KMC eyes Middle Eastern promise for imitation cheese ingredients


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Pizza has become global - but cheese making is still difficult in some areas
Pizza has become global - but cheese making is still difficult in some areas

Related tags Cheese Middle east

Starch specialist KMC says it has developed two new starches for imitation cheese to cut costs and bring hard cheese alternatives to parts of the world where dairy ingredients may be difficult to handle or source, including the Middle East and North Africa.

The CheeseMaker-brand potato starch ingredients can reduce – or even totally replace – the amount of milk protein, such as rennet casein or milk powders, used to make analogue parmesan and other hard cheese alternatives. The imitation cheese requires no maturation time and there is no whey waste, making it a cost effective alternative.

“There are countries that don’t have access to milk and in some cases even milk powder can be hard to source,”​ senior application specialist Helma Slierendrecht told FoodNavigator. “Also, if you want to make these hard cheeses, it takes time and you need storage room. This can be a real challenge, particularly in warmer countries like in the Middle East and North Africa.”

She added that cheese is an integral part of many foods that have become global staples, but many countries do not have a tradition of dairy consumption.

“A lot of countries are influenced by western countries…You hear more and more often that families with children eat pizza and pasta,”​ she said.

The modified potato starch ingredients are intended for use with vegetable fat and a small amount of rennet casein, but vegan varieties may also be possible.

Slierendrecht said: “We have some where we combine casein and potato starch, but I’m just back from the lab and it is possible with less casein and even without casein.”

The two new ingredients produce different textures and functions in analogue cheese. CheeseMaker BL310 gives a crumbly and dry texture with irregular shaped shreds for use on pasta dishes, and whenever cheese must be distributed evenly, the company said. CheeseMaker BL320 gives longer, more elastic and uniform shreds for salads and soups, and dishes in which the shreds should stay visible and not lose their texture.

Both ingredients can be used at up to 30% in products with more than 60% dry matter, KMC says.

Related topics Middle East

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