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    The land of cheese goes probiotic

    28-08-07

    A cheese containing the probiotic bacteria BB-12 ® has just been launched in Italy, where cheese is a fast-growing new application area for the health-promoting bacteria.

    An Italian Ciambello cheese containing the probiotic bacteria BB-12® from Chr. Hansen has just been launched on the Italian market.

    BB-12® is said to be the most widely researched probiotic bacteria and is already available in numerous other dairy products around the world. However, in Italy a growing public awareness of diet-related health benefits is fuelling the demand for probiotic foods.

    Dairy foods, including in particular fermented milks and yoghurts, are among the best accepted food carriers for probiotic cultures and the food stores in Italy already have a wide range of probiotic yoghurts and milk drinks on the shelves.

    However, cheese is also a growing dairy category in Italy. According to Marco Loguercio, Dairy Manager at Chr. Hansen Italy, the overall consumption of cheese reached 1,368,000 tons (23.4 kg per capita) in 2005, growing by 2.18% per cent from the previous year.

    “Like other dairy products cheese it is a good medium for probiotic bacteria. The bacteria can be used as an adjunct culture with the normal cheese starter cultures, without affecting the taste or structure of the cheese,” explains Mr Loguercio.

    "Probiotic cheese also has the obvious advantage that consumers can get the probiotic bacteria without really changing their eating habits. All they have to do is eat a slice of cheese.”

    A unique cheese

    It is a unique cheese, the Ciambello. The particular shape with the hole in the center makes it absolutely recognizable. So does the Chr. Hansen logo on the packaging that guarantees the content of BB-12®  - live and vital bacteria in high concentrations throughout the product’s shelf-life.

    According to Dr. Renzo Di Bidino, owner of cheesery “Of Bidino” and maker of the probiotic Ciambello, the idea of a cheese containing probiotics was born 12 years ago. However, it was the teaming up with Chr. Hansen that was paramount in translating the fascinating thought into an actual product launch on the market.

     

    “For many years I have wanted to make a cheese that did not only taste well, but also did something extra good for the consumers. And together with Chr. Hansen we have made exactly this,” he says.

    The health benefits of BB-12®  are undeniable and well-documented.

    “In the future, we will see more and more of own well-known shelf products containing good bacteria such as BB-12® in innovative applications. “Ciambello” is a good example of that,” Marco Loguercio concludes.

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