Friday, October 14, 2016

Winning with Dairy, especially Cheese!

A few weeks ago I was fortunate to visit Seoul, Korea, as a guest of the U.S. Dairy Export Council. I was invited to speak with food innovators about the opportunities in developing products using U.S. dairy ingredients, namely proteins and cheese.

At the U.S. Dairy Ingredient Outlook Seminar I emphasized these three points:
1.    Every member of the household wants to be recognized as unique, with products tailored to their distinct needs and desires.
2.    Millennials eat based on experiences rather than sustenance, but as they enter parenthood, nutrition becomes more important.
3.    Consumer’s increasing familiarity with dairy and dairy ingredients is contributing to growing household consumption of real foods.

Cheese can be designed to address all of these points.

To read more about the seminar, link HERE.

I learned that Koreans love cheese. In fact, Asians, in general, are quickly becoming very fond of all things cheese. (Korean school children also love taking photos with Americans. I enjoyed it, too!)

Koreans enjoy cheese on burgers and pizza; however, as an American, it was interesting to see their unique spin on cheese. I think there’s something for others to learn regarding opportunities in cheese.

Imagine my amazement when I was able to purchase grilled no-melt cheese on a skewer at a street market. A few stands down, cheese was being fried with potatoes and served as a plated meal. The emphasis was always on the cheese, with consumers embracing it as a protein, much like they would chicken kebabs or traditional barbecue.

There’s opportunity for cheese makers around the world to adapt to shifts in the consumer and market landscape by creating new forms, new flavors and even nutritionally superior products, which encourages new consumption occasions. For example, think about this: the health benefits of green tea and ginseng have been praised for generations for their holistic goodness. Why not pair these powerhouse ingredients with a mild-flavored cheese such as Monterey Jack to make a “relaxing, destressing” snack? The new cheese would naturally fuel the body, mind and soul.

Cheese is a powerful way to deliver essential nutrients. Why not add more good stuff? To watch a video about the opportunities, link HERE.

For long, many feared the fat content of cheese. Advancements in science now indicate that we no longer need to avoid cheese because of its fat component. In fact, milkfat, combined with the high protein content of cheese makes a very satiating food. Some studies suggest that satiating foods assist with weight loss and weight management. Who knew cheese may be a diet food?

A recent randomized control study concluded that high intake of regular-fat cheese compared with reduced-fat cheese does not affect LDL cholesterol or risk markers of the metabolic syndrome. To read more about this study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, link HERE.

Here’s an innovative cheese product being produced in Japan using Australian cheddar and Gouda cheeses. Large blocks of these natural cheese are transported to Asia where they are processed, flavored and formed into snacking cubes and sold under the Kyubu brand. Flavors include Chocolate & Almond, Milky Cheddar, Nacho, Orange Yogurt and Strawberry.

The Japanese-style cheese snack cubes hit the shelves through a retail supermarket chain in Thailand in July and in Singapore in September. The flavors were designed to encourage trial in these Asian countries where cheese consumption is still in its infancy.

Take note. Asians eat less than 10% of the world’s cheese but their appetite is growing fast. The numbers tell the story. Cheese consumption in Asia rose from about 550,000 tons in 2000 to slightly more than a million tons in 2012. It is expected to reach 1.65 million tons by 2020.

Indeed, there’s an opportunity in Asia, but there’s also an opportunity in most countries to increase cheese consumption by offering new forms, new flavors and nutritionally superior products.

2016 Midwest Regional Collegiate Dairy Products Sensory Evaluation Contest
The 45th Midwest Regional Collegiate Dairy Products Sensory Evaluation Contest will be held on Saturday, Oct. 22, 2016, at the KraftHeinz Technical Center in Glenview, IL. The contest is jointly sponsored by the Chicago Dairy Technology Society, KraftHeinz Company, and the Collegiate Dairy Products Evaluation Contest.

This contest is designed to test the sensory evaluation skills of dairy science and food science and students at universities around the U.S. The students work with their professors and advisors to learn the attributes and defects associated with six categories of dairy products. Those products are milk, ice cream, cheddar cheese, cottage cheese, butter and yogurt. Every product has its own standard for flavor, body and texture, and mouthfeel. Each has its own list of specific defects. During the contest, industry experts rate the samples and assign a score based on a standardized rating system. The students then go through the contest evaluating the same samples. The winning score is the one that most closely matches the official card.

The Midwest Regional Collegiate Dairy Products Sensory Evaluation Judging contest is open to any university that has a Food Science or Dairy Science program. The teams are made up of junior and senior undergraduate students, with a separate division for graduate students.  These students go on to become the dairy and food professionals in our industry. The training they receive for this contest is a critical component of their food science education. It is a great experience. Many of the contest volunteers from the industry have participated as student contestants. 

Currently nine universities are registered to compete. They are: Clemson, Cornell, Iowa State, Michigan State, Minnesota, Missouri, South Dakota State, Tennessee and Wisconsin.

For more information, email HERE.

The national Collegiate Dairy Products Evaluation Contest will be held April 12, 2017, in association with the Wisconsin Cheesemakers meeting in Madison, WI. For more information, link HERE.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Flavored Milk Innovation Opportunities

With advancements in clean-label ingredients for coloring, flavoring, sweetening and stabilizing nutrient-dense milk, there’s opportunity for processors to offer more innovative flavored milks to compete in the beverage business.

According to a hot-off-the-presses report from Mordor Intelligence, the global flavored milk market was valued at around $48 billion in 2015 and is expected to grow about 4.2% annually from now until 2020. This growth is being driven by unscheduled eating habits due to busy lifestyles and increased demand for convenience foods. The rising health consciousness of consumers is also helping the growth of this market, as flavored milk contains many nutrients, including protein, calcium, potassium and magnesium.

In developing markets such as Brazil, China and India, urbanization is another major driver of this market, as the increasing per capita income, along with changing consumer preferences, boosts the demand for flavored milk. However, substitutes like soft drinks and plant protein drinks pose a major threat to the market. Innovation helps the fight against the substitutes market; hence, processors are introducing new flavors to attract customers, according to Mordor Intelligence.

Chocolate-based milk beverages lead the market, followed by fruit-based flavored milk, with the latter being so much more than the strawberry flavor that has long been popular in the U.S. and Europe. Apple, banana and even orange are flavors driving innovation.

The Asia-Pacific region leads the global flavored milk market with more than 60% share, regarding revenue, followed by North America. The market is expected to grow further in Asia-Pacific, due to high milk production in the region. China takes the largest market share, regarding revenue, followed by the U.S. and India. However, the market is expected to grow at a steady pace in South America and parts of Asia, according to Mordor Intelligence.

The flavored milk market is as dynamic as the rest of the overall beverage business. The overarching trends of less sugar, simple labels, higher protein, nutrient density and ingredients from sustainable sources can all be addressed by flavored milk products.

To read more about formulating flavored milk with stevia, link HERE.

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

Who is the largest consumer of flavored milk? According to Mintel’s Dairy 2016 Report, Millennials stand out as being the most active drinkers of dairy, with more than half of those surveyed saying they drink more than five types of dairy milk. For dairies, this trend marks an opportunity to launch new and different tasting milk beverages that appeal to the demand for variety as well as health and nutrition. Flavored milk options, such as drinkable breakfast beverages and post-workout drinks, have the potential to add variety and enhance the consumer dairy experience by offering taste, nutrition and convenience.

According to the Mintel report, two thirds of consumers agree that milk (67%) is naturally nutritious compared to 60% for dairy-alternative beverages. In addition, consumers are more likely to agree that milk is free of additives (81% vs. 62% for alternatives). What’s more, 86% of consumers view milk as fresh compared to 63% who agree dairy alternatives are fresh.

Positive attitudes toward milk’s freshness and nutrition is promising for the category as the top attributes consumers look for when purchasing milk are natural (43%) and vitamin/mineral content (34%), while one in five (21%) look for organic options, driven by 28% of parents. Furthermore, 82% of consumers believe milk offers a wide variety of flavors in comparison to dairy alternatives (61%). In fact, the flavored dairy milk segment posted 5% gains from 2014 to 2015, according to Mintel data.

“While consumer trends are not favoring dairy milk, brands have an opportunity to re-engage consumers by developing innovative offerings that focus on improving already favorable aspects such as taste profile and nutritional value. It’s also important for brands to highlight that dairy milk is not just beneficial for bone health, but may also provide other benefits for consumers’ overall well-being as compared to non-dairy milk,” said Elizabeth Sisel, beverage analyst at Mintel.

According to data from IRI provided to Dairy Management Inc., and courtesy of the Midwest Dairy Association, total fluid milk sales performance in 2015 to 2016 has improved from previous years. All channel volumes continue to be down slightly in 2016, as of August 7, 2016, yet there are pockets of positive momentum in both retail and quick-serve restaurants. 

While total retail fluid milk sales are down 2%, flavored milk continues to be a bright spot, delivering an impressive sales lift of 7.4% thus far this year. What’s more interesting is consumers renewed interest in fuller-fat milks. Whole-fat milk retail volume sales thru August 7, 2016, were up 5% and have 34% share of market. This strong volume growth for whole-fat milk is being driven by homes with children, Millennials and Hispanics. Fat-free milk, on the other hand, is down more than 13%. Fat-free milk has historically been the preferred variety by Baby Boomers and seniors, who today are drawn to other beverages in the market, namely dairy alternatives.

The foodservice market is also a source of milk growth, primarily in the form of coffee. Specialty coffees such as lattes contain a serving of milk in each coffee serving, providing consumers with a treat, an energy boost and nutrition, according to IRI.

Here are 10 recent flavored milk innovations from around the world.

For starters, watermelon-flavored milk is something new to Asian markets, but quickly becoming a popular flavor. It tends to be made with watermelon juice extract and fat-free or low-fat milk for a lighter, more refreshing beverage to better compete with soft drinks and juices.

In the U.S., Dean Foods continues to grow its TruMoo brand with limited-edition flavors. Cookies ‘n Cream debuted during the summer months, while Orange Scream is being offered around Halloween. The TruMoo brand is all about being lower in sugar, as compared to other flavored milks.

Bam has launched two varieties—Banana and Chocolate—of flavored whole milk in the U.K. The grab-and-go shelf-stable milks are described as “made with real milk and no junk.” They contain no refined sugars, artificial flavors, colorings or preservatives, and are suitable for vegetarians.

The chocolate milk drink is made from whole milk, cocoa and honey. Banana is the same, except instead of cocoa, the drink contains banana puree.

Three sisters in South Africa established a Brown Swiss dairy farm in 2009 and today offer a varied number of indulgent dairy products made from the milk. They offer eight flavors of Deney’s Swiss Dairy Full Cream Milkshakes. The flavors are: Bubble Gum Gelato, Caramello Cream, Don Pedro, Heavenly Lime, Iced Cappuccino, Strawberry Ice, Swiss Chocolate and White Chocolate.

In the U.K., retailer ASDA offers a line of private-label flavored milks in traditional flavors such as Chocolate, Strawberry and Vanilla, as well as limited-edition indulgent options like Blueberry Muffin and Strawberry Shortcake. These colorful, flavorful variants use fruit and vegetable juices for color and natural flavorings.

Also in the U.K., Müller continues to grow its FRijj milkshake portfolio. The two most recent additions are MMMango & Passionfruit and Loaded Choc Orange. The latter delivers a full-on taste experience and innovative flavor blend, refreshing the brand’s core range and adding excitement to the flavored milk market, helping to drive new consumers to the category, according to the company. The unique packaging design features swirls of chocolate and orange designed to stand out on shelf and attract shoppers to the dairy drinks shelf.

Next, new FRijj MMMango & Passionfruit 40% Less Sugar combines two on-trend fruit flavors. The eye-catching packaging features the company’s recognizable 40% Less Sugar light blue swirl.

“The FRijj brand is loved by consumers and is bought by almost one in five U.K. households,” said Laura Sheard, head of marketing at Müller Milk & Ingredients. “We’re delighted to offer our consumers more choice and we expect these new flavors to be popular.”
Other flavors in the FRijj line include: Burst of Banana, Choc-a-Chocolate, Full-on Fudge Brownie, Mucho Cookie Dough and Seriously Strawberry.
Müller is investing heavily in the milkshake brand, which includes bringing back FRijj to TV screens following a three-year hiatus. The company’s ambitious plans are to achieve double-digit growth over the next 12 months. The new TV advertising and social media campaign is designed to excite consumers and encourage them to feel #TheURjj! The creative for the campaign, which aims to resonate with 21 to 29 year olds, comprises a three part, sitcom-style mini-series, and features two housemates battling over drinking a Müllerlicious FRijj.

Friesland Campina now offers no-sugar-added Yazoo flavored milks. The new 200-milliliter line comes in three flavors: Banana, Toffee and Strawberry. The company says it has found a way to use the sugar found naturally in milk to sweeten the milk so that it does not need to add any sweetener. Natural flavors assist with sweetness, too.

Daioni long-life (14-months unopened shelf-stable) flavored organic milk is low in fat and sugar content and contains only natural colors and flavors with no artificial additives or preservatives. It is fully compliant with the nutritional guidelines for schools in the U.K. with less than 5% sugar. Daioni long-life flavored organic milk is also available in Mainland China, Hong Kong and the United Arab Emirates. Flavors are: Banana, Chocolate and Strawberry.

Without a doubt, Müller Germany is one of the most innovative flavored milk marketers. For Halloween, the company has dressed up its single-serve bottle line in monster costumes. The flavors are: Banana, Cherry Banana, Chocolate, Nocciola Nut, Pistachio Cocos, Strawberry and Vanilla.

There’s also new limited-edition Banana Caramel in the premium line, and two seasonal fall flavors. They are: Chocolate Mint and Honey.

The Müllerfrucht Buttermilk line has four new winter flavors. They are: Apple Strudel, Orange Sanddorn, Pear Quince and Red Grape Blackberry.

Famous House offers Taiwan flavored milk in cans, 340 and 500-milliliters. The shelf-stable milks combine fresh juice with New Zealand powdered milk and come in four flavors. They are: Apple, Banana, Mango and Papaya. Current distribution is in Australia, China and the U.K.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Coloring Cultured Dairy Foods

Photo source: DDW The Color House
The 31st annual Natural Products Expo East, held September 21 to 24, hosted more than 1,450 brands including 450 first-time exhibitors. Many were dairy foods marketers. This was the largest show on record and grew by 10%, gathering more than 28,000 natural and organic community members to the Baltimore Convention Center in Maryland.

It goes without saying that any product showcased at a natural products show must be “natural.” Though the term natural is not legally defined, the industry consensus is that a natural product would not contain an artificial color, which in the U.S. is a certified color and is designated with an FD&C number. (If you need a review of U.S. food color regulations, scroll down and read Food Colors 101.)

According to a Natural & Organic Trends webinar conducted this week and sponsored by market research firm Packaged Facts, there is tremendous movement in natural and organic dairy, specifically yogurt, as well as refrigerated non-dairy alternatives.

Packaged Facts projects that overall natural and organic food and beverage market growth will be 12% in 2016, reaching $69 billion in sales. This is quite remarkable when, for the most part, the conventional food and beverage market is flat, according to Kara Nielsen, the webinar presenter.

The market research firm projects that the organic and natural food and beverage market will account for 14% of total food sales by 2020, with numerous big brands overhauling conventional products and portfolios in hopes of winning over natural-leaning consumers. Replacing artificial colors with natural ones is a high priority for big brands, with most new brands never even considering artificial colors as an option.

Interestingly, the retail marketplace is split between the conventional mass channel and the natural channel, with each having 44% share, according to Nielsen. Warehouse clubs have about 8% share, with the remaining 4% all other retail channels.

“This is a sign of the importance of these natural and organic products for consumers shopping everywhere,” said Nielsen. Conventional dairy processors can no longer ignore the needs and wants of the natural-leaning consumer.

Photo source: Vitamix
According to Packaged Facts Research Director David Sprinkle, foods today are as notable for their absent ingredients and attributes as they are for those that are present. “Although consumers on the cutting edge of food and nutrition trends may see the food industry as moving at an iceberg-like pace when it comes to making changes, in fact, the industry is remarkably sensitive to shifts in consumer demands,” Sprinkle said. “In terms of food and ingredient avoidances, the industry, from the largest companies to the smallest, has in recent years moved to accept and promote the concept of sugar free, fat free, low carbohydrates, gluten free, no artificial coloring or other ingredients; cage free eggs; and no antibiotic use in raising animals and poultry.”

Of course, food and beverage companies would rather not spend on new food formulations or on new packaging if it’s not necessary. “But when the food and beverage industry realizes that change is inevitable, it typically embraces the ‘new’ with a spirit that makes it seem as if the changes were its idea in the first place,” said Sprinkle. “Indeed, once the food industry embraces a change, it is responsible for that change moving from the cutting edge to the mass market.”

That’s what is happening with colors. Are you on board?

All the exhibitors at Expo East are, and that includes small and large dairies, as well as manufacturers of dairy alternatives. The time is now to make the change. As Nielsen said, yogurt, and similar cultured dairy products, are a major driver of the growth that the natural and organic food sector is experiencing.
The fact is, today’s consumers are seeking out natural colors in their foods and beverages.

According to the 2016 Food and Health Survey from the International Food Information Council Foundation, 43% of respondents indicated they are trying to avoid artificial colors. This was the first year the survey queried about artificial colors, and a remarkable number of respondents made it clear: they prefer to not have artificial colors in their foods and beverages.

Innovations were plentiful at Expo East. One of the big stars of the show was Lifeway Foods, which debuted conventional and organic strained kefir cups. Both lines include a natural, unsweetened option, as well as six dual-compartment cups that include a side of fruit, honey or gluten-free granola. The fruit varieties requiring a little extra color boost all get it from fruit and vegetable juice concentrates.

Both the conventional and organic lines include the same plain, unsweetened strained kefir that goes into the Naturale offering. The kefir contains the company’s proprietary blend of 12 probiotic cultures, with each 5.3-ounce serving delivering 15 to 20 billion colony-forming-units. The product is produced in small batches using milk from cows not treated with antibiotics or artificial growth hormones and is fortified with vitamins A and D.

Blueberry Lavender and Strawberry Rosehip are in both lines. Conventional also has Cherry & Chocolate Chunks and Mango Passionfruit; organic has Orange Vanilla and Raspberry & Chocolate Chunks.

Each cup contains 100 to 120 calories, 3.5 to 5 grams of fat, 10 to 12 grams of protein and 5 to 11 grams of sugar, depending on variety.

The company also introduced plain and flavored farmer cheese in individually portioned cups. Farmer cheese is a dry-curd cultured dairy product. This product line is made in small batches and comes in single-serve 6-ounce cups. There are six varieties. They are: Apricot, Blueberry Lavender, Cherry, Plain, Plum and Strawberry Rosehip.

Similar to the strained kefir, the farmer cheese line comes loaded with the company’s proprietary blend of 12 probiotic cultures and the fruited varieties get a color boost from fruit and vegetable juice concentrates. The fruited varieties all contain 230 calories, 7 grams of fat and 13 grams of protein. Plain contains 210 calories, 8 grams of fat and 16 grams of protein. 

In general, dairy products, which are refrigerated or frozen, are usually protected from light, allowing for a wide range of natural colors to be used since heat and light stability are not an issue. The main stability considerations for choosing a natural color in dairy are pH, heat from pasteurization and added flavors.

Since the pH of milk is about pH 6.8, natural color sources such as beta-carotene, annatto, beet and turmeric work well and provide a wide variety of color options in the yellow to orange and pink to red hue range for milk beverages and ice creams. As cultures are introduced for yogurt and similar cultured-dairy products, such as kefir, the pH is lower, opening the door to fruit or vegetable-based anthocyanins including elderberry, black/purple carrot, purple sweet potato, red radish and red cabbage, which provide a purple-red hue at pH 4.0.

In Greek yogurt, developers have formulated black carrot in strawberry, cherry and pomegranate flavors; turmeric in lemon, pineapple and lime flavors; and annatto in peach and mango yogurt.

Such natural colors are what consumers want!

Food Colors 101
The term color additive is legally defined in the U.S. in Title 21, Part 70 of the Code of Federal Regulations (21 CFR 70). Basically, any ingredient with the sole purpose of adding color to a food or beverage is a color additive, with all color additives requiring approval by FDA as a food additive.

Synthetic food colors are classified by FDA as color additives subject to certification (21 CFR 74). They are certified with an FD&C number. This indicates that the additive has been tested for safety and is approved for used in foods, drugs and cosmetics, or FD&C. Seven colors were initially approved under the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906. Over time, several have been delisted and replaced. Today there are still seven, which can be combined into an infinite number of colors; hence, the seven are considered primary colors.

The seven synthetics are further classified as standardized dyes or lakes. Dyes are a concentrated source of color and are water soluble and oil insoluble. Lakes, on the other hand, are made by combining dyes with salts to make them water-insoluble compounds. Thus, they are best described as providing color by dispersion. Lakes are considered to be more stable than dyes and are ideal for coloring products that either contain fat or lack sufficient moisture to dissolve dyes.

FDA also provides a list of color additives that are exempt from certification (21 CFR 73). By default, these colors are often characterized as natural but FDA does not consider any color added to as food unless the color is natural to the product itself. For example, consumers expect strawberry milk to have a red hue. If strawberry juice is added for color, and providing that none of the other ingredients in the milk were characterized as artificial, this product could be labeled “all-natural strawberry milk.” Such a description is not possible if beet juice, an FDA-recognized exempt-from-certification color additive, is used for a colorful boost. What is appropriate to say is “does not contain any artificial colors” or “colored with vegetable juice.”

In general, artificial colorings are manufactured from petroleum-based raw materials. Colors exempt from certification are obtained from a variety of sources, including plants, minerals, insects and fermentation, resources considered by many to be natural.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Expo East 2016 Highlights for Dairy Foods Processors: Value-Added Dairy Products that Appeal to Millennials

Expo East, the conservative counterpart to the West Coast natural products show held annually in March in Anaheim, is taking place right now in Baltimore. I had the opportunity to walk the show floor on Thursday and can confidently report that dairy is thriving—and growing--within the natural products sector.

Rightfully so, as dairy foods are a “natural fit” for the label-reading, health-and-wellness consumer who wants simple foods from Mother Nature. Milking a cow is much more real than milking a soybean, an almond or even a coconut. Interestingly, unlike in years past where non-dairy alternatives were more prominent than the dairy foods they were intended to replace, this year there was definitely more real milk, more real yogurt, more real cheese and more real ice cream.

Here are seven themes observed at Expo East, all of which work for dairy.

1. Not Too Sweet. From beverages to snack bars, “not too sweet” has become very common packaging lingo. The emphasis is not on added sweeteners or even the use of no- or low-calorie sweeteners, rather it is directed to taste. Many manufacturers, dairy processors included, are talking about their use of higher quality fruits, flavors, enzymes and even cultures (in fermented products) to assist with the reduction of the sweet taste, which at the same time allows other real flavors to get tasted and appreciated by the consumer. One bar manufacturer explained that high-quality dark chocolate, which is loaded with antioxidants, is not as bitter as lower-quality chocolate, and this enables the use of less sweetener to mask the bitter.

2. Protein. It is no surprise that grams of protein per serving of all types of foods and beverages are being prominently called out on package fronts. Many products are combining dairy protein with plant protein to achieve concentrated levels. With one gram of protein in every ounce of milk, flagging protein content on dairy foods makes real sense.

According to the Natural Marketing Institute, the general population of consumers has more protein awareness than ever before, as the percentage of those seeking foods high in protein grew from 39% in 2006 to 53% in 2014. This is driven by two factors, a wider availability of products boasting high-protein claims along with consumers’ heightened awareness of protein’s benefits, such as increased energy, optimized weight management and increased muscle mass and strength.

3. Whole Milk. Fat is no longer the enemy. Even dairy alternative manufacturers are boosting up fat levels with vegan fat sources.
4. Clear Packaging. Transparency is two-fold. Marketers are not only communicating the sourcing of ingredients, they are showing them off as well.

5. Ingredient Sourcing. Being the natural products show, terms such as organic, non-GMO, Fair-Trade and more are typical. What has become increasingly common is flagging the country of origin of certain ingredients, most notably fruits and vanilla. And within the animal protein segments—from chicken nuggets to ribeye steak and milk to yogurt—100% Grass Fed is becoming increasingly popular.

6. Coconut. Real coconut shavings/shreds, and coconut cream, are making their way into chips, snack mixes, protein shakes and cultured dairy. I’ve been told it is one of the most popular flavors with Millennials, the demographic who grew up drinking coconut water instead of isotonic drinks for hydration.

7. Cultured Dairy Beyond Yogurt. Kefir, skyr, cottage cheese and quark…there were numerous new product introductions in each of these cultured dairy foods categories at Expo East. Savory, spicy and coffee—cold-brew coffee, to be exact--flavors also continue to make inroads in these categories. This complements the “not too sweet” theme.

Here are seven products showcased at Expo East. Watch your inbox this coming week for the Daily Dose of Dairy, which will feature some real show stoppers.

B’More Organic continues to revolutionize the functional beverage industry by packing in a powerful punch of real, clean, sustainable dairy protein in its Organic Skyr Smoothie line. With no added sugar and up to 40 grams of protein per bottle, this gluten-free, low-lactose, probiotic cultured dairy beverage is made with milk from grass-fed cows. At Expo East, the company debuted B’More Coconut, which joins Banana, Caffe Latte, Mango Banana, Plain, Strawberry and Vanilla.

B’More Coconut includes coconut cream, making it the first smoothie in the product line with healthful plant-based fat to support endurance, boost energy and tantalize taste buds with the creamy, delectable real coconut flavor.

“We love developing products that have the power to change lives, providing the delectable nutrient boost needed to inspire and enable people to fuel their fitness and B’More,” says Andrew Buerger, co-founder of B’More Organic. “We are thrilled to share the launch of B’More Coconut as it continues to demonstrate our commitment to creating innovative, clean protein smoothies that are delicious, clean, organic, ethically sourced and completely free of the junk ingredients so typical of the category. Our goal is to make it easy to enjoy great health.”

Every 15-ounce bottle of B’More Coconut contains 16 grams of healthy, plant-based fats. To date, there are more than 1,500 studies proving coconut oil and coconut to be one of the healthiest foods on the planet. Coconut cream differs from coconut milk as it contains less water and more coconut. An excellent source of minerals, namely manganese, iron, magnesium, copper, phosphorus, potassium and zinc coconut cream also contains B-vitamins including folate, thiamin, vitamin B6, niacin and pantothenic acid.

Coconut cream is a great source of medium chain triglycerides, which turn to fuel in the liver and forgo stomach storage. Coconut cream has a unique combination of fats that has been found to be highly nutritious, according to Buerger.

Congrats to B’More Organic for its continued expansion into the Southeast and the Pacific Northwest regions with Publix Super Markets and Market of Choice. B’More partnered with distribution companies UNFI and KeHE to ensure fast and efficient delivery of its product into these regions.

Icelandic Provisions, which produces cup-based skyr made using an original heirloom skyr culture (Streptococcus thermophilus Islandicus) from Iceland, is adding two new flavors: Coconut and Strawberry. Made with milk from grass-fed cows, the new flavors join Blueberry & Bilberry, Peach & Cloudberry, Plain, Strawberry & Lingonberry, and Vanilla.

Maple Hill Creamery is growing its product lines with new flavors and formats.

The 12-ounce whole milk drinkable yogurt line now includes Coffee, Mango Peach and Strawberry flavors. Made from milk from 100% grass-fed cows, the new flavors join Lemon, Maple, Orange Crème, Plain, Vanilla and Wild Blueberry. Each bottle contains 12 to 15 grams of protein, depending on variety. Bottle labels prominently state “not too sweet.”

Oregon’s Springfield Creamery grows its Nancy’s cottage cheese line with a whole milk variant. Unlike many other cottage cheeses in the market, Nancy’s delivers billions of live probiotic cultures and is made without rennet or thickeners. Ingredient legends are very simple: Organic skim milk, organic cream, organic nonfat dry milk, L. acidophilus, B. bifidum, four strains of lactic cultures, salt.

Orgain Inc., offers protein beverages to meet all protein preferences. Its Kids Protein Organic Nutritional Shake is made with a proprietary organic protein blend of grass-fed milk protein concentrate and whey protein concentrate. There are a number of plant-based protein beverages for adults. At Expo East, the company debuted Organic Cold Brew Coffee + Protein. Available in Iced Coffee and Iced Mocha varieties, the beverages contain protein from grass-fed milk protein concentrate, cream and rice bran extract. Each 11.5-ounce bottle contains 5 grams of fat and 10 grams of protein. There’s also only one gram of sugar, which comes from the cream. The product is sweetened by erythritol and stevia.

The Liberte team at General Mills partnered up with the company’s Annie’s team at Expo East. The company sampled its new Liberte Whole Milk Yogurt line. The Sweet Cream (unflavored) variety starts with pure, organic whole milk sourced from a co-operative of family farms. It’s then lightly sweetened with organic cane sugar. A 5.5-ounce cup contains 190 calories, 13 grams of fat and 5 grams of protein.

The other seven flavorful offerings, made using the same local organic milk, come in an array of worldly flavors. They are: Californian Pomegranate, Baja Strawberry, Ecuadorian Mango, French Lavender, Lemon, Philippine Coconut and Washington Black Cherry. Each single-serve container, which is in clear plastic to showcase the layered ingredients, contains 210 to 220 calories, 11 to 13 grams of fat and 4 to 5 grams of protein.

In January, the brand will be adding Indonesian Vanilla Bean to the line. There will also be two limited-edition flavors making their debut soon. They are: Chai and Nicaraguan Coffee Bean. 

Congratulations to Kourellas Dairy for being a Best of East finalist. This company ships Greek fruit, authentic cultures and even packaging to New York to make its new Organic Greek yogurt line. Using the company’s traditional strained Greek yogurt recipe with origins in Grevena, Greece, Kourellas Dairy is entering the U.S. market with a small-batch, handcrafted Greek yogurt line that is made by real Greek dairy processors. That’s right, every batch of this artisan yogurt is produced with a minimum of two Greek-passport-owner dairy processors. This allows the company to make the label claim: Made by Greeks.

Made with New York State milk, with everything else having Greek origins, the new line comes in six varieties. They are: Apple, Blueberry, Clementine, Kiwi, Orange and Strawberry. The yogurts contain no added sweetener of any type. They are naturally sweetened by the premium fruit puree imported from Greece.  The low-fat organic blended yogurts have a simple ingredient statement: milk, cultures and fruit.

Although Clover Stornetta Farms, a third-generation family owned and operated California dairy, did not exhibit at Expo East, it’s appropriate to recognize this dairy’s recent announcement to convert its conventional milk products to be Non-GMO Project Verified over the next two years. Clover will be one of the first Non-GMO Project Verified conventional milk products produced in California on a large scale. The first Non-GMO conventional milk products will hit shelves in the first quarter of 2017 and these will likely be on sampled at Expo West.

“We’ve always taken an innovative approach to elevating dairy through driving industry progress, building trust with consumers and setting our own high standards,” says Marcus Benedetti, president and CEO. “Our focus on Non-GMO reaffirms our commitment to invest in the future of our dairy cows, family farms and communities. Our hope is to lead the way by creating an industry-wide movement towards more Non-GMO feed options for our dairy cows. We look forward to working closely with our dairy partners to make this goal a reality.”

Friday, September 16, 2016

10 Reasons to Formulate with Dairy Proteins

Here are 10 reasons why dairy processors should include dairy proteins in product formulations.

1. Consumers want more protein.
Numerous surveys show that consumers are trying to increase their protein intake, as they understand protein satiates and builds muscle. According to the 2016 Food and Health Survey from the International Food Information Council Foundation, 64% of Americans are seeking out protein in the diet, a statistically significant increase compared to 2015.

2. Dairy proteins are high-quality, complete proteins. Not all proteins are created equal. Consumers are starting to understand that dairy proteins offer benefits that make them a higher-quality option than plant proteins.

Dairy proteins have long been the protein of choice among athletes and frequent gym-goers. There are two types of high-quality dairy protein ingredient options: whey proteins and milk proteins. Both are high-quality, complete proteins that contain all of the essential and nonessential amino acids the body needs. The difference lies in the dominant protein found in each one. With most milk protein ingredients, such as milk protein concentrates and milk protein isolates, casein is the dominant protein. The typical composition of these ingredients reflects what you find in cows milk, which is about 80% casein and 20% whey protein.

Whey protein ingredients, as the name suggests, are a concentrated source of whey proteins. For example, whey protein concentrate typically contains 34% to 89%, while whey protein isolate contains 90% or more.

Protein quality is quantified through the Digestible Indispensable Amino Acid Score (DIAAS) and the Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score (PDCAAS). The latter has long been the standard measurement. The newer DIAAS is proving to be a more accurate assessment of protein quality.

Dairy proteins have an exceptionally high DIAAS score because of the presence of branched-chain amino acids, which help stimulate muscle protein synthesis. Each dairy protein has more branched-chain amino acids than egg, meat, soy and wheat proteins. Whey protein, specifically, is seen as higher quality because of the presence of leucine, a branched-chain amino acid accountable for muscle synthesis.

3. Dairy proteins are versatile. They have a neutral, bland taste that complements most foods and beverages. They readily dissolve in systems, with some proteins contributing creamy, dairy-rich whiteness, while others becoming invisible.

To read a Food Business News article titled “Functional dairy foods—beyond basic nutrition,” link HERE. The article discusses the opportunities in boosting the protein content of dairy foods, along with adding other functional ingredients.

4. They are clean-label ingredients.
The IFIC survey shows that Americans want to know more about their food and are changing their behaviors based on what they learn. This year, almost half of all American (47%) said they look at the ingredients list when deciding what to purchase, up from 40% just a year ago.
When Americans define what makes a food healthy, it’s becoming more about what is not in a food rather than what is in it. The presence of artificial ingredients and preservatives is a leading deal breaker when it comes to purchase intent.  Photo source: Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board

Dairy proteins have a positive image and are considered simple, clean, natural and wholesome ingredients. This is why formulators of all types of foods and beverages are seeking out dairy proteins for their product development efforts and making package claims such as “made with real dairy” and “contains quality dairy proteins.”

The U.S. Dairy Export Council offers a technical report titled “Dairy Solutions for Clean-Label applications.” You can view it HERE.

5. They provide functionality.
Some dairy proteins assist with water binding. Thus, they can stabilize food systems, such as cheese spreads, cultured dairy products and ice cream, while also increasing protein content. Whenever possible, it makes sense to put dairy back into dairy, instead of using carbohydrate-based hydrocolloids.

6. Dairy proteins can assist with weight management.
An improved understanding of appetite regulation mechanisms has enabled formulators to develop food products that help consumers feel full and satisfied, which in turn helps them eat less and ultimately lose weight, and then maintain weight.

According to “Optimizing foods for satiety” in the February 2015 issue of Trends in Food Science & Technology, a food’s satiating power is dependent not only on its nutrient composition but also the consumer’s sensory and cognitive appraisal of the food. The review concluded that numerous features of a food product can be manipulated to enhance the consumer’s experience of satiety, with the combination of these features ultimately determining the effect on appetite control. Taking this integrated approach to satiety will optimize the development of high-satiety foods, with dairy foods well poised as satiety-inducing foods.

Biochemically speaking, satiety is all about signals that feed into specific areas of the brain in response to the expansion of the stomach. Hormonal signals are also released in response to the digestion and absorption of certain nutrients.

According to research from Nizo Food Research, The Netherlands, foods behave differently in the stomach, depending on their structure. This behavior impacts stomach volume and the rate at which the stomach releases nutrients to the small intestine for absorption, both important physiological parameters by which the body estimates the time to stop eating.

With protein, research shows that not only does this macronutrient exert appetite regulation mechanisms, consumption is also correlated to lean muscle building and maintenance.

7. They build lean muscle mass.
Numerous studies show that high-quality protein, most notably whey proteins, demonstrate a greater ability to stimulate muscle protein synthesis at rest and following resistance exercise. This is because whey is quickly digested and helps immediate protein synthesis by stimulating muscle growth and recovery. Casein protein provides similar effects in terms of muscle growth but is more slowly digested, providing longer-lasting protein synthesis.
Photo source: U.S. Dairy Export Council

8. They optimize athletic performance.
According to Donald Layman, professor emeritus of nutrition at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, data indicates all humans need about the same amount of dietary protein every day for basic lean muscle repair and remodeling. To reap other benefits—those for optimum performance—one must consider the quality of the protein and the quantity of the protein at every meal, in particular breakfast.

Simply, data suggests that every meal should include 30 grams of high-quality protein, including protein that is high in the branched-chain amino acid leucine. This is the amount of protein for the body to function at its best. Of all the protein ingredients available to food and beverage manufacturers, whey protein isolate contains the most leucine: 11%. Milk protein concentrate comes in second at 9.5%, followed by egg protein at 8.8%.

What does this mean for dairy processors? For starters, marketers need to promote the inherent high-quality protein content of fluid milk so that more consumers reach for a glass at every meal. In fact, the inherent protein content of all dairy foods is a great marketing tool.
On the innovation side, by starting with a source of high-quality protein—milk—and boosting protein with one or more of these ingredients, dairy foods become the ideal product to get many consumers to that magic number of 30 grams of protein at every meal. Photo source: U.S. Dairy Export Council

9. Dairy proteins assist with increasing strength and physical function in older age.
Research shows that older people tend to consume less protein due to decreased appetite or digestive and metabolic change. Lack of high-quality protein—protein that contains all the essential amino acids—is a factor contributing to loss of muscle mass. This in turn contributes to a decline in health and loss of strength and physical function. Consuming a moderate amount of high-quality protein at each meal can also be a useful strategy to help maintain muscle mass and to help protect against the debilitating effects of sarcopenia, the age-related progressive loss of muscle mass and function that can begin as early as age 40. For more information, link HERE.
10. Maintain bragging rights.
All types of foods and beverages are being formulated with dairy proteins. You can find them in cereals, chips, cookies, crackers, noodles, soups, sauces and even veggie burgers. Put them back into dairy and brag about them.

“Dairy proteins, in particular whey proteins, are recognized as the gold standard in quality protein,” says Lu Ann Williams, director of innovation at Innova Market Insights. “Dairy processors need to flag their inclusion in dairy products. Think low-fat ranch dip with xx grams of whey proteins. What about a ready-to-drink latte with a dairy protein boost that’s described as filling you up to get through the morning?”