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Keeping food naturally protected

Source:Food Bev Asia

Date Published:1/29/2019 12:01:38 PM

A Q&A with Mark Johnston, Country Manager, ASEAN, South Korea & Japan, Chr. Hansen, on the company’s bioprotective solutions.  

IN THE food and beverage market, trends come and go. But one that we expect to stay for good is food safety and protection specifically using more natural means where possible. This is consistent with today’s consumer preferences for food with the least artificial ingredients or those that undergo minimal processing. One of the ways F&B manufacturers can satisfy such consumer requirements – and more – is to take advantage of the ability of good bacteria to protect their products naturally. At Chr. Hansen, technologists continue to explore the potential of thousands of strains of bacteria in improving food and beverage. We asked Mark Johnston, Country Manager, ASEAN, South Korea & Japan, Chr. Hansen for an update on the company’s bioprotective solutions.

Mark Johnston, Country Manager, ASEAN, South Korea & Japan, Chr. Hansen

Mark Johnston, Country Manager, ASEAN, South Korea & Japan, Chr. Hansen

Please tell us about the technology behind Chr. Hansen’s Bioprotection?

Bioprotection is the concept of extending freshness and reduce the risk of pathogens by means of food cultures i.e. good bacteria. It is a natural way to prevent spoilage and contamination in food, enhancing food safety and reducing food waste.  

How many types of good bacteria are utilized in this ingredient?

Today we have a large selection of bacteria which is used in our food cultures with protective properties. Each of our bioprotection solutions consist of a unique selection of strains of lactic acid bacteria identified to have good protective effect in the specific application. But also, to ensure the food keeps its characteristic flavor and appearance. In some cases, the strains are applied as single strain, in other cases as combinations of strains. Our portfolio consists of a large range of cultures specifically developed to fit a given application.

SafePro bioprotective ingredients prevent the growth of Listeria monocytogenes in RTE food.  (Photo:

SafePro bioprotective ingredients prevent the growth of Listeria monocytogenes in RTE food.  (Photo:

FreshQ is made for products like yogurt and cheeses. Are there other food and beverage that can benefit from Bioprotection?

The FreshQ® product line was initially developed for yogurt to extend freshness. But we have since moved into all other fermented milk applications, Tvorog and cheese types like White Cheese (Feta), Cottage Cheese and Pasta Filata. In Continental type cheese our BioSafe cultures are added to prevent late blowing by unwanted growth of Clostridia. For food safety, we have developed our SafePro range to prevent the growth of Listeria monocytogenes in Ready-to-Eat (RTE) meat and prepared foods.

Chr. Hansen's BioSafe cultures help stop the growth of Clostridia in cheeses.  (Photo:

Chr. Hansen's BioSafe cultures help stop the growth of Clostridia in cheeses.  (Photo:

How long does it extend shelf life (in terms of days/months)?

It all depends on the specific starting point at the customer in terms of current shelf life and contamination level, and the conditions in which the food is distributed and sold. In the yogurt applications we have seen examples of customers going from 14 to 20 days shelf life and others again from 45 days to 60 and beyond. We always help the customer evaluate and establish exactly how much the solution can do for his product.

Does Bioprotection have an effect on product flavor/taste, appearance, or consistency?

Our range of food cultures with good protective effect has been developed to fit well with the specific applications they are targeting. Supporting the flavor and appearance profile of the food in which it is used. That is why we do have a rather extensive range to be able to cover a broad range of applications with different properties. The cultures are metabolically active and will produce minor amounts of metabolites, like any other culture. Consequently, sensory analyses are always an integral part of a product qualification process.

FreshQ®  extends yogurt freshness. (Photo:

FreshQ®  extends yogurt freshness. (Photo:

What does Chr. Hansen mean when it says Bioprotection can help manufacturers “keep up with market trends”?

Consumers are looking at the labels on the products they purchase more than ever. According to Innova, 7 out of 10 consumers in China check the front-of-pack claims and logos.

Nielsen’s studies in 2017 showed that 69% of consumers worldwide believe that food without artificial ingredients are healthier.  Closer to home, Mintel’s research showed that over half of Indonesia’s urban population purchase products with natural claims.  Consumers in Asia are increasingly more focused on health and wellness, scrutinizing food labels and ingredients used in food production.  

Consumers increasingly look for more real food, ie, food with less artificial ingredients. Artificial preservatives seem to consistently top the list of ingredients consumers try to avoid in their food. This drives food manufacturers around the world to look for more natural solutions to solve their underlying dilemmas e.g. providing both tasty and convenient foods, convenient and healthy foods, authentic and safe foods etc. And our cultures provide such solutions for some foods.

Is R&D on-going for similar ingredients?

Definitely. We are constantly conducting research with the over 30,000 strains of bacteria in our library and developing even better solutions for an even broader range of food products.

Other reports:

Chr. Hansen: World’s most sustainable company

Sustainability drives R&D at Chr. Hansen

FruitMax®: New red from Chr. Hansen




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