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DSM in Food, Beverages & Dietary Supplements

How Sustainable is Your Cheese?

Advances in technology are enabling cheesemakers to get more from their milk.
How Sustainable is Your Cheese?

It is a statistic so widely recognized that it scarcely needs any introduction: Nine billion. That’s how many people are projected to be alive in 2050, needing access to balanced, healthy diets that allow them to reach their full potential. Dairy products are nutrient-dense, natural and are highly attractive to a wide-range of consumers worldwide in almost any country. So, how can we fulfill this need and deliver more dairy, safely and sustainably, to more people around the world?

With over 100 years’ experience in the dairy industry and one of the broadest dairy portfolios of dairy ingredients, we can help to make the cheese making process more sustainable throughout the supply chain. I believe that the choice of ingredients to produce cheese should not be neglected in the context of sustainability. Advances in science and technology are enabling cheesemakers to get more from their milk and deliver quality nutrition to more people around the world.

Choose a smarter coagulant

An example of how to do this is to choose a smarter coagulant. The results of a recent DSM study showed that, compared to other bovine chymosins, a reduction up to 20% in cheese losses during slicing, cutting and shredding could be realized with a specific coagulant. As well, selecting a coagulant with a lower proteolysis means that both manufacturers and consumers enjoy a firmer cheese texture with up to 0.5% minimum increased moisture, therefore resulting in improved yield.

Partner cultures and enzymes

The specific functionalities of cultures and enzymes, as well as the synergies between them, can also help cheesemakers to make the manufacturing processes more sustainable. Another DSM study showed that for Gouda cheese, for example, this synergy resulted in a reduced ripening time from six weeks to just three using the same amount of milk. Less time to mature means reduced stock, energy and maintenance costs. 

Adopt a cleaner ripening process

Cheese producers can also review their options in the cheese ripening phase. Instead of applying a coating or cleaning the rind, producers can use a breathable membrane to ripen the cheese. The membrane prevents mold growth, but also prevents the formation of a strong dry rind on the cheese. It therefore reduces cutting losses, requires no removal of the coating, and the whole cheese can be used when it is processed further. DSM has calculated that if all Gouda and Parmesan cheeses produced today this way, we could create the same amount of cheese with up to 3.6 billion fewer liters of milk.

Toward a sustainable future

What has become clear to me in my role at DSM is that stainability in cheese making isn’t just about the environment. It’s a complex concept that encompasses productivity, profitability, social sciences and yes, environmental issues. A sustainable dairy industry is one that manages to find the right balance between all these pillars. In my view, cheese coagulants, cultures and ripening solutions have the potential to unlock significant value—for the industry, for society, and for consumers around the world.

What do you think? What are other sustainability opportunities in your cheese making process and how are you addressing them?

How Sustainable is Your Cheese?


Marjorie Saubusse

Global Marketing Manager for Cheese, DSM Food Specialties.

Responsible for delivering effective solutions for today’s challenges in producing cheese.

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