cream for a colorful frosting; or it may be added to applesauce, pureed fruits, or fruit smoothies. For more information, write to Pacific Foods, 21612 88th Ave. So., Kent, WA 98031 (phone 253-395-9400; fax 253-395-3330). 

Inulin, extracted from chicory root, may be used in yogurts, dairy drinks, cheeses, spreads, pasta fillings and other dairy products. The ingredient is available in three types: Raftiline® HP (for fat replacement at low temperatures), Raftiline HP-Gel (for fat replacement at low temperatures with instant properties), and Raftiline HPX (for fat replacement at high temperatures). Standard inulin is said to be 92% inulin and 8% sugars (fructose, glucose, and sucrose) whereas these ingredients are said to be 100% inulin with these sugars removed. Furthermore, they offer a 50% reduction in dosage for fat replacement, improved mouthfeel in most applications, and an improved acid stability. The ingredient (Raftiline HP) was recently awarded the Most Innovative Food Ingredient at Fi South America 2001 in Brazil. For more information, write to Orafti Active Food Ingredients, 101 Lindenwood Dr., Malvern, PA 19355 (phone 610-889-9828; fax 610-889-9821;

Banana Milk was one of several dairy applications highlighted. A number of milk flavors such as strawberry, vanilla, orange cream, chocolate, and banana have been developed. Other products shown included chocolate dairy powder and an egg nog base powder. For more information, write to Givaudan Flavors Inc., 231 Rock Industrial Dr., Bridgeton, MO 63044 (phone 314-291-5444; fax 314-291-3289;  

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Stabilizer/Emulsion Systems, available in a variety of versions under the name Elevations, have application in a range of ice cream products containing different fat levels, as well as other dairy items. Elevations 100 (mono- and diglycerides, locust bean gum, guar gum, and carrageenan) is designed to improve the texture of low-fat ice creams (2% fat), giving them the same creamy mouthfeel as reduced fat (5–7%) products. Elevations 200 (mono- and diglycerides, locust bean gum, guar gum, and carrageenan) transforms a standard 10% butterfat ice cream into the consistency of a 14% butterfat ice cream. Elevations 300 (locust bean gum, guar gum, carrageenan) produces an indulgent homemade style ice cream with a quick flavor release. Elevations 400 (gelatin, mono- and diglycerides, locust bean gum, cellulose gum, guar gum, and carrageenan) produces a smooth, creamy frozen mousse that has added air cell structure stability. Process viscosity is said to be significantly lower than standard mousse mixes. Formulations and description of benefits for each stabilizer system are available. For more information, write to Danisco Ingredients, 201 New Century Pkwy., New Century, KS 66031 (phone 913-764-8100; fax 913-764-5407).

Study identifies 12 ingredients for milk-based nutraceuticals
New nutraceutical initiative is designed to open new market opportunities with milk-based functional foods. The comprehensive three-part nutraceutical study that began in 2000 is conducted by the Fluid Milk Strategic Thinking Initiative, a marketing think tank cofunded by America’s dairy farmers and fluid milk processors.

Initial findings of the study, which were released during a seminar at Worldwide Food Exp, identified 12 ingredients that could be added to milk to create milk-based functional food products. These ingredients (and their nutraceutical value) included beta glucan (helps maintain good cardiovascular health); caffeine (helps maintain alertness, cognitive performance, and athletic endurance), glucosamine (helps maintain joint health); green tea extract (rich in antioxidants), lactoferrin (helps maintain healthy gastrointestinal microflora), lutein (helps maintain healthy vision and supports normal eye health), magnesium (important mineral for cardiovascular health), polysterols (may reduce the risk of heart disease), probiotics (helps maintain healthy gastrointestinal microflora), S-Adenosyl-L-Methione or SAMe (helps elevate mood and promote general feelings of well-being, soy protein (may reduce the risk of heart disease), and vitamins C and E (essential for normal immune functions).

The findings of phase one are reportedly significant because they identify new milk-based product concepts consumers want, which will ultimately help make milk more competitive with other beverages that already use functional ingredients. The ingredients were selected based on their ability to address a current health or wellness condition, and potential consumer demand based on the ingredient’s perceived benefit and the ingredient’s inherent functional value.

The second phase of the study will begin in 2002, and will consist of consumer reaction to and acceptance of the fortification concepts identified in phase one. This will reveal to processors which milk-based nutraceutical beverages health-conscious consumers want. Phase two will also explore more specifically how processors can offer new products using these ingredients.

Phase three results, if required will reveal barriers to production of fortified milk products, and will be released and available to processors in early 2003.

For more information, write to Dairy Management, Inc., 10255 W. Higgins Rd., Suite 900, Rosemont, IL 60018-5616 (phone 847-803-2000; fax 847-803-2077).

Associate Editor

About the Author

Food Technology magazine Senior Editor and key member of the Food Technology editorial staff for 26 years.
Donald Pszczola