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Chr. Hansen initiates camel cheese development project

By Mark Astley , 06-Dec-2012
Last updated on 07-Dec-2012 at 13:28 GMT

Chr. Hansen initiates camel cheese development project

Chr. Hansen has teamed up with Kenyan firm Oleleshwa Enterprises Ltd to increase its knowledge of camel cheese production - knowledge it intends to pass on to camel owners in Africa and the Middle East for free.

Through the project, which is scheduled to run for between six and eight months, the firms hope to provide camel owners in rural Kenya and Somalia with a “tasty, marketable” recipe to produce camel cheese for both sale and consumption.

According to Chr. Hansen, previous attempt to produce viable camel cheese have failed.

Camel milk is low in fat, high in calcium, a rich source of protein, and a different consistency to cow’s milk.  According to the firm, developing these camel milk-based cheese recipes is a means to preserving this nutritious product.

Chr. Hansen’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) department, which is helping to run the project, then intend to give the recipe to African and Middle Eastern camel communities free of charge.

Tasty camel cheese

“The main thing we will gain from this project is knowledge on camel cheese production processes. There is currently very little known about these processes because the composition of camel milk is very different to that of cow’s milk,” project manager Rolando Saltini told DairyReporter.com.

“We are supporting the development of camel cheese production processes. The development of a camel cheese industry is interesting, but it is not our main aim.”

Behind the project is Chr. Hansen’s ‘secret ingredient’ – a patented enzyme solution called FAR-M, which enables camel owners to effectively turn their camel milk into stable cheese.

Saltini added that they have received strong support for the project from other African and Middle Eastern countries, as well as requests for the enzyme.

“We have many calls from people in countries such as Iran and Morocco in relation to the enzyme, who want to produce camel cheese. This is a very strong sign that there is market for camel cheese.”

“The camel communities of Africa and the Middle East are pushing for the development of these products, which we are more than willing to support,” said Saltini.

Future commercialisation

Chr. Hansen fully expects demand camel cheese to grow throughout the camel communities of Africa and the Middle East as a result of the project.

This demand could even spill out into Europe and the North America in time, Saltini added.

“We expect the initial development to be driven by countries in the Middle East and Africa with large camel communities. But I would expect in some time you’ll find camel milk cheese on shelves in Europe and North America. There is definitely a market for camel milk products in the European Union and North America,” he said.

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