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High-tech fermented milk: DSM leverages AI to boost yogurt innovation

October 30, 2022
Food & Drink

Royal DSM has unveiled its first portfolio of all-in-one cultures for fermented milk products developed using a new AI-powered platform. According to the company, this is “just the start of using AI to solve the F&B industry’s biggest challenges.”

“We work across a broad range of categories such as plant-based meat, fish and dairy alternatives, cheese, savory ingredients and brewing,” Sarita Bairoliya, global business manager at DSM, tells FoodIngredientsFirst.

“While the technologies we develop may start in one segment, they often don’t stay there. There is a universe of possibilities, and we want our customers and their consumers to be able to enjoy it all when it comes to taste, texture and health.”

The Delvo ONE portfolio comprises five cultures offering taste, texture and health benefits – all with built-in bioprotection. Combining DSM’s expertise with machine learning, the new platform enables yogurt manufacturers and DSM to collaborate on unique solutions that simultaneously deliver multiple product targets.

A food system transformation

Bairoliya believes the challenges we face today in F&B are getting more complicated and urgent. “Therefore, they require increasingly advanced tools to solve. We see AI as a much-needed accelerator in food system transformation.”

“Meeting multiple targets at once is a challenge, as is quantifying what customers need. A common scenario we faced was the unintended effect of post-acidification when bioprotective cultures were used to minimize the risk of microbial spoilage.”

Using the latest technologies, DSM can generate more data than any person or team of people could develop or analyze.

Analyzing, connecting and finding patterns in huge data sets is where AI and machine learning tools have a clear advantage, states Bairoliya.

“Our new Culture Co-Creation Platform connects dairy producers with next-generation technology and scientific expertise to create holistic solutions designed to be used as one combined solution rather than distinct cultures,” she continues. “The platform improves the accuracy and speed of dairy producers’ new product development by reducing trial complexity during the culture selection process.”

Optimizing fermentation
DSM’s Culture Co-Creation Platform has enabled it to more accurately and efficiently design, test and optimize culture combinations – through iterative cycles – to form all-in-one solutions that meet multiple product targets.

“Consumers are increasingly health conscious,” notes Bairoliya. “Fermented dairy products are perceived as inherently healthy with their digestive-aiding beneficial bacteria. However, taste and texture are still consumers’ top priorities, and improvements in the sensory properties of fermented milk products over the last decade have given consumers even more choice and more eating occasions to satisfy their needs.”

“Fermented dairy products enable consumers to enjoy it all. While fermented ingredients help enhance food and drinks’ nutritional profile, they can also enhance its sensory profile,” she underscores.

Another factor driving increased demand for fermented dairy is the increasing popularity of premium products. For example, indulgent yogurt or skyr are high in protein and contain probiotics for gut-health support. Convenient formats like fermented dairy drinks help busy consumers enjoy an on-the-go health boost, Bairoliya explains.

Moreover, improvements in bioprotection that maintain a great taste and texture throughout an extended shelf life mean consumers can pick up fermented dairy products in their weekly supermarket shop without worrying about how they will consume them all before the expiry date.

Therefore, according to DSM, supporting consumers in their personal goals is to reduce food waste to be more sustainable.

“Consumers will also benefit from great tasting yogurts with a satisfying mouthfeel and minimized risk of yeast and mold spoilage, helping them reduce food waste. Consumers will also appreciate that their fermented dairy products will have the same great taste no matter when they’re eaten before the expiry date,” adds Bairoliya.

The solutions are cost-effective and meet the needs of taste, texture and health, all with built-in bioprotection to optimize supply chains, reduce food waste and ensure brand protection, she details.

According to Bairoliya, the Delvo One range of cultures was “specifically designed for fermented dairy, but the Culture Co-creation Platform could be used for plant-based applications,” which could be a possibility in the future.

The five culture blends are Delvo ONE Alpha and Delvo ONE Gamma, offering taste, texture and bioprotective benefits; Delvo ONE Alpha-B and Delvo ONE Gamma-B, which also contain the probiotic strain Bifidobacterium animalis lactis Bif-6; and Delvo ONE Zeta-C that has the probiotic strain Lacticaseibacillus casei L26.

Each culture blend offers unique benefits and sensory profiles for various yogurt applications. The portfolio will allow customers to achieve better their needs for taste, texture, level of post-acidification, and probiotic cell count with one convenient and cost-effective solution.

“We are excited to offer customers a simplified culture selection process with five all-in-one blends to help create market-leading yogurts,” Bairoliya concludes.

By Elizabeth Green


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