New culture for pizza cheese reduces degree of browning ‘by up to 100%’

By Flora Southey

- Last updated on GMT

Chr. Hansen's new culture, Pure Appeal' is designed for the producers of pasta filata cheese.
Chr. Hansen's new culture, Pure Appeal' is designed for the producers of pasta filata cheese.

Related tags Chr hansen Pizza Foodservice

Chr. Hansen has developed a culture to help pasta filata makers produce mozzarella type cheeses with a tailored level of browning for foodservice. The culture was “designed to offer added control without a compromise to authentic functionality”, the company’s pasta filata commercial development manager, Tony Salvador, tells FoodNavigator.

The culture, branded ‘Pure Appeal’, is designed for produces of pasta filata – the cheese group most commonly used in the foodservice pizza sector.

In fact, pasta filata is regarded the largest, fastest growing segment and most globally widespread cheese type, accounting for 25% of cheese produced globally. According to Bloomberg​, it is estimated to reach a market size of €78.5m by 2027 with a CAGR of 5.5% (2019-2027), primarily driven by the foodservice industry,

Chr. Hansen’s new product will help pasta filata makers produce mozzarella type cheeses – such as provolone, kashkaval, and oaxaca – with a ‘tailored level of browning’. One reason for this is the need to optimise pizza baking time for faster delivery. This requires a higher oven temperature, which can ‘burn’ the cheese. According to the Danish ingredients manufacturer, some consumers prefer a whiter looking (less burned) pizza.

“Our intelligence suggests browning preference varies significantly by customer, recipe, and/or by application,” ​the company’s pasta filata commercial development manager Tony Salvador told FoodNavigator. “In many cases, our customers’ customers prefer some degree of browning.

“When surveying the industry, we see the trend being more about customer preference and less about region. Thus a single cheese manufacturer may have the need to develop multiple recipes with varying degrees of appearance.” ​ 

What is Pure Appeal? How does it work?

Chr. Hansen claims Pure Appeal reduces the degree of browning by up to 100% and enables pizza makers to achieve ‘predictable appearance every time’. The culture can also help protect cheese from yeast and mould spoilage throughout the supply chain.

“The degree of browning can be controlled by limiting the concentration of Maillard reactants i.e. residual sugars like galactose and free amino groups,” ​Salvador explained. “The synergistic culture blend in Pure Appeal allows manufacturers to supplement their preferred acidification programme into a tailored recipe to achieve total browning control.”

To develop Pure Appeal, Chr. Hansen first selected strains ‘based on inherent characteristics’. “Then we upscale them into a blend that achieves the ‘bench top’ concept. Once validated in practical applications, we proceed with our…manufacturing flow to deliver a commercial version for everyday use,” ​said the commercial development manager.

When asked how the culture affects the cheese’s taste, mouthfeel and meltability, Salvador said these factors are a ‘pillar reference point for new innovation’. “Pure Appeal was designed to offer added control without compromise to authentic functionality.”

Targeting foodservice

The ingredients supplier is targeting foodservice with this latest offering, and particularly the global pizza market, which is worth €136bn and counting.

“Foodservice pizza was the driver due to continued global consumption,” ​explained Salvador. “That said, the technology has a specific skill set which can be applied to all cheeses where additional reactant control is desired.

“Pasta filata is the immediate target but we’ve identified multiple cheese types where the technology offers improvement in other cheese styles.”

Foodservice is, of course, one of the sectors hardest hit by the current coronavirus pandemic. Yet the commercial lead said demand remains for pizzas via home delivery and retail, while the foodservice sector gets back on its feet.

“Current circumstances surrounding COVID-19 have a definite impact to core business essentials with respect to cheese supply and logistics. We’re entering the launch knowing cheese manufacturers and consumers are tasked with adapting to the daily unknown.

“While pizzerias are managing the closures and distancing measures, they’ve been exceptional at scaling their home delivery service,” ​he elaborated. “There’s also been a significant increase in retail pizza sales, and in both cases, cheese manufacturers are being called on to fill the pipeline.

“We’re fortunate that Pure Appeal can directly translate into either segment.”

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