As the low fat trend continues to eat into mainstream products such as sour cream and fromage frais, the line extension from number one cultures group Chr Hansen has been designed to improve mouthfeel and viscosity.
The Danish company will target the buoyant sour cream market,currently growing by 10 per cent each in the UK. Market analysts Mintel estimate thesoured cream sector to be worth 2.3 million litres.
Chr Hansen claims its new product, XT-313 and a phage-unrelated, texturing mesophilic culture, brings back the high texture and viscosity that may disappear when fat is removed.
"We do have similar products on the market, but this new culture with its combination of strains, gives more texture than others available," said Charlotte Didriksen, marketing manager at the fermented milk cultures unit of Chr Hansen.
The less fat the sour cream or buttermilk contains, the greater the texturing that can be handled by the culture, she tells FoodNavigator.com.
The total value of the low-fat/low-sugar foods market in the UK alone rose by an estimated 5.3 per cent in 2002, lower than the 8.6 per cent growth pitched in 2001 but nonetheless relatively strong.
This latest line extension from Chr Hansen, also targeted at fromage frais and quark-style product formulations, is produced at one of three Chr Hansen plants in France, Denmark and the US.
"We manufacture the strain where we have capacity," says Didriksen, without disclosing the capacity available.
The product is delivered frozen in 500g cartons, at the "same price level as existing cultures."
This latest line extension from Chr Hansen reflects ongoing behaviour in the food industry across the board, to invest in relatively risk-avoiding line extensions that can often lead to immediate gains.
Taking the plunge with a new product involves more investment, such as marketing for product awareness, and greater risk than designing an 'add-on' to a proven concept.