Compared to traditional paper bags and (micro-perforated) barrier films, DSM says that the cheese crust quality is maintained for longer, resulting in less cheese waste, and longer shelf life, which in turn creates new sales opportunities.
The specific permeability of Pack-Age prevents sticky or slimy cheese surfaces, off-flavors and off-taste throughout shelf life.
Pack-Age is a clean-label solution that improves crust quality and avoids unwanted growth of micro-organisms on the cheese, DSM says.
The moisture-permeability membrane properties limit cheese weight loss during the maturation process as well as during stock management and transport, while maintaining organoleptic properties and crust quality.
Applicable to specialty cheese
Producers of specialty or seasonal cheeses, such as Raclette, Comté and Cantal, can benefit from increased shelf life of three to six weeks depending on the cheese type.
DSM says that increased shelf-life opens up markets outside Europe, such as the US, where the demand for European specialty cheeses is rising.
Blend of polymers
A DSM spokesperson told DairyReporter about the membrane itself.
“One of the more effective options to preserve cheese is using a natural moisture-permeable membrane that allows it to ‘breathe’, as well as maintaining its quality over shelf-life from factory to retailer.
“DSM’s patent protected solution, Pack-Age, is a multi-layered membrane that incorporates a blend of specially developed polymers used to maintain cheese and crust quality, as well as shelf-life.
“Pack-Age can be applied in the form of a ready-to-use vacuum bag for manual and full automatic operation. It can be tailored to meet cheese makers’ specific needs (e.g. size, degree of permeability). This makes it easy to introduce into existing production lines.”
Easy to remove
DSM told DR that Pack-Age is a packaging material that does not stick to the cheese and can be easily opened and removed.
“After the cheese has been wrapped in Pack-Age, it is well protected and can be stored or transported safely. As soon as the cheese is ready to be produced further (e.g. grated or sliced), or placed on the retailer’s shelf, Pack-Age can be easily removed,” the spokesperson said.
Membrane prevents mold and moisture loss
The cost-effectiveness of the new membrane depends on the type of cheese and comparison to existing packaging.
However, DSM said, using Pack-Age offers “numerous advantages over traditional packaging methods, such as barrier film, micro-perforated plastic film or paper wrapping.
“Each of those can be applied as a temporary or final packaging to protect cheese surface from external microorganisms and bacteria. However, they can still affect the flavor and crust quality of the end product by exposing it to external microorganisms.
“Traditional packaging options can cause the crust to become slimy and sticky during transportation or storage due to the lack of the required moisture permeability. In addition, mold growth on the surface can limit the shelf-life of the product. This means that there can be a potential product and profit loss before it reaches the consumer.
“By allowing cheese to ‘breathe’, Pack-Age reduces the risk of microbial growth or extensive moisture loss. This preserves the natural crust of cheese, as well as extending its shelf-life by three to six weeks, depending on the cheese type.”
Ability to use more raw material
The spokesperson told DR that, “the distinctive flavor and smell of these specialty cheeses, essential for consumer appeal, remain intact.”
Because of the better preservation of the product, manufacturers can also maintain stock levels for longer, which reduces waste.
“Using Pack-Age allows food producers to lower their product losses and use more of the raw materials, as well as maintaining consistent quality. It also benefits their sustainability initiatives by reducing food waste and by being a natural solution to cheese preservation,” DR was told.
Can be used for other cheeses
According to the spokesperson, Pack-Age is also useful for other cheeses.
“Pack-Age is also suitable for natural ripening of hard and semi-hard cheese types, such as Gouda, Parmesan, Manchego and Provolone. Thanks to its moisture-permeable properties, it allows cheese to ripen naturally, without the need to coat or wash its surface to prevent mold growth.
“Besides offering a high-quality surface protection, DSM’s innovative solution can be used to obtain a higher yield. This means cheesemakers and processors benefit from improved and more efficient production and distribution process, providing good quality products for consumers and continuing to expand their market share. In addition, food waste reduction strongly contributes to a sustainable production process.”