Friday, February 6, 2015

Dairy Foods Innovations: Caramel and Dairy--The Perfect Marriage

Source: Groupe Danone

In case you have not noticed, caramel is one of the hottest flavor trends. Most recently, data from Datassential MenuTrends declared caramel to be the No. 3 dessert flavor on restaurant menus, right behind chocolate and vanilla.

According to an article published this week in Nation’s Restaurant News, chefs love caramel’s versatility while diners crave its sweetness. To read the entire article and get some new product ideas, link HERE.

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Foodservice trends taper down to retail, which is why the flavor trend of caramel is one dairy processors cannot afford to ignore. For starters, traditional caramel confection is made with butter and cream (and lots of sugar), making it a natural inclusion in dairy foods. And for the most part, it is a clean and simple inclusion. It’s made with few ingredients using a simple cooking process and provides loads of color and flavor. When you factor in the indulgence caramel provides, along with how it melds well with so many other flavors and ingredients—from fruits to nuts—dairy processors have a dream ingredient to work with. Of course, in some applications, such as milk and creamer, a liquid caramel flavor—possibly along with caramel color—must substitute for the ooey and gooey confection.

Below are a dozen recent introductions focusing on the flavor of caramel. But before you check them out, here are three ideas I just came up with. I’m sure your innovation team can come up with many more. 

1)    Cream cheese or crème fraiche spread with a swirl of caramel—great on a bagel, for dipping pretzels or even a graham cracker
2)    Dual or even trio compartment of cottage cheese or rice pudding—caramel sauce on the side, maybe with chopped nuts, apple sauce or even chocolate flakes
3)    Layered yogurt parfaits with fruit and caramel



Promised Land, a premium brand of all-natural dairy products, just rolled out Salted Caramel Latte flavored milk. The first of three new limited-time flavors to launch in 2015, this variety features the flavors of rich caramel swirled into a café-style latte, topped with a pinch of gourmet salt and blended with Promised Land’s rich, wholesome Jersey milk. The new flavor retails for $2.99 for a quart size bottle, from now until April, or while supplies last.


Emmi has launched a brand of chocolate milk to sit alongside its existing chilled Caffè Latte coffee product line. Choco Lait, comes in Original and Caramel varieties, and is targeted to females as a healthy way to indulge. Made using carefully crafted ingredients, including Swiss chocolate and fresh Swiss milk, the finished taste is lighter, more refined and not too sweet, as compared to other chocolate milk drinks, according to the company.
Arctic Zero, the pioneer of “Fit Frozen Desserts” without all the fat and calories, unveiled its vibrant new look at the Winter Fancy Food Show in January. The elevated packaging puts a spotlight on the brand’s premium ingredients and indulgent offerings, featuring a refreshed logo, updated flavor names, descriptions, hand-drawn illustrations, original typography and organic, earth-toned colors. An emphasis has also been placed on each product’s core attributes with specially designed badges, as well as attention-grabbing lids and side panels that are artfully filled with unique drawings and bold phrases to call out each product’s flavor and dietary profile. Salted Caramel is one of the most recent flavor additions.




General Mills is rolling out Limited-Edition Yoplait Original Coconut Caramel 1% milkfat yogurt. Each 6-ounce cup contains 180 calories, 3 grams of fat and 5 grams of protein.





Sunshine Dairy is introducing three naturally flavored “real cream” coffee creamers. Sold in pint gable-top cartons to convey the “real cream” inside, the creamers come in Mayan Chocolate (has hints of cinnamon), Salted Caramel and Vanilla Stout (vanilla with hints of malt) varieties. Like its other dairy products, the creamers are cold crafted, using a batch pasteurization process of a lower temperature for a longer time followed by rapid cooling. This process is said to better preserve the flavor of milk and cream. The pints have a suggested retail price of $2.99.
The Dannon Company shows consumers that Greek yogurt can be an indulgent dairy snack. Oikos Caramel On Top is a new format of the popular high-protein yogurt. Each 5.3-ounce cup is Greek yogurt topped with a dollop of smooth creamy caramel. There are two flavors: Bananas Foster and Caramel Macchiato. Even with the extra layer of indulgence, the dairy snacks still pack in the protein, with each single-serve container providing 10 grams. A serving also contains 210 calories and 4.5 grams of fat.


There’s also Dannon Creamery, which includes five cheesecake-inspired dairy desserts that use Greek yogurt as a base and then get topped with sauces, one being caramel. The other four are: blueberry, cherry, lemon and strawberry.


Tillamook recently introduced a line of Dessert Yogurts. The Salted Caramel variety is rich, farm-fresh dairy cream sweetened by caramelized brown sugar and buttery Madagascar vanilla. Each bite also contains a pinch of Mediterranean sea salt for a two-in-one taste sensation, according to the company. The other three varieties in the line are: Honey Cinnamon Crème Brulee, Oregon Strawberry Shortcake and Marionberry Cobbler.

America’s number-one Greek yogurt brand--Chobani--has a major portfolio expansion along with new marketing initiatives to continue its category leadership and deliver on its mission to provide better food for more people. Under its successful Chobani Flip Creations brands comes Salted Caramel Crunch. There’s also new Chobani Dulce de Leche Caramel & Dark Chocolate Indulgent Greek Yogurt.

HP Hood’s 2015 ice cream flavor lineup includes Limited-Edition Fried Ice Cream, which is cinnamon caramel ice cream swirled with caramel and cinnamon crust pieces. Caramel is also an important ingredient in the new England Creamery Nantucket Nutty Cone Sundae Ice Cream, which is vanilla ice cream swirled with caramel and chocolate-covered peanuts and chocolate-covered waffle cone pieces.



Towards the end of 2014, Three Happy Cows started rolling out namesake drinkable yogurts. One of the flavors is Caramel, which is joined by Blueberry, Mango and Pina Colada. The drinkable yogurts come in single-serve 7-ounce plastic bottles. Each bottle contains 7 grams of protein, as well as 130 to 140 calories and 2 to 2.5 grams of fat, depending on variety.


And last, but not least, a first in the protein beverage category: Shamrock Farms Salted Caramel Muscled Builder. The new variety joins Chocolate and Vanilla and is making its debut exclusively at 7-Eleven Stores throughout the U.S.

Salted Caramel Muscle Builder is packed with 30 grams of protein and only nine net grams of carbs and is formulated specifically to help build muscle and strength. Its 12-ounce packaging makes it a convenient on-the-go option to drink before or after a workout, or as a quick meal replacement. It’s also lactose free.
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