Friday, October 20, 2017

Global Cheese Trends 2017

From the World Dairy Expo’s Dairy Product Contest in Madison, Wis., at the beginning of October to Anuga 2017 in Cologne, Germany, and then to Chicago (nice season Cubbies, til next year!) for this week’s NACS 2017, the exposition of the National Association of Convenience Stores, cheese has been getting lots of attention. Artisan cheesemakers, regional creameries and global brands are showing the industry that cheese, a simple, clean-label, natural food that starts with four ingredients—milk, cultures, enzymes and salt—can be enjoyed as a snack, an on-the-go mini meal, an entrée and as dessert.

Let’s explore some recent entries to the global cheese case. But first, congrats to Sartori Company, for its Grand Championship winner at the World Dairy Expo. The Plymouth, Wis.-based cheesemaker took home the high honor for its Black Pepper BellaVitano Cheese.

Link HERE for more information on Word Dairy Expo and the contest.{7279EF7C-C92C-4BB7-9153-6D3578965EF4}&pid={772BEDAE-50B9-46F8-861D-E13763FDE010}

At Anuga 2017, a biennial fair that is the world’s largest food exposition for the retail trade and the foodservice and catering markets, cheese dominated the dairy hall, which is one of 10 expositions within the overall Anuga show. To read last week’s blog on Cultured Dairy Product Trends from Anuga, link HERE.

This 34th Anuga was impressive and a record setter. More than 7,400 companies from 107 countries presented products from all over the world and all categories over the course of five days. Around 165,000 trade visitors from 198 countries took advantage of this unique offer for sourcing, information and ordering at top level.

“Anuga is the world’s biggest and most important business platform for the international food industry,” said Gerald Böse, president and CEO of Koelnmesse. “The trade fair brings the global supply and demand together very precisely. With its clear concept and focus on relevant themes, it is a reliable marketplace for the global food world for customers from Germany and abroad.”

To read an overview of the entire Anuga expo, including a slideshow of some amazing innovations, link HERE to an article I just wrote for Food Business News.

The Anuga taste Innovation Show competition is part of the exposition. Nearly 900 companies placed more than 2,300 products in the new products database on the Anuga website for consideration for the taste recognition. In total, the jury selected 67 products and concepts.

Two winners were cheese.

This includes Hard Feta from Polyphemus Fine Dairy Products, which is Greek feta cheese p.d.o. (protected designation of origin) with a maximum moisture content of only 50%. The reduction of moisture lends this feta cheese a strong taste and a harder, more crumbly texture. This cheese benefits from an additional maturing time (at least 4 months), which allows its proteins to decompose into short-chain proteins and peptides for extra taste and aroma.

Lustenberger & Dürst SA in Switzerland received the Anuga taste Innovation Show accolades for its convenient LeSuperbe Swiss Raclette Gourmet Baking Tray product. The packaged Swiss raclette cheese comes with a baking tray that makes it possible to prepare slices of raclette directly in the oven without an additional tin. The consumer does not need a classic raclette oven or any other baking tray. It can simply be prepared directly in this innovative box. Furthermore, the raclette slices can also be directly melted in the microwave. After preparation, the baking tray can be lifted out of the oven or the microwave with the hand because the box does not gets hot.

Other innovations spotted on the show floor include Basiron Choco, which combines two foodie favorites: cheese and chocolate. The limited-edition cheese from Veldhuyzen, The Netherlands, will be available starting mid-November, just in time for the holidays. The large waxed rounds are designed for in-store cutting.

Also perfect timing for the holidays, Germany’s Bayernland offers Mozzarella Wraps. For retail, the wraps come as individual 130-gram sheets of mozzarella. The user simple fills, rolls, slices and enjoys. For foodservice, resealable tubs contain eight wraps sitting in brine. 

The Netherland’s Vandersterre Holland B.V., makers of the popular Prima Donna line of cheeses, is rolling out Jersey Gouda under its Landana label. Made from the milk of Holland-reared Jersey cows, the company describes the gouda as “different cow, different milk, better cheese.” There are two varieties. Mild is aged for about eight weeks, while Mature is aged for about 17 weeks for a fuller, richer flavor and body. Also new under the Landana brand is Smokey Hot Pepper, which is traditional Dutch cheese with smoked jalapeno peppers for an interesting kick. 

Germany’s Alpenhain now offers a convenient, spreadable form of camembert. New Camembert Crème come in natural and chive varieties. The cheese is made using fresh local Alpine milk without added flavor enhancers, preservatives, colors, emulsifying salts or thickening agents. It can be used as a bread or crackers spread, alone or with jam or honey, or as a cooking tool in everything from sauces to stuffed chicken breast. The spread comes in 125-gram containers for retail. For foodservice, chefs can work with 1.5 kilogram tubs or offer guests 25-gram portion packs.

After launching a corporate realignment this spring, the DMK Group of Germany used Anuga to roll out an integrated range of products. New Milram cheese varieties include Rügener and Küstenkäse in slice format. This convenient form brings the flavors of northern Germany to the nation’s sandwiches. These two cheese originals, made of milk from the island of Rügen, owe their particularly intense flavor to the red smear cultures used in their production.

 Austria’s Concept Fresh continues to grow its no-melt cheese sold under the Gusteria brand. The most recent introduction is Burger, which are patties sized for bun. This joins the brand’s snacking size that rolled out two years ago. Both the burgers and the snacking medallions come with grill marks, so that they can be easily microwaved and served. The burger made its debut in the Classic flavor. The snacks come in three flavors: Chili-Paprika, Classic and Herbs.

M.J. Dairies of Bulgaria showcased an innovative kids’ cheese snack. The recloseable tub is designed to resemble a fish bowl, while the cheese snacks it contains come in the shapes of fish, dolphins and starfish. The cheese is vacuum packed inside the tub, with or without brine.

Switzerland Cheese Marketing is introducing Smart Snack. The branded snack is from and with Original Swiss Emmentaler AOP, a raw milk cheese made with cows milk from the valley of the Emme in the canton of Berne and made in the same region by local dairies. Each 178-gram upscale package contains two slices of the cheese (70 grams total), two slices of bread (80 grams total), a jar of spread (28 grams) and a knife. There are three varieties. Break Filler has whole meal bread with cranberries and cherry and orange spread. Life Saver has whole meal rye bread with chia seeds and a peppery pear and passion fruit spread. Soul Food has whole meal oat bread with apricots and apricot and pimiento spread.

Because kids want their own fun snack products, Italy’s Parmareggio SPA is rolling out the ABC and 123 collections. These snack packs contain single-serve portions of parmesan cheese along with accompaniments such as breadsticks, crackers, muffin and even a juice box.

Greece’s Alpha Gefsi Edesmata offers consumers a fun way to enjoy feta, which is as a dip and spread. Often mixed with Greek yogurt, or various herbs, spices or chopped vegetables, the product line recently had a makeover, with packaging now showing food photography and offering serving suggestions.

Italy’s Granarolo Group is making ricotta cheese a convenient snacking product by making it available in single-serve cups. The product is also lactose free and marketed as a high-protein food.

The company is also one of a number of Anuga exhibitors who introduced baked cheese snacks. Granarolo Cheese Crisps are 100% Italian cheese snacks that are gluten, lactose and carbohydrate free. High in protein, the shelf-stable cheese snacks come in five varieties. They are: Black Olive, Classic, Onion, Paprika and Pizza.

Such baked cheese snacks are gaining momentum throughout Europe, so much so, that non-dairies want a piece of the action. Hungary’s Felfoldi Confectionery Ltd., will be rolling out Let’s Cheese early next year. These 100% cheese oven-baked snacks are marketed as rich in protein and calcium. They come in range of varieties, including ethnic flavors such as Hungarian and Italian, as well as Hazelnut, Natural and Pork Rinds.

At the NACS show in Chicago, which ends today, Friday, October 20, Sargento, Plymouth, Wis., brings a flavorful twist to the familiar with a new and unique cheese snack. The Southwest Blend Snack Stick is natural cheese that blends the creaminess of Monterey Jack with Chipotle Cheddar, Colby and Pepper Jack cheeses.

About a year ago, Tyson Foods Inc., Springdale, Ark., introduced the Hillshire Snacking brand, which includes an array of individually portioned protein snacks for an elevated on-the-go eating experience to satisfy a more sophisticated food palate. The line includes Hillshire Snacking Small Plates, with each offering containing 15 or more grams of protein per serving. The plates are combinations of meat (salami slices, spicy pork chunks or grilled chicken chunks), cheese, crackers, crisps and nuts. At NACS, the brand revealed it latest addition to the line. The new combinations come with alcohol flavor-infused meats. Varieties are: Apple Chardonnay, Smokey Bourbon and Whiskey & Brown Sugar.

Chicago-based Kraft Heinz Co., is also grows its meat and cheese P3 (portable protein pack) snacking line. New P3 Protein Plates contain 60% more food than the original snacking size, according to the company. They are currently available in four varieties: Turkey, Cashews, Cheddar and Cranberries; Chicken, Almonds, Colby Jack and Blueberries; Ham, Cashews, Cheddar and Cranberries; and Turkey, Almonds, Monterey Jack and Blueberries. All P3 Protein Plates are designed to be shelved in the refrigerated section.{7279EF7C-C92C-4BB7-9153-6D3578965EF4}&pid={772BEDAE-50B9-46F8-861D-E13763FDE010}

Friday, October 13, 2017

Anuga 2017: Global Cultured Dairy Trends

Skyr was one of many cultured dairy product sensations in the spotlight at Anuga 2017, which was held this week in Cologne, Germany. This biennial food fair is the largest of its kind and has an entire exposition hall dedicated to dairy foods. While cheese dominated the hall, cultured dairy foods had a very strong presence.

Greek yogurt maintained a healthy showing; however, many global processors, in efforts to be ahead of the game in terms of what might be the next Greek yogurt, showcased numerous other cultured dairy formats. Skyr was one of them.

Skyr has been Iceland’s signature food for nearly a thousand years dating back to the 9th Century when it’s believed that Vikings brought skyr on their journeys. It has the consistency of strained Greek yogurt but is milder in flavor. It is high in protein, with traditional skyr made with nearly zero fat milk. In its traditional use it is diluted with water or milk and consumed as a beverage; however, modern-day skyr comes in a container and is consumed in a similar manner as yogurt.

In the past few years, skyr has been gaining traction in Europe and North America. It’s poised to become a bigger deal going forward, as curious consumers are growing tired of Greek yogurt and are seeking out the next healthful dairy food. U.S. processors are taking note.

For example, last month at Expo East in Baltimore, Maryland, Icelandic Provisions, which made its debut in the U.S. about 18 months ago, relaunched the line with a redesign and new flavors. The company’s initial rollout included five flavors: classic Plain and Vanilla, and three Nordic-derived varieties: Strawberry with Lingonberry, Blueberry with Bilberry, and Peach with Cloudberry. Soon after, Coconut, Key Lime and Raspberry were added. Cherry Black Currant will make its debut in January. The flavor was crafted in partnership with Chef Gunnar Gislason, one of Iceland’s most acclaimed chefs and a pioneer ushering in the Nordic food movement in the U.S.

Icelandic Provisions is made with preserved and treasured heirloom skyr cultures and local milk from cows on a largely grass-filled diet. Icelandic Provisions does not contain artificial preservatives, thickeners, sweeteners, flavors or colors.

The company was co-founded with MS Iceland Dairies, the oldest and largest dairy co-op in Iceland, made up of approximately 600 native farms and milk producers. A group of industry veterans were assembled for the U.S. development and management team.

“U.S. consumers are developing a palate for the thick, creamy taste of skyr,” says Einar Sigurðsson, chairman. “They value products with a high-protein content that aren’t packed with the sugar levels you find in the cultured dairy populating grocery shelves across the U.S. We are proud to launch Icelandic Provisions and expand the skyr category with a product that comes directly from the country that invented it and is made with ingredients that are native to the Nordic region.”
Steve Platt, CEO of Icelandic Provisions, says, “It’s important to us to honor and celebrate Icelandic culinary traditions. Working with Chef Gunnar on our flavor development keeps us rooted in native Nordic flavors that pair well with our skyr.”

The new flavor combines ripe black cherries with the tart punch of black currant, both of which are commonly found throughout the Nordics. When Chef Gunnar Gislason is not heading up the kitchen at Michelin-starred Agern in New York, he advises the brand on native Icelandic flavors and culture.

“Eating skyr with ripe berries is a tradition in Iceland that goes back centuries,” he says. “For this flavor, we wanted to craft a cherry that was more complex than what Americans currently have access to and pay homage to that Nordic food tradition of being playful in ingredient pairings.”

Similar in health benefits to the rest of the portfolio, the new Cherry with Black Current flavor boasts 15 grams of protein and 1.5% milkfat, all while remaining naturally low in sugar. Icelandic Provisions can be found in the refrigerated section of more than 4,500 U.S. retail partners nationwide.

Back to Anuga, Bohušovická mlékarna in the Czech Republic showcased its new “Islandska Tradice” (Icelandic Connection) line, describing the product as a high-protein alternative to yogurt and quark. Graphics showcase the quality fruits used in the product, and a Nordic snowcapped countryside gives a nod to the product’s origins.

The single-serve 140-gram containers come in Blueberry, Cranberry, Natural, Peach/Apricot, Raspberry and Strawberry varieties. Natural is also available as a 350-gram family-size tub. The product is 12% protein and 0.1% fat.

Ehrmann is entering the skyr category in its home country of Germany. The initial line is 7.7% protein and fat-free and comes in single-serve cups. In the near future, the company will roll out the first Skyr Snack to-go pouches targeted to adults looking for a healthful, convenient high-protein snack.

The company is also expanding its yogurt line and now offers 470-gram non-returnable glass bottles of whole milk yogurt under its Ehrmann Almighurt line. And, Tropical joins the company’s rather new yogurt drink line, which includes Mango, Raspberry, Strawberry and Wild Berries. Containing less than 1% fat, the clean-label drinkable yogurt beverages are positioned as an on-the-go snack.

Watch for some additional high-protein cultured dairy foods and dairy snacks from Ehrmann to be featured as a Daily Dose of Dairy in upcoming weeks.
Also from Germany, Emmi is growing its Onken brand with a blended product based on whole grains, fruit and whole milk yogurt. Varieties are Cherry, Red & Black Currant, and Vanilla. The product comes in 500-gram cups and features the brand’s special whole grain mixture consisting of rye, barley, oat, wheat and rice.

Koukakis Farm S.A. of Greece was an Anuga taste Innovation Show winner. Nearly 900 companies placed more than 2,300 products in the New Products Database on the Anuga website for consideration for the taste recognition. In total, the jury selected 67 products and concepts.

Koukakis Farm received the accolade for its new stevia-sweetened kefir. This probiotic effervescent cultured dairy beverage comes in Blueberry, Sour Cherry and Strawberry flavors and is promoted for its ability to support digestion and overall health. The fermented dairy beverage is made from fresh Greek milk and is rich in protein, vitamins and minerals.

Another Anuga taste Innovation Show winner is Graham’s The Family Dairy in the United Kingdom. The company’s Protein 22, which is fresh, award-winning milk cultured into smooth, fruity quark, received the accolade. The product comes in Blueberry, Peach, Raspberry and Strawberry varieties. It’s fat free with natural fruit flavorings, and contains no preservatives or additives. With 22 grams of protein per pot, Protein 22 is eaten just like a yogurt and is great as a pre or post work out snack, helping to maintain and grow muscle mass.

The Anuga taste Innovation Show program, along with Innova Market Insights analysts, identified numerous trends that will drive future innovation. As expected, protein was one of the recurring keywords among the new products. In addition to protein, less sugar and lactose free were repeated themes among many dairy product innovations. Clean label, too, dominated the discussion.

Whether meat products, vegetarian/vegan products, complete meals, snacks or beverages, the array of products that contain an extra portion of protein is immense. There were a number of milk-coffee drinks enhanced with high-quality protein, some marketed as refuel and energize shots. Yogurt and curd products are now blatantly being positioned as mini meals that are rich in protein. Even ice cream marketers are designing products with added protein.

For example, with its unique combination of protein and caffeine, Innoprax AG’s Caffè Lattesso Sport is promoted as the ideal power coffee for successful training sessions. S.A. Corman offers a Cream with Greek-Style Yogurt. It meets the demand for products that naturally pack more pleasure and new taste experiences with a lower calorie count. Emirates Industry for Camel now offers Camelicious Camel Milk Protein Bar, which takes all the health and goodness of camel milk and infuses it into a protein snack bar. Ehrmann GmbH offers Qjo in four different flavors. Qjo is claimed to be the ideal source of protein for everyone focusing on conscious nutrition and pleasure at the same time. Look for many of these products featured as a Daily Dose of Dairy in coming weeks.

The so-called superfoods--chia, aronia, acai, but also ginger, green tea, citrus fruits and guarana—were strongly represented at Anuga and round off many products in terms of taste and ingredients. In this way, many classics are being redefined, e.g., quark now with chia and flaxseed.

Completely ready-made meals are nothing new, but the Anuga exhibitors showed new versions, clever packaging sizes and fresh formats. For instance, tomato/peach/apricot flavor vegetarian soups in a grab-and-go bottle and fully cooked chicken breasts in snack portion bar-style sizes. One dairy processor offered grill-ready burgers made completely from cheese. A new Swiss raclette format can be prepared in the oven or microwave in small portions.

Indeed, this 34th Anuga was impressive and a record setter. More than 7,400 companies from 107 countries presented products from all over the world and all categories over the course of five days. Around 165,000 trade visitors from 198 countries took advantage of this unique offer for sourcing, information and ordering at top level.

“Anuga is the world’s biggest and most important business platform for the international food industry,” says Gerald Böse, president and CEO of Koelnmesse. “The trade fair brings the global supply and demand together very precisely. With its clear concept and focus on relevant themes, it is a reliable marketplace for the global food world for customers from Germany and abroad.”

The next Anuga will take place October 5 to 9, 2019. Plan on attending. For more information, link HERE.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Dairy Innovation Opportunity: Designing “Strong” Yogurt

At Health Ingredients Japan this past week, there were extensive discussions surrounding formulating foods for the aging population. Yogurt was identified as an attractive food to get pumped up with extra nutrition for smart aging. Let’s call this strong yogurt.

The concept is simple. As we age, the body needs help to function at its best. That help may come from foods such as yogurt.

According to a recent study published in the August 2017 issue of Osteoporosis International, greater yogurt consumption is associated with increased bone mineral density and physical function in older adults. Researchers correlated the intake of yogurt (any type) with bone mineral density in 4,300 older people in Ireland. After adjusting for body weight, physical activity, overall diet quality and other factors related to bone health, the researchers found that each additional weekly serving of yogurt was associated with higher bone mineral density, and thus a reduced risk of osteopenia and osteoporosis.

Strong is the new skinny

If you have not noticed, there are very few overweight elderly people. Although maintaining a healthy weight helps with longevity, too skinny, a.k.a. frail, can be weakening. This is why building strength as one ages is important.

High-quality protein, such as that found in yogurt, is one of a number of strength-building nutrients. When combined with exercise, dietary protein helps reduce the risk of age-related muscle loss known as sarcopenia.

The active bacterial cultures, in particular those with probiotic functions, found in yogurt may also build strength. Some bacteria provide digestion benefits, while others boost immunity. Prebiotic fibers function as fuel for the probiotics. They also have their own positive impact on digestion. Some have been shown to improve absorption of calcium, further assisting with bone health.

Some fibers, namely chicory root fiber, may also assist with sugar reduction. Sugar content is an attribute yogurt manufacturers cannot ignore, as sugar content of flavored and fruited yogurts continues to be highly criticized. Clean-label reduction is important to maintain yogurt’s natural, simple, healthful halo.

According to a study from the University of Surrey published on September 18, 2017, by Clinical Science, healthy people who consume high levels of sugar are at an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease. The study found that a subject group of otherwise healthy men had increased levels of fat in their blood and fat stored in their liver after they had consumed a high-sugar diet.

The researchers’ findings provide new evidence that consuming high amounts of sugar can alter fat metabolism in ways that could increase risk of cardiovascular disease. And while most adults don’t consume the high levels of sugar used in the study, some children and teenagers may reach these levels of sugar intake by over-consuming soft drinks and sweets, and yes, even some yogurts. These findings support the belief that too much sugar is not good for the body.

This idea of strength and health is not new. It was back in 2003 when HealthFocus research identified the transition in healthy eating from simply removing negatives to adding positives. This transition showed the dynamic shift from avoidance to a proactive search for solutions and the compelling emergence from “better for you” to “good for you.”

A decade or so ago, HealthFocus first identified a change in direction in how consumers perceive their personal health. For many years prior, the percentage of the population that considered themselves in excellent/very good health was on a downward path. But beginning in 2006, HealthFocus saw this begin to reverse, and it continues to climb today. This higher self-evaluation of health reflects a shift in consumers’ confidence, a response to nutritional benefits and the beginning of recognizing the power—and strength—of total well-being and balance.

Less than five years ago, HealthFocus spoke aggressively about the emergence of protein as a more popular health-promoting nutrient, the darkening horizon for sweeteners and the formation of the eating clean revolution. Clean eating evolved from a growing consumer understanding that everything that goes into the body has implications, good and bad, short and long term. This includes the integral role of digestive health to total health and in building strength. Gut health was no longer about stomach-related problems or discomforts.

More currently, HealthFocus research shows that foods and beverages with GMOs are seen overwhelmingly as less healthy, less safe to eat and worse for the environment. This is the opinion of consumers, which is why many mainstream yogurt manufacturers—as compared to organic processors, as organic, by definition is non-GMO—are seeking out non-GMO ingredients.

“Consumer demand for non-GMO foods is on the rise and creating products that are in line with this trend is increasingly key to success for today’s producers,” says Carl Volz, president-America, Sensus, which now offers Non-GMO Project Verified chicory root fiber powders and syrups. “By enabling our customers to use a trusted and recognizable seal on pack, we can help them to provide consumers with greater transparency on ingredient sourcing and ultimately facilitate more non-GMO choices.” 

It’s time for the yogurt conversation to include strong yogurt. This is yogurt made with simple, good-for-you ingredients that build strength for healthy aging.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Dairy Foods’ Role in Mindful Snacking Movement

Chances are that sometime today you will snack. You are not alone. Research from The Hartman Group shows that a whopping 91% of consumers snack multiple times throughout the day. The notion of three square meals a day is long gone, as the boundaries further blur between what constitutes as a snack and as a meal. Snacking has become the most significant food and beverage occasion and dairy processors are wise to develop products that meet this need.

This occasion is now being fine-tuned into the concept of mindful snacking. Research shows that taste is the number-one driver of snack selection; however, nutrition and health, or what the snack provides, is increasingly important. This is particularly true to the nearly nine out of 10 consumers who snack multiple times per day.

The Future of Snacking survey from The Hartman Group showed that grazing has become the new normal. In fact, 7% of snacking consumers foregoing traditional meals altogether in favor of all-day grazing.

There are three main drivers for snacking. More than half (56%) of the survey respondents indicated they snack for needs related to nourishment. This is all about hunger abatement, managing hydration, health and diet conditions, as well as snacking for sustained energy. Other motivators include seeking satisfaction and performance optimization.

“Forty-nine percent of respondents said they snack for needs relating to pleasure, which fulfills emotional desires for enjoyment, craving, variety and comfort,” says Laurie Demeritt, chief executive officer at The Hartman Group. “Snacking for pleasure also includes satisfaction of needs for discovery when consumers want to explore food types, tastes, provenances, preparation methods, food purveyors and new products.”

One third (34%) of respondents indicated they snack for needs relating to optimization in order to satisfy physical and mental performance demands.

“Optimization snacking might be for quick energy, or to recover and rejuvenate,” says Demeritt. “It is also undertaken to help mental focus and manage stress.”

It’s important to note that snacking drivers change across the day, as do snack forms, flavors and even nutrition profiles. Morning snacks may be more about satiation and nourishment to get through a hectic start. An afternoon snack might be for energy or to satisfy a sweet craving. For the evening snack, maybe it’s about relaxation and pleasure.

The fact is, what you eat between meals as snacks can and does affect health. To attract shoppers, dairy processors are exploring better-for-you formulations, bold flavors and convenience in order to grab share of the snacking dollar. Products are designed to meet these varied needs throughout the day. Many products, in particular in the dairy foods space, make natural, simple and clean label part of the mindful nutrition platform.

“The demand by consumers for products with natural ingredients is continuing to grow because of an overall focus on the lifestyle benefits derived from making healthier choices,” says Jon Peters, president, BENEO. “With 65% of consumers in the Americas considering natural products as better and 47% actively looking for natural products when making food purchase decisions, according to our research, clean label and natural claims are becoming more important in the creation of food products.”

These healthier choices include increasing consumer interest in energy, weight and blood sugar management. Dairy-based snack foods can be formulated to easily address these attributes.
In addition to boosting protein content with high-quality complete dairy proteins, other ingredients to consider including in dairy-based snack foods are chicory root fiber-based inulin and oligofructose. These ingredients help manufacturers improve a product’s nutritional profile by reducing sugar, fat and calories while adding a valuable fiber source from nature. Being soluble and having a moderate sweet taste, they can be easily applied and maintain the taste and texture of the finished product.

Slowly digested and absorbed sugars such as isomaltulose also make sense. A natural ingredient derived from beet sugar, isomaltulose provides balanced and sustained energy with a lower blood glucose rise and less insulin release. 

“It creates an improved metabolic profile with more stable blood glucose levels and a higher concentration of fat utilization in energy metabolism,” says Peters. “It can be used as a sugar alternative, replacing sucrose of other high-glycemic carbohydrates on a gram-to-gram basis.”
For more information on formulating mindful snacks, link HERE.

A New Concept in Dairy Snacking: Jouzge
Jouzge represents confidence and serves as the inspirational name behind a new line of dairy-based snack bars developed to promote healthy eating and a healthy self-image among young women. Created by University of Wisconsin-Madison alumnus and Oregon, Wis., resident Dana Wendt, with formulation assistance from the Center for Dairy Research (CDR), Jouzge bars were born out of Wendt’s desire to create a dairy-based snack for young girls that would fuel their self-love, rather than disparage it.

“Years ago, I was eating a particular bar that had a weight management message attached to its name and marketing,” says Wendt. “My daughter, Hadley, saw me eating this bar and asked if she could take it to school as a snack. While the nutrition was acceptable, I began to worry about the message the bar was trying to send to my daughter. It basically said, ‘you’re not the right size, but if you eat this, you’ll be better.’”

Disillusioned by the messaging, Wendt worked with her daughter and her mother to develop the initial plans for a bar that would pair a positive message with an ingredient list and flavor profile young women and their caregivers could support. In terms of the messaging, Jouzge became a natural name for the bar, as it was the phrase Wendt’s father used as a self-affirmation each day before he headed to work at his B-to-B dairy company.

Growing up in the dairy industry, Wendt was aware of the health benefits of milk and milk products, so she was eager to create a dairy-based bar. Wendt was also looking for that campus connection, so she reached out to CDR, located on the UW-Madison campus, to see if they could help her formulate a nutritious and flavorful bar.

Experts in the application of dairy ingredients, CDR Dairy Ingredients, Beverages & Cultured Products Coordinator K.J. Burrington and CDR Associate Researcher Susan Larson, helped Wendt develop her product. For several months, the team experimented with a variety of different formulas, bar shapes, sizes, coatings and drizzles.

Utilizing dairy proteins was an important part of the formulation process, which included the use of whey protein concentrate, whey protein isolate, milk protein isolate and whey protein crisps, which created a crunchy texture in some of the bars.

“Dairy proteins are high-quality complete proteins that contain all the essential amino acids,” explains Larson. “Essential amino acids are ones that must be provided by your foods as your body cannot make them. Specifically, whey proteins have an especially high concentration of branched chain amino acids-- leucine, isoleucine and valine--that are used for building and maintaining lean body muscle.”

The CDR team helped Wendt to create three flavors: Chocolate Peanut Butter, Chocolate Mint and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. Filled with dairy goodness, each clean-label bar contains no more than 130 calories and 7 to 8 grams of dairy-based protein and no more than 7 grams of sugar.
The CDR also assisted with identifying a co-packer to bring the bars to market. Burrington suggested that Wendt also consider collaborating with industry to help the Jouzge business grow. In particular, Burrington shared the opportunities put forth by the Land O’Lakes, Inc. Dairy Accelerator program, which supports U.S. dairy entrepreneurs by providing access to business resources, financial support and more. Interested companies must apply and be accepted into the highly competitive program. A successful applicant, Wendt recently became a part of the program.

“The Land O’Lakes, Inc. Dairy Accelerator program will serve as a mini-MBA,” Wendt says. “We expect it will accelerate the launch of Jouzge and advance dairy.”

All about positive messaging for girls and for dairy, Jouzge has been growing quickly. Launched in August, the bar is sold locally as well as on Amazon. Jouzge was recently accepted into the Amazon Launchpad program, which provides start-ups with the resources they need to succeed on Amazon.
For more information on Jouzge, link HERE.

Dairy Accelerator Program
In addition to Jouzge, four other dairy companies were recently selected to participate in the new Land O’Lakes, Inc. Dairy Accelerator program. To qualify for consideration, each company was required to utilize dairy as a primary ingredient in their products.

Beehive Cheese: (Hand-made, artisan cheese)
Beehive Cheese owners Pat Ford and Tim Welsh traded the fast-paced world of software and real estate for a simpler way of life as artisan cheese makers. Based in Utah, Beehive Cheese produces artisan cheeses including award-winning Promontory cheese and hand-rubbed cheeses. 

Dreaming Cow: (Grass-fed yogurt and yogurt drinks)
Dreaming Cow CEO Kyle Wehner grew up on rotational grazing dairies and assisted his family’s cheese company. Based in Georgia, Dreaming Cow is a family-owned company that produces low sugar, high flavor yogurt products using milk from local grass-based, New Zealand-style rotational grazing dairy farms.  To read more about LUSH, link HERE.

Petit Pot: (Gourmet Pot de Crème)
Founded in San Francisco by French pastry chef Maxime Pouvreau, Petit Pot blends French and California culinary heritages in its creamy, rich and gourmet desserts. The company’s Pot de Crème and Riz Au Lait are packaged in glass jars and made with only a few, simple ingredients.  To read more about Petit Pot, link HERE.

Yooli: (Artisan-style farmer’s cheese snacks)
Inspired by the farmer’s cheese she ate as a child in Eastern Europe, Yooli Foods co-founder and CEO Yuliya Flynn developed a protein-rich, creamy dairy snack that is a unique alternative to yogurt. Based in California, Yooli produces snacks made with artisan-style farmer’s cheese. The protein snack is available in a variety of flavors. To read more about Yooli, link HERE.

For more information on the Land O’Lakes, Inc. Dairy Accelerator program, link HERE.

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.