Friday, April 20, 2018

Dairy Foods Trends: Contemporizing Curd

Cheese, cheese and more cheese. That’s what many of us experienced this past week in Milwaukee at the International Cheese Technology Exposition. With that, we also experienced snow, snow and more snow. Does Mother Nature not know it is spring?

It was great to visit with so many of you, especially at the cheese auction on Wednesday evening, where many of this year’s best-of-the-best cheeses, per the World Championship Cheese Contest held in early March, were sold for hundreds of dollars per pound. While we raved and craved about aged cheddars, smoked goudas and ash-ripened bries, there were winners in other categories that did not get the recognition they deserved. One of those is cottage cheese, a category that processors continue to contemporize with new flavors and forms.

Accolades go to Best-in-Class Muuna Mango, which received a 99.05 score. Muuna is one of the newer brands in the evolving cottage cheese category. The brand launched in 2016 in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions, and is expanding its footprint in 2018. Currently it can found in more than 5,000 grocery stores throughout the U.S.  utm_source=berry_on_dairy&utm_medium=enewsletter&utm_term=728x90&utm_campaign=uscan_  dairy

Muuna now comes in eight flavored varieties that contain 120 to 130 calories, 15 grams of protein and 9 grams of sugar per 5.3-ounce cup. The fruit-on-the-bottom line made its debut in Blueberry, Mango, Peach, Pineapple and Strawberry. Earlier this year Black Cherry, Raspberry and Vanilla joined the lineup. There’s also Low-fat Plain Muuna in 5.3- and 16-ounce containers and Classic Plain in 16-ounce multi-serving containers only. All Muuna products contain no artificial flavors, colors and sweeteners. Muuna is also gluten-free and certified kosher.

“Backed by extensive research, including a deep-dive into consumer flavor demand in the yogurt category, our in-house R&D team created these new flavors,” says Gerard Meyer, CEO. “The debut of Black Cherry and Vanilla mark a first in the cottage cheese category, as consumers previously have only seen these flavors available in yogurt. Cottage cheese continues to gain popularity; plus, the on-the-go portability of our single-serve cups meets consumer demand for delicious, nutritious snack foods.”

The company continues to improve the recipe and package. Earlier this month, Muuna began adding the probiotic Bifidobacterium lactis to its formulation to further set itself apart in what is starting to be a very busy cottage cheese case.

“Consumers are becoming increasingly interested in snack and meal options that contain a variety of healthy ingredients to meet their dietary needs,” says Meyer. “By adding probiotics to Muuna’s already craveable recipe, we can offer a single product that is not only enriched with probiotics, but also high in protein, low in sugar, a good source of calcium and containing potassium.”

Congratulations to Muuna for receiving the Best in Class in Cottage Cheese. To see the other winners and entries in the category, link HERE.

There’s no doubt that cottage cheese has made a comeback. Contemporary packaging and creative flavors is turning the original high-protein cultured dairy product into a trending convenience food.

Hood is in. The company offers savory, sweet and plain cottage cheese in 5.3-ounce containers. On the savory side there’s Chive and Cucumber & Dill. Sweet offerings include Peaches and Pineapple. Protein content ranges from 13 to 18 grams, depending on variety.

Dean’s is in, too. New DairyPure Mix-Ins cottage cheese comes in four varieties. Two are simply fruit—Blueberry or Pineapple—blended with the cottage cheese. The other two are fruit with cottage cheese, along with a dome of a crunchy inclusion. The varieties are: Peaches with Pecans and Strawberries with Almonds. A single-serve 5.3-ounce cup contains 15 to 17 grams of protein.

Even retailers recognize the opportunity in cottage cheese, and many are now offering private-label options. For example, Meijer has 5-ounce containers of 2% milkfat small curd cottage cheese. The plain variety provides 15 grams of protein per container. The fruit flavors—Pineapple and Strawberry—contains 12 grams of protein.

Kraft Heinz, the forerunner in the single-serve cottage cheese category with its Breakstone’s and Knudsen Cottage Doubles lines, continues to evolve the brand. In late 2017, Honey Vanilla and Mango Habanero joined Blueberry, Peach, Pineapple and Raspberry in this dual-compartment format with cottage cheese on one side and topping on the other. With the new flavors came a pack size increase, from the former 3.9 ounces to now “20% more,” or 4.7 ounces. A single serving now delivers 9 grams of protein. Calories range from 110 to 130.

SmithFoods Inc., introduced Americans to artisan cottage cheese with the debut of Artisa in 2015. The product features a slow-cooked, delicate-curd cottage cheese made with fresh milk from locally owned and operated dairies.

The brand has evolved over the years in response to consumer feedback. The goal has always been to make cottage cheese relevant again, and the brand is succeeding. Artisa currently comes in 5.3-ounce containers in six whole milk varieties. They are: Apple Cinnamon, Classic, Peach, Pineapple, Strawberry and Wild Berry. A single-serve cup of Artisa contains 15 to 19 grams of protein and 7 to 15 grams of sugar, depending on variety. The product is all natural, with no preservatives or additives, free of artificial growth hormones and high fructose corn syrup, and is gluten-free.

Good Culture Cottage Cheese also continues to evolve and recently went through a packaging rebrand and added new varieties. Made with grass-fed milk from cows that graze freely on small sustainable family farms in Wisconsin, Good Culture Cottage Cheese contains 16 to 19 grams of naturally occurring protein per 5.3-ounce cup. New Organic Mango and Natural Peach join an array of other organic or natural-positioned flavored varieties such as Blueberry Acai Chia, Kalamata Olive, Peach, Pineapple and Strawberry. There’s also whole milk and low-fat classic.

“We wanted to create a more modern design that clearly communicated what’s inside the cup, while building a stronger emotional connection with our consumer,” says Jesse Merrill, CEO and co-founder. “Our new packaging breaks through the clutter on shelf, drives greater taste appeal, clearly communicates product benefits, and amplifies our brand personality.”

The “good” in the brand name doesn’t just refer to the cottage cheese. The company has partnered with 1% for the Planet. Each time a consumer purchases a cup of good culture, 1% of the sale goes to a global network of nonprofit organizations dedicated to protecting the environment.

On top of mind for cottage cheese formulators is texture and mouthfeel, as the curdiness of cottage cheese is a turnoff for some consumers. One way to overcome this is to ensure the curd is soft and the dressing is super creamy and smooth. Another approach is to blend the curd.

That’s what you get with Alpina’s new No Curd Cottage Cheese. This high-protein dairy snack is made with blended 2% milkfat cottage cheese, which yields a spoonable cultured dairy product with a unique texture, one without distinguishable curds. Made with all-natural ingredients and probiotic cultures, the 5.3-ounce single-serve cup includes a spoon in the lid. The plain variety contains 25 grams of protein. It’s also available in a 16-ounce multi-serve container. There’s four blended fruit options, all delivering 21 grams of protein, 130 calories and only 4 grams of added sugars. The fruit varieties are: Blueberry, Peach, Pineapple and Strawberry.
New RifRaf Ricotta Cups are a first-of-its-kind cheese snack that fits somewhere between cottage cheese and yogurt. The product combines spoonable, lightly cultured whole milk ricotta with a sidecar of adventurously flavored jams and honeys. RifRaf Ricotta Cups is launching in five flavors. They are: Meyer Lemon, Serrano Pepper Honey, Strawberry Balsamic, Sun-Dried Tomato and Wildflower Honey. The ricotta is made from milk from grass-fed cows, with each 4.6-ounce dual compartment cup providing 10 grams of protein.

Keep up the great work making cottage cheese relevant to today’s consumers. Keep contemporizing the curd!  utm_source=berry_on_dairy&utm_medium=enewsletter&utm_term=728x90&utm_campaign=uscan_  dairy

Friday, April 13, 2018

Next-Generation Cheese Innovations

Photo source: Boar’s Head

Welcome to a week of everything cheese. It all started yesterday (April 12), which was National Grilled Cheese Day and will continue this upcoming week in Milwaukee at the International Cheese Tech Expo. (For more information on the expo, link HERE. Hope to see you there.)

To commemorate National Grilled Cheese Day, Sarasota, Fla.-based deli meat and cheese specialist Boar’s Head commissioned an online survey (n=1,001 U.S. adults) to find out how much Americans really love cheese. Findings showed that nearly nine out of 10 (87%) Americans would give up coffee, chocolate or alcohol before giving up cheese. Americans don’t just love cheese, they know it as well, with 60% of respondents able to name more than five cheese varieties.

(After these results published, there were a number of knock-off surveys on Facebook. I enjoyed reading people’s comments, and it confirmed the Boar’s Head survey, folks were not giving up their cheese. Chocolate was the most to go.){7279EF7C-C92C-4BB7-9153-6D3578965EF4}&pid={772BEDAE-50B9-46F8-  861D-E13763FDE010}

Other findings from the Boar’s Head survey included:
  • If possible, nine out of 10 respondents would eat multiple servings of cheese every day.
  • When asked about favorite foods, almost half of respondents (46%) rank cheese as their first or second favorite, among a selection of food group options, with those aged 25-34 being most likely to rank cheese first (27%).
  • American cheese is the top choice for sandwiches (68%), with cheddar topping the list for salads at (59%).
  • When it comes to grilled cheese, half of respondents prefer a blend of two or more cheeses be in their sandwich.
  • And, when asked if cheese were banned where they live, two-thirds of respondents (66%) stated they would definitely move, strongly consider it or possibly move. 

“Cheese is an iconic food not just in America, but around the globe,” says Carlos Giraldo, senior vice president of marketing and innovation for Boar’s Head Brand. “We wanted to help showcase just how much people here in America love their cheese. At Boar’s Head, we are committed to providing the highest quality delicatessen products, nothing less. From premium, age-imported specialties, to America’s favorites like American and cheddar…”

Traditional cheeses reign; however, consumers are very welcoming of new cheese forms and flavors. One of the hottest new cheese formats is baked or dehydrated 100% cheese snacks. These shelf-stable snacks appeal to low-carb and keto dieters who must forego traditional salty, crunchy, starchy carbohydrate-based chips, crackers and curls.

To read more on this booming cheese sector, including a slide show of new products, link HERE to an article I recently wrote for Food Business News titled “New cheese snacks provide the crunch carb-avoiders crave.”

One such new concept comes from That’s How We Roll LLC, a leader in the baked cheese snack category with ParmCrisps, a line of artisan-crafted, crunchy crisps made from 100% aged Parmesan cheese, with or without herbs and seasonings. The company is now rolling out ParmCrisps Trios, a shelf-stable, protein-rich blend of sweet dried fruit, crunchy nuts and seeds, and crispy ParmCrisps.

All three varieties contain almond and pumpkin seeds. It’s the fruit that varies. Original includes apricots and craisins. Mediterranean contains apricots and figs, while Tropical includes mangoes and pineapple pieces. Each pack provides 240 to 260 calories, 14 grams of fat and 13 grams of protein. Each 1.8 ounce pack has a suggested retail price of $3.99.
Schuman Cheese is growing its successful Whisps Cheese Crisps snack line with Bacon BBQ and Tomato Basil varieties. These join Asiago & Pepper Jack, Cheddar and Parmesan. Made with pure cheese, one serving of the gluten-free snack provides 10 or more grams of protein.

In the U.K., Laurels Farm continues to grow its eatlean Protein Cheese brand. The eatlean cheese is made just like any other regular cheddar using natural ingredients by real cheesemakers on a real dairy farm, according to the company. It is, however, lactose-free, with a 100-gram serving containing 169 calories, 3 grams of fat and 37 grams of protein. Regular cheddar only contains about 25 grams of protein. Based on this composition, the cheese is likely made using ultra-filtered milk.

The eatlean Protein Cheese comes in many formats, including snack bars, and most recently, Protein Cheese Shaker. It’s dried and grated eatlean cheese and marketed as a way to add flavor and protein to prepared foods. In this format, it is 66% protein. The shaker product comes in original and smoked varieties. 

Another premium-positioned product is Cello Grab & Go, also from Schuman Cheese. The company is making its most revered Cello cheese flavors in individual snack-size portion packs sold in packages of four. Varieties are shaved Aged Parmesan, sliced Dutch Gouda, cubed Creamy Fontina, and sliced and cubed Sharp Cheddar. (Read more about this product Monday as a Daily Dose of Dairy).

Another one of my favorite out-of-the-chunk cheese innovations comes from Lotito Foods. It’s Cheese Folios, a product that debuted less than two years ago and is now being relaunched with a new look and new serving ideas.

The Cheese Folios product line is par-baked sheets of cheese that are made from Cheddar, Jarlsberg or Parmesan all-natural cheeses. This innovative breakthrough offers chefs creative ways to use cheese to be molded as a topper, shell, wrap and in numerous recipes. The patent-pending lightly baked (1.5 ounce) sheets come five to a pack and are separated by parchment paper. Lactose- and gluten-free Cheese Folios provide 13 grams of protein per serving and a mere 1 gram of carbs.

With all of these new cheese innovations, high-quality, consistent and economically produced cheese is paramount to success.
Congratulations are in order to all of the winners of the World Championship Cheese Contest, which took place in early March in Madison, Wis. Read more about the winners HERE.

You can taste and purchase many of the winning and runner-up cheeses at the International Cheese Tech Expo on Wednesday evening, which is hosted by Chr. Hansen Inc.

Hope to see you in Milwaukee next week.{7279EF7C-C92C-4BB7-9153-6D3578965EF4}&pid={772BEDAE-50B9-46F8-  861D-E13763FDE010}

Friday, April 6, 2018

Ice Cream Category Disruptor #3: Dark, Yet Comforting Flavor Trends

Photo source: Hudsonville Ice Cream

This is the third and final blog on innovation trends that are disrupting retailers’ ice cream freezers. If you want to hear me speak on this topic, there’s still time to book a flight and head to Fort Myers, Florida, next week for the International Dairy Foods Association’s annual Ice Cream Technology Conference April 10 to 11, 2018. For more information, link HERE.

If you missed the first two blogs, link HERE to learn how the pint package helps ice cream manufacturers overcome formulation challenges associated with adding lots of inclusions, especially variegates and fruit sauces that impact freezing temperature and product integrity over shelf life.

The latest rage in pints, however, is protein-enriched ice cream innovations. Learn more about that category disruption HERE.

Today let’s discuss the flavors we are seeing this ice cream season. Clean, simple, pure vanilla flavor bases, often with a swirl or side of something delicious, dominated ice cream freezers in 2017. However, after Cyclone Enawo hit Madagascar in March 2017, reportedly destroying almost a third of the country’s vanilla crop, dairy foods manufacturers recognized that their 2018 innovations would need to take a different characterizing flavor pathway. Not surprisingly, that turned out to be chocolate.

With three months into the New Year, we’re seeing lots and lots of chocolate ice cream. Innovators are using dark, milk and white chocolate, often in combination with other brown flavors, such as coffee, honey, maple and caramel, though the salty spin on the latter is not as prevalent as it was a few summers ago. And with coffee, it’s all about cold brew.

Many of these dark flavors have a comforting twist, with the descriptors “crafted” and “home-style” attached to them. There’s also been considerable flashbacks to nostalgic flavors from more settling times. Think of marshmallows toasting on an open camp fire or mixed into a whipped cream or gelatin dessert. With that comes decadence for when indulging is simply necessary, as well as moonshine to take off the edge. Think bourbon-glazed nuts and whiskey-flavored variegate.

To read a comprehensive article on flavor trends in dairy, link HERE to a recent article I wrote for Food Business News.

Hudsonville Ice Cream, Holland, Michigan, is all about the good old days. The company is bringing back its Creamery Blend Vanilla ice cream flavor, which is made using the original 1940s recipe that has not been available in more than a decade.

The return of Creamery Blend Vanilla celebrates the introduction of a new container design. Most noticeably, each container has a uniquely colored lid that corresponds to each flavor of ice cream and a fresh, creamy scoop on the front of every container. The updated container features new quality and safety measures, such as a new foil seal that serves as an extra layer of protection.

“The art of creating a premium ice cream experience extends beyond the ingredients,” says CJ Ellens, owner of Hudsonville Ice Cream. “When you make a premium product, you want to serve it in a premium container.”

Perry’s Ice Cream, a fourth generation, family-owned ice cream company headquartered in Buffalo, N.Y., is celebrating its 100-year anniversary. To commemorate this milestone, the company is releasing four limited-edition flavors in retro-themed 1.50-quart packages. The retro flavors are:

  • Parkerhouse (circa 1950s): amaretto ice cream with maraschino cherries 
  • Heavenly Hash (circa 1970s): chocolate and marshmallow swirled ice cream with Swiss chips and roasted almonds 
  • Butterscotch Sundae (circa 1980s): butterscotch ice cream with salty butterscotch swirls and roasted peanuts 
  • Malt Shoppe (circa 1990s): malted vanilla ice cream with chocolate chips
In the coming months, Perry’s will also offer special promotions, and the release of a special-edition “The Good Stuff” flavor in scoop shops, which consists of yellow cake ice cream with strawberry swirls and panda paw cups filled with strawberry cream.

“For 100 years, our family has embraced H. Morton Perry’s founding philosophy to ‘make sure you put in enough of the good stuff’ each and every day,” says Gayle Perry Denning, vice president of corporate sustainability and strategic branding.  “The good stuff is about more than what we put into our ice cream. It’s about the moments we are thankful to have been a part of. This milestone will be filled with celebration for those moments, from honoring our community to special events and bringing back some of our favorite flavors from the recipe vault.”

Utica, Ohio-based Velvet Ice Cream is adding new flavors to its premium line, including the 2016 Ohio State Fair limited-offering Banana Cream Pie. This flavor was inspired by nostalgia-infused state fair pie-baking contests and is made from creamy banana ice cream with swirls of meringue and pieces of flaky pie crust.

Another new comforting classic is Campfire S’mores, which blends toasted marshmallow ice cream with rich chunks of chocolate and graham crackers to take ice cream lovers back to summertime campfires.

Ben & Jerry’s is rolling out Truffle Pints in three decadent flavors that contain some of the biggest chunks of chocolate ever put into ice cream. The flavors are:
  • Chocolate Shake It—chocolate malt milkshake ice cream with chocolate cookie-covered fudge truffles and marshmallow swirls.
  • Caramel Chocolate Cheesecake—caramel chocolate ice cream with graham cracker-covered cheesecake truffles and chocolate cookie swirls.
  • Chillin’ the Roast—cold brew coffee ice cream with chocolate cookie-covered coffee liqueur truffles and fudge swirls.

Turkey Hill Dairy, Conestoga, Pa., is rolling out Decadent Delights. This new line of indulgent, sophisticated treats blends premium ice cream with an abundance of fruit to create a four-flavor selection of bars and three flavors of individual-serving parfaits. Decadent Delights is Turkey Hill’s first new novelty in more than 10 years and marks its first entry in the growing premium novelty category.

“Ice cream is a treat, and that’s what Decadent Delights is meant to be. It’s made for people who are passionate about good food,” says Turkey Hill President John Cox. “Each flavor is brimming with fruit, which makes these an extra special treat for fans of fruit flavors.”

Decadent Delights bars include Chocolate Covered Strawberry, Coconut, Tropical Mango and Cherry. Each flavor is tailored for audiences looking for an indulgent dessert packed with fruit, chocolate and other premium ingredients. The Cherry bar, for example, features white chocolate ice cream, swirled with chocolate hazelnut and cherry ribbons and is covered in a triple layer of nougat, cherry and milk chocolate rolled in cherry pieces. 

The parfait selection is no exception, featuring ice cream swirled with ribbons of fruit puree topped with whipped topping and chocolate chips. Parfait flavors include Mixed Berry, Strawberry and Lemon Blueberry.

Gelato Fiasco has seven new flavors of its Maine-made gelato. They are full of chunks and swirls, and represent a shift in Gelato Fiasco’s recipe strategies. With new state-of-the-art equipment, Gelato Fiasco is now able to achieve a high-chunk-ratio on its new recipes, many of which complement this season’s flavor trends.

For example, Bourbon Butter Pecan Gelato speaks to grampy, who loved his bourbon and his butter pecan ice cream. This one is worthy of his porch, according to the company. It’s bourbon-spiked butter pecan gelato with a generous sprinkling of whiskey-soaked buttered pecans.

Deep Maine Woods Gelato takes the mystery and wonder of exploring Maine’s backwoods and puts all the edible treasures one would discover into a pint. This one combines chocolate, smoky caramel and honeycomb candy.

Other new flavors are:
  • A Big ‘Ole Peanut Butter Pint: salted creamy peanut butter base rippled with a peanut butter swirl and chopped chocolate peanut butter cups
  • Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup: chocolate gelato made with rich milk and premium cocoa loaded with chopped peanut butter cups and a peanut butter swirl
  • Double Caramel Cookies & Cream: smooth caramel gelato with an extra caramel swirl and double-chocolate cookies
  • Doughing Me, Doughing You: sweet cream gelato loaded with three flavors--chocolate chip, fudge and peanut butter--of cookie dough
  • Sunken Treasure: brown butter gelato loaded with salty pretzels, chocolate-dipped bourbon butter orbs and fudge swirl
“With our new flavors, Gelato Fiasco is continuing our tradition of creating the smoothest, most dense gelato humanly possible,” says co-founder and CEO Joshua Davis. “And for these new flavors, we’re adding ridiculous quantities of high-quality chunks and swirls. We think these will set the standard for consumers looking for gelato that is incredibly delicious.”

Hope to see you in Fort Myers. I look forward to an afternoon of ice cream tasting.

P.S. My high school senior son—finally—made his college decision. He is going to be an Illini like his mom.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Ice Cream Category Disruptor #2: The Power of the Pint Package

Pints are a powerful package size in the world of ice cream. By definition, pints hold 16 fluid ounces of product; however, for economics, some “pint” packs contain a little less.

Regardless of how much is inside, pints cost more--often a lot more—on a per-ounce-base 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. There’s less product, and thus less risk of waste in case you don’t like it.

“The pint-type package is the fastest-growing size in the ice cream segment, with retail sales up more than 10% per year (on average) over the past 5 years,” says David Owens, chief executive officer of Boardwalk Frozen Treats LLC, which licenses the Baskin-Robbins ice cream brand from Dunkin’ Brands. “Every family member wants his or her favorite flavor, along with variety and portion control, and this size accommodates those needs.”

The company embraced the pint package when it debuted in 2014. Baskin-Robbin is currently the number-eight pint brand in U.S. supermarket freezers. New for this summer is a line of Dunkin’ Donuts branded ice cream pints. The three varieties—Chocolate Chip, Coffee and French vanilla—are all made with Dunkin’s signature coffee.

Also new for this summer, Velvet Ice Cream is adding Chocolate Peanut Butter to its lineup of pints. The new flavor is exclusive to the pint package and is a blend of slightly salty peanut butter with rich chocolate ice cream.

Pints help ice cream manufacturers overcome formulation challenges associated with adding lots of inclusions, especially variegates and fruit sauces that impact freezing temperature and product integrity over shelf life. This is something Ben & Jerry’s taught the ice cream industry when the brand started packing in chunks, chips, swirls and all types of flavorful ingredients that could cause the aerated ice cream mixture to collapse in a larger-sized container that would go in and out of the home freezer for multiple eating occasions.

Pints also allow for unique formulations, such as layers. For example, Haagen-Dazs Trio is a line of ice cream pints that contain multiple layers of ice cream and crispy Belgian chocolate. To get a taste of all the layers, you have to dig in. Such layering would be challenging to achieve, as well as maintain over shelflife, in a half-gallon package.

Three new flavors are debuting for this summer season. They are: Coconut Caramel Chocolate (creamy coconut and chocolate ice cream mingle with crisp Belgian milk chocolate and luscious caramel sauce), Lemon Raspberry White Chocolate (lemon and raspberry ice creams between perfectly crispy white chocolate and sweet raspberry sauce) and Vanilla Caramel White Chocolate (vanilla and caramel ice cream with crunchy white chocolate and sweet caramel sauce). They join the original four varieties—Chocolate & Vanilla, Salted Caramel & Chocolate, Vanilla & Blackberry and White & Milk Chocolate—that have been around a little longer than a year. Each 14-ounce container features a total of 17 layers of these ingredient combinations.

Ben & Jerry’s “Core” product line also requires a pint-sized container. This concept includes a core center down the middle. The flavor of the core complements the superpremium ice cream flavors on either side of the core.

One of the newest offerings is Cookies & Cream Cheesecake Core, which is chocolate and cheesecake ice cream with chocolate cookies and a cheesecake core.
Pints make sense for limited-edition, special-batch and seasonal concepts. Short-time offerings create an urgency to purchase. When they come in a smaller-sized package, the consumer is often more willing to buy and bring home. There’s less of a commitment. In their mind, it’s a tasting, a sampling event.

Here’s a new special-batch product that appeals to Cincinnati locals. Graeter’s, a 147-year-old family-owned craft ice cream company, has brought back Chunky Chunky Hippo Ice Cream, a flavor introduced in the summer of 2017. It was a fun, casual dip-shop flavor served at the company’s retail shop inside the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden. The hippo-inspired flavor is sweet toffee ice cream base, salted roasted peanuts and milk chocolate caramel truffles. It’s a limited-edition flavor produced in small batches and now sold in pints.

The pint artwork was specially created by Loren Long, author and illustrator of a line of New York Times bestselling-picture books. Chunky Chunky Hippo celebrates Fiona’s first birthday on January 24th, the Cincinnati Zoo’s world-famous addition to its hippo habitat. Fiona’s birth story as a premie hippo who was not thought to have a chance to survive has been embraced by the regional community.

View a short video HERE that Graeter’s produced in partnership with the zoo to celebrate Fiona’s one year birthday.

The latest rage in pints, however, is protein-enriched ice cream innovations, some going by the descriptor frozen dairy dessert because of standards of identity. Most of these products are low in calories, fat and sugar. They promise shoppers the indulgence of ice cream without the guilt or empty calories. And consumers are eating it up, one pint at a time. To read more about this trend, link HERE.

“Want to learn more about the evolving ice cream category in order to best plan for future innovation? Plan to attend the International Dairy Foods Association’s annual Ice Cream Technology Conference April 10 to 11, 2018, in Fort Myers, Florida. For more information, link HERE.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Ice Cream Category Disruptor #1: Better-for-You, Higher-in-Protein Formulations

A new generation of ice cream entrepreneurs is disrupting the ice cream category, using everything from global and local flavors, small-batch and hand-packed options, and sports nutrition and snack products. Here’s a quick overview of the most disruptive trend in the U.S. ice cream market. It’s protein, and always dairy proteins, as only clean-tasting dairy proteins allow for heavy protein loads.

The number of such ice creams and frozen dairy desserts in the market continues to grow. Here’s something to know about many of them. The consumer they are attracting is not the ice cream shopper, it’s the protein shopper, the consumer who has grown tired of protein bars and beverages.

In some cases this is athletes, sports enthusiasts and fitness fans. Other times it is dieters or those managing their weight. And, then there’s the consumer who simply knows that protein satiates. All of these consumers are looking for new products to provide them high-quality protein. Ice cream is proving to be that product and whey ingredients typically that protein.

Many of these products are marketed by the content of the pint package they come in. Flagging calories is an important selling point. And while many of these products contain a noteworthy amount of protein on a pint basis. Some are unable to make a “good” or “excellent” source claim, as those are based on a per-serving basis; however, many are able to make these claims when they use the right combination of dairy ingredients and dairy proteins.

Wells Enterprises Inc., is the latest player to enter this growing frozen desserts segment. New Chilly Cow is made with ultra-filtered milk, which boosts protein content while providing for 55% fewer calories, 70% less fat and 60% less sugar than regular ice cream.
The new brand is rolling out this month in seven flavors, as a two-pack of half pints and in novelty bars. The flavors are: Brown Butter Salted Caramel, Chocolate Brownie Batter, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Cookies N’ Cream, Mint Dark Chocolate Chip, Sweet Cream Peanut Butter and Vanilla Graham Swirl. An 8-ounce tub flags that it provides 12 to 13 grams of protein, depending on flavor.

ProYo is reinventing itself to better compete in the category and is now sold as Swell Ice Cream. After conducting an in-depth consumer study, the company learned two things that were keeping it from connecting to frequent frozen dessert/ice cream shoppers. One was the ProYo name and the other was the packaging. Some consumers were confused by the name ProYo, wondering if it was ice cream, frozen yogurt or a novelty. Others felt that the bold, black packaging, and oversized protein callout on the front of the package resonated predominantly with men.

The new package features a clean, premium oceanic blue package that pops on the shelf. It highlights key points of differentiation like high protein, lower sugar and 120-calories per serving. Additionally, to meet demands for indulgent flavors with inclusions, each flavor is communicated with a photographed, single delectable scoop and color-blocked, front-of-pack flavor names and lids.

The ingredients and formulations of the ice creams have not changed. New Swell Ice Cream is not only low-fat (2.5 grams or less per half-cup serving), it also delivers a market-leading, excellent source of 10 grams of protein per 120-calorie serving (35 grams of protein per 14-ounce container). With the rebrand, the company is launching two new inclusion-laded flavors: Chocolate Chip Cookie Batter and Cookies ‘n Cream.

Arctic Zero, a forerunner in the better-for-you ice cream sector, is expanding its product line with new Arctic Zero Light Ice Cream. Made with real milk, cream and whey protein concentrate--yet only 280-360 calories a pint--Arctic Zero Light Ice Cream is naturally sweetened with cane sugar without any sugar alcohols or corn syrup. Arctic Zero Light Ice Cream joins the brand’s original whey protein-based and lactose-free Arctic Zero Fit Frozen Desserts.

One pint of Arctic Zero Light Ice Cream contains 8 to 12 grams of protein, depending on flavor, of which there are seven. They are: Chocolate Chunk, Cookie & Brownie Dough, Cookies & Cream, Mint & Chocolate Cookie, Peanut Butter & Chocolate Cookies, Toffee Crunch and Vanilla Bean.

“We heard our consumers loud and clear: even with indulgence, clean ingredients matter,” says Amit Pandhi, CEO of Arctic Zero. “Sweeteners are a significant issue of concern and conversation for consumers. Many of the lower-calorie ice creams in the category use questionable sweeteners like sugar alcohols that can cause bloating and digestion issues. Arctic Zero Light Ice Cream is naturally sweetened with cane sugar. We want people to feel good after indulging.

“While many people--particularly those with dietary restrictions--love our original whey protein-based, lactose-free Arctic Zero frozen dessert, others were looking for something more indulgent with a taste and texture like premium ice cream,” he says. “In the spirit of ‘no taste bud left behind,’ we set out to create a revolutionary everyday indulgence, a low-calorie ice cream that delights and truly satisfies.”

Ben & Jerry’s now offers Moo-phoria, a pint line with 60% to 70% less fat and at least 35% fewer calories than traditional ice cream. Each half-cup serving of Moo-phoria has 140 to 160 calories, depending on flavor, of which there are three. They are: Chocolate Milk & Cookies, Caramel Cookie Fix and PB Dough. Like all Ben & Jerry’s flavors, Moo-phoria doesn’t contain artificial sugar substitutes or sugar alcohols. The addition of nonfat milk enables a half-cup serving to contain about 3 grams of protein.

Yasso, a leader in frozen Greek yogurt bars, is launching frozen Greek yogurt in pints. Made with nonfat milk, Greek yogurt and milk protein concentrate, a half-cup serving contains 100 to 150 calories, and 5 to 6 grams of protein, depending on variety, of which there are eight. They are: Best of Both Swirlds,  Caramel Pretzel-Mania, Chocolate PB & Yay, Coffee Brownie Break, Loco Coco Caramel, Mint Champion-Chip, Party Animal and Rolling in the Dough.

Three Twins is now offering an organic higher-protein ice cream branded Slim Twin. A half-cup serving has 6 grams of protein, with each pint containing 24 grams of protein. The protein comes from nonfat milk, egg yolk and milk protein concentrate. The flavors are: Cardamom, Chocolate, Coffee, Cookies & Cream, Lemon Cookie, Mint Chip and Vanilla.

Last year, Unilever entered the category with Breyers Delights. And, both Enlightened and Halo Top, two of the original players, continue to grow their product offerings.

Want to learn more about the evolving ice cream category in order to best plan for future innovation? Plan to attend the International Dairy Foods Association’s annual Ice Cream Technology Conference April 10 to 11, 2018, in Fort Myers, Florida. For more information, link HERE.

Here are five reasons to develop high-protein ice cream:

1. Consumers want more protein.
Numerous surveys show that consumers are trying to increase their protein intake, as they understand protein satiates and builds muscle. It’s top of mind when consumers think about health and wellness. In fact, two thirds of Americans said they were seeking out protein in the diet, according to the 2016 Food and Health Survey from the International Food Information Council Foundation. This was a statistically significant increase compared to 2015.

2. Dairy proteins are high-quality, complete proteins. 
Not all proteins are created equal. Consumers are starting to understand that dairy proteins offer benefits that make them a higher-quality option than plant proteins. Dairy proteins have long been the protein of choice among athletes and frequent gym-goers.

There are two types of high-quality dairy protein ingredient options: whey proteins and milk proteins. Both are high-quality, complete proteins that contain all of the essential and nonessential amino acids the body needs. The difference lies in the dominant protein found in each one. With most milk protein ingredients, such as milk protein concentrates and milk protein isolates, casein is the dominant protein. The typical composition of these ingredients reflects what you find in cows milk, which is about 80% casein and 20% whey protein.

Whey protein ingredients, as the name suggests, are a concentrated source of whey proteins. For example, whey protein concentrate typically contains 34% to 89%, while whey protein isolate contains 90% or more.

Protein quality is quantified through the Digestible Indispensable Amino Acid Score (DIAAS) and the Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score (PDCAAS). The latter has long been the standard measurement. The newer DIAAS is proving to be a more accurate assessment of protein quality.

Dairy proteins have an exceptionally high DIAAS score because of the presence of branched-chain amino acids, which help stimulate muscle protein synthesis. Each dairy protein has more branched-chain amino acids than egg, meat, soy and wheat proteins. Whey protein, specifically, is seen as higher quality because of the presence of leucine, a branched-chain amino acid accountable for muscle synthesis.

3. Dairy proteins are versatile.
They have a neutral, bland taste that complements most foods and beverages, and they work especially well in ice cream. They readily dissolve in systems, with some proteins contributing creamy, dairy-rich whiteness, while others becoming invisible. In ice cream, dairy proteins have traditionally assisted with emulsification and freeze-thaw stability. The “extra” protein being added to high-protein ice creams may cause the product to be firmer with poor melt. Using multiple dairy ingredients and dairy protein blends may assist.

4. They are clean-label ingredients.
When Americans define what makes a food healthy, it’s becoming more about what is not in a food rather than what is in it. The presence of artificial ingredients and preservatives is a leading deal breaker when it comes to purchase intent. Dairy proteins have a positive image and are considered simple, clean, natural and wholesome ingredients. This is why formulators of all types of foods and beverages are seeking out dairy proteins for their product development efforts and making package claims such as “made with real dairy” and “contains quality dairy proteins.”

5. They build lean muscle mass and optimize athletic performance.
Numerous studies show that high-quality protein, most notably whey proteins, demonstrate a greater ability to stimulate muscle protein synthesis at rest and following resistance exercise. This is because whey is quickly digested and helps immediate protein synthesis by stimulating muscle growth and recovery. Casein protein provides similar effects in terms of muscle growth but is more slowly digested, providing longer-lasting protein synthesis.

According to Donald Layman, professor emeritus of nutrition at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, data indicates all humans need about the same amount of dietary protein every day for basic lean muscle repair and remodeling. To reap other benefits—those for optimum performance—one must consider the quality of the protein and the quantity of the protein at every meal and snack. Each primary eating occasion should include 30 grams of high-quality protein, including protein that is high in the branched-chain amino acid leucine. This is the amount of protein for the body to function at its best. Of all the protein ingredients available to food and beverage manufacturers, whey protein isolate contains the most leucine: 11%. Milk protein concentrate comes in second at 9.5%, followed by egg protein at 8.8%.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Natural Products Expo West 2018: “Fresh dairy” observations to influence your future innovations.

It’s been less than a week since the 38th annual Expo West wrapped up in Anaheim. It goes without saying that natural, organic and clean-label conversations dominated the exposition floor. After three days of observation and five days of digesting, I’ve identified three trends from the show that I believe are important to the fresh dairy industry moving forward, with fresh dairy being the fluid and cultured categories.

But first, something to take note of is the rise in foods for the keto diet. This is not to be confused with the paleo diet, which bans dairy foods. Daily nutrient intake for the keto diet is around 70% fat, 25% protein and 5% carbohydrate. High-fat dairy is welcome.  %20Dairy&utm_medium=Leaderboard_728x90_Static&utm_campaign=Ingredion_2018_Q1_Mar

It’s no wonder there was a plethora of baked 100% cheese snacks at the expo, many coming from traditional grain-based snack food manufacturers. For carb-avoiders, such cheese snacks provide the crunch they crave.

Riding the coattails of the keto diet is FODMAP, a category of carbohydrates linked to gastrointestinal distress in sensitive individuals. Not surprising, lactose is on that list. Thus, it makes sense for full-fat dairy foods to go the extra step and be lactose free.

Foods designed for improved gastrointestinal health also tend to contain probiotics and prebiotics, both of which were prominent at Expo West 2018. The terms were associated with everything from condiments to packaged salads, and of course, cultured dairy foods. But also, take note, dairy-free yogurt-type products now contain probiotics and are being marketed as gut-health foods.

To read an article on the keto and FODMAP trend, please link HERE to an overview written by my Food Business News colleague Monica Watrous.

Here are my three takeaways from Expo West 2018 for fresh dairy.

1. Grass-fed milk. Not only is it not for everyone, there’s not enough for everyone. But here’s the deal with grass-fed milk, and fresh dairy products made with grass-fed milk. Cows on a 100% grass-fed diet produce milk with a significant increase of omega-3 fatty acids and conjugated linoleic acid, as compared to conventionally fed (mostly grain) cows. This has been known for some time. A study showing this was published in the February 2018 Journal of Food Science and Nutrition.
These healthful fatty acids are in the fat component of milk, so it makes sense that grass-fed dairy products be whole milk. And what do keto dieters want more of in their daily diet?

Further, the grass-fed diet approach appeals to consumers striving for a more plant-based diet. Try this for a marketing spin: the original plant-based milk comes from cows who enjoy a 100% grass-based diet.    

Grass-fed dairy ingredients are a key differentiator for Picnik, an Austin, Texas-based coffee house that entered the ready-to-drink category in 2017 with a line of functional coffee-dairy beverages. The shelf-stable drinks are based on fair-trade coffee, grass-fed butter, grass-fed whey protein and medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil. The company says grass-fed butter fuels the body with a sustained, clean energy that satiates appetite and reduces cravings, while the grass-fed whey protein absorbs rapidly into the body to reduce hunger and sustain muscle growth. The MCT oil offers cognitive boost, supports fat burn and balances mood and hormone levels, while the coffee provides alertness. It’s a keto dieter’s dream beverage.

2. Skyr. This Icelandic yogurt is strained, much like traditional Greek yogurt. But whereas Greek yogurt’s primary appeal was protein content, skyr focuses on probiotics and minimal-to-no-added sugar, as well as protein. Traditional skyr was made with nonfat yogurt, mostly to keep protein levels as high as possible in order to fuel the Vikings who relied on skyr for daily nutrition. Today, the new-generation of skyr being produced in the U.S. is made with whole milk. Look for a number of new skyrs to be featured in upcoming weeks as a Daily Dose of Dairy. In the meantime, link HERE to some new products that rolled out earlier this year.
3. Probiotics. Yes, they are not only now common language and mainstream, they are in almost every food product imaginable. Add them to your dairy foods and market them LOUDLY! At Expo West, DanoneWave gave attendees a sneak peek to a recently developed probiotic shot-style product. Showcased under the trademark-pending brand The Cultured Beverage Company, the daily probiotic comes in plain and strawberry flavors. Each 3.1-ounce bottle contains 70 calories, 1.5 grams of fat, 10 grams of sugar and billions of probiotic cultures. 

Expect to see a lot more this year and next in the areas of grass-fed dairy (and meat), skyr and probiotics.

A shout out to my friends at DanoneWave. Loved the love!

It's time to turn dairy goodness into greatness! Love Dairy!  %20Dairy&utm_medium=Leaderboard_728x90_Static&utm_campaign=Ingredion_2018_Q1_Mar