Friday, February 5, 2016

Developing Dairy (Dessert) Deliciousness Must Be a Constant Priority

The “need” to innovate was a focal point at the recent Dairy Forum in Phoenix.

Steve Jones, CEO of fairlife said in a panel discussion, “They will buy what we make. We need to make what they want.”

This is so very true with Greek yogurt. Consumers did not know they wanted Greek yogurt until Chobani introduced the American mass market to this high-protein dairy phenomena. The rest is history.

Fairlife is experiencing a similar, albeit slower, consumer response to its namesake ultra-filtered high-protein, high-calcium, low-sugar fluid milk line. In keeping with another focal point at Dairy Forum—that of working together not against each other—Jones invited other fluid milk processors to join the value-added milk platform to “make more of what consumers want in their milk.”

Beau Mainous, chief customer officer at Chobani said during the same panel discussion that the speed of innovation is at an all-time high. He explained that in order to make what consumers want, it’s critical to get insight from many sources and act fast.

I hope the Daily Dose of Dairy is one of your innovation tools.

Working with ingredient suppliers is paramount, as product development timelines have gotten shorter and shorter. And innovation is constant. In the past, companies talked about product failure and success by longevity in the market. This is no longer the case. Limited-edition and seasonal products are the norm. A rotation of flavors and concepts is what keeps today’s consumers interested in a brand.

Private-label retailer Aldi does a fabulous job in the U.S. of keeping consumers coming back for what’s new. If you have not been to an Aldi store recently, check one out. With very limited space, the store is constantly bringing in new products when others sell out. It stocks pantry and refrigerator staples, but in the category of dairy, you can always expect to see something new in cheese, dessert and yogurt. This keeps shoppers coming back and when a product catches their eye, they likely spend a little more than originally planned.

Here’s a perfect example of a product intended for the Valentine’s holiday. Sold in the freezer under Aldi’s Specially Selected brand, each box contains two dairy dessert cups. Imported from Germany, these desserts are intended for consumption once thawed. Chocolate Mousse Cups are layers of white, milk and plain chocolate mousse with crunchy chocolate pieces and chocolate sponge cake, all topped with white chocolate hearts. Strawberry Chocolate Chip Cups are layers of vanilla-flavored cream, crunchy chocolate chips, strawberry sauce and golden sponge cake, again, all topped with white chocolate hearts. At only 220 or 260 calories per 3-ounce parfait, this product invites shoppers to treat themselves, and to treat their better half.

In German Aldi stores, the company has rolled out single-serve puddings with dome cups of inclusions. There are typical mix-ins of chocolate candies and crushed cookies, but also more premium indulgent ones, such as toffee fudge pieces and almond brittle. For youngsters, there’s even an option with mini marshmallows.

In the U.K., Farmhouse Fare recently introduced Naughty But Rice, a line of single-serve rice pudding desserts described as “rice pudding, but not as you know it.” The 140-gram microwavable cups (enjoyed warm or cold) come in three varieties: Chocolate Orange, Coconut & Raspberry and Salted Caramel.

The company explains on its website: “Rice pudding rocks. But we reckoned ye olde rice pudding world was in need of a stir. So we took it upon ourselves to zhoosh things up with a glorious range of fabulous flavours. First we simmer our pudding rice in whole milk and cream until perfectly soft. Then we get busy with the salted caramel, the coconut and raspberry or the chocolate orange. We bring you all the heart and soul of traditional rice pudding with a cheeky little twist. Oops naughty.”

Here are more products to inspire innovation. It’s time for you to zhoosh things up.

Bonne Maman, the premium jams and jellies marketer, is venturing out into the dessert business with new Bonne Maman Vanilla Crème & Raspberries. Sold in packs of two in the refrigerated dairy case, this dessert is a layer of vanilla cream atop a puree of gently cooked raspberries. Other new products from the company include: Rice & Raspberries, Strawberry Mousse, Strawberries & Cream, Chocolate Mousse, Crème Caramel, Crème Brûlée, Baba au Rhum and Crème Brûlée au chocolat.

Danone Danette is a refrigerated pudding described as being made of 75% fresh milk. The healthful halo of milk gives permission for consumers to indulge, as the product delivers a dose of calcium and vitamin D (from fortified milk). New to the Canadian marketplace, the dessert comes in four-packs of 100-gram single-serve pots. Danette has been a hit for a long time throughout Europe. Flavors include Cappuccino, Caramel, Chocolate, Crème Brulee, Extra Dark Chocolate and Vanilla. Each cup contains a mere 110 calories.

Poland’s Mleczna Dolina builds on milk’s healthful halo by making a dessert out of kefir. Deser Kefirowy comes in 150-gram single-serve cups in three varieties: Cherry & Apple Jam, Strawberry & Apple Jam and Plum Jam.

Zott’s Monte brand debuted in April 1996 and at the time was described as a completely new kind of dessert. It still is quite unique. Under development for more than two years, Monte is a combination of fresh milk-cream, chocolate and hazelnuts. During the past decade, the brand has expanded with new concepts and additional flavors. For example, Monte Plus starts with the original Monte combination and adds a layer of sauce.
There’s also a dual compartment concept. Cacao Cookie, Cookies and Waffle Sticks recently joined Butter Biscuits, Cappuccino Balls, Cherry and Crunchy.

Most recently the brand added Zott Snack, a practical snack slice for on-the-go consumption. The Monte Snack is the original Monte cream combination sandwiched between two light slices of cake.

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