Chr. Hansen has initiated a CSR (corporate social responsibility) project to explore how camel cheese may make a difference in rural Kenya and Somalia.
Thousands of camel owners in arid regions of Northern Africa, where two thirds of the world’s camels live, could benefit from products that can help them increase the use-value of their humpback livestock.
Chr. Hansen and the Kenyan company Oleleshwa Enterprises have initiated the project aiming to improve the living conditions of small-scale camel owners. The project focuses on the development of basic knowledge about camel cheese production, to enable camel owners in rural Kenya and Somalia to produce camel cheese for both sales and own consumption.
The collaboration has three main deliverables:
Develop the world’s first rural and industrial camel cheese recipes to be given away pro bono to the camel community in Africa and the Middle East;
Conduct a consumer preference survey evaluating the cheeses to ensure that the project will develop tasty, marketable products;
Develop pedagogical production manuals for the two cheese products.
According to Chr. Hansen, camel milk is low in fat, high in calcium, a rich source of protein and a potent source for delicious and durable cheese, and cheese is a means to preserve the nutritious milk. The “secret ingredient” that will enable the camel owners to effectively turn their camel milk into delicious and shelf stable cheese, says the company, is a patented enzyme solution from Chr. Hansen called FAR-M.
“Due to the different composition of camel milk compared to cow milk, use of traditional cheese coagulants results in weak curd formation or complete absence of clotting when producing camel cheese,” said product manager Rolando Saltini, manager of the project at Chr. Hansen. “As a result, previous attempts to produce viable camel cheese have failed. Using FAR-M, our camel chymosin produced by fermentation, camel owners will be able to produce tasty camel cheese with good curd firmness and superior yield compared to that of cheese made with bovine chymosin.”
“When we were given trial samples with the newly developed FAR-M camel milk rennet, not only did the cheese taste better and had a better consistency, the actual cheese making process was also easier to manage,” said Anne Bruntse, director of Oleleshwa Enterprises. “My staff and I look forward to taking part in this new initiative and hopefully come up with exciting new products for the benefit of camel owners in the Arid African and Middle East countries.”
“If successful, this project could potentially improve the livelihood of thousands of rural inhabitants in Northern and Eastern Africa,” said Henriette Oellgaard, CSR manager, Chr. Hansen. “Moreover, the project will help Chr. Hansen establish more knowledge about industrial production of camel cheese and, possibly, pave the way for future commercialization of FAR-M in Africa, the Middle East and Asia.”