Thursday, August 22, 2019

Dairy Foods Innovation Opportunity: Prioritize Protein and Portability in Kids Products

It’s back-to-school time. And here’s some great news as you market and continue to develop products for kids. Protein currently is parents’ number-one priority when it comes to feeding their school-bound children, according to new research from Three Bridges, a manufacturer of clean-label prepared foods, many of which include dairy ingredients and proteins.

Back to school means different things for different people, but one thing that parents can’t help thinking about is how, when and what to feed their kids. We need to make sure dairy is part of their plan, even if it's dairy protein delivered through juice!

The Three Bridges research found that two-thirds of parents say that food prep during the school year stresses them out. In fact, thinking about breakfast and lunch meal prep is so top-of-mind that 74% of parents try to get ahead by starting to pack their kids’ food the night before.

What about priorities when it comes to the types of food products parents are looking for at the store? Two out of five (44%) cite nutrition as the driving factor for purchasing decisions, followed by convenience (32%) and price (24%).

Here are parents’ top-3 priorities:
  • Supplying protein (37%)
  • Minimizing sugar intake (30%)
  • Giving their kids something they enjoy (19%)

Parents looking for an extra nutritional boost for their kids now have a new option: Borden Kid Builder milk. Available in chocolate and strawberry flavors, the no-sugar-added enriched 2% fat milk come in 12-ounce single-serve and 52-ounce multi-serve bottles.

Designed for kids’ taste preferences, an 8-ounce serving of Borden Kid Builder contains 50% more protein (13 grams) and calcium (490 milligrams) than regular milk. One serving also contains 190 calories, 5 grams of fat and 19 grams of inherent sugar.

“Growing kids need protein, calcium, vitamins and minerals to build strong bodies and minds. But getting them to eat enough of these key nutrients can be a challenge,” says Nick Suffredin, vice president of research and development. “Whether offering the energy they need for that fun playdate or providing a tasty after-school snack, Kid Builder, with no added sugar, is an excellent high-protein option.”

The Kid Builder launch comes months after Borden’s recent transformation with new leadership and an optimistic vision to bring its nutritious and delicious dairy products to more families.

“Kid Builder is Borden’s first new product in some time and highlights the company’s recent focus on product innovation informed by consumer insights,” said Joe DePetrillo, chief marketing officer. “This product is just the beginning of an exciting period of innovation at Borden.”

And innovation is what the dairy industry needs to keep dairy relevant with today’s shoppers. The dairy industry needs to listen to what consumers want and develop those products. And, once developed, the industry must keep them exciting.

According to the July 2019 report “The evolving perspectives and strategies of dairy executives,” from McKinsey and Company, CEOs are reassessing their companies’ competitive advantages in a consumer landscape that is shifting toward small brands and a different set of preferences compared with older generations. In 2015, 21% of dairy CEOs had confidence in their customer service capabilities, followed by brand management. Only a minority considered customer insights to be a source of competitive advantage. In 2018, dairy CEOs had the most confidence in their operational capabilities, but very few listed brand management capabilities. Again, only a few cited consumer insights as a competitive advantage, which is surprising considering the influence of consumers on demand volatility.

Operational capabilities, while important, don’t sell product! Efficiently making products that consumers don’t want doesn’t support growth. Successful companies have an efficient, agile and global supply chain powered by consumer insights, reports McKinsey and Company.

The survey results suggest dairy companies are starting to respond to the new landscape by increasing the speed of innovation. The number of companies changing more than 5% of their portfolio increased from 73% in 2015 to 83% in 2018. According to the survey, new products represent 6% of the total portfolio of products for companies with growing portfolios and 3% for products with decreasing portfolios. New products = growth.

There are opportunities in cheese, snacking segment, new protein drinks, new protein items/snacking items, cottage cheese with mix-ins and spreadable cream cheese flavors, according to the survey results.

Juice, too, as you can see in this new Juicy Juice product. New shelf-stable Juicy Juice + Protein pouches come in Orange and Fruit Punch varieties. The flavored juice beverage blend from concentrate delivers 5 grams of whey protein in every 6-ounce pack. It contains 80% juice and 16 grams of sugar from the juice. There’s no added sugar.

 Danone is introducing Wild Danimals, a line of recloseable 7-ounce bottles that come in Berry Blast, Mango Mojo and Strawberry Smash flavors. A single-serve bottle is a good source of (6 grams) protein and (3 grams) fiber and an excellent source of calcium and vitamin D (20% of the Daily Value). The nonfat yogurts get the fiber boost from carob bean gum, while milk minerals add calcium. Added lactase enzyme renders the beverage lactose free. It also helps keep added sugars at 9 grams while maintaining the sweetness kids appreciate.

Ingenuity Brands, a company dedicated to food-based brain nutrition, has launched Brainiac Kids, the first line of kids’ yogurts specifically targeted to help their developing brains. Brainiac Kids yogurts are made with whole milk and enhanced with the company’s proprietary BrainPack, a unique blend of brain-building nutrients, including omega-3 fatty acids, both DHA and ALA, as well as choline. Extra protein comes from milk protein concentrate.

The whole milk yogurts have 40% less sugar and 50% more protein than the leading kids’ yogurt, while the yogurt drinks have 50% less sugar than the leading kids’ yogurt drink. They are made with three strains of live and active probiotic cultures, are non-GMO, gluten-free, kosher, contain no artificial ingredients and are made with milk from cows not treated with artificial growth hormones.

Brainiac Kids comes in four kid-approved flavors: Cherry Vanilla, Mixed Berry, Strawberry and Strawberry Banana. The yogurt comes in 4-ounce cups and is sold in packs of four, as well as 2-ounce tubes in boxes of eight. The drinks come in 4- and 7-ounce bottles.

Yum Actually is a new line of frozen dairy dessert snacks. The emphasis with this product is less sugar and sneaking in whole fruit and vegetable nutrition. The initial rollout comes in Butternut Squash Butterscotch, Caramel Sweet Potato, Creamy Honey Banana and Yummy Mango varieties, with more in the works. The frozen treats are 40% lower in sugar and more than 65% lower in added sugar. Cream and nonfat dry milk are part of the formulation.

“Kids eat too much sugar these days,” says Nicole Frankel, founder. “When you look at the labels of other kids’ desserts sold in stores, the added sugar content is alarming. Because we use such flavorful fruits and veggies in our frozen desserts, we don’t need to add a lot.”

Yum Actually recognizes that convenience is key in today’s world. The frozen treats are sold in portable 3-ounce cups, with four cups in each box.

The Strong Inside
The American Dairy Products Institute (ADPI) and the members of the Dairy Protein Messaging Initiative (DPMI) have officially launched its new website designed to communicate the benefits and positive attributes of proteins from milk, with a focus on protein ingredients:

I first reported on this initiative in May 2019. For more insight, link HERE.

Link HERE for an article on “Dairy vs. Plant Protein” in Food Business News, which includes insight on the initiative.
The new website is an informative hub for The Strong Inside message with fact-based information to better assist consumers with making smart protein choices. It communicates the nutritional benefits of proteins from milk compared to other protein sources, seeks to refute myths and misconceptions, and fills the void with science-supported information about proteins from milk.

Want to learn more about dairy proteins and dairy ingredients? Plan to attend ADPI’s Dairy Ingredients Seminar next month. I will be presenting on innovation trends. For more information, link HERE.

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