Friday, March 12, 2021

Dairy Foods Innovations Must Intrigue and Entice as We Take Baby Steps and Reenter Society


Photo source: Target Corp.

It’s a year from that historic Friday the 13th when many packed up their corporate desks and moved into a home office. This past Monday my husband and I received our first Pfizer vaccine. Our arm was a little sore and we had fatigue for a few days…but now, we have started the journey of reentering the world. 

While waiting for our vaccines at a Meijer store—we arrived a half hour early and they were running about 15 minutes behind schedule—I chatted with the other masked patients anxiously awaiting their injection, many of them much older, some even with a caretaker. And the consensus was that they were tired of living in fear and want to start doing things they use to do. For many, that includes in-person grocery shopping. 

I’ve not stopped exploring supermarkets this past year. While I love Amazon Prime for household and office-type items, even non-perishable staples like the herbal tea I cold brew and the 5-pound bags of specialty roasted whole coffee beans I grind myself, I only used home delivery of perishable and everyday foods twice during the pandemic. The first time was when I had no car and decided to host an impromptu outdoor driveway Halloween party because the weather cooperated. After all, Halloween was on a Saturday and temps were in the 50s in the Midwest. That is worth celebrating. The other time is when my eldest son and I tested positive for COVID-19 and had to quarantine. 

Many of those folks waiting for vaccines shared with me that they plan to ditch their COVID-19 ways and take baby steps back to doing what they like to do and how they like to do it. A key activity is grocery shopping. 

I recognize there is tons of data showing that once we are behind the pandemic we will be in a new norm of a world where online shopping and curb-side pick-up reign. I’ve even written as much. But now that I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, and so many others can, too, I don’t think that will be the case. I believe we will find news ways to do old things, but we want to live. We want to explore. We want to be intrigued. It’s up to marketers to entice. In-person shopping does a much better job of that.  

I spoke with a 40-something-year-old teacher with school-aged children who said she wants to delete her recurring weekly shopping list for home delivery and looks forward to returning to her Saturday morning supermarket excursion after the gym, with grande latte in hand. She said she never thought she would miss shopping as much as she does and is craving the time away from the computer screen and the house. 

A neighbor with two young daughters recently said, “We are using COVID-19 to create our story for how we live the rest of our life.” That’s quite profound. And from what my fellow patients shared, they just want to move on. They have a whole new appreciation for walking the aisles of the supermarket and exploring what’s new and deciding if they want to try it. It’s not the same as a popup on your screen. In fact, one woman I spoke with, albeit older and likely more set in her ways, said she doesn’t trust those algorithms that direct products to her online shopping experience. Her words stayed with me. “I’ll decide what I want to buy.”

Make sure you include intrigue in your current innovation efforts. Consumers want to be enticed on their own time. 

Ice cream marketers have long been players of people’s emotions by creating flavors, using colors and crafting trivial names and descriptions. Here are some recent innovations in this space. It’s time to join them!

Target Corp., is growing private-label business with the launch of the Favorite Day brand, which features indulgent products designed to entice. The company wrote on its website:

“Each of Target’s more than 45 owned brands starts the same way: with a deep understanding of our guests’ needs, desires--and in this case, tastes. Good and Gather serves up great food made for real life (think dairy, produce, ready-made pastas, meats and more), but our guests were craving sweet and savory treats for special moments, too. And it turns out there’s no food and beverage brand designed around celebration and indulgence that spans such a wide variety of categories. So, in true Target style, we decided to make one from scratch.”

Developed by Target’s internal team of food science and developers, the Favorite Day assortment will include more than 700 items across bakery, trail mixes, ice cream, snacks, beverage mixers, candy and cake decorations. Favorite Day products will be available in all Target stores and online at beginning in April.

“Premium ice cream is incredibly popular right now, and with Favorite Day, we aimed to create more trend-forward, gourmet options for Target guests,” said Allen McGee, food scientist. “We went through multiple rounds of research and connected with more than 11,000 guests to perfect our recipes. An overwhelming taste-tester favorite: our caramel cold brew ice cream made with Colombian cold brew coffee, caramel swirl and espresso chocolately chunks with real bits of coffee grounds that melt on the tongue for a boost of flavor. It’s a coffee lover’s dream, in frozen form.”

Take note: First there was cookie dough. Then there was sea salt caramel and its many derivations. I believe coffee concoctions will rule in 2021. (There’s a lot of cookie concepts rolling out, too.)

Graeter’s Ice Cream is already on it. The company just revealed its annual Mystery Flavor and it is Caramel Macchiato. It’s a blend of caramel and coffee ice cream with milk chocolate caramel truffles and Heath toffee pieces. 

Perry’s Ice Cream Company Inc., a Great Lakes regional brand and Upstate New York’s number-one ice cream, is enticing consumers through their love of hometown sports. The company’s latest ice cream flavor—Doughing, Doughing, Gone!—was developed in partnership with the Cleveland Indians and is made up of chocolate cookie dough ice cream with crushed cookie swirls and cookie dough pieces. The flavor is available in family size, 1.5-quarts for retail and three-gallon tubs for foodservice and scoop shop customers. The 1.5-quart package features a special letter to the fans, calling out memories of 455 consecutive sellouts and the longest win streak in the American League.

“We’re thrilled to join the ‘Big Leagues’ through this partnership with the Cleveland Indians. As Perry’s continues to broaden our expansion in Ohio, this is an exciting opportunity for us as well as our retail and scoop shop partners to bring Tribe fans their first, very own ice cream flavor,” said Robert Denning, president and CEO of Perry’s Ice Cream. “Moreover, we are pleased to see a portion of the sales of Doughing, Doughing, Gone! benefit Cleveland Indians Charities. By making a purchase, Cleveland fans can directly impact many valuable community programs, youth organizations and non-for-profits.”

Blue Bell is putting an “enticing” twist on a popular frozen snack that many may remember from school. Cookie Cone fans meet your new favorite ice cream: Cookies ’n Cream Cone. The flavor is a creamy vanilla ice cream combined with chocolate crème filled cookie crumbles, chocolate cone pieces coated in dark chocolate and a chocolate fudge sauce. 

“Some of you will remember our Cookie Cone, which inspired this flavor,” said Joe Robertson, executive director of advertising and marketing for Blue Bell. “Imagine our Cookies ’n Cream Ice Cream, then add in cone pieces and a fudgy swirl. It’s an ice cream with all of the delicious ingredients of a Cookie Cone. It’s your favorite cone, but in a carton.”

Cookies ’n Cream Cone is available in the half gallon and pint sizes for a limited time. Blue Bell introduced the Cookie Cone in 1997, and it was mostly sold in school cafeterias. The product has not been available since 2015. 

“We have heard from many of our fans on social media that the Cookie Cone was a popular lunchtime treat in school,” Robertson added. “Cookies ’n Cream Cone is a new twist on an old favorite that we know Cookie Cone fans will enjoy.” 

Unilever is growing its Talenti Gelato Layers brand, which comes packed in a jar and contains gelato, flavorful pieces and sauces. The six new offerings are:

Chocolate Pretzel: salted pretzel gelato followed by chocolatey waffle cone pieces and layered with a salted pretzel sauce then a layer of vanilla gelato and finished with a layer of chocolate chunks.

Confetti Cookie: vanilla gelato followed by vanilla cookie pieces, a pink cream cheese frosting, more creamy vanilla gelato and a final full layer of sprinkles. 

Cookies & Cream: cookies and cream gelato followed by chocolate cookie pieces, a one-of-a-kind dulce de leche sauce, creamy vanilla gelato and cookie crumble pieces.

Honey Graham: vanilla gelato swirled with sweet wildflower honey and golden graham cracker pieces.

Strawberry Shortcake: strawberry gelato made with fresh strawberries, followed by buttery shortbread pieces, a strawberry rhubarb sauce layered with another layer of strawberry gelato and then a final layer of shortbread pieces.

Vanilla Peanut Butter Swirl: vanilla gelato that brings out a creamy roasted peanut butter swirl with mini peanut butter cups. 

Turkey Hill has its own take on enticing through visual layers of deliciousness. New Turkey Hill Layered Sundae Cups combine Turkey Hill Premium Ice Cream with inclusions and sauces in a variety of layered combinations.

The eight offerings are:
Caramel Brownie: chocolate and vanilla ice cream with brownie brittle, caramel sauce, chocolate cookie crumble and chocolate flake topping.

Chocolate Cream Pie: chocolate pudding ice cream mixed with graham cracker pieces, topped with whipped cream sauce and chocolate flakes.

Cookies & Cream: chocolate and cookies n’ cream ice cream with chocolate cookie crumble and fudge.

Cookie Dough Delight: vanilla cookie dough and chocolate cookie dough ice cream with cookie dough pieces, fudge and chocolate chip cookies.

Party Cake: vanilla ice cream with cake pieces, vanilla cookie crumble, blue frosting and rainbow sprinkles.

Peanut Butter Cup: chocolate and peanut butter ice cream with peanut butter cups, chocolate cookie crumble, peanut butter sauce and mini chocolate chip topping.

Strawberry Shortcake: vanilla custard and strawberry ice cream with graham cracker pieces and strawberry sauce.

Ultimate Fudge: vanilla ice cream with fudge swirls, chocolate cookie crumble, and topped with whipped icing and mini chocolate chips.

It’s time to entice through intrigue!

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