News & Health


It’s all about the culture

Indulgent textured yoghurts are a long time favourite of European consumers and are showing increased popularity in African markets. There are numerous manufacturing challenges involved in meeting the demand for highly textured stirred and drinking yoghurts. Cost optimization and shear-robust yoghurt textures are also constant challenges.

By Signe Causse

Yoghurt manufacturers are facing rising milk prices, which have reinforced the need for cost reductions in production. DuPont offers support from several perspectives, covering technical support for recipe and process optimisation as well as efficient starter cultures and stabilising systems.

Texture is always of interest to yoghurt manufacturers. Often the answer to obtaining a high texture is to add extra dry matter in the form of protein, but this can also increase costs, ‘says Hans Christian Bejder, innovation group manager for fresh fermented dairy at the DuPont Nutrition and Health (DuPont).

Shear resistant textures

In the search for an alternative to costly protein, addition, DuPont has characterised individual strains in yoghurt starter cultures and screened the company’s large strain collection for suitable new candidates. Advanced analytical tools, including sensory, imaging, rheological and microscopic analyses, provide a picture of the cultures’ contribution to yoghurt viscosity and mouth feel. This input has made it possible to categorise the strains in texture groups.

Shear simulating models have determined the impact of shear stress on multiple combinations of strains. Based on the findings from this work, DuPont has no extended its well-known range of Yo-Mix yoghurt cultures, part of DuPont’s Danisco ingredient range, with a series of new starter cultures focused on texture.

‘Our aim was to overcome the limitations imposed on yoghurt manufacture during processing. Pumping, mixing, cooling and filling all add to the mechanical shear stress that destroys texture. Even the size and length of pipes on the processing line make a difference,’ says senior application specialist Joachim Schwobe. ‘We already provide some of the highest texturizing cultures on the market. Our new cultures are even better at dealing with shear stress than others available today.’

Delicious cheese on the table

Delicious cheese on the table


Adaptable to specific markets

Schwobe has run tests to investigate cultures’ performance over a range of temperatures and with a varying content of protein, fat and sugar. With this information cultures have been developed to account for variations in raw material use, processing conditions and consumer preferences between regional yoghurt markets.

‘Plants are just as different as regional preferences. This is why our application specialists work with customers to help them select and apply the culture solution to processes, with varying levels of shear along the way.’ Schwobe explains.

Several DuPont customers have conducted additional tests on their production lines. All of them have noticed an increase in texture, without the need to add more protein. ‘This confirms the opportunity to produce premium yoghurts with less dry matter, at a lower cost.’ The robust character of the new Yo-Mix yoghurt cultures goes beyond shear tolerance. One of the biggest differentiations is the programme against bacteriophages, where cultures have been developed to withstand known bacteriophages or viruses. These can bring the yoghurt fermentation process to a halt, modifying the texture and potentially destroying an entire batch,.

‘More importantly, our customers have a unique opportunity to use their preferred starter culture more or less continuously. That’s a real advantage, not only on production lines that run around the clock, where bacteriophages can present a big challenge, but also in respect of consumers who expect the same high-quality product every time,’ Bejder states.

Many years of scientific research and knowledge have gone into extensions to the Yo-Mix yoghurt cultures range, which, like the rest of the family are for direct vat inoculation.

Bejder remarks that no such development can take place without calling on the voice of the market to ensure sharp response to consumer trends. Customer involvement in the development and testing phase is crucial for this reason.

Research by Mintel states that the fermented dairy segment launches more new products than any other food segment. This clearly points to a market that is hungry for innovation. With the new high texture Yo-Mix yoghurt cultures, DuPont can respond on all counts, creating new textures and giving low-fat recipes a creamy mouth feel. Tests of yoghurt with a varying protein content showed the effect on thickness when different starter cultures are added. Starters A and B are the new highly texturising cultures in the range. Compared to Starter C, a current popular culture, they provide a higher level of textureat the same protein content and the same or higher texture when the protein level is reduced.



After a period where products were criticised for their perceived fat and salt content, cheese now stands at the threshold of a turnaround that will see it re-established as a natural and healthy food.

For the food industry, this is great news. Science has established that cheese is not harmful, with no link to cardiovascular disease or elevated blood pressure. It is now thought that it could be beneficial thanks to its high protein and calcium content.

‘With new science reaching a tipping point, cheese could be the next naturally functional success story,’ predicts Julian Mellentin, director of New Nutrition Business, which profiled opportunities in cheese in a 2015 report.

‘People in the dairy industry have an opportunity to take a dairy food that’s been out of favour for decades and reposition it, with new snack formats and positive health messages,’ he adds. ‘With the right marketing strategy, dairy companies can create a massive surge in demand.’


  • Dental health: Cheese is one of the least cavity forming foodstuffs and contains many beneficial nutrients for teeth.
  • Low in lactose: Cheese contains less than half the lactose of semi-skimmed milk and yoghurt.
  • Good nutritional profile: Compared with semi-skimmed milk and yoghurt, Cheddar cheese has more than three times the protein, less than half the carbohydrates, more than three times the calcium and the highest magnesium, zinc, vitamin A and vitamin B2 content. Cheese is also high in vitamin K2, which is known to have anti-inflammatory effects that protect against atherosclerosis and osteoporosis.
  • Taste and variety: Like dark chocolate or red wine, cheese is a “better-for-you” food that tastes good. The evolution of science gives us every reason to believe that cheese could be the next big food success story. How quickly that happens depends on how effectively industry introduces consumers to the new science and re-educates health professionals. Another factor is the willingness of companies to be innovative and create new and convenient products that revitalize consumer interest in this traditional wholefood.

‘The real challenge for cheese is not a lack of science demonstrating its benefits,’ says Mellentin. ‘The challenge is whether the industry has the courage to step up and present the new science to health professionals and consumers, and to press forward with innovative new formats for cheese.’

“Research by Mintel states that the fermented dairy segment launches more new products than any other food segment. This clearly points to a market that is hungry for innovation”

SIGNE CAUSSE is the strategic dairy marketing manager for the EMEA region at DuPont Nutrition & Health.


Journal for food and beverage manufacturers

November 2015 Vol.3 No.4