Technology, Experience – Plus all the Senses

Fresh dairy products need to meet a whole range of complex requirements. The Milk Ingredients department makes sure that is possible.

A lot of tinkering is involved to make a natural product suitable for processing into food – along with people like Ernst Georg Tönjes and Claudia Krempula. They both work in the Milk Ingredients unit in the Industry Business Unit. They spend their days developing fresh dairy products such as yogurt and sour cream and focusing on ways to optimize them. “The products need to suit the needs of the market and the customer,” says Tönjes, an application technologist who’s been working for the company for around 37 years. He knows the business well. “Our products are used in a diverse range of areas. If they are going to be an ingredient in a dressing, for example, they have to be acid stable. But if they’re going into a tarte flambée or to make pizza, then stability in terms of baking, thawing and freezing matter a lot.” That makes it pretty complicated to develop the ingredients that are used in almost every item in the Fresh Dairy segment, spanning pizza to milkshakes. “That’s what makes the Fresh Dairy segment so multifaceted.”

While Tönjes records the properties of all the parts and combinations in a database, Claudia Krempula works as a classic product developer. She and a colleague created Spicy Creme last year, a spiced sour cream.

Ernst Georg Tönjes has been with the company for more than 37 years and is now an Application Technologist working on the use of Fresh Dairy products. He examines and records the properties of all the products and enters the information into a database.

“The cream is for using in pizza or tarte flambée,” says Krempula. That might sound straightforward but it means a lot of detailed work as the cream needs to be both heat- and frost-resistant. “Also, the spices it contains shouldn’t all sink to the bottom of the container during storage or shipment.” During the development phase, she and her team drew on experience they had gained throughout many years of projects. Ultimately they settled on a recipe that works with native starch and does not require any artificial additives.

“Looking back, we can say the project succeeded thanks to the perseverance and dedication of the team and the plant in Neubörger,” says Krempula. “Also we rely on good connections and a trusting relationship with our customers. Only when they share all the intricacies of their processes with us can we provide the right product.” Alongside working closely with customers, their own organization is another key part of the process. “With all the technology, you shouldn’t underestimate the fact that we also have to use analytical instruments and need to measure the properties of the product precisely.” That can always be improved systematically, she says. Not least, classic methodical procedures are also important. There is a team specializing in sensory analysis, which examines the smell, taste and consistency of each product. Only when the combination is right can new Fresh Dairy products such as Spicy Cream be developed. That’s something that makes not only the producers happy but also the consumers.

Claudia Krempula has been working for over ten years as a product developer for the sour milk portfolio at BU Industry. She develops the best processes and composition for each customer.

What is Fresh Dairy?

At DMK, Fresh Dairy is a strategic product group in the Milk Ingredients division. With a range from yogurt to cream and quark, the focus is on the functionality of the products for the application of the customer or market. The portfolio is constantly being developed and expanded based on market trends and developments. BU Industry makes ready-touse products such as Spicy Creme, for example, or creates skyr to meet the growing interest in protein products, or frozen quark for the Asian market.