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A look at how YO-MIX VIV is breathing life into ambient yogurt

QA with Yuejian Mao, Group Manager & Scientist, Starter Culture R&D, IFF​ 

YO-MIX ViV is IFF’s newest dairy culture offering in Asia Pacific – what does it bring to the market for dairy producers?​ 

YO-MIX ViV is a new culture for ambient yogurt and other fermented drinks producers in China and the broader Asia Pacific region. Unlike other solutions currently available on the market, YO-MIX ViV is a unique culture that allows producers to offer ambient yogurt and other fermented beverages to contain highly stable live cultures throughout shelf life. This is just the latest in our portfolio​ of innovative dairy cultures for food and beverage producers globally. 

What makes this culture groundbreaking?​ 

Consumers all around the world, including in Asia Pacific, believe fermentation is health and are increasingly seeking out products containing probiotics and live cultures because of their health benefits, particularly in gut health and digestibility. Yogurt is a popular snack for this reason, as it often contains high levels of live cultures that consumers desire. 

In China, ambient yogurt is a popular fermented snack. It is also widely believed to be a source of healthy live cultures, which isn’t necessarily the case. Because of its manufacturing process and its storage temperatures, many manufacturers have faced challenges producing ambient yogurt with live cultures. 

With YO-MIX ViV  manufacturers can for the first time offer ambient yogurt products that deliver the same level of live cultures as fresh yogurt and other fermented foods with limited impact on taste and texture. This solution also works well in sugar-free formulations, which is another health trend consumers are seeking in their products. 

Tell us more about the science behind the fermentation in the development of YO-MIX ViV.

 The bacterial strain used to develop YO-MIX ViV – L.plantarum – ​is derived from a traditionally fermented vegetable product in China. This is different than most cultures on the market, as many companies that develop cultures focus primarily on dairy strains. 

Using our in-house expertise and database of lactic acid bacteria strains, our scientists set out to find a strain with the goal of enabling highly stable live cultures in ambient yogurt products throughout shelf life. After rigorous testing and research, we found that this unique L. plantarum ​strain performed better than traditional dairy strains – producing outstanding longevity in long shelf-life ambient yogurt with limited impact on taste. 

What is it about IFF that enabled you to come up with this solution?​ 

IFF fosters a culture of innovation, and we are encouraged as scientists to pursue new and exciting research ideas that we believe can bring real impact to food and beverage producers. We also have a large database of lactic acid bacteria strains, which is the result of several decades worth of research and expertise in fermentation. 

We knew that introducing live cultures to ambient yogurt products would be a gamechanger for dairy producers in Asia Pacific. Driven by IFF’s innovative spirit, my team was able to tap into an unparalleled resource to develop YO-MIX ViV to meet a specific consumer need in Asia Pacific. This is just the latest example of our innovative offerings for food and beverage producers and how science meets creativity at IFF. 

How is IFF able to meet the differing and constantly changing demands of consumers globally?​ 

Our international footprint means we have scientists in regions across the globe who track key health trends in specific regions and apply their expertise to develop groundbreaking solutions for manufacturers to respond to these trends. We are also proud to work closely with our customers as partners to identify how we can help meet their needs to create and innovate food and beverage products that are desired by the consumers they serve.