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Helping cheese producers get more out of milk

Global cheese producers looking to minimize the carbon intensity of their products can find help in Chr. Hansen’s second-generation coagulant CHY-MAX® M, enabling cheese producers to get more cheese out of their milk.

The carbon footprint of cheese

There are several sources of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) in making a high-quality cheese for the worldwide market. The largest share, however, can be attributed to milk production at the dairy farm and is a direct result of methane emissions from dairy cows and manure as well as from nitrous oxide from fertilizers. With nearly 10 kilos of milk needed to produce 1 kilo of cheese, the carbon footprint of cheese quickly adds up.

As a result, a growing number of leading dairy companies are working closely with farmers to lower the carbon intensity of milk. There are many ways to do so—the farmers can alter the feed composition to reduce methane, manage fertilizer to limit excess nitrogen and continue aiming for more efficient milk production. Likewise, dairy companies are also looking for ways to optimize their own production, e.g., by investing in energy optimization, changing their product mix or through better utilization of waste streams.

Getting more out of milk

One simple solution to helping cheese producers lower the carbon intensity of their cheese can be found in the core ingredient used to convert fluid milk into hard or soft cheeses, the so-called cheese coagulants. With the development of its second-generation coagulant CHY-MAX® M, Chr. Hansen is enabling dairy companies worldwide to get more cheese out of each kilogram of milk:

By converting to CHY-MAX® M, we have seen cheese producers obtain a better coagulation process compared to other coagulants in the market. This basically means that they need less milk to produce one kilo of cheese.

Søren Herskind

Vice President, Chr. Hansen's Cheese Cultures

“For dairy companies and end-consumers concerned about the environment and the health profile of cheese, CHY-MAX® M offers a number of benefits. In addition to reducing the CO2 footprint of the end-product, CHY-MAX® M also offers the option of reducing the salt content of the final cheese by up to 50%, if used in combination with Chr. Hansen’s SaltLite concept.”

Realizing the gains

CHY-MAX® M has developed into one of Chr. Hansen’s most popular cheese coagulants and is already being used by dairy companies worldwide. And the gains can, according to Søren Herskind, be significant.

“An average producer of mozzarella cheese producing 20,000 tons of cheese per year who switches to CHY-MAX® M could save up to as much as 1,500 tons of CO2 each year depending on the type of coagulant the producer uses today. This amount of CO2 equals the yearly CO2 emissions of 100 average Western European households.”

Chr. Hansen’s Head of CSR, Mette Olsen, concludes: “We see a strong potential in leveraging our technology platform to help our customers reach their business and sustainability goals; for example by choosing more sophisticated ingredients which can help them produce more with less.”

Quick facts

1.2 kg

1 kilo of milk emits roughly 1.2 kilos of CO2

10 kg

Approximately 10 kilos of milk goes into 1 kilo of cheese

"Enteric methane"

"Enteric methane" is the major single source of farm greenhouse gas emissions and occurs when microbes in the cows’ rumen break down the food, most commonly emitted through burping

Cheese curd

Cheese coagulants help break down the protein in milk, resulting in the formation of cheese curd

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