Friday, October 30, 2015

Anuga 2015 Report: Innovations in Natural and Process Cheese Products

This is the third and final review of innovations from Anuga, the world’s largest food exhibition held every two years in Cologne, Germany. Anuga is where you find tomorrow’s hottest new products. To watch a brief video on what Anuga is all about, link HERE.

It’s always very inspiring to see the wide range of cheese offerings at global food shows. After all, most cheeses, or at least cheeses with the “natural” designation, are made with only four ingredients: pasteurized milk, cheese cultures, enzymes and salt. Yet, there are more than 1,400 natural cheese varieties cataloged in the World Cheese Exchange Database.

Here are more than a dozen innovations that caught my eye.

The best of the best is what you get with Taste 15, an accolade bestowed upon the best new products debuting at Anuga. This year, more than 830 companies applied to have their over 2,000 ideas included in the competition. In total, the jury selected 61 products and concepts that convinced in terms of idea, innovative power and creative implementation. There were many winners in the dairy hall, specifically in the cheese category.

One such winner was Switzerland’s Züger Frischkäse AG, which processes fresh, high-quality milk from the Eastern region to produce an array of fresh cheese products, including mascarpone, mozzarella, quark, ricotta and more. Around 200 employees work at the Oberbüren site, refining the milk from more than 380 regional farms. The company received accolades for its new Bio Mozzarella Herzen, organic heart-shaped pieces of mozzarella suitable as an appetizer, especially on “loving” holidays such as Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day.

Also from Switzerland, Lustenberger & Dürst SA received Taste 15 accolades for this cheese seasoned with needles from the Swiss pine, a species from high elevations in the Alps. The sophisticated, essential oils from the needles provide a surprisingly fresh, tangy and woody taste.

The SalzburgMilch Cheese Collection includes three individually wrapped premium Bavarian cheeses packaged in an attractive presentation box suitable as a hostess gift. The Austrian cheesemaker labels the product as being lactose free and made from 100% genetically unmodified milk.

Danish cheesemaker Nordex received a Taste 15 award for its pesto-infused grilling cheese. Taverna Grill Cheese Snack Cubes with Green Pesto are designed to be grilled with a touch of oil in a pan until the surface browns. This gives the cheese a slight caramelized note. The sweetness of the caramelized surface provides a delicious contrast to the mildly salty cheese and the fresh green pesto, according to the company.

Germany’s Jermi Kasewerk won an award for its Kasetaler, which is described as no-melt cheese medallions. They are prepared in a pan or on the grill and can be served as an appetizer, atop a salad or as a main dish.

Fire-up the Barbecue

Such no-melt cheeses intended for grilling were very prominent at Anuga. These real-dairy cheese products function as meat alternatives for the growing number of consumers—known as flexitarians--who avoid meat on a regular basis.

The term flexitarian comes from a combination of the words “flexible” and “vegetarian.” Following a flexitarian diet simply means eating more plant-based meals and less meat. This is often done for nutritional reasons, such as trying to reduce consumption of saturated fat and cholesterol. Other times it is to assist with improving animal welfare and reducing carbon footprint.

Such no-melt cheeses are high in protein and can be seasoned, prepared and served in a manner similar to a burger, chop or steak. That’s what the chefs from Petrou Bros. Dairy Products of Greece were showing attendees when they were grilling up Halloumi cheese that came in varieties including “with basil” and “with chilli.”

Austria’s Concept Fresh continues to grow its no-melt cheese sold under the Gusteria brand. The most recent introduction is a snacking size that comes in two packs of four medallions. The cheese comes with grill marks, so that it can be easily microwaved and served. There are three flavors: Chili-Paprika, Classic and Herbs.
Greece’s Kourellas S.A. has new retail packs of Feta Bites. These bite-sized balls of sheep and goat’s milk feta cheese are loaded with flavorful goodies, including With Black Olives & Chili, With Greek Herbs and With Poppy Seeds. The “Greek treats” come in 5.3-ounce containers, the same size and shape of many Greek yogurts.

“The story of Feta Bites begins with our love for feta and the inspiration to use it differently,” said Ifigeneia Barlagianni, quality assurance-quality control manager. “Our R&D department developed a new line of feta snacks in several different versions. Feta Bites can be eaten as a snack, or appetizer, over salads or, why not, even as a dessert.”

Germany’s Jermi Kasewerk introduced an upscale line of snacking cheese cubes. Packed 16 to a 110-gram tray, these cheese cubes are ready for serving. The four varieties are: Belgian-style, Farmers, Goat and Gouda.

There’s also a new line of seasoned cream-style cheeses for the cheese counter. Cut and sold to order, the Crème Finesse line comes in four varieties: Garlic & Onion, Peppadew, Pineapple and Wild Herbs.

Koninklijke ERU, the trend-setting producer of quality processed cheese products in the Netherlands since 1824, has a passion for cheese and has an extensive portfolio of fine cheese products to prove it. One of its finest additions this year is a la Truffle, a conveniently packaged spread suitable for sandwiches, crackers or even crudité.

Germany’s Emmi Fondu has been repackaged into a more modern looking pack with cooking tips and serving suggestions. The microwaveable fondue cheese comes in three varieties: Family (without wine), Gorgonzola and Original.

Latvia’s Trikata rolled out a line of premium appetizer cheeses. These soft, fresh, bite-sized cheese balls called Snowballs are rolled in premium seasonings. Varieties are: Fenugreek, Garlic, Paprika and Tomato & Basil. There’s also a classic (non-seasoned) variety. Hand-formed into little balls from fresh cows milk curd, Snowballs come packed in rosemary-infused canola oil, which functions as a natural preservative. Snowballs are sold in 240-gram plastic jars and have a 70-day refrigerated shelf life.

From The Netherlands, Veldhuyzen Kaas B.V. developed TriColor goats milk cheese. Sold in waxed rounds, the cheese combines three different flavored and colored curds to create one very unique cheese. The curd flavors are bell pepper, chili pepper and garlic.

Displayed in the meat hall, Switzerland’s Micarna SA introduced what it calls “meat and cheese candies.” The company layers air-dried beef with Bavarian cheese to make this high-protein, low-carbohydrate multi-layered, bite-sized delicacy.

Mark your calendar and plan early for the next Anuga, which will take place October 7 to 11, 2017, in Cologne, Germany. For more information, link HERE.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Anuga 2015 Report: Innovations in Frozen Desserts—Value-Added Formulations Make Their Mark

As I continue to recover from jet lag and miles and miles of expo walking at Anuga, which took place less than two weeks ago in Cologne, Germany—if I had worn a FitBit, it would have been throwing a party--I reflect on the many innovations that debuted at the show. Trend tracking involves time investment. Forecasting requires experience. I try to provide both to Daily Dose of Dairy subscribers by going to the expositions and experiencing the movers and shakers firsthand.

My first Anuga was 10 years ago, making this my sixth, as it is a biennial event. Being the world’s largest food exhibition, Anuga is where you find tomorrow’s hottest new products. This year’s installment was, by far, the most dynamic in my attendance history. This is especially true in the frozen desserts sector.

Product concepts formerly considered niche—most notably lactose free, nutrient fortified and vegan--have gone mainstream. At the same time, premium products are becoming even more premium, which means upscale packaging and higher-quality ingredients. This translates to less being more, or smaller portion sizes at a higher price.;F:QS!10100&ShowKey=27703&AffiliateData=Beneo-Registration&

To watch a brief video on what Anuga is all about, link HERE.

Here are a dozen innovations that caught my eye.

For starters, I admit being surprised by the lactose-free ice cream trend, which I was told has become quite notable in Spain. In fact, Somosierra of Spain received a Taste 15 award for its Royne Triple Sin Ice Cream Bars, with “triple sin” translating to triple free: free of lactose, free of sugar and free of gluten.  

Taste 15 is an accolade bestowed upon the best new products debuting at Anuga. This year, more than 830 companies applied to have their over 2,000 ideas included in the competition. In total, the jury selected 61 products and concepts that convinced in terms of idea, innovative power and creative implementation.

Lactose-free dairy products have been increasing in popularity, but the ice cream focus is a bit surprising, as ice cream has long been considered a discretionary food, a treat. It appears that ice cream is becoming more common in the daily diet thanks to Millennials’ desire for deliciousness. This means the time might be right for value-added ice cream, as Millennials appreciate getting the most bang for the buck. That buck could be a big buck…they will pay for what they value. 

When it comes to lactose intolerance, real or perceived, a growing number of consumers around the world claim to be lactose intolerant, and subsequently, avoid dairy because of milk’s inherent sugar known as lactose. For the most part, “lactose intolerance” symptoms occur when the load of lactose is very large and rapidly arrives in the large intestine of consumers who do not possess sufficient amounts of the enzyme lactase. That’s when lactose can overwhelm the system. If small amounts of lactose slowly arrive, the microflora in the gut digests the lactose at an even rate and no or minimal discomfort is experienced by those individuals who truly have lactose intolerance, a.k.a., do not produce the lactase enzyme.

Research shows that consumers with “real” lactose intolerance can actually tolerate small doses of fluid milk (the dairy product that’s the most concentrated source of lactose) throughout the day. Further, there are many dairy products that contain so little lactose that they should not be an issue.

For example, many natural cheeses--the more aged the cheese, the less lactose--contain less than 0.1 grams of lactose per serving, with sugars reported as zero on nutrition labels. Most fermented dairy products—kefir, sour cream and yogurt—also contain very low levels, if any, of lactose, yet seldom is this information relayed to consumers who want to enjoy dairy products but intentionally avoid them because they fear the repercussions of consuming lactose.

This is why there’s a booming market for all types of dairy foods labeled as lactose free. Lactose is either removed from milk via ultrafiltration or it is broken down into its constituent monosaccharides, glucose and galactose. Interestingly, the latter are both sweeter than lactose, which makes lactase enzyme technology a clean-label tool to assist with reducing added sugars to sweetened dairy foods.

The largest player in the lactose-free dairy segment is Germany’s OBM Omita BodenseeMilch GmbH, which continues to grow its very popular MinusL line of lactose-free dairy foods. New products this year include Greek yogurt and flavored rice puddings in cinnamon and classic varieties. Other new lactose-free dairy products from MinusL have a premium positioning. They are a 15% milkfat cooking cream and a 9% milkfat plain yogurt.

Earlier this year, the company introduced a line of lactose-free ice creams. There are three 500-milliliter containers of Chocolate, Strawberry and Vanilla ice creams. There’s also two lactose-free frozen novelties: Dark Chocolate Coated Vanilla Ice Cream on a Stick and Vanilla Ice Cream Filled Cone with Dark Chocolate and Sugared Hazelnut Topping.

The company’s extensive range of lactose-free products includes everything from milk to cheese. Many of its products are used by other food manufacturers to attract the lactose-avoiding consumer. For example, there are frozen pizzas in the market flagged as being made with MinusL cheese.

At Anuga, I spent a considerable amount of time talking with the folks at Casty, also of Spain. The company is finding great success with its lactose-free frozen novelties, which come in cones and sandwich form. The products are marketed as being 100% digestible and 100% delicious.

Casty showcased an impressive array of other frozen dessert innovations, including Helado Premium, which comes in flavors such as Vanilla with Macadamia Nuts and Dulce de Leche. Mini Jets are sherbet stick novelties that come with a dipping cup of popping sour candies. 
Just Ice of Belgium debuted this stevia-sweetened ice cream a few years ago in Belgium and Norway and is growing its international distribution. Ice Crime comes in four flavors: Chocolate, Mocha, Strawberry and Vanilla. The product is said to contain 30% to 40% fewer calories than regular ice cream.

It comes packaged in 1-liter tubs and 120-milliliter single-serve containers, with containers carrying the tagline: “wow, they killed the sugar.”

Slovakia’s Acaimania is all about products made with acai, “the power of the rainforest.” The company now makes this superfruit available in probiotic-rich frozen yogurt. The frozen yogurt also comes in a natural variety, as well as Mango and Wild Berries.

From The Netherlands comes Koupe, which is described as an alternative to ice cream. This dairy-based frozen dessert made its market debut at Anuga and comes in four flavors, all with their own tagline. Banana is a “brilliant” alternative to ice cream. Chocolate is “clever.” Strawberry is “smart” while Vanilla is “victorious.”

The product is high in protein and fiber, while also lower in fat, added sugars and calories, as compared to traditional ice cream. The single-serve 65-gram cups assist with portion control. As the company states: All the goodness, no guilt.

Alvestaglass AB of Sweden markets Lohilo Double Protein Ice Cream and Lohilo High Protein Frozen Yogurt. Sold in unique 175-gram cup-cartons, the product has been in the Sweden marketplace for about a year and is ready for international expansion. You can view a video on the product HERE.

Each single-serve cup contains a minimum of 22 grams of protein from a unique combination of added whey and casein proteins. It contains less than 1% lactose and is naturally low in sugar. Varieties include Banana Split, Caramel Chocolate Swirl, Classic Vanilla, Creamy Coconut, Double Chocolate and Mango Passion Strawberry.

Germany’s Pure Foods uses a similar cup-carton package for its Lycka-branded organic frozen desserts. Lycka Frozen Yogurt was introduced at the beginning of the year. It comes in four flavors—Lemon, Mango, Strawberry and Vanilla—in two pack sizes: 210 and 550 milliliters.
Debuting at Anuga was a vegan froyo line. Made using sustainably sourced soy, naturally lactose-free Lycka Vegan Froyo comes in three flavors: Blueberry, Chocolate and Strawberry.

To read more about vegetarian and vegan dairy alternatives that debuted at Anuga, link HERE to an article I wrote earlier this week for Food Business News.

At Anuga, vegan and vegetarian options were plentiful in every food category. Many innovations targeted the growing out-of-home and on-the-go consumer. Most marketers of vegan and vegetarian products emphasized that their target consumer is not necessarily vegan or vegetarian, rather it’s the consumer who for personal reasons chooses to avoid animal-derived products on a regular basis, also commonly referred to as a flexitarian.

The term flexitarian comes from a combination of the words “flexible” and “vegetarian.” Following a flexitarian diet simply means eating more plant-based meals and less meat. This is often done for nutritional reasons, such as trying to reduce consumption of saturated fat and cholesterol. Other times it is to assist with improving animal welfare and reducing carbon footprint.

Righi Sri of Italy received a Taste 15 award for its Gelato Di Verdura, which translates to Vegetable-Based Ice Cream. This vegan frozen dessert comes in two-packs of 50-gram single-serve containers. Varieties are: Carrot and Lemon Sauce, Pumpkin and Balsamic Vinegar Sauce and Tomato and Strawberry Sauce.
Indulgence is still the name of the game in frozen desserts. Regardless if the product is formulated to be better-for-you or not, if it is not delicious, it will not be repurchased. Some manufacturers choose to focus on conveying the deliciousness of the product. This is increasingly being done through the use of clear—plastic or glass—single-serve packaging.

Germany’s Gelato Classico debuted this layered treat of premium bourbon vanilla ice cream on the bottom of the glass container with a layer of fruit on top.

Italy’s Bon Dolce has a new premium frozen yogurt ice cream parfait available in either plastic or glass containers. The dairy component is a blend of half premium yogurt made from milk from the Italian Alps (Sudtirol) and half premium ice cream mix. The fruit layers—either apricot or cherry--contain 70% of the name fruit. The bottom crunchy layer is crunchy cookie granules. The guilt-free indulgent product is targeted to females in the 25 to 55-year old range. It is made without artificial colorings, flavorings or preservatives and is positioned as a premium, healthful and pleasurable product. (This product is calling my name!)

Mark your calendar and plan early for the next Anuga, which will take place October 7 to 11, 2017, in Cologne, Germany. For more information, link HERE.;F:QS!10100&ShowKey=27703&AffiliateData=Beneo-Registration&

Friday, October 16, 2015

Anuga 2015 Report: Innovations in Yogurt, Cultured Dairy Foods and Dairy Desserts—It’s all about Clean Label

It was wonderful to see so many familiar faces at Anuga this week, as well as make new business relations. It was an amazing show. To watch a brief video on what Anuga is all about, link HERE.

After a record number of exhibitors, Anuga 2015 also increased its attendance figures. Around 160,000 trade visitors from 192 countries attended this biennial food exhibition, the largest in the world.

Anuga 2015 presented more than 7,000 exhibitors from 108 countries. The share of foreign exhibitors was 89% and the share of foreign visitors was 68%. The exhibitors were particularly impressed by the quality of the visitors, with an overwhelming number of decision-making buyers from the trade and foodservice sectors.

Dominant themes at the expo included convenience and clean label, as well as “free-from” concepts, most notably gluten free and lactose free. Vegan and vegetarian options were plentiful in every food category. Many innovations targeted the growing out-of-home and on-the-go consumer.

Here are 10 innovations that caught my eye.

Germany’s OBM Omita BodenseeMilch GmbH continues to grow its very popular MinusL line of lactose-free dairy foods. New products this year include Greek yogurt and flavored rice puddings. The company’s extensive range of lactose-free products includes everything from milk to cheese to ice cream.

Ifantis S.A. of Athens, Greece, showcased its Authentic Greek! Tzatziki with an improved recipe. Front panels of the clear containers tout the fact that the dip only contains six ingredients. The label reads: 84% Greek yogurt, 9% fresh cucumber, 2% extra virgin olive oil, and the remaining 5% is garlic, salt and anise.

Germany’s Bauer introduced Bauer Premium, an indulgent yogurt line with decadent ingredients. The 125-gram (including topping) single-serve containers are adorned with “noble” graphics to communicate the product’s premium positioning. Described as “a little luxury,” this layered 5% milkfat yogurt comes in four combinations: 1) Panna cotta-flavored yogurt on top of a strawberry-vanilla layer. The dome cup contains chocolate covered crunchy flakes; 2) Stracciatella-flavored yogurt on top of a cherry layer. The dome cup contains chocolate curls; 3) Caramel-mocha flavored-yogurt on top of a layer of caramel. The dome cup contains cappuccino-flavored crunchy balls; and 4) Madagascar vanilla-flavored yogurt on top of a raspberry layer. The dome cup contains amaretto-flavored crunchy balls.

Ireland’s Kerry Dairy received a Taste 15 award, which recognizes the top new products, for its new Yollies. Designed for children, these are yogurt snacks on collectable plastic sticks. Yollies are made using extra-thick, fruity yogurt and can be enjoyed chilled or frozen. Merchandised in the refrigerated yogurt case, Yollies are sold in four-packs of 25-gram snacks. Available in three varieties—Apricot, Raspberry and Strawberry—the clean-label formulations are free of artificial colors, flavors and preservatives. Link HERE to see how to open and enjoy the snack.

Another Taste 15 winner comes from Petri Feinkost GmbH & Co. KG of Germany. The company specializes in premium cream cheese products. The company received the award for Primello Shrimp Torte, which is a layered cream cheese spread in the form of a piece of cake. It consists of two creamy layers of cream cheese with a center of shrimp-flavored cream cheese. The product delivers a “taste of the freshness of the sea,” combined with aromatic garlic and fresh dill. This variety joins other similar cream cheese tortes in flavors such as chili, jalapeno, Mediterranean and salmon.

Germany’s Ehrmann introduced an array of new products at Anuga, including Griego Greek-style creamy yogurt in glass jars. This 10% fat yogurt comes in a unique multi-serving, 500-gram glass jar, clearly communicating what’s inside. There’s also Greek Dream, a whipped Greek-style yogurt mousse on a layer of fruit. For dessert, there’s a new flavor in the Grand Dessert pudding line: Dark Chocolate Mint.

The company also showcased a product exclusive to the Tesco retail chain. Tesco Goodness Fromage Frais pots are designed for kids, with each 50-gram container providing 44 calories and being a source of calcium and vitamin D. Made with real fruit puree and less added sugar than most other fromage frais products, Goodness is free of artificial colors, flavors and preservatives. The product is sold in packs of six, with two cups of three different flavors: Raspberry, Strawberry and Strawberry Banana.

Greece’s Kourellas debuted retail packs of Feta Bites. These bite-sized balls of sheep and goat’s milk feta cheese are loaded with flavorful goodies, including With Black Olives & Chili, With Greek Herbs and With Poppy Seeds. The “Greek treats” come in 5.3-ounce containers, the same size and shape of many Greek yogurts.

Heideblume Molkerei Elsdorf-Rotenburg AG debuted numerous high-protein, on-the-go dairy foods, including Elsdorfer Quark Yogurt + Protein in a pouch. This low-fat, high-protein fitness snack is targeted to health-conscious active adults. The convenient 90-gram pouch allows for spoon-free eating. (More products from this company will be showcased next week as a Daily Dose of Dairy.)

And, lastly, this product was not at the show, rather it caught my eye during one of my many supermarket expeditions. Block House Sour Cream is seasoned sour cream with quark. It is designed as a topping for potatoes, bread and even pasta. The beauty of this product is the clear, premium package. Too often, sour cream is commoditized with little differentiation in the retail case. This product’s package and formulation commands a premium spot in the dairy case, also a higher price tag.

Mark your calendar and plan early for the next Anuga, which will take place October 7 to 11, 2017, in Cologne, Germany. For more information, link HERE.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Mostly Plant-Based Diets Include Dairy Foods—Make Sure You Are Included

The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), a.k.a., the food police, was very loud this week with strong criticism of Congress’ involvement with influencing the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGAs). You can read more HERE.

CSPI’s published opinion came one day after U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Burwell co-authored a blog post on October 6 stating that while issues of the environment and sustainability are critically important, sustainability is not within the scope of the 2015 DGAs.

For background, in February 2015, the U.S. Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) submitted their recommendations for the development of the official DGAs. For the first time, the panel suggested that food system sustainability be incorporated into the federal government’s dietary advice. The sustainability card played into recommendations that Americans eat more plant-based foods, as such foods might alleviate strain on the environment.

It sounds as if sustainability will not be part of the DGAs. However, on its own, mostly plant-based diet recommendations are expected to be included.;F:QS!10100&ShowKey=27703&AffiliateData=Beneo-Registration&

“In terms of the 2015 DGAs, we will remain within the scope of our mandate in the 1990 National Nutrition Monitoring and Related Research Act, which is to provide ‘nutritional and dietary information and guidelines’…‘based on the preponderance of the scientific and medical knowledge,’” wrote Vilsack and Burwell. They go on to state that “the final 2015 Guidelines are still being drafted, but because this is a matter of scope, we do not believe that the 2015 DGAs are the appropriate vehicle for this important policy conversation about sustainability.”

The pair testified before the House Agricultural Committee on October 7, hours before CSPI got loud. At the hearing, Burwell said, “I expect the new Dietary Guidelines will continue to focus on food-based recommendations that emphasize the importance of consuming a total ‘healthy eating pattern’ over time while recognizing the importance of individual choices.”

Milk and dairy products are and will remain an important part of the DGAs. But dairy processors may want to get creative with formulations and product positioning in order to better compliment dietary advice.

The Washington Post Talks up Whole Milk
The same day Vilsack and Burwell wrote their blog, Peter Whoriskey, a staff writer for The Washington Post, wrote, “For decades, the government steered millions away from whole milk. Was that wrong?” You can access the article HERE.

He wrote, “The advocates of whole milk allow that it has more calories than its low-fat cousins, and for some, that might be reason to avoid it. But the traditional case against whole milk--based on the risk of heart disease--has frayed enough now that many argue the Dietary Guidelines should yield to the new findings.”

This pro-whole milk theme continued the next day when Editor Joel Achenbach wrote “Whole milk is okay. Butter and eggs too. What’s next—bacon?” You access the article HERE.

Photo Source: Arby's

Achenbach reached out to food activist Michael Pollan, author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma, who for long has argued that you should eat the kind of food that your grandmother would recognize, which includes eggs and whole milk. You must read what Pollan says about skim milk being silly and why he only drinks whole milk, and has for years. Link HERE.

He also said this: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” (More on plants soon.)

Opportunities for Flavored Milk
Last week’s blog on Milk Innovations, which can be accessed HERE, generated a great deal of discussion, particularly among my dietitian readership. They applauded my statement that fluid milk is the most underdeveloped dairy category in the U.S., with opportunities for category growth coming from flavored milk—with some fat, not necessarily whole, but reduced-fat with minimal added sugar--and nutritionally enhanced milk, not the boring white stuff.

“Fluid milk certainly has an irreplaceable package of nutrients with unique interactions and our nutrition portfolio only continues to grow with the industry’s investment in nutrition research and nutrition education,” wrote Tammy Anderson-Wise, CEO, Dairy Council of California, in an industry newsletter.

I interviewed Anderson-Wise for an article I wrote for Food Business News on "The Future of Flavored Milk," which was published this week and can be accessed HERE.

She said that flavored milk presents an opportunity to increase fluid milk consumption and get American consumers back to the number of daily dairy servings recommended by the 2010 DGAs. These guidelines recommend adults consume three servings of low-fat and fat-free dairy products daily. Children between four and eight years of age should consume two-and-one-half servings, while children ages two and three should consume two servings.

The recommendations are expected to remain “similar” in the 2015 DGAs. According to Cary Frye, vice president of regulatory and scientific affairs at the International Dairy Foods Association, the DGAC report identified three model dietary patterns associated with positive health outcomes and optimal intake of nutrients: vegetarian, Mediterranean and traditional U.S.-style diets. “Both the healthy U.S.-style and vegetarian diets include three servings of low-fat and fat-free dairy products daily, but the Mediterranean diet only includes two servings a day,” she says.
Other recommendations in the DGAC report include consuming more vegetables, fruit, whole grains, seafood, legumes and nuts. There is an overlying theme of “consuming a mostly plant-based diet.”

Back to Pollan’s statement: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”

“Mostly plants” does not mean only plants.
The Egg Nutrition Center (ENC) developed a very effective communication tool addressing the “mostly plant-based diet recommendations” and the critical role of including high-quality, complete protein in such a diet.

A plant-based diet doesn’t mean only plants, according to ENC. In fact, at each meal, pairing plants with high-quality protein such as eggs, fish, chicken, lean meat and low-fat dairy can help meet daily protein needs. Click on this infographic to learn more.

Here’s where fruit, nut, seed, vegetable and whole grain ingredients come into play, as they can attract consumers who want to increase their plant food intake, but at the same time, want to make sure they consume quality protein. This is a huge opportunity for dairy processors, in particular yogurt and other cultured dairy manufacturers, to get consumers to keep dairy foods on the menu.

Don’t believe me? Read an article entitled “Seeds and Grains in the Dairy Aisle” just published in this month’s Today’s Dietitian by linking HERE.

Here are some innovative examples recently introduced to the marketplace.

Slingshot Foods patented this unique package for a drinkable high-protein yogurt. Developed by a former refrigerated smoothie yogurt executive who wanted a macronutrient-dense, simple ingredient portable breakfast, Slingshot is a yogurt protein drink with a crunchy shot wrapped around the bottle neck and intended for the consumer to pour into the yogurt, shake and drink. That shot is a patented plastic stick pouch filled with chia seeds, rolled oats and toasted almond bits. It contributes 3 grams of fiber and 600 milligrams of the omega-3 alpha linolenic acid to the beverage. The beverage is made with low-fat yogurt enhanced with milk protein concentrate and sweetened with agave. A serving contains 295 to 355 calories, 10 to 11 grams of fat and 18 to 20 grams of protein, depending on variety. There are five varieties: Blueberry, Peach, Simply Plain, Strawberry and Vanilla Bean. For more information, link HERE.

General Mills now offers Yoplait Plenti, a new way to enjoy nonfat Greek yogurt. Yoplait Plenti blends Greek yogurt with fruits (except the vanilla variant), whole grain oats, flax and pumpkin seeds. At 5.5 ounces, the single-serve containers are a little larger than standard Greek yogurt cups, which are 5.3 ounces. Each serving provides 140 to 150 calories and 1.5 to 2 grams of fat, depending on variety, as well as 1 gram of fiber, 12 grams of sugar and 12 grams of protein. The eight varieties are: Black Cherry, Blueberry, Coconut, Peach, Raspberry, Spiced Apple, Strawberry and Vanilla. The protein comes from the cultured nonfat milk and the grains and seeds. The fat and fiber come from the grains and seeds. For more information, link HERE.

Stonyfield is offering Super Grains and Super Seeds exclusive to Target stores. The new organic yogurt lines each have three variants. Super Grains comes in Maple, Strawberry and Vanilla flavors. Each combines nonfat Greek yogurt with buckwheat and quinoa. Super Seeds comes in Blueberry, Coconut and Orange-Cranberry. Each combines nonfat Greek yogurt with softened flax seed.

All six offerings come in 5.3-ounce bowls, where the bottom is clear, so that consumers can see what’s inside. A single-bowl serving contains 140 to 150 calories and 17 to 20 grams of sugar, depending on variety. Each also contains almost no fat, just under a gram of fiber and 13 grams of protein—from both dairy and plant sources.

The Chaat Company recently made its debut at Expo East with Savory Yogurt Snack in four varieties: Cucumber Mint, Ginger, Mango Chili and Tamarind Date. The new company’s innovative product concept is based on the “street food” of India, which is the translation of chaat.

The 5.3-ounce cups are basically inverted layered salads that consumers mix up for a hearty combination. The bottom layer combines fruits, vegetables, herbs, spices and sea salts. This is visible through the clear-bottom serving container. This gets topped with whole milk probiotic yogurt made from New York grass-fed cows. The cup has a separate dome container of crunchy, spiced lentil puffs.  

Each single-serve container delivers 6 grams of protein from milk and lentils. A serving contains 100 to 140 calories, 4 to 4.5 grams of fat and 6 to 13 grams of sugar (no added sugar), depending on variety. For more information, link HERE.

In Finland, Valio offers seeds in a dome cup atop single-serve containers of cottage cheese. The new Premier Cottage Cheese line comes with a spoon inside the lid for easy on-the-go eating. There are two varieties: Fruit and Root Vegetables.

The Fruit offering contains dried, candied pineapple, dried, candied papaya, sunflower seeds, pine seeds, pumpkin seeds and dried, sweetened cranberries. The Root Vegetables variant contains sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, beetroot, parsnips, grilled peppers and grilled onions. For more information, link HERE.

Nuts, seeds and grains, along with fruits and vegetables, are great additions to lower-fat dairy foods. They provide extra nutrition, texture and visual enhancement. To learn more about how to improve the mouthfeel of such products, link HERE and register for a webinar that focuses on formulating delicious, on-trend lower-fat dairy foods.;F:QS!10100&ShowKey=27703&AffiliateData=Beneo-Registration&