General Mills patented (6183802) its invention 'Dairy products and method of preparation' 6 February.

The Ohio State University Research Foundation seems to be the only other players in the field at the moment.

Abstract:

    Refrigerated cultured dairy products such as yogurt having enhanced anti-mold stability are prepared by including minute quantities of a cultured dairy ingredient having been cultured with a propionic acid forming culture. The propionic bearing cultured dairy ingredient such as whey is added to a milk base that is then heat treated prior to inoculation and fermentation with a yogurt culture. Premature protein coagulation that can occur during theheat treatment step is minimized by adding minute quantities of a calcium sequestrant to the milk base.

First of 116 Claims:

A cultured dairy product, comprising:

    a cultured dairy base, said base including a cultured dairy ingredient, said ingredient having:


      a total calcium content of about 10% to 25% (dry weight basis); and
      a calcium sequestrant in a weight ratio of cultured dairy ingredient to calcium sequestrant of about 1.5 to 10:1.

By Navroz Havewala, just-food.com correspondent