US dairy giant Kraft Foods has moved to patent the use of dairy minerals, such as calcium, sodium and potassium, to enhance the effected "dairy flavor" of four ultra-filtrated liquid dairy products.
The patent application, which was initially filed by Illinois-based Kraft Foods Global Brands in January 2013, details 35 steps for the manufacture of four new liquid dairy products “fortified with dairy minerals” including sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, and phosphate.
According to Kraft, the addition of these minerals enhanced the negative impact ultrafiltration has on the “dairy flavor” of the four products.
“Disclosed are dairy products fortified with dairy minerals and methods of making the dairy products,” it said.
“The fortified dairy products exhibit enhanced fresh dairy flavor notes."
Ultrafiltration removes “dairy flavor notes”
Ultrafiltration technology has a wide range of uses in the dairy industry.
It is used in the manufacture of milk protein concentrate (MPC) and to obtain whey protein concentrate (WPC). It is also employed during the manufacture of some cheeses, and to reduce lactose levels in milk.
Kraft claimed in its application, however, that liquid dairy products prepared using ultrafiltration “had different flavour than fresh milk products.”
“While ultrafiltration advantageously removes water and lactose, it is believed that ultrafiltration also removes milk minerals that contribute to fresh dairy flavour notes of fresh milk products. It was surprisingly found that fortification with dairy minerals provided liquid dairy products with milk flavour notes characteristic of fresh dairy products.”
Fortification with a single dairy mineral was however “generally insufficient to provide the flavor benefits," Kraft added.
“In other words, it has been found that a mixture of at least two dairy minerals is needed to provide fresh dairy flavour notes to the liquid dairy product,” it said.
Exact product details unclear
Unsurprisingly, Kraft Foods kept details about the patent-pending products and processing methods cryptic, describing each of the four fortified products as "concentrated dairy liquid."
DairyReporter.com contacted Illinois-based Kraft regarding the patent application, but no response was forthcoming prior to publication.
The company filed the patent under The Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), the international patent law treaty that allows a uniform patent to be considered by signatory national or regional authorities.
National and regional authorities that are signatories to the PCT will now decide whether or not to grant the patent.