Arla Foods seeks to patent method for tofu-like dairy product

By Mark ASTLEY contact

- Last updated on GMT

Arla Foods seeks to patent method for tofu-like dairy product

Related tags: Milk

Arla Foods has applied to patent a method to produce a sliceable, tofu-like product made of milk and whey protein.

The patent-pending method produces a product with “the same or similar consistency, taste and appearance, and is suitable for the same applications as soy-based tofu," ​says the application, filed by Arla Foods in July 2014. 

Tofu, which is eaten widely across Asia, is made by curdling fresh soy milk, pressing it into a block and cooling it. 

Arla believes the milk-based, tofu-like, sliceable product its method produces could appeal to existing tofu eaters.

“Tofu is a staple ingredient in the diet of many countries, and it would be desirable to produce a milk-based product with the same appeal to these consumers,” ​its application reads.

“Furthermore, milk may be considered to have a higher nutritional value as it contains more essential amino acids than tofu.”

Long shelf-life

The international patent application, published earlier this week, details an “improved”​ step-by-step method for the production of a sliceable dairy product “where the ingredient mix is packaged while in liquid form and solidifies when heated in the packaging.”

First, a liquid ingredient mix comprised of milk, whey protein, an edible acid, and sodium chloride and/or sodium hydroxide is prepared, then brought to a temperature of no more than 70C, which adjusts the pH to between 5.5 and 8.

Salt is added optionally, and the ingredient mix is homogenized - the process of breaking fat globules down into smaller droplets so they stay suspended in milk.

The homogenized mix is then filled into packaging and heated at between 90C and 155C for between 30 seconds and nine hours, during which time it forms into "a sliceable dairy product with a long shelf-life without the use of preservatives."

Contamination

Sliceable dairy products, such as brick cheese, are typically packaged “having been shaped to their final form.”

This method, according to Arla, leaves the final product susceptible to contamination, and in turn short shelf-life.

"This is a complex method from a process viewpoint, and moreover exposes the product to risk of contamination. The contamination can lead to shorter shelf-life and earlier spoilage of the product,"​ the Arla application reads.

"Improvements leading to simpler and more efficient production processes are sought after. Further, longer shelf-life is desired because distribution is simpler and more efficient if it does not have to reply on cold chains and/or having to reach the consumer rapidly."

"Hence, an improved method for preparing sliceable dairy products, particularly where the products have extended shelf life, would be advantageous,"​ it added.

Source: WPO Publication No: WO/2015/001057
Published: 08/01/2015 Filed: 03/07/2014
Title: Sliceable dairy product with extended shelf life.
Authors: Christina Caroe Tjornelund, Klaus Juhl Jensen, Mads Friis Ostergaard-Clausen. 

Related topics: R&D, Arla Foods, Cheese

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3 comments

70% lactose intolerant?

Posted by Derek,

What planet are you living on? The reason for the product to resemble tofu but not be tofu is easily explained....MOST of the world will not eat tofu because of fears of estrogen manipulation...whether true or not. This can be used in place of tofu, with less of a fear because people already consume tons of milk products especially in the USA which is another huge market for them.

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Ridiculous

Posted by Heidi,

This is beyond weird and ridiculous. Firstly, milk does NOT have more essential amino acids than tofu, as tofu has all of them.
Secondly, 70% of the world's population is lactose intolerant, and in Asia, almost everyone is lactose intolerant.
Thirdly, westerners who eat tofu are usually vegans, who would not want to consume any dairy, for the sake of the animals.

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Where is the patentability ?

Posted by Jivko Radev,

The Tofu is free dairy product.
Arla offer full dairy product.

If the patent’s key is shelf stable cheese, there are existing products such as Canned chedar cheese, Velveeta cheese and others (slice able to).

If this Arla’s cheese is good for consumption - OK, but the application of Arla’s whey protein in this case is suspicion invention.

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