Chr Hansen’s cultures line, eXact Fit, has been designed to target Poland’s local cheese – Tvorog – which resembles cottage cheese.
The Tvorog cultures market is pegged at around €4m, according to the Danish firm, representing around a quarter of the Polish cheese cultures market.
Christoffer Lorenzen, area country manager for Central and Eastern Europe at Chr Hansen, said that the company had been involved in the Tvorog sector for about 20 years but the new, revived cultures line is superior.
“These are cultures targeted specifically at the production requirements in terms of speed, robustness, rotation and flavour profiles,” Lorenzen told FoodNavigator.
“It is a one-step solution, where manufacturers add the culture directly into the vat instead of having a pre-start tank where they grow the cultures,” he said.
Chr Hansen was also collaborating with local customers to discuss how the line fits into their production plants, he said.
“We are deeply embedded in customer requirements across the cultures segment in Poland,” he added.
A cultures shift
A large part of Chr Hansen’s work in Poland’s cultures market is converting customers from ‘bulk starter’ production to ‘direct vat set’ (DVS), Lorenzen explained, that is to say the conversion to one-step production where the cultures are added directly to the vat with the milk and cheese.
“For cultures, it’s about converting customers to one-step solutions and improving yield and product performance,” he said, while maintaining preferable costs.
This conversion focus is also being applied to the fermented products segment in Poland, he said, where much of industry still uses ‘bulk starter’ production.
“The fermented segment, for example yoghurts, is the third largest sector for Chr Hansen after cultures and colours,” he said.
As with wider Europe, Poland is seeing a trend away from synthetic colours, Lorenzen said, but the trend for cleaner labels is only now emerging in the country and Eastern Europe.
“This is partly due to legislative differences but also due to customers and consumers only recently demanding clean labels with increasing affluence and income per capita,” he added.
Chr Hansen is well positioned in the Polish market and has “strong solutions” for this “emerging trend”, he said.
“Our clean label colour solutions are primarily targeted at beverage and confectionery applications as the demands in the local market are strongest here,” he added.
Chr Hansen’s future focus in Poland will be on customer conversion and upselling in the cheese segment, clean label in colours and the continued push to convert customers’ production of fermented products, he said.