Introduced in the YoFlex and Nu-Trish ranges, the products include cultures that work just on the texture of drinking yoghurts and others that also include the Bifiodobacterium BB-12 probiotic strain for added health benefits.
Yoghurt drinks are increasingly popular, especially in Europe and South America, but they do pose a new set of challenges for formulators.
As with standard yoghurts, formulators have to build up texture but then mechanical treatments are introduced after fermentation to stir and pump the yoghurt in order to create a drinkable product. At this stage some thickness and smoothness can be lost so thickeners and starches may be required to improve the texture.
Chr. Hansen claims that its new cultures can eliminate the need for such thickeners, even in low fat yoghurt drinks where obtaining the right smoothness is particularly hard. This potentially reduces costs for manufactures and allows them to create products with fewer ingredients on the label.
Morten Boesen, marketing manager for fermented milk cultures, said these benefits fit with current trends for healthier, more natural yoghurt drinks.
Boesen explained that the cultures work by enhancing smoothness from the beginning, so less mechanical treatment is needed to break down the yoghurt after fermentation. The cultures also help build thickness that can better withstand treatment.
Developing the new cultures, Chr. Hansen pursued a market first approach, sampling drinking yoghurts from around the world to establish what market needs were and what quality parameters could be improved. The Danish company then went into the lab to work on finding ways to help manufacturers fine tune their drinking yoghurts.
Different flavour profiles
The result is cultures with three different flavour profiles (Mild, Classic and Twist), available with or without added probiotics. The new products are being launched globally but are expected to have the biggest impact in the drinking yoghurt heartlands in Europe, South America and parts of Asia.
Sarita Bairoliya, global marketing manager, probiotics, said the new cultures would help enhance the value of probiotic drinking yoghurts.
“Consumers want the health benefit provided by the probiotic BB-12, but this must be in combination with good taste and texture, and this is exactly what the new cultures ensure.”