Friday, April 1, 2016

Ice Cream Trends: Create Inviting Formulations (part two of three blogs focusing on what to expect this coming year in ice cream)

Pints are powerful! They cost more--often a lot more--than larger-sized ice cream containers. In fact, numerous artisan, hand-crafted brands command as much as $10 per pint at retail. Such smaller-sized containers, though more expensive, invite consumers to try something new…less product, less risk of waste in case you don’t like it.

But what’s not to like? Innovative flavor systems, premium inclusions, textured variegates and out-of-the-box product development is making this summer’s ice cream menu one of the best in a long time.

If you missed last week’s blog on how brown flavors continue to evolve in the ice cream category, with caramel’s new best friends being the apple, the banana, the pear and the pineapple, link HERE.

Think of classic desserts involving butter and brown sugar. Now think of the fruits in those desserts and why they partner so well with caramel…caramel with spice, with heat, with a twist.

Let’s expand on the idea of desserts. Cakes concepts are hot in ice cream. I’m not talking simple cake batter flavor with some festive sprinkles. I’m talking reconstructed cake by layering flavors and real cake pieces or swirling cake ingredients into an ice cream base.

And as cookies become the next cupcake in the bakery scene, this trend is trickling over to ice cream. I’m not talking chocolate chip cookie dough. Think reconstructing a snickerdoodle, speculoos over even a Rice Krispie treat.

I challenge an ice cream manufacturer to create a line such as State Fair Favorites. Last year, Velvet created Elephant Ear Ice Cream exclusively for the week-long Ohio State Fair in August. Demand inspired the company to re-launch the flavor this summer, adding Elephant Ear Ice Cream to its permanent lineup of flavors. This one-of-a-kind frozen confection starts with Velvet’s creamy traditional vanilla recipe, to which swirls of rich caramel sauce and crispy nuggets of fried, cinnamon-coated elephant ears are added. Read more about it HERE.

Why not a line of state fair favorite flavors from around the country? Wisconsin can be cream puff and Illinois something with buttered corn. I’m sure Florida would be tropical while Texas would have some heat. Colorado would be beer…or if kept in state, maybe “edibles.” What fun for consumers to be able to taste the flavors of different states without traveling!
How about creating a flight of flavors for comparative tasting. It’s been done in cheese. Think Sargento’s Tastings (link HERE) and Cabot’s Founder’s Collection (link HERE).
Photo source: Choctál
Here’s some flight ideas: cherry varietals, chocolates, coffee roasts and vanillas. Choctál does this. The company uses chocolates and vanillas grown around the world, allowing consumers to experience unique and distinct flavor profiles of ice cream. Read more HERE.

Looking for ice cream flavor ideas? Plan to attend the International Dairy Foods Association’s annual Ice Cream Technology conference April 12 to 13 in Florida. I will help kick off the meeting with a presentation on global ice cream insight and innovation ideas. For more information, link HERE.

Check out all these new products.

Just two days ago, Unilever, the world’s largest ice cream company, announced it is rolling out 17 new frozen treats in 2016 across five of its ice cream brands: Breyers, Good Humor, Klondike, MAGNUM Ice Cream and Popsicle. (Many of these concepts will be featured in the future as a Daily Dose of Dairy.)

“At Unilever, we’re on a consistent journey to better understand the connection consumers have to ice cream,” says Nick Soukas, director of ice cream at Unilever. “We’ve discovered that nostalgia and memorable moments are two reasons consumers enjoy ice cream. With this in mind, we’ve reimagined favorite flavors and pairings that cultivate great memories--like birthday cake, s’mores and chocolate and peanut butter--to surprise and delight our ice cream fans.”

Breyers has brought families together over frozen treats since 1866. In celebration of its 150-year anniversary, Breyers is introducing a full-frozen twist on ice cream cake. New Breyers Ice Cream Cake offers Breyers Chocolate Ice Cream and loads of chocolatey crunchies sandwiched between Breyers Natural Vanilla Ice Cream.

Graeter’s newest flavor is Cheese Crown, which is based on the cheese crown danish, a Cincinnati bakery tradition for more than half a century. The cheese crown is a danish roll filled with cream cheese and cinnamon streusel. Graeter’s new Cheese Crown ice cream pays homage to this popular baked good with a rich cream cheese base along with crunchy cinnamon pastry pieces and fondant icing flakes.

Graeter’s is the last family-owned, authentic small-batch ice cream maker still dedicated to the French Pot Process. Passionate artisans pour and swirl the best ingredients into each spinning, 2.5-gallon French Pot freezer. The resulting ice cream is so dense and rich, due to the absence of air, it must be removed by hand with a paddle. That’s how Graeter’s has been hand-crafting ice cream since 1870. (And this new flavor is to die for. Finished a pint by myself over a couple of days.)

Snoqualmie Ice Cream from the Pacific Northwest has launched six new, all-natural frozen custards. The innovative flavors speak to many of the themes I identified, including recreating desserts, celebrating traditions and sneaking in little surprises.

The frozen custards contain 14% butterfat, more cream and extra eggs. Snoqualmie Ice Cream is made in a sustainable factory north of Seattle. The pints are vat-pasteurized in small batches and are all natural, rBST-free and sweetened with non-GMO cane sugar.

The six new flavors are:
Blueberry Cardamom Crisp Custard: Northwest blueberries, crispy oats and cinnamon swirled into sweet, blueberry cardamom custard
Brown Butter Sugar Cookie Custard: Brown butter custard and soft sugar cookies
Brown Sugar Cookie Dough Custard: Creamy custard sweetened with brown sugar and extra bites of chocolate chip cookie dough.
Crispy Marshmallow Treat Custard: Creamy marshmallow custard with crispy rice marshmallow clusters
Red Raspberry Cake Custard: Cake batter custard, red raspberry ripples and white cake pieces
Spicy Banana Brownie Custard: Chocolate fudge brownies mixed into sweet banana cinnamon custard
(I believe samples are arriving today. Thanks in advance. I cannot wait to taste!)

Arctic Zero Fit Frozen Desserts are all about less fat and fewer calories. The brand recently added seven craveable new additions to its family of zero-guilt treats. In the Chunky pints line there’s Banana Pudding, Brownie Blast and Snickerdoodle Dandy. In the Creamy pints line, there’s Cake Batter and Poppin’ Pomegranate. In novelties, there’s Mint and Salted Caramel Chocolate-Dipped Bars.

“From the beginning, our mission was to bring frozen dessert favorites to consumers in fresh and exciting ways that they could actually feel good about,” said Greg Holtman, founder of Arctic Zero. “We were inspired by the recent throwback to traditional desserts as well as culinary trends like salted caramel, which we witnessed in the marketplace and in direct feedback from our fans. This led us to reimagine time-honored favorites like brownies, banana pudding and cake batter into our own unique versions with an Arctic Zero twist. The result is a fresh batch of low-calorie, clean, yet indulgent desserts that hit on the satisfying flavor profiles consumers crave in ways they haven’t experienced before.”

Enlightened is rolling out pints of “the good-for-you ice cream,” including two cookie concepts. Caramel Oatmeal Cookie Crunch is oatmeal cookie clusters and ribbons of silky caramel blended with rich caramel ice cream and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough is chunks of soft chocolate chip cookie dough and rich chocolate chips blended with sweet cream ice cream. There’s also Frozen Hot Cocoa, Mint Chocolate Chip, Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip, Sea Salt Caramel and Triple Chocolate.

A half-cup of the new pint flavors contains 80 to 100 calories, 1.5 to 4.5 grams of fat, 7 to 8 grams of protein and 4 to 6 grams of sugar, depending on variety. All flavors deliver 5 grams of fiber per serving. The pints join the company’s existing novelty line, which debuted about three years ago. Read more about them HERE. Both concepts are all about providing protein and fiber with less sugar and fewer calories.

Tillamook is growing its frozen desserts business with pints, a format consumers have been requesting from Tillamook for quite some time, according to the company. Since 1947, the farmer-owners of Tillamook have packed ice cream with extra cream, not extra air, ensuring each scoop is really smooth and creamy. And it’s made the Tillamook way; with no artificial preservatives, flavors, colors, sweeteners or high fructose corn syrup.

The gelato line includes: Authentic Sweet Cream (made with buttermilk), Chocolate-Covered Strawberry, Oregon Hazelnut Chocolate, Salted Caramel Toffee, TCHO Double Dark Chocolate and Toasted Coconut Fudge. The Extra Creamy ice cream line includes: Dark Chocolate Mint, Double Peanut Butter, Speculoos Cookie Caramel and Stumptown Cold Brew Coffee. The frozen custard line includes: California Peach Cobbler, California Pistachio, Chocolate Fudge Brownie and Oregon Marionberry Cheesecake.

All varieties are made with locally sourced ingredients whenever possible, which are often called out on packages. Stumptown is a popular Portland, Ore.-based coffee roaster. TCHO is a craft chocolate make in Berkeley, Calif. The TCHO chocolate used in the gelato is 70% dark chocolate made with sustainably sourced cocoa.

In Brooklyn, N.Y., Lotus Scoop is all about adding little surprises to its hand-crafted artisan ice creams. For example, Cocoa-Nut Clem is premium chocolate ice cream that is so dense, it is literally fudge-y” when it starts to melt, according to the company. It is made with the company’s signature organic Caribbean cocoa powder that gets doubled down with dark, raw cacao to develop the cocoa fudge base.

Cocoa-Nut Clem is one of the company’s most labor-intensive flavors because it requires cleaning and peeling tons of fresh Clementines by hand, juicing the inside fruit and then cooking the zest. The result is a flavorful and fragrant dessert sauce, which when mixed with the intense fudge ice cream, yields a familiar Mandarin orange chocolate flavor reminiscent of Godiva chocolates. Here’s the little surprise, a touch of cayenne pepper and roasted almonds are added to finish off what is already a very complex and layered flavor.

Yam-A-Rama is said to taste like a frozen sweet potato pie. It is one of the company’s most popular ice cream flavors. It is a buttery mash of baked sweet potatoes and cinnamon swirled into ice cream base with generous amounts of homemade banana caramel with hints of Himalayan pink salt.

Smoked Mocha combines the very robust Marley Coffee’s Fair Trade Lively Up espresso with the company’s signature organic Caribbean cocoa into ice cream base that gets layered with an organic mesquite powder to give the ice cream a unique smoky flavor. According to the company, mesquite is derived from a flowering Southwestern tree and its wood gives off a flavor that is less potent than hickory, so it is perfect for giving an already strong and mocha ice cream depth and character.

Ben & Jerry’s third installment of its Core innovation line is rolling out this month. With a twist on some classic baked goods, the three new flavors feature decadent chunks and swirls that will be sure to satisfy even the sweetest tooth.

The new offerings are: Brownie Batter (chocolate and vanilla ice creams with fudge brownies and brownie batter core), Coconuts for Caramel (caramel and sweet cream coconut ice creams with fudge flakes and caramel core) and Cookies & Cream Cheesecake (chocolate and cheesecake ice creams with chocolate cookies and cheesecake core).
Friendly’s Ice Cream, the operator of more than 250 Friendly’s restaurants and a manufacturer of ice cream products distributed in over 8,000 retail outlets, is introducing 10 all-new, one-of-a-kind sundae cups to supermarket freezers across the Northeast. (The entire line will be featured in the near future as a Daily Dose of Dairy.)

Cake sundae concepts include Chocolate Cake Krunch (layers of chocolate ice cream separated by chocolaty crunchies, all topped with fudge and additional chocolaty crunchies), Salted Caramel Cake Krunch (two layers of salted caramel ice cream separated by a layer of chocolaty crunchies topped with caramel sauce and more chocolaty crunchies) and Strawberry Cake Krunch (layers of strawberry and vanilla ice cream separated by a layer of pink and white vanilla crunchies, topped with strawberry sauce, whipped topping and more crunchies).

Here’s something you don’t see every day, but it’s just the type of tradition that can be recreated into a packaged product. South Tampa’s quirky and whimsical bistro and bakery Dough by Datz now offers its version of the Czech internet sensation: Doughnut Ice Cream Cones.

Dough’s version of the infamous deep-fried spirals of sugar-coated goodness are made fresh daily and served while supplies last. The flaky cones can be filled with doughnut-flavored soft-serve ice cream, with flavors varying weekly.

For its mouthwatering Florida debut this week, the Doughnut Ice Cream Cones are being filled with creamy swirls of house-made jelly doughnut-flavored ice cream. Toppings include bacon caramel popcorn, cotton candy, whipped cream and a cherry.

This adventurous alternative to the classic cone is credited to Good Food Coffee and Bakery cafe in Prague, whose fried sensation took over the internet in February, drawing the attention of foodies on every social media platform and major news outlet. These specific desserts, inspired by the Czech trdelník, include a cone made from actual doughnut dough, a Nutella lining and soft-serve ice cream.

If the weather was not so questionable in the Midwest this week, I’d be on plane to get me one! Hope to see you on the opposite coast of Florida in a few weeks at the International Dairy Foods Association’s annual Ice Cream Technology conference. For more information, link HERE.

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