Friday, October 13, 2017

Anuga 2017: Global Cultured Dairy Trends

Skyr was one of many cultured dairy product sensations in the spotlight at Anuga 2017, which was held this week in Cologne, Germany. This biennial food fair is the largest of its kind and has an entire exposition hall dedicated to dairy foods. While cheese dominated the hall, cultured dairy foods had a very strong presence.

Greek yogurt maintained a healthy showing; however, many global processors, in efforts to be ahead of the game in terms of what might be the next Greek yogurt, showcased numerous other cultured dairy formats. Skyr was one of them.

Skyr has been Iceland’s signature food for nearly a thousand years dating back to the 9th Century when it’s believed that Vikings brought skyr on their journeys. It has the consistency of strained Greek yogurt but is milder in flavor. It is high in protein, with traditional skyr made with nearly zero fat milk. In its traditional use it is diluted with water or milk and consumed as a beverage; however, modern-day skyr comes in a container and is consumed in a similar manner as yogurt.

In the past few years, skyr has been gaining traction in Europe and North America. It’s poised to become a bigger deal going forward, as curious consumers are growing tired of Greek yogurt and are seeking out the next healthful dairy food. U.S. processors are taking note.

For example, last month at Expo East in Baltimore, Maryland, Icelandic Provisions, which made its debut in the U.S. about 18 months ago, relaunched the line with a redesign and new flavors. The company’s initial rollout included five flavors: classic Plain and Vanilla, and three Nordic-derived varieties: Strawberry with Lingonberry, Blueberry with Bilberry, and Peach with Cloudberry. Soon after, Coconut, Key Lime and Raspberry were added. Cherry Black Currant will make its debut in January. The flavor was crafted in partnership with Chef Gunnar Gislason, one of Iceland’s most acclaimed chefs and a pioneer ushering in the Nordic food movement in the U.S.

Icelandic Provisions is made with preserved and treasured heirloom skyr cultures and local milk from cows on a largely grass-filled diet. Icelandic Provisions does not contain artificial preservatives, thickeners, sweeteners, flavors or colors.

The company was co-founded with MS Iceland Dairies, the oldest and largest dairy co-op in Iceland, made up of approximately 600 native farms and milk producers. A group of industry veterans were assembled for the U.S. development and management team.

“U.S. consumers are developing a palate for the thick, creamy taste of skyr,” says Einar Sigurðsson, chairman. “They value products with a high-protein content that aren’t packed with the sugar levels you find in the cultured dairy populating grocery shelves across the U.S. We are proud to launch Icelandic Provisions and expand the skyr category with a product that comes directly from the country that invented it and is made with ingredients that are native to the Nordic region.”
Steve Platt, CEO of Icelandic Provisions, says, “It’s important to us to honor and celebrate Icelandic culinary traditions. Working with Chef Gunnar on our flavor development keeps us rooted in native Nordic flavors that pair well with our skyr.”

The new flavor combines ripe black cherries with the tart punch of black currant, both of which are commonly found throughout the Nordics. When Chef Gunnar Gislason is not heading up the kitchen at Michelin-starred Agern in New York, he advises the brand on native Icelandic flavors and culture.

“Eating skyr with ripe berries is a tradition in Iceland that goes back centuries,” he says. “For this flavor, we wanted to craft a cherry that was more complex than what Americans currently have access to and pay homage to that Nordic food tradition of being playful in ingredient pairings.”

Similar in health benefits to the rest of the portfolio, the new Cherry with Black Current flavor boasts 15 grams of protein and 1.5% milkfat, all while remaining naturally low in sugar. Icelandic Provisions can be found in the refrigerated section of more than 4,500 U.S. retail partners nationwide.

Back to Anuga, Bohušovická mlékarna in the Czech Republic showcased its new “Islandska Tradice” (Icelandic Connection) line, describing the product as a high-protein alternative to yogurt and quark. Graphics showcase the quality fruits used in the product, and a Nordic snowcapped countryside gives a nod to the product’s origins.

The single-serve 140-gram containers come in Blueberry, Cranberry, Natural, Peach/Apricot, Raspberry and Strawberry varieties. Natural is also available as a 350-gram family-size tub. The product is 12% protein and 0.1% fat.

Ehrmann is entering the skyr category in its home country of Germany. The initial line is 7.7% protein and fat-free and comes in single-serve cups. In the near future, the company will roll out the first Skyr Snack to-go pouches targeted to adults looking for a healthful, convenient high-protein snack.

The company is also expanding its yogurt line and now offers 470-gram non-returnable glass bottles of whole milk yogurt under its Ehrmann Almighurt line. And, Tropical joins the company’s rather new yogurt drink line, which includes Mango, Raspberry, Strawberry and Wild Berries. Containing less than 1% fat, the clean-label drinkable yogurt beverages are positioned as an on-the-go snack.

Watch for some additional high-protein cultured dairy foods and dairy snacks from Ehrmann to be featured as a Daily Dose of Dairy in upcoming weeks.
Also from Germany, Emmi is growing its Onken brand with a blended product based on whole grains, fruit and whole milk yogurt. Varieties are Cherry, Red & Black Currant, and Vanilla. The product comes in 500-gram cups and features the brand’s special whole grain mixture consisting of rye, barley, oat, wheat and rice.

Koukakis Farm S.A. of Greece was an Anuga taste Innovation Show winner. Nearly 900 companies placed more than 2,300 products in the New Products Database on the Anuga website for consideration for the taste recognition. In total, the jury selected 67 products and concepts.

Koukakis Farm received the accolade for its new stevia-sweetened kefir. This probiotic effervescent cultured dairy beverage comes in Blueberry, Sour Cherry and Strawberry flavors and is promoted for its ability to support digestion and overall health. The fermented dairy beverage is made from fresh Greek milk and is rich in protein, vitamins and minerals.

Another Anuga taste Innovation Show winner is Graham’s The Family Dairy in the United Kingdom. The company’s Protein 22, which is fresh, award-winning milk cultured into smooth, fruity quark, received the accolade. The product comes in Blueberry, Peach, Raspberry and Strawberry varieties. It’s fat free with natural fruit flavorings, and contains no preservatives or additives. With 22 grams of protein per pot, Protein 22 is eaten just like a yogurt and is great as a pre or post work out snack, helping to maintain and grow muscle mass.

The Anuga taste Innovation Show program, along with Innova Market Insights analysts, identified numerous trends that will drive future innovation. As expected, protein was one of the recurring keywords among the new products. In addition to protein, less sugar and lactose free were repeated themes among many dairy product innovations. Clean label, too, dominated the discussion.

Whether meat products, vegetarian/vegan products, complete meals, snacks or beverages, the array of products that contain an extra portion of protein is immense. There were a number of milk-coffee drinks enhanced with high-quality protein, some marketed as refuel and energize shots. Yogurt and curd products are now blatantly being positioned as mini meals that are rich in protein. Even ice cream marketers are designing products with added protein.

For example, with its unique combination of protein and caffeine, Innoprax AG’s Caffè Lattesso Sport is promoted as the ideal power coffee for successful training sessions. S.A. Corman offers a Cream with Greek-Style Yogurt. It meets the demand for products that naturally pack more pleasure and new taste experiences with a lower calorie count. Emirates Industry for Camel now offers Camelicious Camel Milk Protein Bar, which takes all the health and goodness of camel milk and infuses it into a protein snack bar. Ehrmann GmbH offers Qjo in four different flavors. Qjo is claimed to be the ideal source of protein for everyone focusing on conscious nutrition and pleasure at the same time. Look for many of these products featured as a Daily Dose of Dairy in coming weeks.

The so-called superfoods--chia, aronia, acai, but also ginger, green tea, citrus fruits and guarana—were strongly represented at Anuga and round off many products in terms of taste and ingredients. In this way, many classics are being redefined, e.g., quark now with chia and flaxseed.

Completely ready-made meals are nothing new, but the Anuga exhibitors showed new versions, clever packaging sizes and fresh formats. For instance, tomato/peach/apricot flavor vegetarian soups in a grab-and-go bottle and fully cooked chicken breasts in snack portion bar-style sizes. One dairy processor offered grill-ready burgers made completely from cheese. A new Swiss raclette format can be prepared in the oven or microwave in small portions.

Indeed, this 34th Anuga was impressive and a record setter. More than 7,400 companies from 107 countries presented products from all over the world and all categories over the course of five days. Around 165,000 trade visitors from 198 countries took advantage of this unique offer for sourcing, information and ordering at top level.

“Anuga is the world’s biggest and most important business platform for the international food industry,” says Gerald Böse, president and CEO of Koelnmesse. “The trade fair brings the global supply and demand together very precisely. With its clear concept and focus on relevant themes, it is a reliable marketplace for the global food world for customers from Germany and abroad.”

The next Anuga will take place October 5 to 9, 2019. Plan on attending. For more information, link HERE.

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