Processed cheese has been developed by the food industry to meet the demand for products with extended shelf life. While natural hard cheese can be stored for extended periods the quality eventually deteriorates as the proteolytic and lipolytic activities in the curd increase. In addition, processing cheese is a good way to use off-cut cheese which is left over from industrial packing.
Processed cheese involves blending and heating natural cheese with emulsifiers and stabilisers to produce a homogeneous paste. The type of cheese, together with the type of emulsifiers and stabilisers used, determine the characteristics of the final product. The heating process stops microbial and enzymic activity and produces a stable cheese with a longer shelf life.