Friday, September 14, 2018

Expo East 2018: Three Observations to Assist with Your Future Innovation

Expo East, that distant relative to Natural Products Expo West, is taking place right now in Baltimore. I attended on Thursday, and although there were quite a number of no-show exhibitors because of Hurricane Florence’s impact on travel, which also affected attendance, I still found some noteworthy observations to share.

1. Dairy is a powerful player in the natural products sector and innovation and reinvention is the way to stay in control. For as many alternatives that were showcased, an equal number of the “real deal” were in the spotlight on the show floor, and usually their presence was very noticeable. Fage, Organic Valley and Stonyfield dominated with their walk-in and sit-down premium-sized booths with noticeable overhead signage, while smaller dairies lured attendees over with their artisan, hand-crafted, niche products.

Natural by Nature showcased its new look, which includes a logo and package design to not only honor the animals that produce the milk going into the brand’s products but also to honor the land that supports and nurtures the animals. The logo pays homage to the key ingredients in the products. Packaging calls out other aspects of the product. The whipped cream, which comes in brown sugar and classic varieties, for example, includes the tagline: Making Life Delicious.

As stated on its website:

Sunshine, grass and water. These are the key ingredients that make our dairy products special. Yes, technology is advancing our food system forward. But at Natural By Nature our greatest innovation relies on simplicity, the simplicity of understanding the natural processes and habitat of our animals, and honoring the land that nurtures and cares for them. We believe that the best-tasting dairy products happen when nature is allowed to follow her natural rhythms. Then, what emerges are dairy products that reflect the natural instincts of our animals and the natural cycles of our land. We are indeed Natural By Nature.

2. Fat is back and dairy has the opportunity to be a leader. This is particularly true in the ketogenic lifestyle. From ready-to-drink coffee with butter to high-fat, so sugar-added ice cream, full-fat dairy products are being embraced by the natural products consumer.

Bulletproof Coffee is one such example. This ready-to-drink coffee fuels you up with high-quality fats--not sugar--for sustained energy. Each 11.1-ounce shelf-stable prisma box of Bulletproof Cold Brew Coffee contains 2 teaspoons of grass-fed butter along with a proprietary “brain-boosting fat extracted from the most potent part of the coconut.” Varieties are Mocha, Original, Original + Collagen, and Vanilla.

Another example comes from newly founded Rebel Creamery. Funded through a Kickstarter campaign, the company’s product showcases why fat belongs in ice cream. It’s a premium, high-fat, low-carb, no-sugar-added ice cream made using only keto-friendly ingredients. This product will be featured as a Daily Dose of Dairy this coming week.

Supporting this return to full-fat dairy is a new report published in The Lancet on Sept. 11, 2018. The Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiology (PURE) study by researchers from McMaster University in Canada is a large multinational cohort investigation of individuals aged 35 to 70 years from 21 countries in five continents. Dietary intakes of dairy products (milk, yogurt and cheese) for 136,384 individuals were recorded using country-specific validated food frequency questionnaires. The researchers found that dairy consumption was associated with lower risk of mortality and major cardiovascular disease events. It is proposed that a variety of dairy foods components, such as calcium, bioactive proteins, milk fatty acids and the whole dairy food matrix, are protective against cardiovascular disease but mechanistic pathways are yet to be elucidated. You can access the study HERE.

The findings from this study made headlines across the world. One of my favorite articles came from New Zealand, which kicked off with:

“If you identify as a modern-day health freak (think hot-yoga-loving, Lululemon-wearing, dairy-free warrior princess), it may be time to switch-up your morning cuppa. The 'full-fat' label has scared off health and fitness advocates for decades, but a new study suggests that swapping your green top for the infamous dark blue may be just the thing you need.”

3. Lastly, protein continues to control the nutrition conversation. And don’t think for one second that the natural products consumer is ditching dairy, meat and eggs. Exhibitors showcasing these foods rocked the expo floor. In fact, many attendees flocked to these booths for what one person I overheard saying, “yeah, real and delicious food.”

This is not surprising, a new HealthFocus International study—Global Opportunities in Protein—shows that shoppers associate protein with a wide-range of functional health benefits, including physical energy, muscle health, daily health, weight management and brain nourishment. This is fueling protein’s strong health halo and driving consumer action globally with nearly 80% shoppers interested in protein. The study also shows that all protein is not the same, as 60% of shoppers have specific preferences when it comes to the sources of protein they consume.

Graph source: HealthFocus International Global Opportunities in Protein

Dairy foods and dairy proteins are viewed favorably. (See graph.) Further, nearly half of global shoppers are extremely interested or interested in whey protein, and of those who are interested in whey protein, nearly a quarter are willing to pay a premium for it in products.

I will end by sharing the one product I found the most innovative at Expo East 2018.

It’s not dairy, but it is animal protein. And, will a little out-of-the-box thinking, I bet the dairy industry could doing something just like this.

The brand is Peckish and it is rolling out with Peck Pack. Each pack consists of two individually wrapped organic free-range eggs with one fun, flavor-forward crispy crunchy dip for the perfect combination of taste and texture that makes for a truly satisfying, real food snacking or mini-meal option. It comes in five varieties: Everything, Fried Rice, Maple Waffles, Rancheros and Salt & Pepitas. The packs are made with completely clean ingredients and include options for paleo, keto, Whole30 and gluten-free diets.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Dairy Foods Innovation: It’s time to be better. That’s where your advantage lies.

Data is useful…but it’s the analytics and inspiration that follows [that matters].

Never forget the human need and requirement [for the product]. That’s where your advantage lies. 

These were thoughts shared by Amy Sizemore, president-client partner, Ipsos North America, at the Advertising Research Foundation’s SHOPPERxSCIENCE conference in Chicago on Sept. 6, 2018. The event was held at Google’s offices, which motivated me to attend. (They are just as amazing as you would expect. Wowza!)

A lot of what was discussed by the consumer packaged goods experts was beyond the scope of the Daily Dose of Dairy blog—we’re talking the head of analytics for Google, director of client strategy at Oracle, and senior leadership at companies such as Nestle, Procter & Gamble, Mars Wrigley, The NPD Group and more—but it was fascinating.

Brad Piggott, senior vice president-revenue, North America, Cuebiq, summed up the current omnichannel world. “The shopper is in the driver seat,” he said.

We need to figure out how to make the shopping experience smooth for them in this new world of bricks and clicks and swipes and voice.

“It used to be that a brand was a surrogate for value,” said Jason Goldberg, senior vice president of commerce and content practice, SapientRazorfish.

Now consumers google a value-based question and more often than not base their purchase decision on reviews. Social proof sells.

 Brands today need to apply as much innovation to driving loyalty as they do to building products and services, according to SapientRazorfish.

Think about that for a moment.

Loyalty. It’s a word that’s being used a lot in the news. And it’s powerful.

What is your company doing to drive loyalty to your brand? Maybe the industry needs to be more aggressive when it comes together to collectively drive loyalty to dairy.

Let’s make sure we communicate the human need for nutrient-dense milk and dairy foods. That’s the dairy industry’s advantage.

And remember, innovation is not copying the competition, albeit even if the competition is very successful. Innovate, continuously. And let the shopper know all the great qualities of your product. Tell them why your product is better. Then start all over and do it again.

That brings me to a new product in India. 
Bangalore-based Goodness! Beverages is a three-year old beverage startup. Chaitanya Chitta, co-founder, explains that the product started developing a loyal following from the very beginning, namely moms looking for fuss-free nutrition for their growing children who no longer found milk appealing.

“Our customers don’t want to struggle to make their kids have milk,” said Chitta. “We heard from our customers’ feedback that our beverages are ‘better than milk’ and we adopted the claim as something we want the world to know.”

The company prides itself on doing dairy differently. And it’s working. Some of you might not like a dairy beverage being promoted as better than milk. But it is and it’s working.

Goodness! is made with milk or yogurt and comes in six varieties. The Yogurt Smoothie comes in Mango and Mixed Berry flavors and is described as a “better snack.” The Oats Smoothie milk drink comes in Chocolate and Vanilla and is marketed as “better than breakfast” for people on the go. Coffiato cold-brewed coffee-milk drinks are available in a classic variant and with a punch of hazelnut. They are both “better than an energy drink.”

Lakshmi Dasaka, co-founder, shares the five reasons Goodness! is “better than milk.”

These are reasons the company shares with shoppers to build loyalty:

More Protein, Tastier Protein: A normal serving of milk usually has 3.5 grams of protein in 100 ml, all Goodness! beverages have at least 6 grams of protein. More protein helps kids grow better and helps adults build muscle mass and health.

Real Fruits and Ingredients for Added Nutrients and Less Added Sugar: The drinks contain no artificial ingredients, colors or flavors, and careful crafting allows for as much as 40% less sugar than other dairy beverages. 

Zero Preservatives: None needed, none added. A combination of heat and pressure treatment helps retain freshness without the need for refrigeration. The product has a 90-day unopened ambient shelflife.

Easy to Drink, Good to Drink: Eco-friendly, single-serve bottles stay fresh at room temperature and are great for on the go, lunch boxes, pre- or post-workout, anywhere and anytime.

Suitable for all Ages: The beverage has a safe, clean-label ingredient list and comes in flavors that appeal to both kids and adults.

Oh my Goodness!

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Yogurt Innovation: The Biggest Growth Opportunity is in Kids’ Products, especially Breakfast Items

“Quite frankly, we missed Greek. 
And what we realized a couple of years ago is, that’s OK. The category is always evolving. So rather than continue to chase that revolution, let’s lead the next two.”

This was said by Doug Martin, Yoplait USA vice president of marketing for General Mills Inc., when discussing the company’s strategy for yogurt innovation on CBS Minnesota on Aug. 13, 2018.

Although he did not specifically call out kids’ product as one of the upcoming yogurt category game changers, my industry sources and market data suggest that yogurt products designed for kids’ taste buds and parents’ label preferences are where many yogurt companies are dedicating innovation resources. Regarding the latter, this includes natural claims and lower sugar contents.

The Kids Food and Beverage Market in the U.S., 9th edition report from Packaged Facts explains that marketers must take a dual approach to satisfy the needs and interests of parents (as the purchasers) and youngsters (as the consumers) when participating in the kids’ segment. The influence of children on household grocery habits is well documented, but parents are becoming more determined to find a happy medium with products that satisfy the kids without sacrificing nutrition. And there’s a lot of money at stake!

Almost half (46%) of households with kids spend more than $150 weekly on groceries, compared to less than a quarter (22%) of households without kids. And as to be expected, weekly grocery expenditures increase with the number of children in the household, according to the report.

Among parents, “fresh” is the most sought after product quality. Yogurt, of course, fits the bill!
Fresh is followed closely by products on sale/promotion and store brands with lower pricing. The availability of a coupon could help parents rationalize a purchase for kids’ products that are new or may not be enjoyed by the rest of the household, according to Packaged Facts.

The report shows that an all-natural claim is sought out by 36.5% of parents. Nearly a third (30.8%) look for non-GMO claims while 27.9% seek out an organic claim.

“In a competitive packaged food and beverage market, it’s important for manufacturers and marketers to better understand how to strengthen appeal among the category purchaser, the parent,” says David Sprinkle, research director at Packaged Facts. “To that end, food marketers must consider product qualities, dietary lifestyle characteristics, and diet claims to ascertain which attributes parents are most likely to seek out when buying foods and beverages.” 

He explains that free-from claims, such as gluten-free, are viewed by parents as a way to approach health, as are no and low sugar claims.

In a separate report--Retail Product Trends and Opportunities in the U.S., 2nd Edition—Sprinkle suggests that there’s a huge opportunity for portable kids’ yogurt items designed for the breakfast daypart.

“There is much room for innovation in breakfast foods,” he says. “With the reputation for the most important meal of the day, maximizing the reputation of a product’s nutrition while highlighting its’ convenience, is critical in appealing to demographics across the board.

“With most ‘breakfast believers’ being either baby-boomers or families with children, companies are producing new products in an attempt to expand the market by getting younger adults hooked on breakfast foods.”

Yogurt has been a staple of the breakfast foods market for a long time, most recently manifesting itself in the recent Greek yogurt craze. Now that Greek yogurt’s popularity has slowed, marketers are looking to drinkable yogurt and yogurt smoothies to take its place at the breakfast table or meal on the go.  And while the product isn’t new--think Danimals--it’s one of the fastest-growing breakfast foods, logging a growth rate of 20% in the past year, according to Packaged Facts, which projects that the drinkable yogurt market will grow another 13% by 2022.

“New drinkable yogurt products can capitalize off of the nostalgia young adults may have for products such as Danimals, while also appealing to their more grown-up taste buds, nutritional interests and busy schedules,” says Sprinkle. 

Sources tell me that Chobani has big plans for the kids’ yogurt segment. The company recently trademarked the name Chobani Gimmies, and plans to use it on a number of kids’ yogurt products. This includes a dual-compartment concept with kid-friendly mix-ins, such as cotton candy popcorn and funfetti cake. The Chobani Gimmies brand will also include a drinkables concept in flavors such as cookies and cream and mint chip. Stay tuned for complete reporting on these products when they start rolling out in October.

Snacking yogurts are another opportunity. These are often interactive products that are great for backpacks and lunchboxes. 

New Stonyfield Organic Snack Pack is a refrigerated dual-compartment container with flavored yogurt in one part and a dipper in the other, making this a no spoon needed treat. Designed for kids, the three combinations are: Chocolate Yogurt with Pretzels, Chocolate Yogurt with Graham Crackers and Strawberry Yogurt with Graham Crackers. A single-serve 2.4-ounce pack contains 110 to 130 calories, 1 to 2.5 grams of fat, 6 to 10 grams of sugar and 3 to 4 grams of protein.

Sources tell me Yoplait has a similar product rolling out called Yoplait Go-Gurt Dunkers. Interestingly, yogurt’s healthful halo got a boost this week from research presented at the annual congress of the European Society of Cardiology in Munich, Germany. The new research suggests that consuming dairy products such as cheese and yogurt may protect against both total mortality and mortality from cerebrovascular causes.

To read more about the meta-analysis, link HERE.

Sugar content and artificial ingredients may tarnish yogurt’s positive reputation as a nutrient-dense food, as the Packaged Facts research suggests. That’s why with kids’ yogurt innovation, it is paramount to keep sugar content on the lower side, as sugar intake is being monitored by parents.

Ingredients such as chicory root fiber/inulin are often used to lower sugar while boosting the fiber content in dairy foods. Some of these products are as high as 65% the sweetness of sugar, yet still contain at least 75% dietary fiber, a nutrient of concern. They are declared on ingredient statements as fiber; thus, they don’t contribute to the yogurt’s sugar content. Chicory root fiber/inulin also functions as a prebiotic, fueling probiotics, the beneficial bacteria found in many yogurt products as well as in the gastrointestinal system.

Expect to see chicory root fiber/inulin being used in more dairy foods, especially yogurt, thanks to the recent ruling on fiber ingredients. According to a final guidance published on June 14, 2018, in the Federal Register, inulin and inulin-type fructans, including chicory root fiber; high-amylose starch (resistant starch 2); polydextrose; mixed plant cell wall fibers, including sugar cane fiber and apple fiber; arabinoxylan; alginate; galactooligosaccharide; and resistant maltodextrin/dextrin are now recognized by FDA as fiber.

The approval of these eight non-digestible carbohydrates gives food manufacturers additional clarity in updating their labels as needed ahead of the compliance date for FDA’s new Nutrition Facts Label, which is Jan. 1, 2020, for manufacturers with $10 million or more in annual food sales, and Jan. 1, 2021, for smaller manufacturers.

The announcement follows various petitions, many with like-ingredient suppliers joining together to request the addition of beneficial non-digestible fibers to FDA’s definition of fiber, which was issued on May 27, 2016. This was FDA’s first time defining fiber, with the definition being “non-digestible soluble and insoluble carbohydrates (with three or more monomeric units), and lignin that are intrinsic and intact in plants; or isolated or synthetic non-digestible carbohydrates (with three or more monomeric units) determined by the FDA to have physiological effects that are beneficial to human health.”

All of the eight recently approved fibers fit the second definition. The petitions, and supporting research, clearly showed that the fibers support physiological health benefits as assessed by FDA’s strict criteria, according to Carl Volz, president of Sensus America.

FDA’s examples of beneficial physiological effects include lowering blood glucose and cholesterol levels; lowering blood pressure; increase in frequency of bowel movements (improved laxation); increased mineral absorption in the intestinal tract; and reduced energy intake (for example, due to the fiber promoting a feeling of fullness).

Speaking to inulin, the most commonly used fiber food ingredient in dairy foods, namely yogurt, “The FDA’s inclusion of chicory root fiber as a dietary fiber in its new food labeling regulations allows our customers to continue marketing their products as sources of dietary fiber and to continue to use chicory root fiber as a tool to reduce calories and added sugar,” says Volz.

To read the FDA published ruling, link HERE.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Dairy foods innovation: Change, it’s good, so we’ve all been told.

Change, it’s good, so we’ve all been told. I’m guilty of saying phooey to that after moving my first born into the dorms at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, my alma mater. I’ve been a puddle all week. I’m told it gets easier.

But, yes, change is good. This is why for dairy processors, it’s time to mix up your offerings to give today’s shoppers what they want. For many this means adding plant-based versions of typical dairy products.

Just this week I learned of numerous new plant-based products. Many of them do not sound very appealing, especially to a dairy user, like me and the many others out there, who simply wants to include more plant-based foods to improve his or her diet.

The Hartman Group reports that 54% of consumers would like to eat more plant-based foods and beverages. This does not mean they want to give up dairy.

Back in February 2018, after attending the National Grocers Association (NGA) meeting, I wrote about why plant-based products make sense in your dairy foods portfolio. That’s because many shoppers are buying both: the real deal and the plant-based option.  utm_source=DonnaBerry&utm_medium=banner&utm_term=ad&utm_campaign=dairy&utm_term=alte  rnativedairy

I’ve learned to appreciate calling these products plant-based foods rather than dairy alternatives. Nothing will replace the deliciousness and nutrition of dairy. These products are not alternatives. They are simply options for when you want to eat more plants. (Why does that remind me of my son eating dirt when he was a toddler? More tears!)

The fact is, many shoppers buy both dairy and plant-based options. They enjoy both depending on daypart and usage occasion.

“Vegetarians and vegans together account for less than 15% of all consumers and their numbers do not grow very rapidly, but a growing number of consumers identify themselves as flexitarian or lessitarian, meaning that they’ve cut back on their consumption of animal-based foods and beverages,” says David Sprinkle, research director for Packaged Facts. “It is this group that is most responsible for the significant and ongoing shift from dairy milk to plant-based milk.

“The point of non-dairy is to be non-dairy,” says Sprinkle. “Our research shows that among non-dairy milk alternative buyers in the U.S., only 5% are watching their diet for lactose intolerance, and only 11% are vegetarian/vegetarian leaning. In contrast, 82% of these non-dairy milk buyers also buy dairy milk or half-and-half.”

Please take note of that important figure: 82% of non-dairy milk buyers also buy dairy milk or half-and-half.

The Hartman Group explains that for most consumers, healthier eating requires changes and adopting new habits. Plant-based is an approach to eating that consumers can utilize to stack the deck nutritionally on a daily basis.

Makes sense. Introduce new better-for-you (real or perceived) foods and beverages into your diet to fill you up, but also include your tried and true favorites.

At the NGA annual meeting, I talked with a number of retailers about their dairy departments, mostly refrigerated but frozen, too. The consensus was that many of their shoppers purchase both dairy and plant-based dairy-like products because of household members’ preferences or dietary needs. What surprised me was the next revelation, and this was made specific to Ben & Jerry’s, Organic Valley and Stonyfield. These retailers told me that shoppers who purchase dairy and non-dairy tend to stay within the same brand whenever possible. One retailer specifically said he wished more dairies would offer non-dairy under the same family brand.

I pressed one retailer on this and he gave me an explanation I could not wait to share with all of you. “My shoppers trust dairy brands and they want to support local farmers. They just want options, and for many, that includes non-dairy products.”

That brings me to the new plant-based dairy-like products I learned about this week. There’s Malk, an organic cold-pressed milk alternative currently based on almonds, with plans to grow with pecan and cashew options. Then there’s Field Roast vegan cheeses. Neither jumps out at me as sounding yummy.

But then there’s Arctic Zero, a better-for-you ice cream brand that recognized some of its loyal customers wanted to mix things up: one day dairy the other day plant-based.

The company is rolling out Arctic Zero Non-Dairy frozen desserts. The brand has transformed its original lactose-free, whey-protein based frozen dessert with plant-based ingredients and a creamier, more satisfying taste experience.

“We created the original Arctic Zero so that people with restrictions like lactose-intolerance, low-sugar and low-calorie diets could enjoy a delicious frozen dessert without junk ingredients…,” says Amit Pandhi, CEO. “True to our founding promise, our new plant-based Arctic Zero Non-Dairy contains the cleanest, premium ingredients we could source including faba bean protein. We’re confident our long-time fans also are going to love the change. Arctic Zero Non-Dairy pints have a much stronger, richer flavor that really wows and a creamier texture than ever.

“Arctic Zero believes everyone should be able to enjoy great tasting, low-calorie ice cream and frozen desserts without consuming sugar alcohols or artificial sweeteners,” says Pandhi.

He cites Nielsen data showing that 39% of Americans are trying to incorporate more

plant-based foods into their diets, and that preference for plant-based options is not limited to only those who practice a strictly vegetarian or vegan diet.

The new plant-based Artic Zero Non-Dairy contains faba bean protein which, according to Arctic Zero, has a smoother, sweeter, richer flavor than many other plant proteins.

“In our effort to get the texture and rich flavor of traditional ice cream, we experimented with dozens of different core ingredients for our non-dairy pints,” says Greg Holtman, founder and chief flavor innovator for the brand. “Ultimately, the faba bean emerged as the perfect candidate for its luxurious mouthfeel and a slightly sweet flavor with no aftertaste to interfere with all of our delicious mix-ins.”

Change, it’s good. (As I count down the days to the first home football game. I bought season tickets!)  utm_source=DonnaBerry&utm_medium=banner&utm_term=ad&utm_campaign=dairy&utm_term=alte  rnativedairy

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Selling Dairy Proteins and Milkfat: An Opportunity in Cottage Cheese and Quark

Photo source: Starbucks

Since its debut on Tuesday (August 14, 2018), the Starbucks plant-based protein blended cold brew has been making headlines in business food and beverage press, as well consumer and social media. It’s all positive. Score another for plant-based foods.

This rollout happened less than a month after FDA announced plans to enforce current regulations that define “milk” as an animal product. Jokes on the dairy industry. The words “plant-based” sell product. The nut and pea folks do not need the word milk.  

In my August 3rd blog I wrote that owning the word milk will not increase milk consumption. What will increase milk consumption is innovation. You can read the blog HERE.

That’s what the plant-based community is doing. They are innovating and they are doing a darn good job.

That new Starbucks beverage is promoted as being made with slow-steeped Starbucks cold brew, alternative milk (from almonds) and plant-based proteins (predominantly pea) for a delicious, non-dairy beverage that’s a good source of protein and keeps you going throughout the day. It comes in almond and cacao varieties.

Starbucks has been around for 47 years and I never recall menu boards emphasizing dairy protein add-ins--it’s been an option--or delicious farm-fresh dairy cow milk and cream.

This must frustrate you as well as it does me. We’ve got a delicious, nutritious product and we shy away from its origins, its story. Even the word whey has evolved into a category of its own.

I kid you not. About a week ago, in line at my gym’s smoothie bar, I asked the person in front of me who just ordered a customized drink with a scoop of whey and a scoop of pea protein, if he knew where whey came from. Wait for it, wait for it…he responded: a whey plant! I am not kidding.

Yes, catch your breath. I was speechless.

By the way, the new Starbucks drink is tasty. I’ve now had it three days in a row, always the cacao variety--and I am not a chocolate fan, but the cacao powder is clean-tasting, neither sweet nor bitter. On the second day I had them use nonfat milk instead of almond, and on the third day, I requested whole milk. I had no choice on the plant protein powder add-in, which is a premeasured pack. A banana date mix gives it some really yummy flavor and texture.

Let me tell you, whole milk premiumized this beverage. Wowza! For a few grams of fat and at most 20 extra calories, whole milk is the way to go.

So I pose the question: should we stop worrying about owning the word milk and instead start marketing words such as cow, dairy and farm fresh?

It might be worth a try. Nielsen data for the week ending July 28, 2018, show that sales of traditional milk products dropped 4% year-over-year to $227 million. Conversely, sales of milk alternatives were up 8% over the same period, reaching nearly $35 million.

Here’s a somewhat disappointing rollout. New Boost High-Protein Complete Nutritional Drink features 33% more protein. There’s now 20 grams of protein per 8-ounce serving versus the former version’s 15 grams. The marketing materials promote the importance of consuming ample high-quality protein, especially as one ages. You would never know that almost all of that protein is from milk protein concentrate unless if you read the ingredient legend. I bet if it was plant-based, those words would be up front and center.

Here’s some good news. Neilsen data showed that not all traditional milks are struggling. The market research firm identified Maola milk as one such brand posting growth in dollar sales compared to a year ago. Way to go!

Maola positions itself as more than just a brand of milk. It’s a group of local dairy farmers who have owned the land, the cows and the bottling centers for nearly 100 years. The company’s generations of experience combined with modern farming and bottling practices enables Maola to protect milk’s wholesome goodness every step of the way, from farms to neighborhood stores. This is communicated on marketing materials and packaging.

Wouldn’t it be great if the regional Starbucks stores told the Maola story?

Neilsen has some other promising data. Within traditional dairy milks, whole milk and lactose-free milk both experienced unit consumption growth year-over-year as of the 52 weeks ending June 30, 2018.

Right after my August 3rd blog, I learned about Turner Dairy Farms new Turner’s Fresh Lactose-Free Milk. Here’s another local family dairy farming and bottling story that is playing offensively and selling the cows’ story. Kudos to Turner Dairy!

So, where do we go from here?

Let’s talk about those dairy categories that cows still own, namely cottage cheese and quark. Both are experiencing growth thanks to innovation as well as an emphasis on being concentrated sources of protein. Let’s tell consumers where the protein comes from. Talk about the cows, how they graze. Grass-fed is another option to further tell the story.  To view some recent cottage cheese and quark innovations, link HERE.

Now this is the type of innovation that assures me the future will be bright for dairy. Pictured here, left to right, are three Kansas State University graduates students: Karthik Sajith Babu, Priyamvada Thorakkattu and Yuda Ou. They won first place in the National Dairy Council’s annual New Product Competition with their product: Quick-Quark. The concept is a drinkable dairy snack based on the German-style quark cheese. It is made with whole milk, cream, milk protein concentrate and sweetened condensed milk. The mixture is fermented with live cultures to produce a mildly tart quark loaded with dairy protein, calcium and vitamin D. Using real fruit, the students developed two flavors: pina colada and acai blueberry. The latter has a distinct Kansas State University purple. Quick-Quark comes in a resealable eco-friendly pouch with a 30-day refrigerated shelf life.

“Quick-Quark’s texture is very smooth and creamy,” says Ou. “It has a rich mouthfeel comparable to a full-fat yogurt. Our product has 14 grams of protein in a 150-gram serving, which is almost double the amount of popular Greek yogurt drinks and more than double the number of popular yogurts targeted toward children.”

Jayendra Amamcharla, associate professor of animal sciences and industry and team co-adviser, says, “The students wanted to develop a product that was not too familiar to consumers but had an appeal that will give it more visibility. I think Quick-Quark will be the next Greek yogurt. In 2007, Greek yogurt wasn’t popular in the United States, but now it’s approximately 40% of the total yogurt sales.”

Congrats and best of luck bringing the concept to market. All I ask is they flag that it’s dairy protein.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Yogurt Innovation: Three New Ways to Enjoy Real Dairy Yogurt

With back-to-school in the air and football season around the corner, yogurt manufacturers are getting creative with new ways to enjoy yogurt. Just this week I learned of three new formats. Congrats to these companies for their innovation efforts. Sources tell me there are more to follow.

Canadian dairy cooperative Agropur has created what it claims is the world’s first crunchy yogurt bites snack. Sold under the iögo brand, the high-protein snacks are made using vacuum microwave dehydration.

“Agropur is the first company to use this process to dehydrate yogurt while preserving its benefits. There are no similar products on the market, here or anywhere else,” says Martin Parent, general manager-yogurt.

Dehydrated, dried and baked cheese snacks have become quite common. This format presents an opportunity to take yogurt out of the refrigerator and into the snack aisle.

The snacks come in four flavors—Applewood Smoked BBQ, Cheddar, Salted Caramel, and Sour Cream and Green Onion—in 35 grams single-serve packs. The iögo crunchy bites contain 10 grams of protein per portion. They are designed to be eaten on the go, much like chips.

“Reinventing the dairy experience is one of our organization’s priorities,” says Parent. “We had an idea and we needed a unique technology to transform it into an opportunity.”

Another snacking innovation comes from Stonyfield. New Stonyfield Organic Snack Pack is a refrigerated dual-compartment container with flavored yogurt in one part and a dipper in the other, making this a no spoon needed treat.
Designed for kids, the three combinations are: Chocolate Yogurt with Pretzels, Chocolate Yogurt with Graham Crackers and Strawberry Yogurt with Graham Crackers.

A single-serve 2.4-ounce pack contains 110 to 130 calories, 1 to 2.5 grams of fat, 6 to 10 grams of sugar and 3 to 4 grams of protein.

Chobani is launching a convenient condiment that may be an alternative to sour cream called Chobani Savor. This Greek yogurt ingredient is available in a squeezable, easy-to-use 14-ounce resealable pouch. It’s perfect for use as a topping on baked potatoes, tacos and soups. It can also be added to sauces, dressings and marinades for a creamy texture and satisfying taste.

Chobani Savor has 50% fewer calories, 75% less fat and twice the protein than the equivalent amount of sour cream. Made with only natural, non-GMO ingredients and fresh milk from cows not treated with artificial growth hormones, Chobani Savor contains no artificial flavors, sweeteners or preservatives, and is gluten free.

Chobani Savor comes in Low-Fat Plain and Whole Milk Plain, with a 2-tablespoon serving containing 20 to 30 calories, 0.5 to 1.5 grams of fat and 3 grams of protein.

Hope this provides you inspiration to get creative with yogurt and expand its usage occasions.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Milk Processors: It’s Time to be a Beverage Processor

Many of you won’t like my opinion about the regulatory debate on the word “milk,” but many of you agree and have told me so. Even if FDA enforces current regulations that define milk as an animal product, not a plant-based food, that doesn’t mean consumers are going to stop drinking the other stuff, which The Onion refers to as nut sweat (read the satire HERE). Owning the word milk will not increase milk consumption.

What will increase milk consumption is innovation. The status quo is not working and owning the word milk is not going to make a difference. Volume sales continue to decline. In my 25 years of writing for the dairy industry, I have never once written that milk consumption has increased. It is time to be proactive.

At IFT18 a few weeks ago in Chicago, clear dairy protein beverages were trending. As were dairy proteins in other formats.
The U.S. Dairy Export Council—the folks promoting all things dairy—recognize that the future of the industry is not white milk. Dairy proteins—often in beverages—are paramount for the longevity of the milk industry.  utm_source=DailyDoseofDairy&utm_medium=728x90BannerAnimated&utm_campaign=TurmericBev  erages&utm_content=728x90Banner

Research has established dairy proteins’ unique ability to help improve body composition during weight loss, increase muscle mass when combined with resistance training, aid in muscle recovery after endurance exercise and help fight age-related muscle loss.

At IFT18, USDEC, in partnership with affiliated university application labs, developed two prototypes that bring dairy protein benefits to life in trendy, on-the-go applications.

Photo source: USDEC

Developed in conjunction with the Midwest Dairy Foods Research Center at the University of Minnesota, USDEC sampled Lemon Ginger Ice Pops with Whey Protein. The other prototype--Savory Asian Granola with Whey Permeate and Protein Crisps—was developed by the Wisconsin Center for Dairy Research.

On the non-dairy beverage side of innovation, Synergy Flavors, based in a north suburb of Chicago, captured the flavor and authenticity of the Windy City in its themed booth: Simply Chicago. The company showcased foods and beverages incorporating its flavors, extracts and essences, inspired by the beloved gardens of the city.

The Water Garden, for example, featured fruit- and floral-flavored protein, sparkling and still waters, as well as a twist on the traditional coffee bar. The Arboretum had earth-inspired flavored functional snacks and beverages.

Milk processors around the world are evolving into beverage processors, where milk or other dairy ingredients are often the primary ingredient. In some instances, processors are manufacturing beverages with no dairy component. These range from flavored waters to nut-based beverages.

Take Arla Foods, for example, which recently introduced Milk & Oats to the U.K. market. This ready-to-drink refrigerated breakfast beverage is a simple blend of skimmed milk, hearty wholegrain oats and natural flavor that comes in single-serve 250-milliliter plastic bottles. It comes in two breakfast-inspired variants--Maple and Vanilla—and is high in fiber and protein, low in fat and a source of calcium.

“As a nation, our eating patterns are becoming more flexible and the way we consume breakfast is changing,” says Verity Richardson, senior category and brand manager. “Traditionally, eating breakfast on the go can lead to less healthy choices, but Milk & Oats is a nutritious drink that still gives consumers the convenience and flexibility when eating breakfast out of the home.”

Such a breakfast drink concept can further be differentiated with caffeinated versions or additional vitamins and minerals for a nutritional boost.
 Monster Energy Co., is doing that with Caffé Monster. Shelf-stable Caffé Monster is made with 100% arabica coffee and reduced-fat milk. The drink comes in three varieties--Mocha, Salted Caramel and Vanilla--in a 13.7-ounce sleek glass bottle. Energy comes from the caffeine in the brewed coffee, and added taurine, B vitamins and coffee fruit extract, as well as sugar and glucose. Sucralose sweetener helps keep calories down.  One bottle contains 180 calories, 4 grams of fat, 29 grams of sugar and 7 grams of protein.

Dairy Farmers of America is a cooperative that gets it. Always willing to think outside the white milk category, DFA now offers Sportsman Shake, a made over version of its Sports Shake, the original energy milkshake. The rebranded protein shake comes in a larger size (11 ounces vs. 8 ounces) with the tagline of “power your obsession.”

Sportsman Shake comes in Chocolate, Coffee and Vanilla varieties. The cans have either a hunting design, with the catchphrase of “each sip hits the mark,” or fishing, with “one sip and you’ll be hooked.” They are designed to fill you up so you can either focus on the hunt, stay out longer and be on top of the game, or to help you stay out all day and keep fishing and ready for the big one. DFA has numerous hunting and fishing expert partners endorsing the shakes. Imagine, the hunting and fishing industries promoting a dairy-based beverage!

Made with high-quality dairy, one can provides 350 to 360 calories, 9 grams of fat and 53 to 56 grams of sugar. The Coffee variety is made with real brewed coffee, which provides extra kick with caffeine.

Canadian dairy cooperative Agropur is launching a new line of probiotic drinks as part of its Iögo brand. Milk permeate is the first ingredient in these refrigerated beverages that come in three varieties: Kiwi, Pineapple, Mango, Spinach & Kale; Mango; and Strawberry-Raspberry. The drink comes in 200- and 300-milliliter single-serve bottles, as well as 1-liter multi-serve bottles. Cane sugar and fruit puree sweeten this non-fat product, while milk proteins give it an extra protein boost. A 200-milliliter serving contains 110 calories, 18 grams of sugar, 5 grams of protein and one billion probiotic BB-12 Bifidobacterium lactis cultures. Lactose-free versions include the lactase enzyme. The drinks are free from artificial colors, flavors and preservatives, as well as gluten.

New JoeFroyo Functional Cold Brew combines the kick of caffeine from cold-brew coffee with probiotics and protein from drinkable yogurt. Featuring 15 grams of natural protein per 12-ounce serving and six live and active probiotic cultures, JoeFroyo adds valuable health benefits from dairy, all while remaining 100% lactose free. It also contains no artificial colors or sweeteners, no preservatives and no gluten.

JoeFroyo Functional Cold Brew is also one of the first to market with a high-pressure processed (HPP) drinkable dairy beverage. High-pressure processing extends the shelf-life of food and beverage products without relying on chemical preservatives. It also keeps probiotic cultures live and active. HPP is common in the juice, dip and salsa industries.

The beverage comes in the ready-to-drink format, as well as an over-ice version (via one-gallon jug for pour overs or a 2.5-gallon bag-in-box to be used in dairy dispensers) and a frozen blended dispensed version. A 12-ounce ready-to-drink bottle contains 270 to 290 calories, 3 to 4 grams of fat, 27 to 28 grams of sugar, and 15 to 16 grams of protein, depending on variety, of which there are three. They are: Espresso, Latte and Mocha flavors. The protein content gets a boost from the addition of milk protein isolate and whey.

Here’s something to think about. Among all beverages, refrigerated ready-to-drink coffee and tea described as specialty foods showed the greatest dollar growth from 2015 to 2017, increasing 63.2%, according to the Specialty Food Association. The specialty nature of these beverages comes from a combination of qualities, including uniqueness, origin, processing method, design, limited supply, unusual application or use, extraordinary packaging or channel of distribution. Most of the refrigerated coffees—many are cold-brew coffees--contain milk. Cold-brew tea lattes are predicted to be the next big trend. This is an innovation opportunity for dairy processors.

Further, consider adding value to these tea beverages with additional better-for-you ingredients. Tea has a healthful halo. Consumers are willing to pay for value-added beverages and they want variety.

According to the recent Packaged Facts report “U.S. Beverage Market Outlook 2018,” a growing number of U.S. consumers are willing to try beverages from all over the world. The beverage segment most on trend for multicultural inspiration is tea.

“Teas are a beverage category in which the appeal of foreign ingredients plays a role,” says David Sprinkle, research director for Packaged Facts. “U.S. tea consumers are currently enjoying the varieties, such as matcha, moringa and sencha, which have long been staples of Japanese and other Asian cultures. In the U.S. these are marketed as individual types and also used as components in tea beverages that have additionally flavored with fruits and spices. Each of these teas also are favored for their widely recognized health benefits, which is attractive to today’s consumers who are trending away from surgery soft drinks and juices.”

Here are Packaged Facts’ four international tea trends to watch in the coming years that will help drive growth in the U.S. tea market from $8 billion in 2017 to $10 billion by 2022:

Matcha Tea: Popular in China and Japan, matcha is a highly nutritional form of green tea with high concentrations of potassium, magnesium, vitamins A and C, and fiber as well as high levels of L-theanine, a valuable amino acid that is said to have a calming effect on consumers it and substantial amounts of caffeine. It offers health benefits in terms of strengthening the immune system as well as providing an energy boost. Matcha has entered the mainstream as can be seen by the 2017 introduction by Unilever of its first-ever home-brewed matcha teas to its Pure Leaf line of hot and iced tea products.

Moringa Tea: Following along the same path as matcha except with origins rooted in India is moringa, a tea made from the leaves of the moringa oleifera tree that is rich in antioxidants. Benefits attributed to moringa include increased energy and rapid recovery after exercise, mental and emotional balance, and healthy blood sugar levels. Ready-to-drink moringa teas are few and far between, but there are many companies offering moringa teas for brewing. Among them is Terrasoul Superfoods, which has as its goal making nutrient-dense foods more affordable and accessible to consumers.

Sencha Tea: Sencha is a variety of green tea that is still relatively new to the U.S. market although it is considered the most popular tea in Japan where it originates. Sencha, reported to contain more antioxidants than matcha, is available in leaf and powder form, as loose tea and in tea bags. At present, many of the brands sold in the U.S. are imports from Japan, but there are U.S. companies that offer Sencha, as well.

Mizudashi (cold-pressed tea process): The adoption of the cold-brewed process in the ready-to-drink coffee category has begun spreading to the tea category. As with coffee, the cold-brewing process results in a beverage that is reported to be smoother and less bitter and is further said to better preserve the health benefits of the tea than preparing it through a hot-brewing method. The Japanese tea marketer ITO EN in 2017 launched a lineup of ice-steeped cold brew ready-to-drink teas in the U.S.

The Kroger Company now offers Simple Truth Mexican Chocolate Cold Brew Tea Latte. This shelf-stable beverage has skim milk as the number-one ingredient. It also includes milk protein isolate, enabling the 9.5-ounce bottle to provide 15 grams of protein.
Photo source: Midwest Dairy Association
From farm to fridge: Milk carton “sell-by” dates may become more precise
The “sell-by” and “best-by” dates on milk cartons may soon become more meaningful and accurate. Cornell University food scientists have created a new predictive model that examines spore-forming bacteria and when they emerge, according to research published in the Journal of Dairy Science.

“Putting dates on milk cartons is a big issue, because consumers often discard the milk if it is past the sell-by date,” says Martin Wiedmann, food safety professor and a senior author of the research. “Often there is little science behind those dates, as they are experience-based guesses. The goal of this research was to put good science to use, reduce food waste and reduce food spoilage.”

All along the milk production path--from farm to processing plant to consumers’ refrigerators--some spore-forming bacteria can survive even the best pasteurization regimens or the cleanest dairy production plants. The bacteria can subsequently germinate and spoil milk.

Ariel Buehler, Ph.D., the paper’s lead author, says members of the spore-forming bacillus, Paenibacillus and Viridibacillus genera are ubiquitous throughout nature. They have been found throughout the dairy chain, including in farming soil, silage, feed, cow bedding material, milking equipment and in raw and pasteurized milk.

Additionally, the bacteria can survive harsh heat, desiccation (dryness) and sanitizers. When they have the opportunity to grow in pasteurized milk, they can cause off-flavors and curdling.

“This is a considerable problem. If we can reduce the spoilage from spore-forming bacteria--by reducing their presence and by controlling their outgrowth--we can see the shelf life for milk improve from two weeks to perhaps a month,” says Nicole Martin, research support specialist at Cornell’s New York State Milk Quality Improvement Program laboratory.

Spores can be reduced in microfiltered milk products, which is currently an emerging trend in the dairy industry, and the research finds that temperature is a key. The team created a new predictive model that showed refrigerated milk at 39.2 degrees Fahrenheit dramatically lowers the mean concentration of spore-forming bacteria. By decreasing the refrigeration temperature from 42.8 degrees to 39.2 degrees, only 9% of milk half gallons were spoiled after 21 days, compared with 66% of half gallons held at the higher temperature.

Wiedmann imagines a day--perhaps in five to eight years--when consumers find no dates stamped on milk containers. Instead, a scannable barcode could provide the milk’s production history and an accurate use-by date. Cartons could also sport a time-temperature indicator that communicates shelf-life prediction.

“This is the foundational work that could get us there, where consumers could manage their food inventory in the fridge,” says Wiedmann. “That’s the vision.”  utm_source=DailyDoseofDairy&utm_medium=728x90BannerAnimated&utm_campaign=TurmericBev  erages&utm_content=728x90Banner