Friday, February 24, 2017

Fruit Makes Ice Cream Better—Get Consumers to Notice

There’s still time to plan to attend the International Dairy Foods Association’s Ice Cream Technology Conference in Las Vegas on March 7 and 8. Today’s blog touches on part of my presentation titled “The Scoop on Millennials,” which will take place the morning of Tuesday, March 7.

To entice you to attend the conference, here’s the scoop. We all know that Millennials have an insatiable appetite for adventure of all kinds. They are driving flavor and texture innovation in ice cream, too. As these young adults become parents, their preferences and priorities will impact the choices they make about the frozen treats they purchase for their tots. And not to be ignored, Baby Boomers--the grandparents—have their own evolving wish list when it comes to ice cream.

For more information on Ice Cream Tech, link HERE.

As mentioned last week in my blog titled “Ice Cream Trends: Market Overview and Inclusion Innovations,” one of the key flavor trends for innovation inspiration is “Fruit goes upscale.”
To read last week’s blog, link HERE.

Fruit’s role in the three distinct consumer segments identified—Millennials, their children and the grandparents—varies. Let’s talk first about the kiddos.

Remember when frozen novelties were fun? There were Flintstones Push-Ups and Marvel Heroes Popsicles. Most of today’s—and likely tomorrow’s--gatekeepers avoid purchasing such sugar-laden artificially colored treats. Have you noticed the shrinking kids’ section of the frozen novelty shelf?

Let’s get innovative and make fruit work for us in this category. Turkey Hill does a fabulous job with its All-Natural Ice Cream line. Check out the recent blueberry addition, which is made with four simple ingredients. They are: milk, cream, sugar and blueberry puree. The puree’s composition is parenthetically listed as “blueberries, cream, sugar, natural flavor, pectin, fruit and vegetable juices for color.”

There’s also new Raspberry Chocolate Chip. Those all-natural chips could easily be shaped into characters—even emojis—for an adventure. It’s like alphabet soup.

These flavors could go into a tube, on a stick or in a cup. They’re the kind of snack moms want to feed their kids. The colors of the rainbow are possible with fruit (and vegetable) ingredients. The package can make them fun. Educate the shopper that ice cream makes a sensible snack. It contains protein, calcium and other essential vitamins and minerals. Layer in some fruit and you have a powerhouse product.

Baby Boomer grandparents are all about defying aging and getting the most bang for the calorie. To keep them in the ice cream category it is paramount to meet their nutritional needs. There’s a number of marketers in this sector and likely more to follow. 

Enlightened continues to grow its pint line of “the good-for-you ice cream,” with Banana Foster, which is silky ribbons of caramel swirled through banana ice cream. A half-cup serving is only 80 calories, with the whole pint being only 320 calories. A serving contains a mere 1.5 grams of fat, 6 grams of sugar and 7 grams of protein.

This is accomplished through a proprietary base mix including skim milk, milk protein isolate, erythritol, soluble corn fiber and monk fruit extract. The ingredient list highlights the inclusion of real bananas, adding a layer of nutrition to this guilt-free treat.

There’s also Strawberry Cheesecake made with real strawberries. This variety has an even “thinner” nutrition profile at only 70 calories, 1.5 grams of fat, 5 grams of sugar and 6 grams of protein per serving.

For some Baby Boomers, organic is a priority. To meet their needs, Snoqualmie Ice Cream is rolling out Snoqualmie Organic ice cream pints. In addition to the standard chocolate, vanilla and cookies n’ cream flavors, there are a number of innovative offerings. One is Organic Mixed Berry. This is a unique, Northwest-inspired flavor made with organic Madagascar vanilla, organic honey from a Northwest supplier and a custom-made blend of organic Northwest berries.

“We’ve been developing our organic line for over a year,” said Barry Bettinger, owner and founder. “We’ve worked very hard to source the perfect ingredients, develop the best recipes and obtain all the official certifications to create a top-tier extension of our brand. We’re seeing a shift in the way people eat and choose their foods--especially in the dairy world--and we want to ensure our customers that we care about these choices just as much as they do. Snoqualmie Organic ice cream truly aligns with the way we (as individuals and as a company) think, operate and live, and we’re so excited and proud to finally share it with the world.”

Look for more on this new line next week when it is featured as a Daily Dose of Dairy.

Now let’s talk about Millennials, the adventurous, snacking demographic that craves flavor innovation. Fruit ingredients can assist.

For Millennials, fruit ice creams are going upscale with higher-quality whole fruits (usually infused with a sugar solution to stay soft) being incorporated, with or without additional inclusions. This rides the coattails of the gelato trend, and supports a better-for-you positioning by making a more natural, from Mother Nature impression.

Those whole fruit ingredients can be infused with flavor, too. The same is true for purees and variegates. Imagine a chipotle-infused raspberry swirl or a rosemary-lemon puree.

Here’s a brand that understands flavor adventure and convenience. Kayak Greek Frozen Yogurt is now available in single-serve portions for on-the-go snacking. The unique square package even contains a spoon in the lid. Made from 100% real Greek strained yogurt and fresh fruits, without any artificial ingredients, the low-fat stevia-sweetened frozen yogurts come in an array of flavors. One that stands out is Mango & Jasmine. There’s also Red Berries & Acai.

Want to learn more? Plan to attend Ice Cream Tech. See you in Vegas in a few weeks!

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