A Turning Point for Probiotic Cheese?

Articles
June 18, 2010

A Turning Point for Probiotic Cheese?

Could this be a new age for probiotic cheeses – one backed by the clinical research some experts felt were missing from earlier attempts to market these products in the United States?

Could this be a new age for probiotic cheeses – one backed by the clinical research some experts felt were missing from earlier attempts to market these products in the United States?

Could consumers’ heightened focus on eating healthier couple with Boomers’ and seniors’ greater sensitivity to wellness issues to create demand for probiotic cheeses?

The Lempert Report sees the first sign of this market coming together in the findings of Finnish scientists that probiotic cheeses “enhance natural and acquired immunity” of the elderly and “help reverse age-related deterioration of the immune system,” as described by CNN. 

A turning point? Perhaps. British Cheese Board Secretary Nigel White conceded to the news service that probiotic cheeses “have not gone down too well in the UK. They are more expensive, and there wasn’t sufficient evidence on their benefits….This study does look very promising.”

The study, lead-authored by Dr. Fandi Ibrahim and published in the FEMS Immunology & Medical Microbiology journal, had 31 healthy elderly residents of a care facility, ages 72 to 103, eat a slice of cheese at breakfast over a period of ten weeks. In the first two weeks and the final four weeks, they ate control cheese; in weeks three through six, they ate a cheese containing Danisco probiotics. Blood tests showed the probiotic cheese “enhanced phagocytic and Natural Killer cell activity,” reported Food Product Design.
This could potentially help their bodies battle infectious diseases, cancer and other ailments.

Probiotic yogurts have been a hit, but probiotic cheeses haven’t yet clicked. On a global basis, they accounted for less than 1% of the $100 billion cheese business as recently as 2007, according to Euromonitor research reported by NutraIngredients-USA.com .

The Lempert Report urges more clinical research and clarified marketing messages to help the segment be better understood and more accepted in the U.S.  People are already buying probiotic milk and yogurt from the dairy case, so it should be feasible to encourage shoppers to migrate several feet down to the cheese section and introduce more variety into their healthful food purchases.