Arla Food Ingredients have developed a range of proteins for cheese manufacturers which they claim can cut salt content by up to 65% and processing time by an hour.
The Nutrilac proteins replace emulsifying salts normally used to achieve a stable texture in the cheese which results in a 50% to 65% reduction of sodium levels in the end product, said Arla.
The firm added the proteins also eliminate the need for creaming – speeding up processing times by as much as an hour.
How it works
Claus Andersen, cheese application group manager at Arla Food Ingredients, told DairyReporter.com how the process works: “Processed cheese contains salt (sodium) from both emulsifying salts (phosphates) and NaCl (table salt).
“Nutrilac can reduce or fully remove the need for emulsifying salts – thus reducing the total sodium level in processed cheese by up to 65%.
“Typically, a processed cheese manufacturing process involves a creaming step, lasting 20 to 60 minutes, before filling takes place. This stage is important to allow a reaction between the emulsifying salts and proteins from cheese (unsoluble paracasein) to take place.
“Nutrilac proteins are already fully soluble when added, and have a high emulsification properties at this point.
“As a result, the warm cheese mass is ready to be filled as soon as pasteurisation has taken place. This means there is the potential to cut total processing times by 20-60 minutes and reduce the need for buffertanks after pasteurisation.”
There are two proteins in the range, Nutrilac CH-6540 for spreadable processed cheeses and cheese sauces and Nutrilac CH-6608 for block and sliceable products.
Reduced sodium option
Andersen said the main benefit of the proteins was companies could now offer processed cheese products with reduced sodium levels, at retail level and for use in products such as ready meals.
“They took two years to bring to market. The main benefit of a Nutrilac protein is that it is a 100% dairy ingredient, so can be labelled as such on the finished product.
“Salt consumption is a big health issue worldwide, and there is huge demand for high quality lower sodium products.
“As an ingredients supplier, our job is to help our customers manufacture products in tune with market trends – and lower-salt processed cheese products fall into that category,” he said.
“Most processed cheese formulations already contain some dairy powders, so incorporating Nutrilac protein powders does not make much of a difference to the overall process.”