The company is using the upcoming IV's International Congress in Buenos Aires (June 25-27) to launch the enzyme in South America, before broadening their offering to other markets. "To begin with we are launching in South America which is a very important market for us with a large and advanced cheese production," said David Stroo, marketing director, Enzymes and Test kits, Chr. Hansen. "Having said that, we do have trial material available for customers based outside South America who are interested in testing. CHY-MAX M has recently obtained a GRAS status in the US and approvals in other countries are expected shortly. We believe CHY-MAXM has great potential and we have high expectations for this product for the coming years," he added. Over 50 per cent of the world's cheese is already produced with first generation FPC, says the company, with the original enzyme in the company's Chy-Max range launched in 1989. The new product is Chy-Max M. A Frost & Sullivan report from 2005 put Chr Hansen head and shoulders above the other main players - Novozymes, DSM and Danisco - with half the European dairy enzymes market. The new launch may help the Danish company hold this commanding position by offering a range of important benefits. "Our industry-scale trials have shown that Chy-Max M produces excellent return on investment for the dairies. At the same time consumer flavour panel tests have told us that global consumers will benefit from a cheese with a clean and full-bodied taste and less bitterness - even in low fat cheeses. This innovation is a major breakthrough for our industry," said Stroo. Factors of five According to the company, the new enzyme offers clots milk five times better than the previous generation of FPC, and 25 times better than the microbial coagulant from Rhizomucor miehei developed in the early 1970s. Moreover, the enzyme, which is Kosher, Halal and suitable for vegetarians, is claimed to offer a lower cost-per-ton of cheese by increasing the cheese yield up to 10 kg per ton of cheese, a better-tasting product, and prolonged shelf-life. The cheese market is a growing market, especially in value, as milk and cheese prices have dramatically increased during the past months. The average increase of value over the past year has been 10% while the consumption growth is around 2.3% a year in a global market of 14.5m tons per year.