Friday, April 17, 2015

Dairy Foods: White’s Boring! Add Color!

It’s that time of year where people who live in “real” four-season regions are finally seeing color. Since the holiday lights were taken down after the first of the year, many of us—and God bless my friends in Boston who have had it especially challenging—have been only seeing shades of black and white…the sleeping trees, the newly fallen snow, and then that dirty, messy, previously white stuff that covers cars, sidewalks and our walk-loving pets.

Today, the trees are budding greens and bulbs are blooming a rainbow of colors. It’s amazing how color uplifts the day.

And then there’s milk….the perfect white canvas. In fact, artists have been known to say that whole milk is the ideal shade of white. But it’s a white begging for color.

With dairy products, color is sometimes added for attention. Other times, it’s for correction, or simply to deliver to consumers the color they expect in strawberry yogurt and cheddar cheese spread.

Here are seven recent innovations that rely on added color to provide an eye-appealing product.

Just in time for the warmer weather, Onken (in the U.K.) is marketing Onken Biopot Wholegrain Summer Berries. This is a blend of creamy yogurt with summer berries (blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and elderberries). It also contains five different types of wholegrain cereals (rye, wheat, oats, wheat bran and barley) for a chewy texture that bursts with berry flavor. This variety, as well as the Strawberry variant, relies on beetroot juice concentrate and carrot juice to round out color. There’s also a Peach variant that includes peach juice concentrate for a color boost.

In the U.S., the latter product could be described as being naturally colored, as peach juice is being used in a peach product. The berry varieties could only be described as not containing artificial colors. 
Tarte Asian Yogurt is a unique French-Vietnamese fusion yogurt produced by a namesake family-owned and operated company located in Southern California. Winston and Henry Lee found inspiration from their mother’s homemade Southeast Asian yogurt recipe after realizing a void in the yogurt industry and craving a nutritious, slightly sweet, somewhat tangy, real authentic “good for you” yogurt. The company began in 2010, and the yogurt’s debut was first reported as a Daily Dose of Dairy in September 2013. You can read the posting HERE.

With no other products like it in the U.S. market, and with U.S. consumers craving new styles of yogurt, the product line was a big hit at Natural Products Expo West in March. Industry movers and influencers were impressed with its creamy consistency, delicate sweetness and subtle tartness.

Unlike Greek yogurt, Tarte is not strained, which allows the yogurt to retain its natural goodness including higher electrolyte and calcium content, according to the company. When compared to traditional flavored yogurt, Tarte has an average of 60 fewer calories, 50% less sugar, and nearly double the calcium. Tarte also contains double the protein of regular yogurt, with zero fat.

The yogurt gets its lightly sweet flavor from the natural milk sugars that are caramelized during a slow-cooking process. Extra sweetness comes from the use of a stevia-based sweetener, which keeps calories low (115 to 120 per serving).

Tarté Asian Yogurt comes in five flavors: Original, Green Tea & Honey, Mango & Coconut, Blueberry & Acai, and Strawberry & Guanabana. The fruit varieties all use fruit and vegetable juice for color.

Unilever Ice Cream is rolling out a number of new frozen treats for this summer. The new Magnum Double Peanut Butter bar is made with the perfect balance of rich peanut butter ice cream, peanut buttery sauce and Belgian Chocolate. Caramel color adds a visual touch of decadence. Each 3.38-ounce single-serve bar contains 340 calories and 24 grams of fat.

BC-USA recently added two new flavors to its popular Alouette Soft Spreadable Cheese line. New York Cheddar is described as a smooth spread with a touch of sour cream and chives. English-Style Brown Ale Cheddar delivers a bold kick of ale flavor that’s provided by malt extract. Both spreads use paprika and beta carotene to provide an eye-appealing cheddar cheese color. A 2-tablespoon serving of either contains 70 calories and 5 grams of fat. 

In select European markets, Unilever is growing its Becel range of dairy and vegetable oil blended spreads with a variety designed for baking and cooking. Like all Becel products, the company says this product is heart-healthy because of its omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acid composition. It contains 50% less saturated fat than traditional butter. A touch of beta carotene gives it a buttery rich color.
Perry’s Ice Cream is just starting to launch a new ice cream line branded Escapes. These pint- and quart-sized treats are designed to take you on a journey, a flavorful one, according to the company. Colors help convey the adventure.

“The majority of our consumers prefer ice cream flavors that are loaded with inclusions; the more, the better,” says Eva Balazs, director of marketing and contract sales at Perry’s. “The trick is finding the right ingredients that complement each other for distinct and indulgent flavor combinations. Sometimes it takes several attempts before we identify that perfect cookie, fruit or nut piece and the right fudge, caramel or fruit swirl for a new flavor.”

When it comes to swirl, the Queen of Hearts flavor includes a raspberry swirl that relies on a red berry color to provide visual impact. That color is based on a blend of juices from black currants, blackberries and elderberries.

Piece of Cake is yellow cake-flavored ice cream with chocolate frosting swirls and pound cake pieces. To communicate the richness of yellow cake, without adding extra calories, the cake batter ice cream base contains some annatto color. That’s also the secret to making the pound cake pieces look like they were made with pounds of farm-fresh butter. 

There are 20 flavors in total, all targeting adult palates. Stay tuned, this product line will be featured as a Daily Dose of Dairy this coming week.

As Eva says, inclusions, and lots of them, are paramount. To read a recent article I wrote for Food Business News entitled “Inclusion innovation: More than a Chip or a Chunk,” link HERE.

This final product shows us how important color is, as it truly makes the celebration. Friendly’s Ice Cream, the operator of more than 250 Friendly’s restaurants and a manufacturer of ice cream products distributed in over 7,500 retail outlets in the U.S., has combined forces with Crayola, a colorfully innovative brand, to introduce a new, one-of-a-kind, premium Crayola Decorate Your Own Ice Cream Cake. Topped with freshly whipped icing, each ice cream cake serves as an edible artist’s canvas that can be customized with packets of blue and red icing, rainbow confetti and green and yellow sprinkles that are included with every package.

Perfect for birthday parties, family gatherings and celebrations of any kind, Friendly’s Crayola Decorate Your Own Ice Cream Cake is sold in a single 60-ounce size that easily serves 12 to 15 guests. Each cake is handmade at Friendly’s creamery in Wilbraham, Massachusetts, and boasts layers of creamy vanilla and rich chocolate ice cream separated by chocolate crunchies.

Have a colorful spring day!

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