Australian Innovation

Innovations in the Italian cheese market

La Casa Del Formaggio is a South Australian owned and operated family business manufacturing a range of premium quality Italian style cheese. Established in 1988, the company now employs more than 50 people.

The company continues to grow and has a range of new products under development. A dual challenge with its development process was to access facilities and expertise not available in the business, and dedicate the time to focus on the development of new products.

The Australian Institute for Commercialisation (AIC) assisted the company to access the Australian Government’s Enterprise Connect Researcher in Business (RIB) Program. The program provides up to $50,000 to small and medium size businesses to help cover the costs of accessing a researcher to assist them develop and commercialise new processes, products and services.

The AIC helped La Casa Del Formaggio to structure a project and the proposed relationship with scientists from the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI), part of the South Australian Food Centre, and ensured their funding application met the program criteria.

La Casa Del Formaggio has subsequently engaged SARDI’s Dr Andrew Barber to help develop several new product lines. The RIB program enabled Dr Barber to spend a third of his time at the company’s factory to assist them while continuing in his existing role as principal scientist for SARDI at the SA Food Centre.

SARDI’s assistance has helped La Casa Del Formaggio with the development of a new bruschetta kit product, and the business is busy working on the development of several more products.

The SA Food Centre was able to assist with sensory evaluation trials and the development of the technical specifications for the products. The new range of pre-packaged bruschetta products utilises the company’s famous bocconcini cheese, comprising two tubs packaged together offering, cherry boccincini with a salsa sauce in three different flavours. All that’s needed is to add fresh bread for a gourmet bruschetta!

Involvement with SARDI means La Casa Del Formaggio now have the resources of a company many times their size with access to facilities such as sensory testing booths and to scientists including food technologists and microbiologists.

“The assistance provided through the Researchers in Business program has been of great value to La Casa Del Formaggio. The structured product development is improving our understanding of the costs and yields of the new products and is contributing to other aspects of the development, including chemical and microbiological analyses and sensory evaluation” said Claude Cicchiello of La Casa Del Formaggio.

SA Food Centre scientist Andrew Barber commented “It’s really exciting to develop new product lines and it’s fantastic seeing the product hit the supermarket shelves. The program is a great opportunity for researchers to add value in a business setting. The AIC’s assistance to access the Researcher in Business program enabled me to spend significant time onsite with the business and paves the way for fast tracking the new product development into the market. We now have a second researcher onsite and think SARDI’s relationship with La Casa Del Formaggio will expand its success”.

For further information on the Researchers in Business program or any other AIC programs, please visit the AIC website, call (07) 3853 5225 or e-mail info(at)ausicom.com.

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