Each year, the producer’s plant produces between 7,000 and 8,000 tons of minas frescal (queso fresco). Large volumes of cheese are processed in small vats with a fast coagulation time of 12 minutes. Before switching to CHY-MAX® Supreme, the producer was using a second-generation Fermentation Produced Chymosin (FPC) to optimize the yield and shelf life of their cheese. To ensure long-term profitability in an increasingly competitive market, they decided to explore options for maximizing the value of their output.
Limited cheese yield
The producer wished to get more cheese out of their production. The grains of minas frescal are large and fragile, leading to high losses of proteins and fines during the molding stage. Reducing such losses was a top priority.
The plant uses low-volume vats to better manage the moisture of the cheese during production. Larger production volumes require many vats, and the producer sought ways to lower process time to improve productivity.
Significant scraps from the packaging stage
The average moisture level of the minas frescal is 65%, making it fragile and prone to losses during the process of packing it into plastic bags. The producer was interested in improving the texture of the cheese to deliver a higher-quality final product and to help mitigate loss during the packaging step.
We recommended CHY-MAX® Supreme as the ideal solution to the producer’s challenges. This coagulant, we assumed, could be used as a replacement for the second-generation FPC to improve yield and preserve the texture of minas frescal for longer periods.
In close collaboration, Chr. Hansen and the producer set up a series of trials to test the impact of CHY-MAX® Supreme. The trials compared the performance between 163 vats utilizing their second-generation FPC and 146 vats using CHY-MAX® Supreme on key performance indicators like moisture, fat and protein levels as well as taste and texture.
The trial results confirmed our hypothesis. With CHY-MAX® Supreme, the customer was able to improve yield, increase plant productivity and lower the amount of wasted product generated during the packaging step.
CHY-MAX® Supreme retained 1.7% more fat in the curd than the coagulant in use. Furthermore, non-fat dry matter increased by 4.2%, a result of our coagulant’s ability to increase the mechanical resistance of the grains. This subsequent increase in yield was 4.0% (moisture-adjusted), representing 1.9 million liters of milk saved per year with the same amount of cheese produced.
Using CHY-MAX® Supreme at the same dosage level (IMCU/L cheese milk) decreased the clotting time and reduced the time required to stir the curd – all without losing solids retention. Overall productivity improved by 15%, enabling the plant to process 115 vats per day rather than 100 under their original system.
Decreased waste during packaging
With CHY-MAX® Supreme, the customer saw an increase in cheese firmness while retaining the same moisture level. This made packaging easier, ultimately resulting in less waste during this step of the process.
Witnessing the superior functionality of CHY-MAX® Supreme, the producer was eager to make the switch and transform their production.