Chr. Hansen develops culture for Indian yogurt
for making dahi - a traditional ethnic yoghurt consumed in India.
The culture, known as DAC-03, is the latest addition to the Danish company's freeze-dried cultures range. It is particularly suitable for use in India, where the distances for transportation and infrastructure may mean that distribution of frozen cultures is not appropriate.
Traditionally dahi has been made in the home from cow or buffalo milk, but the present economic boom is creating a middle class which, in turn, is driving increasing demand for packaged foods, said Mark Johnston, regional industry manager for dairy.
According to market research published by RNCOS at the end of last year, the Indian food processing industry is expected to be worth Rs140bn (€2.64bn) this year.
Dahi is not specifically classed as a health food but is more of a basic food in the Indian diet. It is the closest India comes to the Western yoghurt.
"India is the world's largest producer of milk and dairy products, and the majority of the population of almost 1,100,000,000 are vegetarians," said Johnston.
Dahi is one of the basic foods in India, although the manner in which it is consumed varies. In the North it is consumed for breakfast with paranthas bread, whereas in the South it is mixed with rice or served as a side-dish for lunch or dinner.
Although only one to two per cent of the dahi consumed in India is dairy-made, the company said that demand is growing by 20 percent a year. It identified a need for development of innovations in processes.
Moreover, there is a global trend towards healthier products and greater food safety. The health foods market in India is still in its infancy, but development may be stirred by the continuing economic boom.