Under pressure to reduce sodium and saturated fats in American diets — especially those of children — the cheese industry has tried to make products with less salt or fat that consumers will like.
It has not had great success.
“We’ve made some progress in that arena,” said Gregory D. Miller, president of the Dairy Research Institute. “But we have not been able to crack the code.”
Dr. Miller, whose group is financed by the dairy industry, was referring to efforts to reduce salt, but he had a similar appraisal of the challenges of low-fat cheese. “When you take a lot of the fat out, essentially cheese will turn into an eraser,” he said.
“Salt serves as a preservative, as a director of flavor development,” said Mark Johnson, senior scientist with the Wisconsin Center for Dairy Research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. “If I remove it, my flavor goes in a different direction.”
“If you really want to make bad cheese, make a low-fat, low-sodium one,” said Lloyd Metzger, a professor of dairy science at South Dakota State University.
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