Whey is an important revenue source supplementing income from the primary cheese production. Regulation in the EU and China does not allow color in the whey used for infant products. Today the majority of the global continental and cheddar cheese industry uses annatto to color cheese. As annatto is a water-soluble formulation, a high proportion of the color pigment will be present in the aqueous whey phase—up to 20%. Removing annatto color from whey by bleaching (using peroxide or benzoic acid) is possible but difficult to manage. Standard beta-carotene products are an alternative color in cheese production today. The transfer of beta-carotene pigment to the aqueous whey fraction will depend upon the color product in question, but most often also results in a high pigment content in the whey.
Chr. Hansen’s solution:
Our new product range is based on a specially designed beta-carotene solution, including the use of a specific ingredient to assist in trapping the colorant in the cheese curd after adding the rennet. The result is an unprecedented low color transfer to the whey fraction, in the range of 1–3%. Using our unique beta-carotene (BC) as the only color pigment in your product complies with relevant regulations, as BC also occurs naturally in milk.