Thursday, September 21, 2017

Health and Wellness Beverage Trends: The Role of Dairy-Derived Ingredients

Miles. Miles is the three-year old boy who likes to visit me with his nanny at Lincoln Park Zoo’s Farm-in-the-Zoo, where I volunteer every Tuesday. (That’s why I did not make it to the International Whey Conference on Tuesday. It was wonderful to visit with so many of you on Monday.)

Miles ran up to me at 10:55am on Tuesday at the dairy barn, afraid that he missed the cow feeding program that ends at 11:00am. I kept it open a little longer for him because Wynnd, Janey, Flascha and Lucia were exceptionally hungry after their milking a half hour earlier, despite the unseasonably warm temperature. While he ran back and forth with handfuls of alfalfa-enriched hay, he informed me that he now drinks cows milk.

I was confused so I queried his nanny. She explained that until Miles had spent time with me this summer at the zoo, his parents only bought a milk alternative, and for no particular reason other than personal choice. After I taught Miles all about milking, feeding and even how cows have one stomach with four chambers, he had been requesting cows milk. And now he gets it at home.

As you can imagine, this brought tears of joy to my eyes. It confirmed what I say and write often. Marketers need to tell the story of milk. Consumers will drink it up.

Here’s more promising news about dairy.

Protein content claims continue to influence retail food purchases as well as dining orders in establishments that list nutrition information. The Nielsen Company conducted research in early 2017 using its U.S. Homescan network and its Canada Panelviews database to better understand what consumers’ preferences are when it comes to protein selection. Both Americans and Canadians identified meat, eggs and dairy as their top-three protein sources, with seafood and legumes/nuts/seeds falling to fourth and fifth place, respectively.

The Nielsen survey also found that 83% of Canadians and 80% of Americans plan to eat the same amount of dairy, with an impressive 9% and 10%, respectively, planning on eating more. (Hopefully Miles converted his parents!)

This presents opportunities for processors and marketers to keep dairy proteins relevant through innovation. One of the ways to do that is to put dairy proteins back into dairy foods. Another options is to use dairy proteins as a base for functional beverages.

For example, Australian nutritional supplement company International Protein is debuting the Ready to Grow (R.T.G.) range of premium protein drinks. There are three drinks in all—Chocolate, Coffee and Vanilla—for, of course, those on the go who need a quick protein boost. Each 375-milliliter drink contains a massive 30 grams of protein derived from casein, whey protein isolate and whey protein concentrate. The drink is also loaded with 10 essential vitamins and minerals and only 90 calories per serving. It’s liquid protein, liquid dairy protein.

The fact is that dairy foods are naturally loaded with nutrients and possess a fresh-from-the-farm image to complement many of today’s consumers’ dietary objectives, including weight management/satiation, clean-label/simple ingredients and local/authentic recipes. With all that, value-added products continue to gain traction as shoppers seek out foods and beverages that deliver above and beyond daily fuel. They crave flavor, nutrient density and convenience. And dairy foods can deliver. They can especially be designed to deliver the protein consumers want.

The Nielsen data shows that half of Americans and Canadians have protein at every meal. About a third agree that source matters. Make sure they know that dairy makes protein sense.

Advancements in ingredient technologies make on-trend innovations easier to develop. This was apparent at The International Whey Conference, which took place this past week in Chicago. Numerous developments in dairy fractionation and their applications—even beyond fresh and frozen dairy foods--were discussed.

For example, scientists from Abbott Laboratories explored research showing how partially hydrolyzed dairy proteins can be added to infant formula powders enhanced with brain-health long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids such as docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). These fatty acids are highly susceptible to oxidation, with inappropriate storage and poor packaging accelerating breakdown. This causes the fatty acids to oxidize, producing undesirable fishy notes and potentially harmful byproducts.

Chemically derived antioxidants can be used; however, in efforts to produce cleaner label products, naturally sourced options are being explored. Because it makes sense to put dairy back into dairy, researchers investigated the use of various dairy ingredients. They found that casein hydrolysate, as well as whey protein hydrolysate, functioned as effective antioxidants while also working synergistically with lecithin to ensure proper dispersion.

Researchers from Anhalt University of Applied Sciences in Germany shared results from an investigation of using enzymes to improve the value of acid whey produced during the straining of Greek yogurt. The researchers identified that the Cryptococcus laurentii DSM27153 enzyme can convert lactose, the major constituent in acid whey, to galactooligosaccharide, a polysaccharide with prebiotic properties. With this conversion, acid whey goes from being a byproduct to the raw material for a value-added ingredient with application back into dairy foods and other foods and beverages.

Scientists from Technical University of Munich in Germany shared pilot-scale results from a study to develop a preservation process for fluid whey concentrate, a viscous protein produced by membrane filtration. This is an energy-efficient alternative to whey powder produced by evaporation and spray drying. The challenge with whey concentrate is its water activity, which is too high to prevent microbial growth and therefore requires heat treatment for preservation. This negatively impacts the whey proteins in the whey concentrate, as they are very heat sensitive and will denature in extreme heat.

The researchers developed a preservation process consisting of sterile filtration and thermal treatment to yield whey concentrate with high whey protein nativity of about 90% as well as an extended shelf life of about four months. Large scale experiments showed potential of this energy-efficient process in industrial manufacturing.

Scientists from School of Food and Nutritional Sciences at University College Cork in Ireland presented findings on how including permeate enhances the solubility of plant proteins in foods and beverages. Their study explored the interactions between milk permeate and quinoa-based protein. Initial findings were positive and may transfer to whey permeate and other plant protein ingredients, such as those derived from beans, chia, hemp and pea.   

Specialty dairy proteins, both casein and whey, are being explored by processors in all dairy applications for their ability to increase protein content while stabilizing systems. This is particularly true in beverages, including refuel milks and meal replacements. Dairy proteins are high-quality proteins, also known as complete proteins, which means they are in a readily digestible form that can be utilized by the body. They contain all of the dietary essential amino acids in quantities that correspond to human requirements.

Innovators should understand that proteins have different rates of digestion. This contributes to the unique function that an individual protein has on the body. For example, many health and wellness beverages combine a faster-digesting protein such as whey protein with a slower-release protein such as casein in order to deliver sustained energy.

Get on board. Put dairy proteins back into dairy foods to make sure dairy is a consideration when protein intake is a priority.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Ice Cream Innovation: Make sure you consider flavor, nutrition and package

Pictured: World Gelato finalist flavor: Cocco Sogno

The ice cream and related frozen dairy desserts sector is experiencing a revitalization thanks to innovations in single-serve packaging and better-for-you formulations. The retail market has been relatively flat for the past two decades. That’s changing. Year-to-date (July 8, 2017) retail sales from IRI show ice cream sales were up 4.8% compared to the same period in 2016. Frozen novelties were up 1.5%.

Low-sugar, high-protein ice cream is a driver of this growth.

To read more about protein ice cream, link HERE to the July 14, 2017, blog titled “Protein Ice Cream: It’s Officially A Thing…and some cool ice cream flavors to celebrate National Ice Cream Day.”
Visit Double H Plastics at Pack Expo Booth 6615

Enhancing ice cream or frozen dairy desserts with milk proteins, while at the same time decreasing added sugars, is an excellent approach to promoting ice cream as a healthful dessert, a snack or even a refuel food. Such better-for-you ice cream is not for everyone, but it’s definitely alluring to the growing health- and wellness- seeking consumer. This is why some of the larger players have taken note and are entering the category, which really just started gaining traction a few years ago when a number of entrepreneurs recognized this as an opportunity.

After all, Nielsen data shows that retail ice cream sales reached $6.6 billion in 2016, up 3.4% from 2015. Conventional products are not the driver of this growth. It’s the better-for-you segment. Sales of products that fit within the FDA’s definition of “healthy” grew 85% in 2016. As competition continues to grow in the better-for-you ice cream category, brands are looking for ways to differentiate their offerings. Protein is proving to be one of those ways.

This week at Expo East in Baltimore, a number of those original players in the low-sugar, high-protein segment introduced new flavors to their product line. A few other companies made their debut.

One such player is ProYo, which launched two new indulgent flavors: Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip and Salted Caramel Crunch. At the trade show, the company also unveiled new packaging for its full line of nine High Protein Low Fat Ice Creams that more clearly touts the unrivaled amount of protein found in each container: 35 grams. ProYo High Protein Low Fat Ice Creams are now available in nearly 4,500 stores across the U.S., and the company continues to support its fast expansion with robust marketing and sampling programs.

The two newest flavors were developed in response to consumer and retailer requests for indulgent flavors and increased inclusions. Like all existing flavors of ProYo, the two new flavors provide 2 grams of fat, 10 grams of protein and 120 calories per serving. A 14-ounce container has a suggested retail price of $4.99 to 5.49.

The original seven flavors are: Blueberry Pomegranate, Coconut, Dark Chocolate Toffee, Dutch Chocolate, Mint Chip, Mocha and Vanilla Bean.

Pictured: World Gelato winning flavor: Pistachio

Need Innovative Flavor Ideas?
The “World’s Best Gelato,” was crowned on Sept. 10, 2017, in Rimini, Italy, at the Grand Finale of the Gelato World Tour organized by Carpigiani Gelato University and Sigep Italian Exhibition Group. The winning flavor—Pistachio—is the fusion of three different Sicilian pistachios, two from Bronte and one from Agrigento. It was created by the artisan Alessandro Crispini from Gelateria Crispini in Spoleto (Perugia), Italy. The flavor innovation includes refined Cervia salt to enhance the taste by giving the flavor an extraordinary sapidity.

“I am really excited and I didn’t expect to win,” says the winning artisan. “Pistachio may be considered a trivial flavor, but through an in-depth study of the raw materials I created something only apparently simple but in fact very complex. The three varieties of pistachio are roasted for 24 hours, then seared with sugar and Madagascar vanilla berries. I’m honored the flavor was so much appreciated.”

Pictured: World Gelato winning flavor: Tribute to Venice
Guido and Luca De Rocco, father and son of Italian origin, residing in Germany, won the second place with their flavor “Tribute to Venice,” an Uva Fragola grape sorbet with caramelized nuts.

The third place was won by “Amor-Acuyà” by the Colombian gelato artisan Daniela Lince Ledesma from Medellín. This exotic flavor mixes three different sensations: the sweet and sour taste of passion fruit, cream and Colombian 65% dark chocolate. The gelato possesses a unique bittersweet balance.

Pictured: World Gelato winning flavor: Amor-Acuya

There were 36 flavors competing, presented by just as many teams for a total of 58 gelato artisans from 19 countries.

Here are the flavors, the country they are from and their description. Hopefully they inspire you for some future innovations.

ARGENTINA – “Membrillo a la Crema” by Santiago & Riccardo Nieto from Portho Gelatto in San Juan (Camus, Rivadavia), is quince gelato with pistachio brittle.

AUSTRALIA – “Gorgonzola & Pear Variegate with Figs and Walnut” by Michael, Brian and Teresa O’Donnell from 48 Flavors in Adelaide, is a balance of classic Italian flavors: Gorgonzola dolce made from pasteurized cow’s milk aged for three months mixed with pear and finished with walnuts and organic figs.

Pictured: World Gelato winning flavor: Membrillo a la Crema
AUSTRIA – “Queen of Summer” by Katarina Rankovic, Manuela Strabler and Linda Peterlunger from Eismanufaktur Kolibrì in Wolfurt, is a light blackberry gelato made with fresh yogurt and lime juice. It has a light hint of organic lime zest and fresh organic mint.

BRAZIL – “Grandiflorum” by Filipe Carniel and Mary Cellura from MU Gelato Shop in Florianapolis, is fondant cupulate (chocolate made with the roasted beans of cupuaçu) combined with another sorbet of Capuaçu’s pulp.

CANADA – “Rich Chocolate, Bourbon, Truffle Swirl & Maple-Candied Pecans” by Tammy Giuliani from Stella Luna Gelato Cafè in Ottawa, is rich, decadent chocolate complemented by single barrel bourbon, which lends deep notes of vanilla, apricot and caramel. A velvet ribbon of dark chocolate ganache casts its spell, whilst pecans candied in pure Quebec maple syrup add a tickle of tantalizing crunch.
Pictured: World Gelato winning flavor: Rich Chocolate, Bourbon, Truffle Swirl & Maple-Candied Pecans

CHINA – “Chinese Tea Gelato” by He Quingxia and Xu Dianmond from Ci Gusta! in Shenzhen, is a combination of Jasmine and Liupao tea flavored gelatos.

CHINA – “Love of Rose” by Guo Hongwu from Ami Gelato in Zhangzhou, is a rose, sea salt and cheese gelato.

COLOMBIA – “Amor-acuyà” by Daniela Lince Ledesma from Amor-acuyà in Medellín, is an  exotic gelato that combines three different sensations: passion fruit with its sour and sweet taste, which binds perfectly with the cream, a homemade passion fruit variegate to enhance aroma, and a 65% Colombian chocolate.

COLOMBIA – “Mediterráneo” by Lorenzo and Marcello Luciano from Arte Dolce in Medellín, is a gelato full of the Mediterranean flavors of orange, lemon, extra virgin olive oil, pistachios and almonds.

GERMANY – “Tribute to Venice” by Guido and Luca De Rocco from Eiscafé De Rocco in Schwabach is a sorbetto base made with Uva-Fragola, or strawberry grape, from the countryside near Venice, and caramei, which is candied walnuts made following a traditional Zoldani art.

GERMANY – “Golden Almonds” by Ezio Piccin and Fabio Cividino from Caffè & Gelato in Berlin, is almond gelato flavored with orange peel with a dulce de leche cream made with a hint of Himalayan salt that is mixed throughout along with caramelized peanuts and Dacquoise meringue pieces.

GERMANY – “Kiepenkerl” by Aurora Perenzin and Manuel Rütter from Eiscafè Arcobaleno in Stadtlohn, is a Viennese almond gelato with a fine note of cinnamon and vanilla, marbled with a raspberry cream and topped with crunchy caramelized and chocolate-covered sunflower seeds.

Pictured: World Gelato winning flavor: Salted Caramel Peanuts

GREECE – “Salted Caramel Peanuts” by Dimitris Charalampous from Palladion in Rhodes, is sweet milk gelato with the finest Greek peanuts and soft salted caramel with a variegate of smashed peanuts and milk chocolate.

HUNGARY – “My Chocolate” by Renáta Somogyi from Bringatanya Fagyizó in Gyenesdiás, is a sweet and sour gelato made of 70% saothomé dark chocolate, which originates from a specific region in Africa, and South American passion fruit. It is variegated with crispy crépe flakes and homemade chocolate sauce.

ITALY – “Pistachio” by Francesca Mombelli and Cinzia Gazzolo from Il Vizio del Gelato in S. Nicolò (PC), is a premium pistachio gelato.

ITALY – “Pistachio” by Alessandro Crispini from Gelateria Crispini in Spoleto (PG), is the fusion of three different Sicilian pistachios, two from Bronte and one from Agrigento, topped with refined Cervia salt.

ITALY – “Cream of Extra-Virgin Olive Oil” by Alessandro Leo from Alexart in Corato (BA), is sweet mill gelato blended with extra virgin olive oil.

Pictured: World Gelato winning flavor: Sapore d'Amatrice
ITALY – “Pistachio” by Bruno Di Maria from Ristorante Madison in Realmonte (AG), is an organic pistachio gelato with a hint of salt.

ITALY – “Mandorlivo” by Francesco and Salvatore Manuele from Nuova Dolceria di Siracusa (SR), is a refined fior di latte gelato with almond nougat, extra virgin Tonda Iblea olive oil, grated lemon peel, a hint of citrus variegation and candied olive cubes.

ITALY – “Sapore d’Amatrice” by Daniele Mosca from Il Gelatiere di Amatrice (RI), is a ricotta cheese gelato with chestnut honey and nuts.

ITALY – “The Soul of Alto Adige” by Elisabeth and Alexander Stolz from Osteria contadina Hubenbauer in Varna (BZ), is a sorbet using ingredients produced by the Stolz family with a base of Tyrolean organic apples and flavored with crispy Schüttelbrot bread and Speck salumi.

Pictured: World Gelato winning flavor: Delizia al limone

ITALY – “Milk & Wild Mint” by Silvia and Lara Pennati from Formazza Agricola in Formazza (VB), is a wild mint creation using local ingredients from the family farm.

JAPAN – “Natsumatsuri (Summer Festival)” by Akira Hattori from le Verdure in Yokohama, is a combination of strawberry, rose, mascarpone and pistachio gelato.

JAPAN – “Delizia al limone” by Yoshifumi Arita from Arita in Nagasaki, is a flavor inspired by the traditional Italian dessert of mini sponge cake filled and topped with a smooth lemon custard.

Pictured: World Gelato winning flavor: Pineapple, Celery & Apple Sorbet
JAPAN – “Pineapple, Celery & Apple Sorbet” by Taizo Shibano from Malga Gelato in Nonoichi, is a sherbet that combines pineapple, apple and celery with basil and mint leaves, lemon and orange juice.

LEBANON – “Rose Loukoum” by Nathalie Massaad and Walid Boustany from Caprices Du Palais in Keserwen, is made of rose water, rose syrup and rose loukoum.

MALAYSIA – “Vanilla of the East” by Keewin and Seow Huan Ong from Cielo Dolci in Kuala Lumpur, is  Pandan gelato accentuated with Tahitian vanilla beans, topped with hazelnut crumbs caramelized in coconut caramel and finished with a drizzle of Melaka Sugar.

THE NETHERLANDS – “Honey-Yogurt Ice with Raspberry and Walnuts” by Erik and Hermien Kuiper from De Ijskuip in Denekamp, is yogurt gelato made with milk from Jersey cows combined with a flavor of spring honey and variegated with locally grown raspberries and walnut pieces covered in a homemade honey/sugar marinade.

Pictured: World Gelato winning flavor: Dark Smoke
SINGAPORE – “The Asian Story” by Sharon Tay from Momolato in Singapore, is coconut milk and palm sugar with salty ribbons of homemade palm sugar caramel variegate with sea salt and crispy flakes of savory sweet bean curd.

SLOVENIA – “Dark Smoke” by Ardit Ejupi from Sladoledarna Pingo in Šentilj, is dark chocolate gelato made with chocolate that has been smoked with cherry wood and flavored with bourbon whiskey.

TAIWAN – “La Dolce Vita di Tè” by Yu Lee and Amber Lin from Ninao Gelato Classico, is honey black tea gelato sprinkled with pop-black rice.

USA – “Cocco Sogno” by Angelo Lollino, Giuseppe Lollino and Ali Caine Hung from Vero Coffee & Gelato in Elmwood Park, Illinois, is a blend of creamy fresh coconut, velvety white chocolate and rich vanilla bean variegated with caramelized almond crunch.

Pictured: World Gelato winning flavor:Bacche di Marsala
USA – “Saffron Pistachio with Candied Lemon Peel Gelato” by Gianluigi Dellaccio from Dolci Gelati Cafè in Washington, D.C., is saffron pistachio gelato with candied lemon peel.

USA – “Breakfast at Nonna’s House” by Michael Meranda from Gelato D’Oro in Addison, Illinois, is fior di latte gelato with a marmellata of red currant (ribos rosso) and a vanilla almond granola coated with white chocolate amaretto.

USA – “Bacche di Marsala” by Kelly Chu and Doran Matthew Cook from Cirsea in Charleston, South Carolina, is a honey and marsala wine gelato accented with a blend of lemon and goat cheese, infused with swirls of berry jam and cookie.

USA – “Caramelized Fig” by Spin Mlynarik from Black Market Gelato in North Hollywood, California, is fior di latte gelato marbled with balsamic caramel soaked figs.

Need Ice Cream Innovating Assistance?
The Frozen Dessert Center, housed within the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Food Science, will hold its first Frozen Dessert Center Conference October 23 to 24 on the UW-Madison campus. Speakers, including myself, will address the scientific, manufacturing and technical aspects involved in the production of ice cream and other frozen desserts. This includes packaging, dairy and non-dairy ingredients, food safety and other trends.

The event’s keynote speaker is Doug Goff, a professor of food science at the University of Guelph. Goff’s talk will cover trends in ice cream ingredients and manufacturing, and the future of frozen desserts.

Participants will be led through an ice cream sensory evaluation and taken on a guided tour of the UW-Madison’s Babcock Hall Dairy Plant and the Frozen Dessert Center’s pilot plant and lab space.

The conference is designed for manufacturers, product developers, researchers, distributors and sales personnel involved in the field of ice cream and frozen desserts. Attendees will gain relevant and up-to-date information on production, ingredients, equipment and distribution.

For more information, link HERE.
 Visit Double H Plastics at Pack Expo Booth 6615

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Deconstructing and Rebuilding Yogurt

On August 31st, Taco Bell redefined the drive-thru breakfast by reconstructing and rebuilding the traditional American morning meal of eggs, bacon and potatoes. The new Naked Egg Taco delivers all these breakfast flavors in every bite. It features a fried egg shell—that’s right, a fried egg is the shell in this taco—stuffed with seasoned potatoes, bacon or sausage, cheddar and nacho cheese sauce. And it’s delicious!

This is the sort of deconstructing and rebuilding that the yogurt category needs to entice curious shoppers, those that may have an eye for plant-based alternatives or simply crave a new experience. All yogurt is made with the same basic ingredients, namely milk and cultures. It’s the extras and how they pull the fermented milk together that will redefine the category.

In the U.S., retail yogurt sales are down. Data from IRI provided to Dairy Management Inc., and courtesy of the Midwest Dairy Association show that yogurt retail sales were down 5% in the first half of 2017. This volume decline continues the softer sales trend observed for yogurt in the latter half of 2016. This early 2017 decline in yogurt sales was observed quite broadly across regions, channels and segments of yogurt.

There were a few bright spots. For one, yogurt drinks were up 18.8% over the first half of 2016. Whole-fat yogurt volume was up almost 25%, lifting its percent share of category to 13.4%. In addition, very strong growth continued for Australian and Islandic style yogurts, although these products are still niche in nature.

Source: IRI provided to Dairy Management Inc., and courtesy of the Midwest Dairy Association

Dairy foods innovators know one of the best ways to get creative is to explore what’s going on in foodservice. The challenge is to figure out a way to convert fresh concepts into retail products without losing too much in the translation. Packaging, graphics and merchandising are as important as the product.

Here’s a concept rolling out at Planet Smoothie. I’ve written about smoothie bowls before, and rumor has it that a major brand is about to introduce a product that resembles it. One of the three limited-time smoothie bowls from Plant Smoothie is Daybreak Crunch Bowl, which includes fresh fruit, Greek yogurt and whole grain oats.

Just in time for back-to-school menu planning, Dannon Foodservice launched Snack Hacks, a program with better-for-you snacking solutions that make it easier for operators to accommodate new consumer demands and eating patterns. The program’s recipes incorporate Dannon Oikos Greek Nonfat Yogurt, which is available in bulk sizes. Its nutritional content appeals to the growing number of consumers who are actively adding more protein to their diets.

The range of Snack Hacks recipe ideas encompasses parfait, overnight oats, hummus and salad options. The Citrus Avocado Parfait is yogurt mixed with avocado and honey, then topped with one layer each of kale, citrus salad and jalapeños, with a side of sunflower seeds in a to-go container. Creamy Tomato Bruschetta is yogurt mixed with garlic, basil and parsley, with a topping of diced tomatoes and balsamic glaze as a finishing touch. It comes packaged with parmesan crisps and crostini to create a portable afternoon snack. Peanut Butter Banana Crunch Overnight Oats combines crunchy peanut butter, banana slices and milk with a base of overnight oats made with vanilla-flavored yogurt, which gets topped with granola.

In France, General Mills recently introduced two reconstructed yogurt retail concepts. Yoplait Triple Sensation is a premium yogurt dessert line with half-candied fruit layered on top of creamy Yoplait yogurt. The third, bottom layer is a combination of two fruits. Combos are: passionfruit and mango, strawberry and raspberry, black currant and blueberry, and pear and apple. Sold in packs of two, Triple Sensation comes in clear parfait-style jars to showcase the three layers.
There’s a bowl version of just two layers. Champs de Fruit containers are fruit-on-the-top yogurt desserts. Flavors are: Blueberry, Mango Passionfruit and Strawberry. Champs de Fruit also comes in two packs. These bowls are 150-gram clear containers.

As with all deconstructing and rebuilding projects, it’s a good time to clean things up. Clean-label formulating continues to gain momentum, with the concept taking on different meanings in different food categories. Link HERE to read an article about “The complexity of clean label” that I recently wrote for Food Business News.

Milk protein powders are increasingly being used in next-generation yogurt concepts to boost protein levels while replacing stabilizers such as gums and starches. Remember, the flavor of yogurt is determined by the ingredients in the yogurt base as well as the added flavorful ingredients. Stabilizers in the yogurt base can mute the natural flavor of yogurt as well as any added flavors. Milk protein powders can stabilize the yogurt through water binding, increased viscosity and a stronger yogurt gel, all while contributing natural dairy flavor that complements the yogurt rather than detracts.

Milk protein powders, whey proteins and other dried dairy ingredients will be the focal point of the International Whey Conference taking place September 17 to 20 in Chicago. Held every four years, this is the meeting of the minds to discuss the dairy proteins marketplace.

Topics include the state of the whey protein industry, overcoming processing issues when formulating foods and beverages with whey proteins, and developing affordable dairy foods enriched with powerful whey proteins. Regulatory, marketing and current research will be addressed over the three days of packed sessions.

You can view the entire program HERE.

The fact is dairy proteins are powerhouses. They can make a difference in the nutritional profile and ingredient list of many dairy foods, including cheese spreads, milk beverages, frozen desserts, yogurts and cultured dairy foods. They can boost protein levels and clean up ingredient legends.

Hope to see you in Chicago!

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Yogurt Trends: Clearly Communicating Fruit Content

There’s a growing trend to use glass pots, clear plastic tubs and parfait cups to showcase the clean, simple naturalness of refrigerated yogurt. Glass pots, in particular, are gaining traction in the U.S.

General Mills now offers Oui by Yoplait. This new thick, creamy offering is made using a traditional French recipe and comes in French-made 5-ounce glass pots. It’s made with simple ingredients, such as whole milk, pure cane sugar and real pieces of fruit. It contains no artificial preservatives, no artificial flavors and no colors from artificial sources. Oui by Yoplait is an artisanal yogurt made by pouring ingredients into individual glass pots that set after eight hours, creating a unique texture. It is designed to be spoon cut slowly, not stirred, in order to preserve its satisfyingly thick, subtly sweet, fresh taste.

La Fermiere, a family-owned French yogurt company, has been a part of France’s yogurt scene since 1952. The company has started producing its yogurts in New York for U.S. distribution. The Le Fruit On The Bottom line is a two-layered whole milk yogurt that comes in four varieties. They are: Apple Kiwi, Mango Passion Fruit, Pineapple Coconut and Raspberry Blueberry.

There are a number of others entering the market. They will be featured in the near future as a Daily Dose of Dairy.

Before entering the clear container yogurt segment, it’s important to evaluate your fruit ingredient component to ensure it is visually appealing throughout shelflife. In layered yogurts, this includes maintaining vibrancy as well not bleeding into the white mass. Using artificial colors in the fruit prep typically helps; however, the trend in food colorings is to go natural. This is especially true in simple dairy foods with a healthful halo. The addition of artificial colors can be a deal breaker for some consumers.

Recent research by Lycored compared the use of various naturally sourced colors in fruit-on-the-bottom yogurt. The accelerated shelflife tests evaluated color vibrancy and bleeding. The study compared appearance over one month, with samples containing 100 grams of full-fat Greek yogurt and 40 grams of fruit prep: apricot, lemon, peach or strawberry. Some fruit preps contained natural color, while others contained no color. The samples were all tested in two different stability environments. Both were held at 4 degrees C (39.2 degrees F) for 30 days, with one sample held under light of 2,200 Lux. (Typical retail refrigerators are about 750 Lux.)

In the yogurt containing lemon prep, there was significant fade and migration in the sample colored with paprika as compared to the sample colored with a beta-carotene clear emulsion. The fade in the paprika sample was intensified under light conditions.

In the strawberry samples, there was severe migration from the carmine-based colorant, compared to the samples colored with tomato-sourced lycopene. This was the case even in the samples containing pectin. There was also significant fade and distortion in the sample containing fruit prep with no added color.

Similar stability was observed in the beta-carotene-colored fruit preps used in the apricot and peach samples. As expected, fade intensified under light conditions.

The company also assessed the stability of natural colors under the stronger and longer heat process of scaled industrial production. In each of the samples, the colors remained stable at 95 degrees C (203 degrees F) when held at that temperature for more than 30 minutes.

Beta-carotene can be tailored to achieve multiple fruit shades for lemon, pineapple, apricot, peach and mango. Lycopene delivers red shades for authentic strawberry and raspberry fruits that maintain their vivid hue and do not fade to purple when blended into yogurt. Both are process stable and stable to the ultraviolet light of retail refrigerators.

“Manufacturers who make the switch from artificial to natural colors reap the rewards,” says Christiane Lippert, head of marketing-food, Lycored. “When 506 health-conscious consumers were asked ‘Would you be willing to pay more for a product with natural flavorings and colors?’ almost nine in 10 said they would. On average they said they would pay up to 47% more.”

Friday, August 25, 2017

Milk and Dairy Beverage Flavor Trends

photo source: Midwest Dairy Association

Go ahead, grab yourself a cold one. Make it a nice chilled, flavored dairy beverage.

From milk to kefir to fruit smoothies, flavorful dairy beverages are growing in popularity and yes, selling in the marketplace.

On the same note, plant-based dairy alternatives are rolling out in droves. But here’s the deal, most are competing in white milk space, not the flavored dairy beverage sector.

I hear the frustration from milk processors. In a previous post on the topic of the premiumization of flavored milk, I received the comment: “Plant-based alternative beverages are the rage. Millenials are moving away from cows milk at an unprecedented rate.”

This is the case because the dairy industry is allowing it. Get loud, wake up and make dairy exciting again. Those companies that are creative with flavors, forms and packaging are not complaining. It pays off.

Here’s a personal story on why I believe investing in milk and dairy beverages makes sense.

This summer I have been volunteering at Lincoln Park Zoo’s Farm in the Zoo. Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago is one of three large urban zoos in the country that is free 365-days a year. That’s possible through volunteers, donations, fundraising, etc. I chose to work in the farm to gain inspiration for my writing and to “hear” what moms, dads, grandparents, teens and children of all ages and backgrounds think about the food they get from the farm. I give presentations on cow milking and help guests feed the cows afterward. There’s an interactive demonstration where I teach guests how cows have one stomach with four chambers. They always walk away knowing that the only milk that comes from the cow is white and packed with essential nutrients.

I also assist with goat petting, pony grooming and chicken chats. One of my favorite interactive demonstrations is called Backwards Shopping, where I have the young guests pick up a piece of play food and identify its source, either animal or plant. Never once has a guest picked up the glass of milk, the slice of cheese, the ice cream cone, the stick of butter or the cup of yogurt and pointed to the photo of the field. It’s always the dairy cow. Good news!

Retail sales data from IRI provided to Dairy Management Inc., and courtesy of the Midwest Dairy Association, for the second quarter of 2017, show that total milk sales were down 2.6% year-to-date through June vs. prior year. However, the decline in the second quarter moderated, with nearly all regions posting softer losses than in the first quarter. Good news, again!

It’s no surprise, the volume leader, white gallon milk, is the driver of the decline. This is where the plant-based alternatives are hitting the dairy industry the hardest. However, non-dairy alternative beverages continue to grow but at a more moderate pace (+1.7% year-to-date), according to the IRI data. Almond and coconut are the growth engines. I’ll take this as more good news!

There’s some really great news occurring in the milk category that’s worth talking about, according to Cindy Sorensen, senior vice president of business development at the Midwest Dairy Association.

All segments outside of the white gallon have seen volume growth. This includes: flavored milk (+4.2%), lactose free (+11.5%), omega 3 (+6.4%), glass bottle (+2.7), grass fed (+66%) and refuel (+21.9%).

Chart source: IRI provided to Dairy Management Inc., and courtesy of the Midwest Dairy Association
“We’re also seeing continued growth in whole-fat milk, which is in its fourth year of increases (+3.5% 2017 year-to-date),” says Sorensen. “In fact, whole milk is getting very close to surpassing reduced-fat milk as the leader in the category. The whole-fat trend links both to a growing body of research indicating that whole fat may be beneficial to health as well as consumers’ desire for more natural foods.”

There’s a great deal of opportunity to innovate in the flavored dairy beverage sector. This includes flavored milk, in particular flavored whole milk; flavored cultured beverages, including drinkable yogurt and kefir; and fruit and dairy smoothies.
Recently LaLa introduced a line of dessert-inspired yogurt smoothies called Craveables. The 6.7-ounce bottles are sold in packs of four and come in flavors such as Lemon Bar, Strawberry Cheesecake, Tres Leches and Vanilla Cupcake. A single bottle contains 140 calories, 4 grams of fat, 5 grams of protein, 17 grams of sugar and 2 grams of fiber.

Flavored milk once again shined at the Wisconsin State Fair. Supplied by Prairie Farms Dairy, a leading innovator in flavored milk, the Milwaukee Bucks Milk House at the State Fair annually serves more than 160,000 cups of milk during its 10-day stint. In addition to the mainstays of Chocolate, Root Beer and Strawberry, this year’s milk line-up included Chocolate Peanut Butter and Sea Salt Caramel. (There is no peanut component in the Peanut Butter Chocolate flavored milk. It is a flavor additive, not actual peanut derived extract.) Last year, the two special flavors were Banana Cream and Orange Creamsicle.

So what’s trending in dairy beverage flavors? Based on my global marketplace observations, all types of fruit flavors, but in particular citrus (orange, lemon and even lime—think key lime) and tropical (banana, coconut and mango), are being used, as they add to the healthful halo. It goes without saying that coffee, specifically cold-brew coffee is a “hot” flavor. The next-generation cold-brew coffee lattes will likely have a layer of flavor in them. Think flavors beyond caramel, chocolate and vanilla. Try maple and praline. Indulgent flavors are booming, too. Limited-edition products create excitement in the category and encourage purchase.

It’s time to sell the story of dairy and simply liven it up with flavor!

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Whey Can Make a Difference

Photo source: U.S. Dairy Export Council

In the egg and egg replacement industries there’s a common saying, which is “no single ingredient can replace the functional and nutritional properties of eggs.” The same is true of whey protein ingredients, albeit the attributes are different than those of eggs. No single ingredient can replace the functional and nutritional properties of whey proteins.

The dairy industry needs to do a better job of formulating with whey proteins and touting their superiority. This is allowed and encouraged. 

If your company produces, distributes, uses or plans to use whey proteins, the place to be this September 17 to 20 is Chicago, where the International Whey Conference will take place. Held every four years, this is the meeting of the minds to discuss the past, present and focus on the future of commodity and specialty whey protein ingredients.

Topics include the state of the whey protein industry, overcoming processing issues when formulating foods and beverages with whey proteins, and developing affordable dairy foods enriched with powerful whey proteins. Regulatory, marketing and current research will be focal points over the three days of packed sessions. You can view the entire program HERE.

The fact is whey proteins are powerhouses. They can make a difference in the nutritional profile and ingredient list of many dairy foods, including cheese spreads, milk beverages, frozen desserts, yogurts and cultured dairy foods. They can boost protein levels and clean up ingredient legends.

At one point in time, whey was considered a byproduct of cheese. Today, cheese is often made for the sole purpose of obtaining whey for the growing global market. On Monday, September 18, Polly Olson, vice president-new business, sales and marketing, Agropur, will discuss emerging markets and innovation opportunities for whey proteins.

The last whey protein conference I attended was two years ago in Jerome, Idaho. Sponsored by Davisco, now Agropur Ingredients, the Alpha Summit provided a comprehensive overview of the specialty whey proteins market. Link HERE to an article I wrote on the summit for Food Business News.

At the summit, Paul Moughan, distinguished professor and director of the Riddet Institute in New Zealand, explained the importance of dietary protein quality in nutrition and health. He will speak again on this topic on Tuesday, Sept. 19 at the International Whey Conference.

“Protein is vital to support the health and well-being of human populations. However, not all proteins are alike, as they vary according to their origin, animal vs. plant, as well as their individual amino acid composition and their level of amino acid bioavailability,” he said. “High-quality proteins are those that are readily digestible in a form that can be utilized and contain the dietary essential amino acids in quantities that correspond to human requirements.”

In 2013, the Food and Agriculture Organization of United Nations recommended that a new, advanced method for assessing the quality of dietary proteins--Digestible Indispensable Amino Acid Score (DIAAS)--replace the Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score (PDCAAS) as the preferred method of measuring protein quality.

“The recommendation of the DIAAS method is a dramatic change that will provide an accurate measure of the amounts of amino acids absorbed by the body and an individual protein source’s contribution to a human’s amino acid and nitrogen requirements,” said Dr. Moughan. “This will be an important piece of information for decision makers assessing foods that should be part of a sustainable diet for our growing global population.”

He explained that with the PDCAAS method, values are truncated to a maximum score of 1.00, even if scores derived are higher. Using the DIAAS method, researchers are now able to differentiate protein sources by their ability to supply amino acids for use by the body. The DIAAS method is able to demonstrate the higher bioavailability of dairy proteins when compared to plant-based protein sources.

Dr. Moughan did say that even with the DIAAS score, you don’t get the whole story about the quality of the protein. “The single score is based on the limiting amino acid in the protein,” he said. For example, the leucine component of alpha-lactalbumin—a type of whey protein--has a DIAAS score of 2.00 and the tryptophan component is 5.50. By reporting only the single score of 1.14, which is based on the limiting amino acid valine, the quality of the alpha-lactalbumin is not accurately communicated.

“High-quality data on the bioavailable amounts of individual amino acids in proteins and foods will maximize the information to consumers and health professionals,” said Dr. Moughan. “This will become a lot more important as the food industry increases efforts to support health and different physiological needs.”

According to Donald Layman, professor emeritus of nutrition, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, data indicate all humans need to make about the same amount of new protein every day for basic lean muscle repair and remodeling. But as we age, the efficiency of building new protein decreases. To reap the benefits of healthy muscles, one must consider the quality of the protein and the quantity of the protein at every meal.

“Below the age of 30, hormones drive growth. Even with a low-protein diet, children can still grow and produce new muscle,” he said. “But as you age, hormones no longer drive muscle growth and the essential muscle replacement is driven by the quality of the diet. Aging reduces the efficiency of protein use, but does not impair the capacity to respond.”
For optimum muscle health and function, research suggests that 30 grams of high-quality protein—like the protein you get from whey--should be consumed at every meal, and preferably proteins high in the essential amino acid leucine.

Whey proteins make a positive difference in dairy foods formulations. Learn more at the International Whey Conference. Hope to see you there.