A panel of industry experts selected Chr. Hansen’s FreshQ concept at this year’s Fi Europe Innovation Awards in Frankfurt, Germany. The Food Tech Innovation Award was presented to the company’s range of next-generation food cultures, which are pegged as a “game-changer in terms of low impact on post-acidification” in fermented dairy.
Speaking to FoodIngredientsFirst from the showfloor of the trade show is Marianne Gregersen, commercial development manager of dairy bioprotection at Chr. Hansen.
Highlighting the potential of FreshQ to help fight food waste, she remarks: “This fermentation-enabled bioprotection benefits dairy producers who have so far not been able to work this technology due to broken cold chains in their regions.”
Enhanced sensory appeal
This next-generation FreshQ culture enables the dairy industry to level up by offering producers benefits that include improved sensory fit compared to other food cultures with bioprotective effects.
The cultures also offer a lower post-acidification impact at accelerated temperatures during distribution, or in circumstances involving long holding times or slow cooling.
“We have found out that the main mechanism of FreshQ is that it takes up the manganese, which is an essential nutrient in milk that is available in small amounts,” details Gregersen.
“Our Chr. Hansen cultures take up the manganese, so that it’s not available for yeast and mold to live from. That is why it is a completely natural way to improve the quality and shelf life of fermented milk and cheese products.”
Gregersen notes that it has been a significant challenge to find a good culture that doesn’t have a big drop in the pH level. “But now, all kinds of yogurt and cheeses can taste great, even beyond the best before dates.”
Chr. Hansen has rolled out its FreshQ cultures among dairy producers in Brazil, Argentina, Tunisia, Algeria, Turkey, Malaysia and China.
“All over the world, we could see a big interest to produce high quality products with longer shelf life without having to add anything artificial,” says Gregersen.
FreshQ ties into food waste prevention strategies that have been accelerated across global industry, in line with the targets rolled out at the recent COP26 summit.
“An impact study that we commissioned revealed that if all the yogurt in Europe used FreshQ, then 30% of food waste in this sector could be reduced,” continues Gregersen. “We know that food waste is a major contributor to greenhouse gases.”
Food Tech Innovation Award finalists
Other nominations hailed at the award ceremony included AAK’s AkoBisc GO!, branded as the “new biscuit fat revolution.” The structured emulsion combines hydrated monoglyceride bilayers with sugar, stabilizing oil droplets in the aqueous phase with a revolutionary technique.
The sugar in this solution increases the viscosity and reduces the water activity to obtain increased technical functionality and microbial stability, ensuring an extended shelf life of the emulsion.
When used in biscuit manufacturing, AkoBisc GO! enables an easy production process and multiple sensorial benefits. It is low SAFA, non-hydrogenated, free from tropical fats and low in 3-MCPD.
ICL Food Specialties was also in the running for the Food Tech Innovation Award. The supplier designed a new generation of their trusted JOHA emulsifying salts, the JOHA SF line, used to optimize protein content in processed cheese.
JOHA SF line is ideal for spreadable, snackable, and aluminum foil-packed processed cheese applications, as well as analog and UHT-treated cheese applications. The solution also helps reduce the stickiness of cheese and lower sodium.
In addition, the ingredient makes it possible to switch out hydrocolloids or starch, while ensuring a constant, ideal viscosity during packaging.
By Benjamin Ferrer, with additional reporting from Gaynor Selby at Fi Europe 2021 in Frankfurt
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