Food Specialties | Food Specialties | Insights | Dairy

November 21st, 2019

Preserving yogurt during transit and extending the shelf life at retail outlets

Ingrid Damen
Global Business Manager Bioprotection

At DSM, we have developed a range of natural food preservatives against bacteria, mold and yeast. They are helping cheese, yogurt, baking and beverage manufacturers from all over the world keep their products fresh for longer, thus preventing spoilage and reducing food waste – and all without any negative effect on taste, color or smell.

Here is a story of how we helped a dairy producer preserve their finest yogurt products during long-distance transportation to their retail outlets and extend product shelf life too.

A challenging set of specific requirements

The company was intending to ship their stirred and set plain yogurt products from the manufacturing facility in continental Europe to Scandinavia. The distribution distance would require the products to have an extended shelf life of at least 50 days.

The initial objective was to ensure consistent quality during the cold chain transport of the yogurt. Easier said than done! The transport involved stress conditions for the yogurt, resulting from temperature fluctuations as the truck headed north, and movements of the filled yogurt boxes in transit.

In addition, the company wanted to use natural preservatives to maintain both a clean label and a consistent great taste with no off-flavors. And on top, they required that any biopreservative solutions used should not change the production process.

Preserving yogurt during transit and extending the shelf life at retail outlets

The first bioprotective solution implemented by the dairy producer failed; before the product reached the end of its shelf life, consumers were complaining of mold contamination of the yogurts. Other solutions still led to problems with contamination, especially during the final ten days of the shelf life at retail outlets.

DSM gets called in

Eventually the manufacturer contacted DSM and explained the problem to our application experts. They recommended using a combination of our Delvo®Guard 201 protective culture which is metabolically active specifically against yeast and molds in fermented dairy products, and our Delvo®Fresh FVV122 yogurt culture.

Our first step was to conduct a benchmark test on taste and performance. Once the manufacturer was happy with the results, small-scale trials were set up and run, even in conditions that were more demanding than in real life. For example, the shelf life was artificially shortened by leaving the product at room temperature. Again, initial results were highly promising.

The next step was an industrial-scale trial, followed by full implementation.

The first batches of yogurt incorporating our Delvo®Guard 201 and Delvo®Fresh FVV122 made their way up to Scandinavia and onto supermarket shelves. It was then a matter of waiting for consumer feedback …

Total satisfaction!

No customer complaints were received for the first batch. Second and third batches were dispatched. Still no complaints. To date, zero customer complaints have been received relating to the appearance of mold in this company’s yogurts.

This story clearly demonstrates the exceptional performance of DSM’s Delvo®Guard protective culture in combination with our Delvo®Fresh yogurt culture. The perfect balance of these two clean label cultures naturally extends shelf life with no big impact on the taste and texture profile of the yogurt.

It took us approximately three months to provide the dairy manufacturer with the solution they were looking for. Today they are delivering their stirred and set plain yogurt products to Scandinavian supermarkets, with complete peace of mind that they will remain in perfect condition over their long and extended shelf life. In addition, the manufacturer and the retail outlets benefit from reductions in food waste, and no additional labeling.

How can we help you?

Do you have a similar shelf life challenge for your cheese, yogurt, baking or beverage products? Contact me and I will gladly help you find the best natural preservation solution for your specific needs.