Arla Foods Ingredients has launched Nutrilac® FastRipe, a natural milk protein that enables cheese-makers to reduce ripening times and save thousands of euros every year without any negative impact on product quality or shelf life.
Ripening is a key stage in the production of continental and Cheddar-type cheeses. It typically takes from three weeks to more than a year, which means it can represent a significant overhead in terms of storage. Nutrilac FastRipe enables companies to cut their storage costs by speeding up the maturation process by anything from one to six weeks, depending on the cheese variety.
Nutrilac FastRipe is made with Arla Foods Ingredients' CH-4560 natural whey protein, which is extracted from cows' milk. It is supplied as a fully soluble powder that can be dispersed and blended quickly and easily in cheese-milk or water - meaning there is no need to change the overall manufacturing process in any way.
Once added, Nutrilac FastRipe accelerates the mechanism in cheese that causes it to ripen. It softens the protein matrix in the cheese at an earlier stage to help the cheese reach its ideal texture more quickly, and then breaks down casein molecules at a faster rate than usual to release the volatile compounds that are responsible for developing flavour.
Unlike other ripening agents such as cultures and enzymes, Nutrilac FastRipe does not break down proteins excessively, which means shelf life is not shortened and taste is not impaired. In most countries, the ingredient does not need to be declared on the label because it is derived purely from milk.
Nutrilac FastRipe is suitable for use in a wide range of natural cheeses including Cheddar, Edam, Gouda, Manchego and Port Salut. Arla Foods Ingredients estimates that a dairy company producing 30,000t of Gouda a year, and adding 0.25% of Nutrilac FastRipe to its recipe, could reduce storage time by three weeks and save €12.10 per ton of cheese produced - or €363,000 annually.
Claus Andersen, cheese category manager at Arla Foods Ingredients, said: "We've tested Nutrilac FastRipe extensively in a range of cheese types and each time we've been delighted with the results. Ripening time is reduced by up to six weeks, without any negative impact on the end product. As a result, storage time is significantly reduced, and the cost savings can be huge. Importantly, the application of Nutrilac FastRipe to a recipe requires no alteration to the cheese process at all."