Case Study: Wax Innovation

Posted: December 31, 2015

Mark Johnson, senior scientist for the Wisconsin Center for Dairy Research, uses a cheese trier to sample a block of three-year-old cheddar in the Applications Laboratory of Babcock Hall. He first sniffs the core sample, then breaks off a piece to examine the texture, and finally tastes the cheese, which he labels as "too acidic and bitter, short-bodied and not well-rounded." Johnson, who will serve as a judge at the upcoming World Championship Cheese Contest, estimates that he eats close to 60 pounds of cheese per year, twice the national average. He admits that when he first arrived in Wisconsin as a cheesemaker, he did not like cheese. "I went to the grocery store and I bought bland cheeses, like Velveeta," he says. "But then someone gave me a well-aged cheese and I changed my mind. Now I don't buy cheese from grocery stores - you don't know what they've done with it." Whenever possible, he purchases cheese directly from the cheese makers; currently his favorite is a beaufort cheese called Pleasant Ridge Reserve, made in Spring Green, WI. © UW-Madison University Communications 608-262-0067 Photo by: Michael Forster Rothbart Date: 3/06 File#: D100 digital camera frame 4810

Who: A local cheese manufacturer was referred to us by a current customer. This company is well known throughout the United States for their cheddar cheese.

What: This local cheese manufacturer desired to keep their cheese fresh during the aging process. In order to keep their cheese fresh, the company asked us to come up with a solution to fill their cheese blocks and wheels.

During the aging process, cheese is tested by a certified grader. The grader uses a cheese trier, a tool used to test the aging process of cheese, to remove a plug of cheese from a block or wheel. The plug is then tested by the grader for color, odor, flavor and more. After cheese is tested, the remaining plug is usually put back into the original block or wheel. If the plug is not put back into the original block or wheel, the cheese can potentially dry and mold.

Cheese Trier @ Emmi Roth-1

Result: To meet the request for this local cheese manufacturer, we decided to send two wax blends for them to test. Initially, the two wax blends worked for the local cheese manufacturer. However, as the the colder months rolled in, the company realized the wax blends were not soft enough to apply to their cheese blocks and wheels during the aging process.

In order to combat this company’s dilemma, we did what we do best – created a cost-effective custom wax blend. The customer was pleased with the wax blend we created for them and, as a result, will be placing more orders in the future.

To learn more about our custom wax blend services and how your business can benefit, click here.

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