Under the terms of the research agreement, Yili - China's largest dairy processor - will fund the development of a novel cheese product aimed at the Chinese market by Cornell University.
“They want to develop a new cheese product, made of milk components and ingredients which Asian consumers are more used to, such as soy proteins,” said Carmen Moraru, associate professor of food science at Cornell University.
“There are some technical challenges that we’re going to try to solve for them, using our knowledge of proteins and texturization,” Moraru, who will lead the project, added.
The deal, signed in Seattle on September 23, is expected to be the “first of many” between Yili and Cornell University.
“Through solid collaboration between Cornell and Yili Group, both institutions will learn a lot from each other, and together grow as the world’s major powerhouses in their respected fields of expertise,” said Jiwu Yang, general manager of Yili's Innovation Center.
“We are looking forward to building a long-term and fruitful relationship with Cornell.”
Yili has in recent years established a number of international collaborations.
In March 2014, it unveiled an R&D facility at Wageningen University in the Netherlands.
Later that year, Yili announced it would form a joint venture with Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) to produce milk powder.
Earlier this year, DairyReporter reported that executives from Yili had arrived in the Netherlands for what it called an "investigation and exchange trip" that saw them visit Unilever, FrieslandCampina, Rabobank, DSM, Philips, the Holland Research and Development Center and Wageningen University.