Thursday, July 13, 2017

Protein Ice Cream: It’s Officially A Thing…and some cool ice cream flavors to celebrate National Ice Cream Day

National Ice Cream Day is this Sunday, July 16. This U.S. celebration is observed annually on the third Sunday in July and is a part of National Ice Cream Month.

Legend has it that ice cream was introduced to the U.S. by Quaker colonists who brought their recipes with them when they traveled across the Atlantic to the New World. Their ice cream was sold at shops in New York and other cities during the colonial era.

Here are some noteworthy ice cream dates:

  • 1813–First Lady Dolley Madison served ice cream at the Inaugural Ball.
  • 1832–Confectioner Augustus Jackson created multiple ice cream recipes as well as a superior technique to manufacture ice cream.
  • 1843–Nancy Johnson of Philadelphia received the first U.S. patent for a small-scale hand-cranked ice cream freezer.
  • 1920–Harry Burt puts the first ice cream trucks on the streets.
  • 2017–Protein-packed ice cream became a new segment in the crowded freezer case.

That’s right! For the past five years or so, I have reported on protein-enriched ice cream innovations, some going by the descriptor frozen dairy dessert because of standards of identity. These innovations are available around the world, with the U.S. and U.K. leading the trend.

In the past six months I’ve noticed an uptick in their popularity, as well as recognition in the press. Most recently, CNBC wrote about the success of Halo Top (a frozen dairy dessert) from Eden Creamery LLC. You can read the article HERE.

The article explains how Halo Top’s success grew in 2016 after a GQ journalist wrote about eating nothing but Halo Top ice cream for 10 days. He lost weight and body fat, not muscle.

The low-calorie, low-fat, low-sugar brand promises shoppers the indulgence of ice cream without the guilt or empty calories. And consumers are eating it up. In 2016, Halo Top sold 28.8 million pints, which generated $132.4 million in sales, according to data from IRI.

Pints of Halo Top, which contain four half-cup servings, provide 220 to 360 calories, 20 to 24 grams of protein, and 20 to 28 grams of sugar, depending on variety, of which there are 17. Most pints also contain 12 grams of fiber. Between the protein and the fiber, this dessert is designed to satisfy the sweet tooth and curb hunger pangs.

The base mix for Halo Top consists of milk, cream, eggs, erythritol, prebiotic fiber, milk protein concentrate, organic cane sugar, vegetable glycerin, organic carob gum, organic guar gum and organic stevia.

To read more about Halo Top, link HERE.

I have long advocated that marketers need to do a better job of promoting ice cream—all ice cream—as a healthful dessert. After all, it inherently contains calcium and protein, and depending on the flavor, can function as a delivery vehicle for healthful foods such as nuts and fruit.

Some recent protein-packed ice cream innovations include other nutrients, such as fiber, vitamins, minerals, omega-3 fatty acids, and even probiotics. 

Such better-for-you ice cream is not for everyone, but it’s definitely alluring to the growing health- and wellness- seeking consumer. This is why some of the larger players have taken note and are entering the category.

As stated in the CNBC article, “There’s no turning back here. This is not a fad,” said Jack Ringquist, principal and global consumer products leader, Deloitte Consulting. “This is truly an evolution that’s occurring and (big companies) need to truly adjust to become positive players as opposed to resistors.”

After all, Nielsen data shows that retail ice cream sales reached $6.6 billion in 2016, up 3.4% from 2015. Conventional products are not the driver of this growth. It’s the better-for-you segment. CNBC reported that sales of products that fit within the FDA’s definition of “healthy” grew 85% in 2016.

The biggest name to enter the category, and just in time for National Ice Cream Month, is Unilever with its new Breyers delights, which contains 260 to 330 calories and 20 grams of protein per pint. Available in four flavors, Breyers delights is promoted as being made with high-quality ingredients, naturally sourced flavors and all American dairy. Flavors are: Creamy Chocolate, Cookies & Cream, Mint Chip and Vanilla Bean.
Supermarket giant Kroger wants part of the action and is rolling out private-label Simple Truth Low Cow Lite Ice Cream. It contains 75% less fat and 55% fewer calories than regular ice cream and is described as non-GMO, gluten free, and made with absolutely no artificial ingredients or preservatives.

One pint contains 240 to 280 calories, depending on variety, and 24 grams of protein. Flavors are: Birthday Cake, Chocolate, Lemon Cake, Mint Chocolate Chip, Sea Salt Caramel and Vanilla Bean.

At this year’s Institute of Food Technologists’ annual meeting and exposition, held in Las Vegas June 25-28, the U.S. Dairy Export Council showcased a frozen matcha dairy sandwich. It featured a milk protein isolate-enhanced Greek yogurt filling flavored with matcha green tea wedged between crispy oat wafers. A single serving contains 15 grams of protein and is ideal as a frozen breakfast food or a high-protein snack.

Also at IFT, Agropur Ingredients sampled Fro’duce, a scoopable fruit and vegetable probiotic sherbet with half the sugar of traditional sherbet. The lactose-free sherbet is made with whey protein isolate and milk protein isolate, with one pint providing about 10 grams of protein.

Never Forget: Ice Cream Should Be Fun

To kicking off National Ice Cream Month, Carvel is growing its retail line of ice cream cakes with Carvel Ice Cream Cookie Cake. The new, original treat is a first at grocery and combines two classic American desserts–vanilla ice cream and chocolate chip cookie cakes–to create the ultimate, sharable indulgence. Complete with Carvel’s famous crunchies around the outside, the new cake resembles a giant cookie ice cream sandwich. Similar to the ease of sharing a pizza pie, the ice cream cookie cake can be sliced, served and enjoyed without needing utensils.

During National Ice Cream Month, Ben & Jerry’s fellow neighbors from Vermont, Phish, are gearing up to kick off a historic 13-night run of shows—dubbed the Baker’s Dozen--at Madison Square Garden in New York City. To celebrate the 20-year partnership with Phish, Ben & Jerry’s is honoring the band with a new very limited-batch donut-themed ice cream flavor: Freezer Reprise. The flavor is a sweet cream ice cream with a vanilla glaze, chocolate donut swirl, chocolate donut pieces and fudge fish. It will be available during the opening night of the run, July 21st, and on select days at special events surrounding the concerts.

Tillamook is playing up its special-batch Monster Cookie for National Ice Cream Month. This fun favorite is cookie dough ice cream swirled with peanut butter and chock full of crispy oats, chocolate flakes and crunchy candies.

This week, Blue Bell rolled out a new flavor to satisfy sweet, salty and crunchy cravings. Aptly named Sweet ‘n Salty Crunch, this new flavor is vanilla ice cream loaded with chocolate-coated pretzel bites, chopped roasted almonds and milk chocolate chunks. Sweet ‘n Salty Crunch is available in half gallons and pints for a limited time.

“Our new flavor was inspired by the popular snack mixes that combine sweet and salty foods,” says Wayne Hugo, vice president of sales and marketing for Blue Bell. “When developing Sweet ‘n Salty Crunch we tried many different recipes, and combinations of ingredients. But in the end, the mixture of chocolate, pretzels and almonds in a vanilla ice cream received rave reviews from our taste panels.”

Earlier this week, General Mills made a big splash at its Annual Investor Day at the New York Stock Exchange with the launch of a global refresh of its Häagen-Dazs brand. The makeover encompasses everything from packaging to advertising to the shop experience and reflects the brand’s status as a leader in super-premium ice cream and more broadly, an international lifestyle icon, according to the company.

The Häagen-Dazs mission is to make every day extraordinary. The refresh is all about staying relevant with consumers, especially today’s millennial consumers who are looking for brands that share their values and that have a deep, relatable story. Colorful, worldly and fun, the Häagen-Dazs brand refresh includes updated packaging designed by more than a dozen up-and-coming artists.

To read and see more, link HERE.

Need Ice Cream Innovating Assistance?

The Frozen Dessert Center, housed within the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Food Science, will hold its first Frozen Dessert Center Conference October 23 to 24 on the UW-Madison campus. Speakers, including myself, will address the scientific, manufacturing and technical aspects involved in the production of ice cream and other frozen desserts. This includes packaging, dairy and non-dairy ingredients, food safety and other trends.

The event’s keynote speaker is Doug Goff, a professor of food science at the University of Guelph. Goff’s talk will cover trends in ice cream ingredients and manufacturing, and the future of frozen desserts.

Participants will be led through an ice cream sensory evaluation and taken on a guided tour of the UW-Madison’s Babcock Hall Dairy Plant and the Frozen Dessert Center’s pilot plant and lab space.

The conference is designed for manufacturers, product developers, researchers, distributors and sales personnel involved in the field of ice cream and frozen desserts. Attendees will gain relevant and up-to-date information on production, ingredients, equipment and distribution.

For more information, link HERE.

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