Thursday, March 26, 2020

Ice Cream Is Essential. Formulating Flavors for the New Norm Future.

Photo source: Parker Products

I hope that you, your team and all of your families are staying healthy, safe and sane. Thank you to all the dairy farmers, haulers, processors, distributors, retailers and innovators…for your time and energy to keep refrigerators—and freezers (ice cream is quite comforting)--stocked. Please be smart. Stay active. Eat healthy. Keep clean. Be kind. We can do this. Xo 

This coming week would have been the International Dairy Foods Association’s Ice Cream Technology conference, which was running concurrently with the new Yogurt & Cultured Innovation conference, in Miami. The event is currently postponed for a later date and I do plan to kick off the meetings with a joint session on “Staying Relevant Without Succumbing to a Fad: The Past 20 Years in Review.” While the content remains important, I can tell you for the time being, put all your market research to the side and start thinking of flavor innovation to help the world heal.


Here are some words of inspiration from Müller in the U.K.

“Dairy is the cornerstone of Britain’s food industry, so our products and supply chain have a major role to play in helping to feed the nation,” said Bergen Merey, chief executive officer. “This is no longer simply a duty. This is now an obligation.”

Indeed, the global dairy industry has an obligation to feed the world. And consumers are embracing dairy nutrition and deliciousness. After we recover, consumers will hopefully continue to appreciate the products that got them through tough times. This includes ice cream.

The ice cream category has gone through some interesting times the past few years. We’ve seen the rise and decline of many first-generation high-protein, low-calorie products. More recent entries have placed a greater emphasis on total nutrition profile and have made inclusions a priority.

New processing and ingredient technologies are making these better-for-you options possible. Use of ultrafiltered milk, and a blend of high-intensity sweeteners, with the newest one—allulose—resulting in premium products with improved nutrition.

The biggest brand to enter the ice cream space is Fairlife. Non-fat ultrafiltered milk is the first ingredient, followed by cream. Whey protein and egg yolk give the ice cream a protein boost, providing 9 grams per two-thirds cup serving, or 23 grams per container. It’s sweetened with cane sugar, allulose and monkfruit extract, allowing for a “40% less sugar than traditional ice cream” claim. It does not contain sugar alcohols. Lactase enzyme allows for a lactose-free claim. The light ice cream gets an additional nutrition boost with the addition of corn fiber, providing 3 grams per serving.

There are seven flavors. They are: Chocolate, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Cookies & Cream, Double Fudge Brownie, Java Chip, Mint Chip and Vanilla. A serving contains 140 to 190 calories, and 6 to 11 grams of fat, depending on flavor.

Two startups entering the space are Cloud & Joy and Dreamland Creamery.

Cloud & Joy is setting itself apart from others by focusing on flavor innovation. The brand is making its debut with four unique varieties, all of which emphasize the low sugar content, and with some varieties, no added sugars. None of them contain sugar alcohols.
The innovative base starts with organic non-fat milk that is combined with various gums and tapioca flour. Sweetness comes from a unique blend of allulose, organic agave inulin fiber, stevia leaf extract, monkfruit and mushroom extract.

Boozy Bee Vanilla is vanilla with bourbon and honey swirls. Cafecito Coffee & Cocoa Nibs is reminiscent of thick, sweet Cuban coffee with added cocoa flakes. Peppermint & Brownies is peppermint ice cream with hazelnut-infused dark chocolate brownies with hazelnut slices. This variety also contains spirulina superfruit for a health benefit. Sea & Smoke Chocolate is dark chocolate ice cream with cherrywood smoke flavor, sea salt and roasted, glazed, salted pecans.

Dreamland Creamery’s better-for-you light ice cream has 50% less sugar than regular ice cream and 8 grams of protein, which is as much protein as a glass of milk. Crafted with ultra-filtered milk and no artificial flavors or colors, Dreamland Creamery comes in four flavors: Chocolate Chocolate Chip, Cookies & Cream, Peanut Butter Chocolate Swirl and Vanilla.

So, what about flavor innovation for post-COVID-19? Based on my 30 years of experience reporting on dairy foods trends, I can confidently state the following three opportunities to assist with fueling your flavor innovation.

1. Flavors should be comforting and reminiscent of calmer times. There’s room for a lot of limited-edition flavor innovation to invite shoppers to explore the frozen dessert case and help raise spirits. Ice cream can do that. I challenge someone to quickly come up with an Easter egg hunt ice cream for family entertainment. Proms and graduations may not be happening. School-centric flavors are appropriate, such as lunchbox PB&J or cafeteria confusion, which might by a monthly mystery flavor? Instead of sharing a dance, enjoy a pint of “stuck on you.” Vacations will be cancelled. How about offering flavors that highlight common family summer destinations? This may include beach themes, amusement parks and how about a tribute to the major metropolitan areas being hit the hardest right now. How about a San Francisco artisan chocolate line, New York City apple pie and Chicago popcorn? Photo source: Parker Products

2. Speaking of vacations, there’s a really good chance that international travel will be down for quite some time. Ice cream is a great vehicle for exploring flavors from around the world. Think durian, miso and tiramisu. In addition, many ethnicities having their own signature recipe. Think dondurma, gelato and kulfi. Now’s a great time to explore new textures and formats. Baked inclusions are a great way to add flavor and texture to ice cream. They deliver a twofer: a dessert within a dessert. It’s double the fun.

3. Lastly, expect to see more flavors with benefits. This will include a focus on high-antioxidant fruits, heart-healthy nuts and botanicals, such as chamomile, lavender and green tea. Consumer interest in preventive daily healthcare will likely experience aggressive growth. Add a healthful halo to ice cream to give consumers permission to indulge. Photo source: Parker Products

In closing, please EMAIL me innovation and philanthropic efforts by your company. Remember, we are better together and can learn from each other.

Danone North America has donated $1.5 million to food banks and food rescue organizations. The donation includes support for New York-based City Harvest and Feeding Westchester, and Colorado-based Community Food Share and We Don’t Waste. These are food access organizations in two states where the company has headquarters offices and large employee populations. In addition, the company is offering enhanced benefits for hourly employees who are on the front lines helping ensure that grocery shelves are stocked. This includes approximately 2,600 hourly employees (and their families) working in Danone North America manufacturing plants and warehouses.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

The New Norm Confirms the Importance of Dairy—and Probiotics--in the Diet

Photo source: Nancy's Yogurt

First and foremost, I hope that you, your team and all of your families are staying healthy, safe and sane.

Thank you to all the dairy farmers, haulers, processors, distributors, retailers and innovators…for your time and energy to keep refrigerators—and freezers (ice cream is quite comforting)--stocked. Please be smart. Stay active. Eat healthy. Keep clean. Be kind. We can do this. Xo

Like most of you, I’ve spent the past week adjusting to the new norm. Part of that new norm has included more online reading, participating in more webinars and observing the changing marketplace.

My big takeaway: these uncertain, and I will say it, very “scary” times, will likely result in consumers and industry hitting their reboot buttons and prioritizing what’s important. Somehow consumers jumped from wanting clean, simple, fresh-from-the farm foods, to highly processed and fabricated foods, albeit many of them carrying an organic or natural claim, that had no resemblance to anything Mother Nature created.

Something for suppliers to the industry to remember, while many innovators are not in the lab developing new products, they are sitting at their computers and catching up on webinars they missed and reading everything they can get their hands on. Food scientists—I am one—cannot let their brains dry out. They crave information, and while they may not be hands-on mixing, blending and producing prototypes, I guarantee they are creating on paper. They are developing lists of samples to request. They are writing formulas. For the first time ever ingredient companies have a captive audience.

And, most importantly, “we are better together.”


Within less than two weeks, we’ve seen what matters most to shoppers. After toilet paper, hand sanitizer and other cleaning supplies, the three most sold-out departments in supermarkets across the country were meat, bread and dairy. Upon close personal observation of dairy cases and from insights from others, cultured dairy, specifically products making probiotic claims, are selling out quickly. Amazon has about a month delay on shipping probiotic supplements. Many multi-vitamins and antioxidants are on backorder, too.

This shows that consumers understand the association of probiotics with gut health and building immunity. Dairy processors can provide nutrient-dense dairy foods that deliver proven probiotics to consumers. It’s a very active space in dairy markets around the world.


“Functional benefits have never been so important or so dialed in to specific needs and desires,” wrote The Hartman Group this week. We can expect this to intensify moving forward.

Since the beginning of the year, a number of new dairy product lines have been introduced that are made with one of the most documented probiotic strains with more than 300 published studies. It’s the Bifidobacterium lactis BB-12 strain, which is associated with immunity and intestinal health. Chr. Hansen supplies the BB-12 strain, as well as other well-studied probiotics.

Sierra Nevada’s new Probiotic Organic Yogurt Drink is made with the BB-12 strain. It also contains the lactase enzyme to ensure the product is lactose free, an attribute that appeals to consumers with—real or perceived--lactose intolerance or insensitivity. Adding lactase also breaks down milk’s inherent sugar—the disaccharide lactose--into the monosaccharides glucose and galactose, which are perceived as sweeter than lactose. This makes an added sugar reduction possible.

Good Culture introduced no-added-sugar Probiotic Smoothies. Made with pasture-raised, protein-rich kefir, the USDA organic smoothies are available in three flavors: Pineapple, Vanilla and Wildberry. The drinks come in 7-ounce bottles and contain 7 grams of protein. They do not contain any added sugars. The light sweetness comes from the pasture-raised kefir, fruits and organic dates. The smoothies are powered by 35 billion CFUs and feature 12 strains of live and active cultures, including BB-12.

Stonyfield Organic rolled out Daily Probiotics made with BB-12. The yogurt drink comes in a 3.1-ounce easy-to-drink format and is designed to support both immune and digestive health. Available in two flavors--Blueberry Pomegranate and Strawberry Acai--the drinks are made with real fruit and organic low-fat milk, all for only 60 calories.

All of these innovations were developed in response to increasing consumer interest in preventive daily healthcare, which will likely experience aggressive growth. Prior to the COVID-19 crisis, the global probiotics market was predicted to reach nearly 80 billion dollars by 2025, according to Grand View Research Inc.

My friends at Nancy’s have long taken probiotics and health seriously and educate consumers that not all probiotics are created equal. This is why the formulators have selected strains that are clinically documented. They’ve carefully chosen a broad range of probiotic strains to help create a lineup that may help support immune and digestive health.

Probiotics make sense in ice cream and desserts, too. Earlier this year, Pro Rich Nutrition rolled out namesake high-protein frozen dessert tubes, which are loaded with protein, probiotics, prebiotics, and 26 vitamins and minerals. Sold in boxes of three tubes, the frozen dessert comes in five varieties, all of which contain cocoa protein nuggets made with whey protein concentrate and isolate. Varieties are Chocolate, Coffee Caramel (Rocket Launch), Mint, Strawberry and Vanilla (Jo Jo’s Original). One tube contains 130 to 150 calories, 4 to 5 grams of fat, 10 to 11 grams of protein, 5 to 9 grams of added sugars and 3 grams of fiber. Protein content gets boosted from the cocoa nuggets and milk protein concentrate. Organic agave inulin and organic monkfruit help keep added sugars in check.

To read more about how “probiotics make dairy special,” link HERE.

And HERE is a must-read blog post written by Glenn Gibson, professor at the University of Reading in the United Kingdom, regarding the possible connection between gut health and COVID-19 infection. Thank you International Scientific Association of Probiotics and Prebiotics for sharing.

I want to emphasize what I wrote earlier, “we are better together.”

Going forward in this new norm, I welcome processors to share with me by EMAIL your efforts to best market dairy’s powerhouse package so that others may learn how to spread the word.

Here’s communication from my friends at Prairie Farms.

“With all of the uncertainty in the marketplace around the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), Prairie Farms wants to reassure our customers that we will continue to provide high-quality, safe and nutritious dairy products. All of our manufacturing facilities are operating normally and will continue to deliver milk and dairy products to our retail and foodservice partners so they can keep shelves stocked with the products you love.
Preserving the quality and safety of milk begins on the farm and follows through to the refrigerator. All milk and dairy products must undergo multiple safety, quality and sanitation tests and procedures on our farms, in transit and at our processing plants to ensure their safety. In fact, dairy foods produced and processed in the United States are some of the most highly regulated and safest foods available to consumers. For example, the milk in your glass is tested up to 17 different times before it reaches you…We hope you will take comfort in knowing that our dairy farm families and team members stand ready to do our part to help feed America during this unprecedented crisis. We are committed to keeping you informed and will provide updates as needed.”

Thank you, Prairie Farms!

If you need a resource to assist with your communication plan, the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) just launched its new and improved website that you can view HERE. In addition to serving as a tool for advocacy, education and networking on behalf of the dairy industry, the website’s new features will play an important role in times like these—when nimble, reliable communications are more important than ever.

The IDFA also issued a new Q&A document to provide producers, processors and manufacturers of food with answers to questions about the safe production of food and the health of employees given the current environment where COVID-19 is present. The document provides recommendations on what to do if an employee tests positive for COVID-19. Download the FAQs HERE.

Here’s an interesting READ on the potential effects the coronavirus could have at the grocery stores, farms, food markets and economy from Jayson Lusk, distinguished professor and head of the department of agricultural economics at Purdue University.

I will close the blog with something I read on Ad Age’s Wake-Up Call, where the analyst looks at the current crisis through the lens of 9/11. “The economy needs marketers and marketing.”

Photo source: Tipsy Scoop

That’s what Melissa Tavss, owner of Tipsy Scoop in New York City, is doing. I encourage readers in New York to order an ice cream cocktail to take home and enjoy. You can order online, too, so it’s a “no touch” option. Check out the menu HERE.

Cheers! Stay healthy, safe and sane. Best, donna








Friday, March 13, 2020

Expo West: A Virtual Tour of All Things Dairy…and More (Part Two)


During these uncertain times, there’s one thing we all need to survive. That’s food. Thank you to all the dairy farmers, haulers, processors, distributors, retailers and innovators…for your time and energy to keep refrigerators stocked. Please be smart. Stay active. Eat healthy. Keep clean. Be kind. We can do this. xo

With that, here are numerous innovations that were to be showcased at Expo West. I’m sad we missed sampling them. Please enjoy…

Alexandre Family Farms had planned to sample its new Vanilla Cream Top Organic A2/A2 no-sugar-added 6% milkfat yogurt. The simply made probiotic yogurt comes in 24-ounce tubs. The milk comes from the company’s multi-generational, family-owned northern California farm started in 1988. The dairy cows graze on lush, green grasses. The new product is a pourable, sweet and tangy homestyle yogurt loaded with omega 3 and 6 fatty acids and free of beta-casein A1. It is sweetened with organic monkfruit extract and loaded with probiotic cultures.

https://www.ingredion.us/ExploreTrends/sensoryexperience/letstalktexture.html/?utm_source=MBuy&utm_medium=BerryOnDairy&utm_campaign=Ingredion_SBTFY20_Audience&utm_content=Ingredion_SBTFY20_Audience_930x110_LetsTalkTexture(Nachos)_SensoryExperience

Ito En North America now offers Jasmine Milk Tea, which joins its popular milk tea line of Matcha Milk Tea and Black Milk Tea. Jasmine tea has been a longtime favorite for the discerning tea drinker for its fragrant and elegant aroma. Brewed with green tea leaves scented with jasmine flowers and all-natural ingredients, the new ready-to-drink Jasmine Milk Tea offers an on-the-go café experience. The beverages come packaged in playful cow-patterned bottles and Japanese kanji characters, with one 11.8-ounce bottle containing 140 calories and selling for $2.49.


Epicurean Butter was going to give attendees a sneak peek at its three new chef-created finishing butters set to hit the market very soon. Sweet meets savory in Black Garlic. It is a perfect mix of molasses-like richness with subtle garlic undertones. The black garlic is aged for weeks at just the right temperature to produce a unique flavor unlike ordinary garlic without any overpowering scent or flavor. The Everything Bagel Blend Butter is a homage to the famously popular everything bagel. It contains sesame seeds, garlic, onion, salt, poppy seeds and more. The Honey Vanilla Butter is a sweet compound butter that is the perfect companion to breakfast breads, lunchtime salad dressings, dinner veggies and party charcuterie boards.



Danone North America had an extensive menu of new dairy and dairy alternative products to reveal to the industry at Expo West. Starting with the Activia brand, there’s Activia Less Sugar & More Good. Loaded with billions of live and active probiotic cultures, the new yogurt is sweetened with only fruit and honey. There are four varieties: Blueberry and Cardamom, Fig & Cinnamon, Pear & Ginger, and Pineapple & Passionfruit. A 5.3-ounce cup contains 130 calories, 4.5 grams of fat, 11 grams of protein and 9 grams of sugar, only 3 grams are added. The rest are inherent to the milk.

There’s also new Activia Dairy-Free. It is made with almondmilk and comes in Blueberry Acai, Peach Hibiscus, Raspberry Pomegranate and Vanilla Cinnamon flavors. A 5.3-ounce cup contains 120 calories, 4 grams of fat, 3 grams of fiber and 8 grams of total/added sugar.

New Light & Fit Collagen + Antioxidants is an excellent source of protein with 15 grams per 5.3-ounce cup. Collagen is a protein known to boost skin and joint health. Varieties are: Cherry Black Currant, Kiwi Mango, Raspberry Lime and Tangerine Grapefruit. The 5.3-ounce containers stand out at shelf with their vibrant purple packaging. One serving contains a mere 90 calories and 6 grams of inherent sugar. None are added.




Under the company’s Oikos brand comes Oikos Pro Bars, which capitalize on the growing trend of fresh, refrigerated protein bars. They deliver on-the-go nutrition with 20 grams of protein and 8 grams or less of sugar per 60-gram bar. Made with a Greek yogurt and nut butter base, varieties are: Blueberry Cashew, Chocolate Peanut Butter and Salted Caramel Almond.


The company is also growing its Two Good Greek Lowfat Yogurt with Mango Hibiscus and Raspberry varieties. Sold in 5.3-ounce cups, one serving provides 12 grams of dairy protein and only 80 calories and 2 grams of total sugar. The brand developed a patent-pending slow-straining batching process that removes the sugar from the milk used to make the yogurt. What’s left is a thick, creamy Greek low-fat yogurt. The no-added-sugar yogurt is sweetened with stevia Reb M. Tapioca starch builds full-fat body. The new flavors join Black Cherry, Blueberry, Coconut, Mixed Berry, Peach, Plain, Strawberry and Vanilla.


Good Culture planned to highlight its new no-added-sugar Probiotic Smoothies. Made with pasture-raised, protein-rich kefir, the USDA organic smoothies are available in three flavors--Pineapple, Vanilla and Wildberry—and come in 7-ounce bottles. Loaded with 7 grams of protein, the smoothies do not contain any added sugars. The light sweetness comes from the pasture-raised kefir, fruits and organic dates. The smoothies are powered by 35 billion CFUs (colony forming units) and feature 12 strains of live and active cultures, including the probiotic powerhouse Bifidobacterium lactis BB-12, the world’s most researched and documented probiotic strain. The BB-12 strain is clinically proven to rebalance gut flora and help the microbiome, leading to overall improved gut health, as well as boost overall immunity by increasing the body’s resistance to common respiratory infections.


The smoothies complement Good Culture’s recently launched Wellness Gut Shots, which combine the efficacious probiotics in cultured kefir with functional superfood ingredients such as turmeric, matcha, chaga and collagen for a targeted approach to wellness.

siggi’s, a forerunner in lower-sugar yogurt with simple ingredients, is rolling out its first-ever kids’ yogurt pouches. The products contain 50% less sugar and 30% fewer ingredients than leading kids’ yogurts, according to the company. siggi’s kids’ pouches feature creamy, non-tart 2% milkfat yogurt in two flavors: Blueberry and Strawberry & Banana. The new pouches are part of a year-long launch of innovative products, which also includes siggi’s plant-based product line.


The plant-based products have been two years in the making. They contain three times more protein and 40% less sugar than leading yogurt alternatives, according to the company. The recipe contains 10 grams of protein and 8 to 9 grams of sugar per 5.3-ounce cup, and like all siggi’s products, is made with simple, recognizable ingredients. Launch flavors include Mango, Mixed Berries, Raspberry and Vanilla Cinnamon.
The siggi’s plant-based product line is made with a proprietary blend of coconut, macadamia, and pea protein. True to siggi’s long-held commitment to lower sugar and simple ingredients, this innovation contains more protein than sugar in each cup and consumers will find a list of all-natural ingredients that can be easily pronounced.

From the women-led team at Coolhaus, and just in time for Women’s History Month, comes Queens’ Coffee. The ice cream is made with Allegro Coffee’s Three Queens Blend, which supports women farmers.


Founded in New Zealand, a2 Milk is a nutritional wellness brand focused on providing dairy products void of the A1 protein, which for some, is believed to cause digestion issues. The brand is adding Fat Free Milk to its lineup of Whole Milk, 2% Reduced Fat Milk, Chocolate Milk and coffee creamers (Sweet Cream and Creamy Vanilla), all of which are produced from real dairy cows that naturally produce only the A2 protein.

For Organic Valley, Thick Cut off the Block Shredded Cheese was going to be its big dairy showcase. The new shreds come in five varieties: Mozzarella, 3 Cheese Italian, 3 Cheese Mexican, Mild Cheddar and Sharp Cheddar. These thick-cut shredded cheese varieties are crafted to elevate the meal experience, as they provide consumers a cheesier flavor, better cheese pull and a gooier melt, all attributes consumers are looking for in their home-cooked recipes, according to the company. The shreds come in 6-ounce bags and sell for about $5.49.


The Wisconsin cooperative was also going to give attendees a sneak peek at its new Organic Egg Bites. Each pack of two provides 14 to 16 grams of protein. The gluten-free bites are made with all organic ingredients and come in three flavors: Feta and Chives, Ham and Swiss, and Sausage and Pepper Jack. They are less than 250 calories and ready in 90 seconds in the microwave.

London-based Pots & Co was founded in 2013 by a Michelin-trained chef who recognized a void in proper desserts available through supermarkets. Sourcing only the finest ingredients, such as Cornish sea salt, Alphonso mangoes and sustainable Colombian cocoa, the refrigerated desserts quickly gained distribution through much of Western Europe. The company is now aggressively entering the U.S. with its extensive range that comes packaged in single-serve premium colorful ceramic pots or petite glass jars, both of which are marketed as being reusable and recyclable. The line includes posset, a cream, sugar and citrus-based British dairy dessert.

World Dairy Innovation Awards
Dairy processors around the world continue to amaze with their innovation efforts. Here’s a chance to receive recognition: enter The World Dairy Innovation Awards 2020. The U.K.-based FoodBev Media has organized and presented this award for the past 14 years. This year the judges will be selecting winners in 20 different categories. The finalists and winners will be announced at a special gala dinner during the 14th Global Dairy Congress on the evening of June 16, 2020, in Laval, France.
For more information and to enter, link HERE. This year, the closing date for entries is April 30, 2020.


Thursday, March 5, 2020

Expo West: A Virtual Tour of All Things Dairy…and More (Part One)

Geez, what a whirlwind of a week! While I was relieved when I decided on Saturday to cancel my travels to Anaheim for Natural Products Expo West, I was in shock when I learned on Tuesday morning—while in Nashville for the American Meat Conference—that the restaurant where I dined the previous evening was in the tornado’s path. Like I said, it’s been a whirlwind of a week. Hope yours was less eventful.

To read more about the postponement—probably ultimately cancellation—of Expo West, link HERE.

The announcement was made very late in the game, with some companies having already started booth assembly. Samples had been shipped and some staff was on site. More than 3,600 companies had planned to exhibit, but concerns related to coronavirus (COVID-19) ultimately shut down the event that was to be held March 3 to 7 in Anaheim with an expected attendance of more than 85,000.

Food Business News put together a slideshow of innovations that had been scheduled to debut at the expo. You can view it HERE. This will give you a taste of what would have been the dominating themes of the show. As forecast last week, added sugars, calories, CBD and, of course, plant-based products dominated.

We will never know if the anticipated anti-dairy protesters would have made it onto the show. But I’m ready for my next encounter with them…Jill Biden has given me a few tips. Way to go Jill!

https://ingredientsolutions.balchem.com/dairy/

Here are some of the dairy products that were to be showcased at the expo. Take note of how companies who have plant-based options planned to showcase real dairy at the expo.

While Alden’s Organic recently introduced a line of plant-based frozen desserts, its heart remains in dairy. For Expo West the company rolled out two new 14-ounce containers--Ooey Gooey Brownie (organic chocolate ice cream loaded with organic brownies and decadent fudge) and Peachy Keen Twist (Organic peach and sweet cream ice cream swirled with organic blackberries)—and a 48-ounce sqround of Old Fashioned Vanilla.

Humphry Slocombe, which also recently introduced two new vegan flavors--Toasted Sesame Butter & Chocolate Chip and Coconut & Salty Caramel—had a new dairy flavor it planned to sample at Expo West. Scheduled to roll out later this spring, Brown Butter & Jam features brown butter ice cream with a blueberry jam swirl.

Re:THINK Ice Cream encourages you to rethink ice cream and see it as an indulgence with benefits. Introduced last year, the ice cream is lower in calories and contains only one-third of the sugar of traditional ice cream. It is certified low-glycemic; packed with more than 30 grams of whey protein per pint; contains no sugar alcohols or artificial sweeteners; and includes prebiotic fiber, which helps the stomach digest food properly and keeps the gastric system running smoothly, according to Founder George Haymaker, who after entering a recovery program was forced to rethink everything in his life. The company had planned to give Expo West attendees a sneak peek at its new formulation that includes collagen and will be made with A2 milk.
“The better-for-you frozen dessert market has been inundated over the past few years with brands looking to win it big in the frozen foods section,” says Haymaker. “While some have done a great job marketing themselves, the product often leaves the consumer wanting, and can be perceived as chalky, tasteless, and filled with sugar alcohol and air. Re:THINK’s mission is to embrace all-natural, better-for-you ingredients, like A2/A2 dairy, and supplements, like collagen and whey isolate protein, that make a tangible difference to the way our consumers look and feel.”

Brainiac Kids, which is quickly gaining national distribution of its brain-fueling kids yogurt products that debuted a year ago at Expo West, is adding new shelf-stable applesauce pouches to its lineup. Like the yogurts, the applesauce is formulated with the company’s proprietary BrainPack, a blend of omega-3 fatty acids, choline and other nutrients crucial for brain development.

“This latest launch of applesauce pouches is an important step for the company proving the concept can cross multiple kids’ food categories,” says Mark Brooks, president and co-founder. “We were told by many industry experts that it would be impossible to get meaningful amounts of omega-3s, particularly DHA, into a shelf-stable product like applesauce and we are thrilled that we were able to find a way to bring this item to families nationwide.”

The company is donating all the product that would have been served at Expo West to local children. This includes the new applesauce and yogurt drinks and tubes.


NutraDried Food Company had planned on giving attendees a sneak peek to a new variety of Moon Cheese scheduled to debut late spring. White Chedda Black Peppa will join two other newer varieties--Garlickin’ Parmesan and Cheddar Bacon Me Crazy--as well as renamed fan-favorites Cheddar Believe It, Oh My Gouda and Get Pepper Jacked.

Full of nutrients to fuel consumers for their workday, workout or home life, Moon Cheese brings together over 10 grams of protein, no sugar and less than 2 grams of carbs per 1-ounce serving. The result is a 100% cheese snack that is satisfyingly crunchy with no refrigeration required.

“We’ve doubled each of the past two years and the brand relaunch and new flavors will further accelerate that growth,” says Mike Pytlinski, CEO. “For our retail partners, we’re helping drive the emerging natural snack category. For consumers, we’re providing a healthy dairy snack, available at any time, and that does not compromise great taste or nutrition.”

Bubbies Ice Cream is debuting its new Churro Mochi Ice Cream. Inspired by the global flavors of the beloved Latin dessert, Bubbies Churro Mochi Ice Cream (pictured) fuses the indulgent experience of authentic fried churros into a one-of-a-kind new mochi ice cream treat. The Churro Mochi Ice Cream was the winner of the 2019 #MakeMyBubbies contest, which invited fans to submit and vote on social media for their favorite aspiring flavor.

“At Bubbies, we love taking iconic flavor combinations and putting our spin on them to deliver fresh and innovative new ways for people to enjoy them,” says Bubbies CEO, Rick Schaffer. “With churros being one the most beloved and nostalgic treats around the world, we knew that combined with our super premium ice cream and our one-of-a-kind mochi dough, this bite sized treat wouldn’t disappoint.”

While Bolthouse Farms was planning on having a “Plants Powering People” themed booth, one of its new products relies on milk protein isolate as a star ingredient. The new Bolthouse Farms Protein Keto comes in Dark Chocolate, Coconut, Coffee and Matcha flavors. In addition to milk protein isolate, the drinks contain coconut cream and medium chain triglycerides and they are sweetened with erythritol and stevia. This keeps fats high, protein moderate and sugars non-existent.

Wünder Creamery planned to use Expo West to showcase its newly attained Non-GMO Project Verification status for its entire 5.3-ounce line of quark. Made with milk from grass-fed cows, flavors include Strawberry, Blueberry, Coffee, Vanilla Bean Coconut, Raspberry, Matcha, Mango, Coconut, as well as Plain.

Wünder brings quark, a cultured dairy staple that has been enjoyed throughout Europe and Central Asia for centuries, to the U.S. Comparable to a Greek or Icelandic style yogurt, quark is high in protein and low in sugar. Yet quark distinguishes itself in taste and texture by having a much milder, non-tart flavor.

Co-founder and CEO Daniyar Chukin says, “It’s our mission to make the best authentic quark in the U.S. and using simple non-GMO ingredients is part of it. With the recent move to our new production facility, we can now manufacture a non-GMO product and achieve Non-GMO Project Verified status. We want our consumers to know what’s in their food.”

Icelandic Provisions, manufacturers of traditional skyr made with certified heirloom cultures, planned to sample three new varieties in its Krímí Skyr whole milk range: Lemon, Pineapple Coconut, and Cold Brew Coffee. The latter was developed in partnership with Te & Kaffi, Iceland’s largest family-run coffee roastery. There’s also one new Traditional Skyr (a 1.5% milk range) variety: Blackberry Boysenberry. This new traditional flavor uses locally sourced crushed berries from New York state.

Kalona SuperNatural, an Iowa-based dairy that works with small Amish and Mennonite family farms to create its certified organic cream-topped dairy products from pasture-grazed cows, planned to roll out its new kefir at Expo West. It comes in 32-ounce bottles in plain and vanilla flavors.

“Unlike large-scale conventional and organic dairies, we know every farmer in our region. Our company supports their efforts to protect the land and create high-quality, grass-fed milk products for everyone to enjoy,” says Phil Forbes, Kalona SuperNatural Farm Liaison. “A majority of the family farms we work with are multi-generational and have been in the same family for the past 150 years. That says something.”

Need Innovation Inspiration in Ice Cream, Yogurt or Other Cultured Dairy?

Two conferences, one registration…plan your travels to Miami March 31 to April 1 for the International Dairy Foods Association’s annual Ice Cream Technology Conference and the new Yogurt & Cultured Innovation Conference. I will kick off the two meetings in a joint session titled “Staying Relevant Without Succumbing to a Fad: The Past 20 Years in Review.”

Here’s the overview: So much has changed in the food world in the past 20 years, and the ice cream, yogurt and cultured dairy industries have evolved to stay relevant to consumers. There have been some great success stories, as well as some short-lived concepts. This presentation will explore the trends, the fads, the approaches and the achievements of the past two decades to provide insight as you plan your future innovations. We’ll look at 20 product concepts and identify what gave the trends their fuel and how you can continue to evolve to stay relevant to disruptive and demanding consumers, including the emerging generation Z.

World Dairy Innovation Awards

Dairy processors around the world continue to amaze with their innovation efforts. Here’s a chance to receive recognition: enter The World Dairy Innovation Awards 2020. The U.K.-based FoodBev Media has organized and presented this award for the past 14 years. This year the judges will be selecting winners in 20 different categories. The finalists and winners will be announced at a special gala dinner during the 14th Global Dairy Congress on the evening of June 16, 2020, in Laval, France.

For more information and to enter, link HERE. This year, the closing date for entries is April 30, 2020.
https://ingredientsolutions.balchem.com/dairy/




Friday, February 28, 2020

Added Sugars, Calories, CBD and COVID-19 Will Dominate Conversation at Expo West 2020

Photo source: Real California Milk/California Milk Advisory Board

In just a few days many of us will be heading to Anaheim for Natural Products Expo West 2020, where an estimated 86,000 health and wellness industry professionals will gather to experience innovations from more than 3,600 exhibitors. While Coronavirus (COVID-19) was not on the agenda, it inevitably will be a topic of discussion and concern.

For those of you stressing out about what you hear in the news and in social media, here’s an excerpt of what the conference organizers posted on February 27.

“The majority of our Chinese exhibitors are unable to participate in this year’s event and a small number of companies are reducing their presence due to corporate travel policies.

You may have read about the local emergency declared by Orange County yesterday. This is in response to the federal government’s attempt to designate a center in Costa Mesa as a future Coronavirus medical support site and has no impact on the Natural Products Expo West event.

We are taking preliminary precautions by providing additional hand washing and hand-sanitizing stations throughout the event and increasing cleaning in high traffic areas.”

To read more, link HERE.

https://www.ingredion.us/challenges/sugarreduction.html/?utm_source=MBuy&utm_medium=BerryOnDairy&utm_campaign=Ingredion_SRFY20_Audience&utm_content=Ingredion_SRFY20_Audience_728x90_GetTheSecrets(SugarIceCream)_SRChallenges
VISIT INGREDION AT EXPO WEST BOOTH #571.


CBD, while still illegal in food and beverage according to FDA, will once again have a very strong presence at the expo. That’s because many manufacturers and marketers are choosing to ignore federal regulations and are opting to work at the state level.

And, of course, as one would expect, plant-based foods in every shape and size will dominate the show. This should not be a surprise as the convention was founded on a hippy lifestyle of alfalfa sprouts and granola. Yogurt was also part of that foundation, which is why dairy successfully manages to shine between plant-based vendor booths, even at plant-based vendor booths, as many dairy processors now offer an extensive range of plant-based products.

What will make dairy shine even more at expo are the efforts being made by processors to deliver on what is the number-one item today’s shoppers look for on product labels, and that is added sugar content. Reducing added sugars also usually decreases calorie content, which is the number-two item shoppers read.

Chicago-based The NPD Group reports that most (nearly 90%) of today’s consumers read labels, as it’s an important information source for them. The top-two items consumers look for are sugars and calories, both of which had an update with the new labeling rules that went into effect this year for companies with annual sales of at least $10 million. Smaller companies have an extra year to comply.

The new updated Nutrition Facts label includes a mandatory added sugars line as a subset of total sugars and calories are listed in a larger font. If the entire package of food can be consumed in one sitting, the label must have two Nutrition Facts columns, one for a single serving and the other for the entire package.

Fifty-seven percent of consumers who read Nutrition Facts labels look for sugars, and 45% of adults say they look at the label to find information on calories, according to NPD’s Health Aspirations and Behavioral Tracking Services. Sodium (38%) and protein (33%) content follow. Interestingly, while total fat and trans fat are important to a fair amount of people, there is little interest in saturated fat. This is good news for dairy, as is the fact that potassium is now a mandatory callout on the Nutrition Facts label because of its importance in a healthy diet. Nine percent of consumers say they read the label for potassium content, reports NPD.

“Consumers are interested in the content of the foods they eat and the Nutrition Facts label is their best source for this information,” said Darren Seifer, food and beverage analyst at NPD. “With most food companies working on the health profile of the foods they produce; the Nutrition Facts label provides them with the ability to showcase these improvements.”

Successfully lowering added sugars can be challenging, as the food must remain palatable, actually “yummy” is what most consumers want. It requires a toolbox of ingredients and technologies.

Photo source: Starbucks Corp.

For example, did you know that vanilla makes milk beverages seem sweeter? That’s right, adding vanilla to sweetened milk makes consumers think the beverage is sweeter, allowing the amount of added sugar to be reduced, according to researchers from Penn State. (ScienceDaily, June 20, 2019.)

“We are utilizing a learned association between an odor and a taste that will allow us to reduce the added sugar content,” according to Helene Hopfer, assistant professor of food science.

The idea that congruent or harmonious odors enhance certain tastes is not new, according to Hopfer, whose research group in the College of Agricultural Sciences has been experimenting with these “cross-modal interactions” in food since she came to Penn State three years ago. Her goal is to see them incorporated into foods.

Results from blind taste tests indicate that with the addition of vanilla, the added sugar content in flavored milk could potentially be reduced up to 50% without any impact on perceived sweetness.

“We maintain the sweetness perception by having this congruent odor--this learned, associated odor--basically trick the brain into thinking that there is still enough sweetness there,” said Hopfer. “Based on our results, taste-aroma interaction is a robust effect.”

Gloria Wang, who was the lead researcher on the project and now an associate scientist in product development with Leprino Foods in Colorado, conducted the research at Penn State as part of her master’s degree thesis in food science. She tested not only congruent taste-aroma combinations but incongruent combinations as well. It turned out that even a beef odor in milk slightly enhanced sweetness for study participants.

Given widespread concerns about sugar intake and health, manufacturers are reformulating their products to help address consumer demand, Wang noted. She believes the findings of the research, which were published in the October 2019 issue of Food Quality and Preference, offer them a workable option to reduce added sugar in their products and retain the sweetness consumers demand.

The Penn State study was novel because it did not ask participants to rate individual attributes of the milk such as sweetness, intensity of vanilla odor or milk taste. Instead, participants took a more holistic approach and simply selected the best match for the vanilla milk from four differently sweetened milk choices.

Hopfer’s lab in the Department of Food Science is working on a two-year project funded by the National Dairy Council to develop a reduced-sugar chocolate milk for the National School Lunch Program. The effort, based on the recent research using the synergistic actions between vanilla and sugar to reduce the added sugar content, will be a challenge because of the inherent bitterness of cocoa.

“The amount of sugar in chocolate milk is quite high because cocoa is very bitter, so you need some sugar to decrease the bitterness of the cocoa and then more to make it sweet,” Hopfer said. “We are hoping to utilize what we found with odors to reduce the added sugar content by experimenting to find the sweet spot between cocoa powder, sugar content and vanilla flavor. We know that if it isn’t sweet, children won’t drink it.”

Vanilla may be one part of that toolbox of sugar-reducing ingredients. Introducing umami into some formulations may help, too. A dash of mushroom extract, for example, contributes a savory deliciousness that may enhance sweetness.

The prebiotic fiber inulin also may assist.


“Inulin has become a success as a natural sugar replacer, used in an ever-growing number of products, and its presence means that companies can also flag up the enhanced fiber content on the label,” said food and beverage consultant Julian Mellentin.

Sugar reduction plus more protein is a big driver of innovation in all food categories. This is particularly true with dairy foods.

The new sweetener allulose is starting to show up in reduced-sugar and no-added-sugar dairy innovations. It is often used in combination with other sugar-reduction tools to achieve the best sweetness profile.

The new Cloud & Joy frozen dairy dessert line exemplifies this approach to sugar reduction. The line comes in four unique varieties, all of which emphasize the low sugar content, and with some varieties, no added sugars. None of them contain sugar alcohols.

The innovative base starts with organic non-fat milk that is combined with various gums and tapioca flour. Sweetness comes from a unique blend of allulose, organic agave inulin fiber, stevia leaf extract, monkfruit and mushroom extract.

Boozy Bee Vanilla is vanilla with bourbon and honey swirls. Cafecito Coffee & Cocoa Nibs is reminiscent of thick, sweet Cuban coffee with added cocoa flakes. Peppermint & Brownies is peppermint ice cream with hazelnut-infused dark chocolate brownies with hazelnut slices. This variety also contains spirulina superfruit for a health benefit. Sea & Smoke Chocolate is dark chocolate ice cream with cherrywood smoke flavor, sea salt and roasted, glazed, salted pecans.

The April 2019 announcement by FDA that allulose did not have to be included in total and added sugar counts in U.S. nutritional labeling has cleared the way for much higher levels of use and a move mainstream. Ingredion recognizes the opportunity of allulose in sugar reduction and now has a manufacturing facility dedicated to its production.

Allulose is a sweetener that tastes and functions like sucrose and is in the family of rare sugars. Allulose is absorbed by the body, but not metabolized, making it nearly calorie-free. Allulose is one of the many types of monosaccharides that exist in nature in small quantities and can be found in certain fruits, including figs, raisins and jackfruit. Allulose has a texture and performance behavior like sucrose providing comparable bulk, sweetness and functionality (e.g., browning, freeze point depression, etc.).

“We are advancing our specialties strategy with the unique value proposition offered by allulose for sugar reduction by aligning with one of the most important food and beverage trends shaping our industry and impacting our customers,” said Ingredion’s president and chief executive officer Jim Zallie.

Allulose, along with inulin, stevia and monkfruit, all of which are derived from nature, may assist with added sugar reduction or complete removal in dairy foods. Also part of that toolbox may be the lactase enzyme.

The sweetness of the inherent lactose in milk can be amplified through the addition of the enzyme lactase, as lactose is a relatively non-sweet disaccharide. Its sweetness index is 16, with sucrose being 100. When lactose is broken down by lactase enzyme into its constituent monosaccharides, glucose and galactose, its sweetness is increased approximately three-fold. By incorporating lactase into dairy foods, not only can sweetness be enhanced, but a lactose-free claim is possible.

Darigold is embracing the growth the cooperative has experienced with its Darigold FIT milk, which has 75% more protein and 40% less sugar compared to traditional milk. Launched in the Pacific Northwest market last year, FIT has doubled in sales and distribution over the past six months. To support this growth, the company is investing $67 million in its Boise, Idaho, milk processing facility this year. Value-added milk is alive and thriving for the company.

FIT was developed in response to consumer trends that demand “better for you” products, which are also delicious and convenient. Using ultrafiltration, FIT is designed to give consumers the taste they want while being lactose-free and high in protein without introducing anything artificial. Darigold recently broadened the FIT product line to include whole milk, as well as offering 2% white and 2% chocolate milk.

“FIT was inspired by our farmer owners’ desire to revitalize fluid milk,” said Duane Naluai, senior vice president. “They, more than anyone, know Darigold must provide consumers with new and relevant types of milk that preserve the wholesome and nutritious foundation that makes milk great in the first place. The positive consumer response we have received gives us confidence that FIT is bringing consumers back to fluid dairy.”

Photo source: Real California Milk/California Milk Advisory Board

Now, back to CBD…but not cannabis. I had the opportunity to experience a dispensary popup in Venice, Calif., on Saturday, which was serving the original edibles: California Based Dairy (CBD). Produced by the innovative team at Real California Milk/California Milk Advisory Board, the California Dairy Dispensary highlighted the natural, mood-enhancing properties of dairy. It was everything expected from a traditional dispensary only in dairy form, which is natural and legal in all 50 states.

“California-based dairy foods, or CBD for short, not only taste delicious but are a natural way to enter a golden state of feeling everything from bliss to excitement,” said John Talbot, CEO of the California Milk Advisory Board. “A dispensary-inspired setting offers consumers an unexpected and unforgettable way to experience their favorite foods made with real milk produced on family dairy farms using the nation’s most sustainable farming practices.”

The menu included a variety of cheeses that were given whimsical names, such as “laid-back dry jack” and “easy breezy original blue.” Parfaits of botanical-infused yogurts were served in varieties such as Blissed Out Blueberry Cardamom, Habanero Mango Loco, Matcha Green Tea Time and Totally Tamarind Chili. Plain popcorn was served alongside micro-dosed-flavored butters that attendees dispensed onto the popcorn. Butter flavors were Best Coast Orange Lavender, Cozy Cinnamon Vanilla, Hell Yeah Harissa, Porcini Bliss and Sunshine (blood orange and wild honey) & Sea Salt.

Flavor-infused ice cream was rolled and served like spring rolls. Cheese & Wine Time was robust chocolate ice cream with blue cheese and sweet red wine. Spiced Orange Sunset combined the taste of California oranges with fresh ground black pepper, a juxtaposition of sweet and peppery spice to elevate one’s mood. Holy Jalapeno combined sweet, smoky roasted corn with the bright heat of jalapeno peppers. Salted Caramel Serendipity was just as the name suggests, salty with brown sweetness.


The popup included education as well. There was a focal wall showing the planet-friendly practices California dairy families use to ensure a cleaner, greener future for generations to come. It explained how the even the feed the cows enjoy helps to create a more sustainable industry, with more than 40% of the feed used to nourish California cows coming from byproducts of food and fiber production.

This is how dairy stays relevant at Natural Products Expo West. Hope to see you in Anaheim. Safe travels.

VISIT INGREDION AT EXPO WEST BOOTH #571.




Thursday, February 13, 2020

For the Love of Dairy



Photo source: Baskin-Robbins 

Happy Valentine’s Day! Love makes the world a better place. Collectively our love and passion for dairy is what keeps this nutritious and delicious food group relevant to today’s consumers.

Condolences go out to my friends at Pecan Deluxe Candy Company who lost their leader—Bennie Brigham—this week. It was not that long ago that I was dancing with Bennie and his wife Mary at an All Star Dairy convention. Bennie was a creative leader, inspiration and a fun dancer! He will be missed. He loved dairy. 

To read more about his legacy, link HERE.

It’s that love of dairy that is fueling growth. That’s right. The U.S. dairy industry is growing, not shrinking or declining as some mainstream media report. In fact, dairy in the U.S. is a $60 billion segment. There are 15 subsegments within dairy and most of these are growing. Since USDA began tracking per capita dairy consumption in the 1970s, the trend has continued upward for five straight decades, increasing 22% since 1975. In the past decade: domestic cheese consumption increased by more than 25% in total tonnage, with per capita consumption up 16%; per capita yogurt consumption is up 14%; per capita butter consumption is up 16%; and IRI purchase data from 2019 shows increased sales for whole milk, lactose-free milk and other fluid products. The product mix in most demand by consumers is changing—we eat more dairy than we drink these days—but dairy overall continues to grow. People LOVE dairy. 

We are the ambassadors and influencers to get the message out to consumers.


Photo source: Bucca di Peppo

I was angry this week. For a lot of reasons, but only one I can share. That was Joaquin Phoenix’s speech at the Oscars. I took to Facebook and communicated to my “friends” some key facts for them to consider, and I was surprisingly thanked multiple times by people who are confused and just want to understand. I’ve posted these key talking points a few times on my blog. As lovers of dairy, I highly encourage you to copy and share in social media.
These are facts:

Two-thirds of global agriculture land is not suitable for growing crops that humans can digest for energy and nutrition. But these lands are suitable for growing grasses and similar plants that ruminant animals consume. 

These plants are basically sources of cellulose. In fact, half of all organic carbon on earth is tied up in cellulose. Humans are not able to use this carbon for energy. Ruminants can, and they do so very efficiently. 

Photo source: Buca di Peppo

Ruminants, namely cows, goats and sheep, digest cellulose and convert it into foods that humans can eat. They make all of that organic carbon that cannot be digested by humans available to humans in the form of high-quality protein, essential fatty acids such as omega-3s and conjugated linoleic acid, and an array of other nutrients. Milk, for example, provides calcium, potassium, phosphorus, protein, vitamins A, B2, B3 and B12. 

Think about a stalk of corn, which provides two to three cobs. Humans can only digest the kernels, and for that matter, not even all of the kernel. The fibrous outer shells of corn kernels pass through the gastrointestinal system undigested due to lack of the necessary digestive enzyme. The rest of that corn plant is useless to humans for energy; however, it’s a meal for ruminant animals such as cows. Cows effectively convert the nutrients in that stalk, husk and cob to meat and milk for human consumption. 

This is why we need ruminant animals to feed the projected 9.7 billion humans who will inhabit earth in 2050. 

Humans are omnivores. We are animals that have the ability to eat and survive on both plant and animal matter. Animal nutrients are powerful. The bear, also an omnivore, gets it. When they are foraging the forest and dining on berries and leaves and see a salmon swimming nearby, they ditch the plants and go for the animal nutrition. Bears are smart. They understand the power of high-quality animal protein. 

Be a bear! This Berry is a bear! And gosh, that ice cream, lasagna and pizza look mighty delicious!