The science of yogurt

Last week, Samantha Bull and I decamped to Weston Super Mare on the Somerset coast to visit Food Works SW, a centre with food business units and development kitchens, and to listen to eight presentations on yogurt and fermented creams. 

These ranged from opportunities within starter cultures for fermented creams, to looking at plant-dairy hybrid possibilities, to handling fluids, rapid cooling and component analysis of fermented products. 

Plus, we got an opportunity to network and chat with some our favourite people in the industry, those dairy technologists, and the suppliers who help get the products made. It is always a good session out with you all.  

Chris Edwards OBE, the former president of the Society of Dairy Technology and the head of quality at Müller Yogurts & Desserts, was the last speaker and it was a very interesting  way to end the day – it gave the assembled a lot to think about. 

I think his points about how some of the things one sees in a plant are the way they were 20 years ago, and what they are doing to shorten the time span between production and distribution now, while still maintaining quality, are very relevant. He is right on the front lines of yogurt processing in his job. 

Which is really why we are pulling things together as an industry, and the Society, for its part, is driving to get the information and education to the sector. We will have a smaller footprint than ever, use the data more efficiently, in order to use our ingredients and to provide better products for consumers, all the while keeping the food chain safe and secure. In a way, it is an exciting time to be working in the industry, as we saw at the SDT Spring Conference. An ancient product, yogurt, being made for the modern age.  

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