The ingredients company already has a branded yoghurt cultures offering, called Delvo-Yog, under which falls its offering of yoghurt cultures. The new brand, called Delvo Fresh, is for non-yoghurt fermented milk applications.
The company chose to focus on sour cream as the debut range for the brand as it is a multi-market product – that is, consumed in many different countries around the world, albeit in different ways and with different taste preferences.
The top tier of sour cream-eating countries are identified as the US, France, Poland, Russia, and Germany. The second tier includes countries of Eastern Europe and the EU.
Although the some 2.6m tonnes of cream are said to be consumed around the world each year, sour cream is a specialty product and there are no concrete data on its use.
DSM’s global marketing manager cultures, Qi Zhang, told FoodNavigtor.com that the cultures in the range, all of which come from DSM’s own collection, are positioned across two main dimensions. The first relates to the five main flavour variants they can produce in the sour cream, ranging from fresh lactic, slightly buttery, more buttery and creamy, full round cream, and full flavour American style.
The second dimension relates to the different fat levels. Zhang explained that the trend is for lighter and lighter sour cream, reducing the traditional fat level of 30-35 per cent down as far as 15 per cent in some cases. Cultures can be used to make up for the texture loss with reducing fat, without the need for added emulsifiers.
In addition, there are other elements to provide for specific local needs: for example, the requirement for faster fermentation in Germany can be met by using a certain culture.
Likewise cultures can be used to redress the effects of fluctuating milk quality in Russia.
DSM’s culture portfolio is well catalogued so it is easy to identify which cultures to call on to meet specific requirements. Zhang explained that the biggest challenge during the year-long R&D stage was the need to cater to so many different local tastes and uses of sour cream, but still to come out with a cohesive range at the end.
“We have to embrace tailor-made solutions for local market needs,” she said.
In each country DSM worked with local technical staff to understand the tastes and the manufacturing parameters.
It is also important to think about how the sour cream will be used. For instance, in the US it is often put on hot dishes with chives; in Russia it is used in soups like borsch. In these cases, where it is cooked or heated, the focus needs to be on texture over taste, with questions such as whether it will it dissolve in a soup, and whether it will it hold its shape when used on a hot potato.
In France it is eaten with desserts like tarte tatin, and in many countries the Mexican way of eating sour cream has also caught on, as a dip for crisps and crackers, straight from the pot. In these cases the emphasis is more on flavour and mouthfeel.
Next advances for local products
Zhang said the next range under the Delvo Fresh umbrella brand will be launched in the second half of 2011, but she could not reveal what it will be for.
However there are many local ethnic fermented milk products consumed around the world which used to be homemade or made by small farmers but are now becoming industrial.
These include the links twarog, so-called white cheese consumed in Poland; dahi, which is eaten in India; and a salty fermented drink from Turkey called ihlamur.