Chr. Hansen has developed six new cultures that it claims can offer yoghurt manufacturers up to 20 per cent more texture.
Launched within its Yo-flex and Nu-trish ranges, Chr Hansen hopes that the new ingredients will better position the firm to take advantage of the growing demand for low-fat, healthy yoghurts that still taste creamy.
This has become a booming market. In the UK alone, yoghurt sales are set to increase by 40 per cent over the next five years and smash the £2bn barrier by 2011, according to market analyst Mintel.
Furthermore, the UK sector has already grown by a whopping 432 per cent since 2001, with 60 per cent of consumers citing health as the chief reason behind buying into the product.
And although it is the yoghurt drink sector that has shown the most incredible growth, the yoghurt pot' is still popular with consumers, with sales reported to have grown by 26 per cent between 2001 and 2005. The sector is set to reach £950m by the end of 2006.
It is increasingly clear therefore that low fat, low sugar and probiotic effect have become the key factors in informing consumer purchasing decisions within the yoghurt sector.
Chr. Hansen is aware of this, and believes that its new cultures, which offer 20 per cent higher texture, provide the possibility to naturally decrease the use of fat and sugar in yoghurts through strains unique for their low post acidification, giving a mild yet creamy yoghurt product.
In addition, the company said that some of the new cultures contain well-known, documented probiotic strains such as BB-12 and LA-5.
"The goal has been to develop new cultures that improve texture formation by up to 20 per cent and at the same time provide the unique mildness, the fast fermentation and the robustness already known from our other DVS cultures," said Hans Christian Bejder, global marketing manager for probiotics and fermented milks at Chr. Hansen.
The new culture names are: YF-L901, YF-L902, YF-L705, YF-L706, ABY-10 and ABT-10. Chr. Hansen said it has carefully tested all new cultures in industrial scale yoghurt plants before market introduction.
"When we started the development process we were facing many trials and severe technical challenges," said Esben Laulund, vice president for Chr. Hansen's cultures & enzymes product development.
"But I am happy to say that we have succeeded, not least due to our strong international development organisation as well as our competence level within selection and characterisation of lactic acid bacteria and composing of unique cultures."