Low Sodium? Trans fat, cholesterol and lactose free – Packed full of calcium, protein, vitamins and fiber? – All in a delicious cheese product? Not possible? We disagree.
The FDA created a new opportunity in the healthy snack food category for Whitehall Specialties when it established product definitions, standards and compositions for most common cheese types in its Code of Federal Regulations.
Because non-standard of identity products are not included in the regulations, customers can capitalize on greater flexibility in product customization to meet specific needs regarding flavor, functionality, nutrition, labeling and pricing, according to Steven Lutzke, Technical Sales Manager at Whitehall Specialties.
“Non-standardized cheeses are those undefined by the FDA,” Lutzke explained. “This includes most retail individually-wrapped slices, retail loaves, cheese sauces, snacks and sticks among others.”
Megatrends supporting healthier, easier-to-eat snacks show that consumers are looking for convenient meal replacements that enable them to maintain their fast-paced lifestyles, according to Lutzke. This is especially true in the fastest growing market – protein-rich, healthy snacks.
“Google has reported that its top volume, food-related health-benefit search for ‘healthiest cheese’ was up 18% over last year. In addition, its top food-related dietary restriction search was for ‘lactose intolerance’,” he said.
These are just a couple of indicators representing what Whitehall Specialties sees as part of a broader trend. “People want fast, convenient and healthy. Companies in other product categories have seen it. We do too,” Lutzke said.
Lutzke drew a parallel between cheese products and yogurt markets in the United States. “Early on, most yogurts were tart and acidic. They didn’t have a very desirable flavor. Today, yogurt is available in multiple flavors, with different protein and fat levels and enhanced in many different ways.”
“That all points to something that gives us a significant advantage in non-standard of identity cheese. We have inherent flexibility in developing formulations, while providing more variety in desirable taste profiles.”
The opportunity for Whitehall doesn’t stop there, he added. For years, products were not necessarily created to be healthier for the consumer, but simply ‘less bad.’ At times, formulations included less sodium, sugar or cholesterol.
While these remain options in developing a non-standardized cheese, Whitehall’s cheeses can also be created to include items that are also better for you. For example, the ability to add more protein, vitamins, fiber and flavor.
“The combination of non-standard of identity cheese and process cheese technology provides an optimum solution to meeting consumer needs. It provides a flexible multiple protein level base, allows for customization regarding flavor and functionality, delivers a healthier product and allows for a longer shelf life,” Lutzke said.
Whitehall Specialties’ ability to create products addressing this healthier snack trend starts with the company’s ‘Zero Development Platform.’ It’s an approach for developing innovative, healthier non-standard of identity cheese products that meet a variety of dietary, functional and taste preferences.
TRY A SAMPLE
Whitehall Specialties has created a pizza cheese that is not only delicious, but good for you, too! This low sodium imitation mozzarella cheese is trans fat free, cholesterol free, lactose free and packed full of calcium, protein, vitamin A, vitamin D and fiber. Contact us today to receive your free sample.