Ingredion has extended the capabilities of its analogue and processed cheese starch range to meet increasing demand for cheaper cheese in emerging regions, such as the Middle East and North Africa.
Speaking with DairyReporter.com at FiE 2013 in Frankfurt last month, Corinna Faustmann, principal dairy application technologist at Ingredion Germany, said that increasing consumer consumption of processed and analogue cheese in developing markets has driven an increase in the demand for its starches.
“What we see, especially in emerging markets like North Africa, the Middle East, Russia, and Eastern Europe, is increasing consumer demand for processed and analogue cheese,” said Faustmann.
“People [in these regions] cannot afford real cheese, and they do not have the availability of natural cheese, so demand for processed cheese and analogue cheese increasing a lot."
“The demand is there, so we have developed starch solutions for these applications,” she said.
Replace fat and protein
Ingredion was in Frankfurt to tout the benefits of its latest generation of starches for use in analogue and processed cheeses. Core ingredients within the range include its GEL ‘N’ MELT, FLOJEL 60, ELASTIGEL 1000J, and PRESICA GEL 04 starches. Each was developed for use in pizza cheese, cheese slices, spreadable processed cheese, and cream cheese applications.
According to Faustmann, each of these starch ingredients was designed to allow manufacturers to produce high quality analogue and processed cheese products without negatively impacting on the eating experience.
“What starch does it replace costly ingredients like protein and fat, which are the most expensive ingredients in the cheese,” said Faustmann. “What the customer can do is replace the protein and fat with starch to fill the gap on texture and taste.”
“You can save cost by using starches, without compromising texture or taste,” she said.
“Big opportunity” worldwide
Despite the company's emerging market focus, Faustmann was careful not to discount demand for this range of starches from its customers in Western Europe.
Referencing recent research, Faustmann said that processed and analogue cheese sales are growing in developed regions such as Europe, as well as emerging markets.
“Historically, a lot of natural cheese is consumed and manufactured in Western Europe. But there is also demand for processed cheese and analogue cheeses – especially from the food service sector where it is used as a pizza topping," she said.
“A lot of our customers in Western Europe are also producing for export to the Middle East, Russia [and other emerging markets]. So our customers here in Western Europe are still very important for us.”
“Starch for processed and analogue cheese is a big opportunity for us all over the world," she added.