“Part of what’s distinct about what we can do is that we have control over the entire supply chain,” Michael S. Levine, director of product strategy for the company’s cheese division, told DairyReporter at IFT in Las Vegas.
“By virtue of the fact that we make the cheese ourselves it really gives us that control over the supply chain and that’s positive both from a food safety perspective as well as an availability perspective.”
The freeze dried cheese is made from pasteurized milk and is available in a shredded format. It contains 622 calories and 1,093mg of calcium per 100 gram serving, but the nutrition facts do change once the cheese is rehydrated, according to Glanbia’s product data.
Longer shelf life opens up new doors
The freeze dried cheese, which is available in cheddar and mozzarella, is devoid of all water, giving it a shelf life of up to 18 years, the company said.
There is an existing market for freeze dried cheese in the emergency preparedness segment and there are products with an up to 25-year shelf life, according to Levine.
“There’s a large population of people out there that wants to be prepared when Armageddon comes,” he said.
“We’re not participating so much in that segment, but where we’re having a lot of interest in is from companies that are in the processed food space.”
The extended shelf life offers entry into segments such as snacks, bars, soups, prepared meals, and ready-to-eat meals.
“It’s enabled us to expand the usage of cheese into areas where it’s too difficult to use in its existing format,” Levine added.
Levine pointed to the snack bar space as an opportunity for growth as manufacturers delve into more savory flavors and want to incorporate a stronger cheese flavor in the form of freeze dried chunks instead of cheese powder.
“It can really allow the bar companies to bridge that gap and travel away from purely sweet and move into savory,” he said.
“If this isn’t in a meat bar within 12 months, I’d be shocked.”