Thursday, May 2, 2019

Dairy Foods Flavor Innovation: Betting on a Winner (Hint: Indulgence is always a good gamble.)

Photo source: Liège and Dairy

Looks delicious, right? This is a Kentucky Derby-inspired dessert being served by Liège and Dairy, a handmade small-batch ice cream and waffle shop in Louisville, where the 145th running of the Kentucky Derby will take place on Saturday, May 4, 2019. For those unfamiliar with this annual horse competition, it is a Grade I stakes race for three-year-old Thoroughbreds at a distance of 1.25 miles and takes place at the Churchill Downs racetrack.

Liège and Dairy created Winner’s Circle (pictured). It is chocolate- and bourbon-based ice cream with walnuts, chocolate bits and Derby Pie chunks from the famous Kern’s Kitchen in Louisville. Another offering for this weekend’s festivities is Mint Julep, which is bourbon mint ice cream with chocolate flakes.

While these desserts may be extreme in size—they are probably best for sharing—the combination of flavorful ingredients with varied textures showcases how indulgence continues to appeal to today’s consumers. Deliciousness always wins, especially in the frozen desserts category.

Let’s explore some new products making their way into freezers this summer. These marketers are betting on consumers—even the most health conscious minded—making room for indulgence.

Schwan’s has some new ice cream pint offerings being sold through its home delivery service.

Photo source: Schwan's

Confetti Cake (pictured) is cake batter ice cream loaded with blue icing swirl and rainbow sprinkles. Summer Dreamsicle is orange sherbet swirled around our vanilla ice cream.

Strawberry Cheesecake is cheesecake ice cream loaded with strawberry swirl and graham cracker pieces. What gives these products a competitive edge is that they only use colors from natural sources and contain no artificial flavors.

Just in time for ice cream season, New York-based Big Gay Ice Cream is taking its pints to the opposite side of the country. Big Gay Ice Cream started in 2009 with a single truck on a street corner in Union Square in New York City. Along with its retail expansion to the West Coast, the company is rolling out three new flavors.

Banan-o-Graham is caramelized banana ice cream with graham swirls and graham crunch. Fluffernutter is peanut butter ice cream with marshmallow swirls, micro-mallows and peanut praline. The last addition is Spicy Choco-Lit, which is milk chocolate ice cream with spicy fudge swirls and hot cinnamon candy pieces.

The new offerings join Big Gay’s existing portfolio of six flavors, including cult classic American Globs. This is a blend of fudge-covered salted pretzel balls, fudge-covered pretzel pieces and fudge swirl blended into malted sweet cream ice cream.

Friendly’s, a brand of Dean Foods Company, is mashing things up in the freezer with the launch of Friendly’s Dessert Cups, a line of individually sized decadent treats inspired by dessert classics. The deconstructed desserts are packaged in paper cups with clear dome lids, which allows for consumers to see a tower of whipped topping and other goodies. A proprietary production process enables Friendly’s to layer as many as six distinct ingredients for each variety, according to the company.
With multi-textured layers of flavors, these desserts are all about indulgence.

“With the success of our Friendly’s Sundae Cup lineup, we saw an opportunity to create an even more sophisticated and innovative offering for the ultimate indulgence,” says Mark Schneider, marketing director for ice cream at Dean Foods. “By layering the best ingredients from traditional classic desserts into delicious individual mashups, we’re delivering deconstructed dessert classics that satisfy our consumers’ craving for variety, while amplifying the taste and quality they’ve come to expect from Friendly’s.”

With up to six layers of various toppings and flavors, the single-serve 8.5-ounce cups come in six varieties. They are:

  • Banana Cream Pie: vanilla wafer crumbles, banana cream pie filling, French vanilla ice cream topped with marshmallow sauce and whipped topping 
  • Blackberry Peach Pie: flakey pie crust pieces, peach pie filling, vanilla ice cream topped with blackberry sauce, whipped topping and streusel crumble  
  • Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge: chocolate peanut butter fudge truffles, chocolate ice cream, peanut butter and whipped topping with chocolate flakes  
  • Pecan Praline: praline coated pecan pieces, vanilla ice cream, caramel sauce and whipped topping with roasted pecan bits 
  • Red Velvet Cake: red velvet cake crumbles, red velvet cake filling, cream cheese ice cream and whipped topping with red sprinkles  
  • Strawberry Shortcake: pound cake crumbles, vanilla ice cream, strawberry sauce and whipped topping and white chocolate chips 
Steve’s Ice Cream, a brand acquired by Dean Foods in 2017, has been reimagined with a new visual identity and campaign, strengthening its connection to creativity and highlighting its unexpected flavors. Since its inception as an ice cream shop in Cambridge, Mass., in 1973, Steve’s has always taken a flavor-forward approach to innovation.

To bring its deliciously creative spirit to life, the brand enlisted the talents of Seattle-based artist Drew Wicklund, whose work embraces both the art and brand design worlds, to bring the full family of Steve’s to life through refreshed packaging. Wicklund’s hand-drawn designs highlight the inspiration for each flavor by creating unique identifying icons that define each variety. With Small Batch Bourbon Vanilla, for example, it’s the barrel that forms the bourbon and with Wildflower Honey Pistachio, it’s the bumble bee that creates the sweet honey swirl. 

Three new ice cream flavors made with grass-grazed milk are debuting with the redesign. They are: Cold-Brewed Cinnamon Coffee, Sicilian Chocolate Cannoli and Spearmint Chocolate Brownie. The brand also has new non-dairy innovations.

On the better-for-you side of indulgence, Enlightened, a higher-protein, lower-sugar ice cream brand, is introducing the Bakeshop Collection. The two seasonal pint flavors are: Lemon Meringue Pie (light marshmallow meringue ice cream with a velvety lemon custard swirl and buttery pie pieces) and Triple Berry Cobbler (strawberry and blueberry ice cream with a tart raspberry swirl and flakey biscuit crumbles).

“With the Bakeshop Collection we want to evoke feel-good, nostalgic memories of trips to the bakeshop and outdoor picnics,” says Michael Shoretz founder and CEO of Enlightened. “We recreated the experience of taking a bite of fresh-baked pie in ice cream form, mixing in delectable pie and biscuit pieces throughout.”

The company is embracing the deliciousness of sweet-and-salty with new All That & a Bag of Chips. This is potato chip-flavored ice cream with chocolate chips and a salted fudge swirl. The brand has also taken its popular Movie Night pint flavor and turned it into a stick novelty. The Enlightened Movie Night bar is popcorn ice cream with chocolate chips and a caramel swirl.

And the award goes to...
At the annual International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) Ice Cream Technology Conference, U.S. ice cream marketers and flavoring suppliers compete for various awards with their new and soon-to-be-released concepts. The 2019 contest was held April 16 to 17, 2019, and attracted more than 145 ice cream industry professionals and 35 flavor entries.

“This year’s contest really wowed us with a mix of sweet and savory, combining liqueurs with candy crumbles and spices, and bakery flavors like cobbler, French toast, cookies and pie crust,” says Cary Frye, IDFA senior vice president of regulatory affairs. “We’re so proud of how IDFA’s Ice Cream Tech has become a celebration of America’s most beloved frozen treats and a window into the innovation and creativity happening in U.S. dairy today.”

Kemps took first place for the Most Innovative Ice Cream Flavor with Scotcheroo, a new flavor rolling out under the company’s Sweet Me Creamery brand, which is all about delicious treats for life’s sweetest moments. Scotcheroo was inspired by the much loved homemade treat that combines butterscotch, peanut butter, and chocolate into gooey, chewy cookie bars. To translate that into ice cream, the company starts with a butterscotch base and swirls in peanut butter, oatmeal cookie chunks and chocolate fudge chunks.

Second place was awarded to Baskin-Robbins Dunkin’ Brands Inc., for Bourbon Street Pecan Pie. This scoop shop treat features bourbon butter pecan-flavored ice cream with roasted pecans, pie crust pieces and a bourbon caramel flavored swirl.

Hudsonville Ice Cream placed third for its limited-edition Hazelnut Cinnamon Bun. This is a cinnamon bun ice cream base with swirls of a hazelnut ribbon and cinnamon bun pieces.

To read about more winning ice cream concepts from this year’s contest, link HERE.

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