Food Manufacturers Look to Cheese Concentrates to Enhance Flavor – and Reduce Costs

Innovation in the food manufacturing space is all about balance. Concepting and crafting new ingredients and streamlined production processes can’t come at the expense of great taste and consumer expectations. Maintaining that balance isn’t always easy. It requires effective processes, plus a lot of tasting, testing and refinement. It means being smart about which innovations make it into the products customers know and love or will come to crave as market trends evolve.  

The reality is, we’ve been innovating and ideating on how to make great food more easily for centuries. That’s especially true in the dairy space.

From dairy powders to 2% milk, the ingredients and processes manufacturers take for granted today were once cutting-edge innovations.

While there are several new innovations driving change in the dairy and cheese sectors, one ingredient trend worth keeping an eye on is dairy concentrates – particularly cheese concentrates. 

What are Cheese Concentrates? 

Cheese concentrates take traditional dairy components and blend them with enzymes to deliver more intense dairy flavors in a clean-label format.  

These concentrates typically replace traditional cheese and create an opportunity to better strike that balance between production considerations and flavor. In many cases, as much as 10 pounds of traditional cheese can be replaced by just one pound of concentrates. Manufacturers are utilizing these concentrates to cut down on costs and enhance cheese flavors in finished products. 

The Benefits of Cheese Concentrates 

Here’s a closer look at four of the benefits food manufacturers are realizing by incorporating concentrates into established and emerging cheese-flavored products. 

1. More concentrated flavor

First and foremost, cheese concentrates do exactly what their name suggests. They create more concentrated cheese flavors. None of the other advantages of concentrates would matter if the flavor didn’t deliver. Cheese concentrates deliver much richer flavors without changing the texture, smell or mouthfeel consumers expect from traditional cheese ingredients. Concentrates also compensate for the flashing off of volatile flavor notes that occurs with processes involving high temperatures. This richer, enhanced flavor allows manufacturers to deliver sharp and rich notes with much younger and less expensive cheese ingredients.  

2. Reduced freight, storage and inventory costs 

The benefit that first draws manufacturers’ attention to concentrates is the cost savings. The highly concentrated nature of dairy concentrates offers significant savings in freight and storage costs. What’s more, premium cheese concentrates have an average refrigerated shelf life of nine months.  

3. Ease of use

Those savings extend to the product manufacturing processes through greater ease of use. With concentrates, there’s no cutting, grinding or grating required. The ingredient is ready to be incorporated into the product with little to no modification. The consistency of cheese concentrates also enhances ease of use – higher batch to batch consistency ensures more reliable final products with fewer burdens on quality and production teams.  

4. Healthier profile

Cheese concentrates deliver that sweet spot of more intense flavor with less unhealthy impact. Most cheese concentrates are lower in calories, fat and sodium than their traditional counterpart, which can help satisfy the health requirements of today’s consumers who are more likely to compare labels and nutritional information.  

Concentrate Opportunities in the Broader Dairy Sector 

Cheeses aren’t the only concentrates catching the eye of manufacturers and flavor experts. Other dairy applications, including butter and cream concentrates, also deliver the same benefits mentioned above. Enhanced flavor with less calories and fat with a manufacturing process that streamlines production with fewer logistics costs is a win-win for companies and consumers. It’s no surprise these other dairy concentrates are also poised to shake up food manufacturing in the years to come.  

Innovation with Concentrates Demands the Right Partner 

For all the potential dairy concentrates represent, ensuring that concentrates deliver on their promise takes a partner who understands the ingredient and market demands. Bluegrass Ingredients has served as that partner for countless food manufacturers looking to incorporate concentrates and other ingredients into new and existing products. Our engineers and flavor experts work as an extension of your team, shaping the innovations and formulations that customers crave without losing focus on production and manufacturing factors. We have a full suite of dairy concentrates available, including: 

We also have the ability to develop custom blends tailored to specific customer applications and needs.  

Bluegrass Ingredients’ deep dairy industry roots serve as the foundation for our innovation in dairy concentrates and beyond.

We know what makes great dairy flavor, and we source only the highest quality cheese and dairy ingredients for all of our products.  

In addition to proven dairy concentrate flavors, we work in close collaboration with customers to prototype and produce new formulations and concentration levels to exact specifications. We offer lower minimum order quantities with higher service, including enhanced flavor-matching capabilities.

To learn more about Bluegrass Ingredients’ concentrates and other market-driven flavor solutions, contact us.

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