Thursday, April 18, 2019

It’s Time to Get Smart with Your Brew: Functional coffees appeal to the growing clean-energy consumer

Photo source: BENEO

Ready-to-drink coffee drinks—regular or cold brew; sweetened or unsweetened; plain or flavored; alone, with milk or plant-based whitener—are currently one of the most popular beverages. It’s not only for their convenience, it’s also that their inherent caffeine serves as a source of natural, clean energy, something many consumers are looking for in their beverages.

To read more about the clean energy trend, link HERE to a recent article I wrote on the topic for Food Business News.

In addition to providing clean energy, there’s overwhelming scientific evidence showing that coffee offers potential health benefits, from liver health to longevity, according to the National Coffee Association (NCA) USA. When coupled with the nutrient density of real cows milk, you’ve got a true powerhouse beverage.

Just imagine the marketing possibilities when functional ingredients are added, such as protein, probiotics and prebiotic fibers. These ingredients are recognized as assisting with everything from refuel and muscle building to digestive health and immunity.

“Coffee and health is an opportunity for the coffee industry to connect with consumers,” says William (Bill) Murray, NCA president and CEO. “The message is clear: coffee is good for you. But it’s up to the industry to share that story.

“Coffee is America’s most beloved beverage,” he says. “New consumer values have changed the game for coffee. But the industry is adapting--and thriving--by embracing innovation and transparency.”

Milk processors can do the same!

More than ever before, consumers are paying attention to what’s in their cup, glass, bottle or can. It’s time to get smart with your formulation efforts.

Functional coffee beverages provide a convenient opportunity for dairy processors to enter the non-dairy space. Imagine a range that includes lattes with milk, oats and almonds. There’s something for everyone and it’s being produced by a dairy. Further differentiate through the addition of extra nutrition.

Danone North America continues to grow its Stok cold-brew coffee brand. The Stok Protein Espresso is now available in 15-ounce cans and is a blend of coffee and dairy. The brand also now offers cold brew with almondmilk and cold brew with oatmilk.

The NCA does not see a significant change in the quantity of coffee that people are consuming, but the association says there has been a clear change in the quality and consideration of each cup. Driven by younger coffee drinkers, NCA is seeing a gradual but steady increase in the share of coffee prepared out-of-home and consumed after breakfast.

The under-40 demographic is a powerful force in the coffee market. They are driving growth in cold brew and ready-to-drink, which are both demonstrating impressive growth trends, according to Murray. Considering how recently they’ve reached mainstream markets, awareness of these beverages is high: 80% and 89%, respectively.

Both of these categories offer opportunities for innovation, from preparation methods to functional ingredients. Milk processors are key to these efforts.

JoeFroyo Functional Cold Brew is right on trend. The perishable beverage combines the kick of caffeine from cold-brew coffee with probiotics and protein from drinkable yogurt. Free from artificial colors and sweeteners, and containing no lactose, gluten or preservatives, the drink is fortified with milk protein isolate and whey. The refrigerated drink uses high-pressure processing to extend shelf-life without relying on chemical preservatives.

“The functional beverage market is seeing exponential growth right now, but wherever we looked, we could see drinks that sacrificed taste for benefits or benefits for taste,” says Zach Miller, president and CEO. “With JoeFroyo, we tried to create a functional beverage that checked all the boxes. It’s full of long-lasting energy, natural health benefits and we never compromise on great taste.”

At the beginning of the year, Shamrock Farms introduced Rockin’ Protein Energy. The new refrigerated beverages combine the naturally occurring caffeine from coffee with a whopping 30 grams of high-quality dairy protein for a powerful one-two punch ideal for sustained energy. Varieties are: Café Latte, Caramel Latte and Mocha Latte.

Smari is rolling out Kaffi Icelandic Protein Coffee. The new 8-ounce refrigerated coffee-milk line comes in three varieties. Keto Latte is designed for the keto dieter, with 60% of calories coming from fat, 35% from protein and 5% from net carbs. The 8-ounce bottle contains 110 calories, 7 grams of fat, 1 gram of sugar and 10 grams of protein. The perishable beverage provides as much caffeine as almost 2 cups of coffee (150 milligrams). There’s also two flavored lattes. They are: Iced Mocha and New Orleans.

In Germany, DMK Group now offers Milram Kalder Kaffe Powerful Cold Brew Coffee beverage made with low-fat milk. Containing no-added-sugars, the perishable product is marketed as a natural energy drink.

Super Espresso from Kitu Life is a 6-ounce can loaded with 180 milligrams of caffeine from three shots of organic espresso and no added sugar. It does, however, provide sustained metabolic energy from whey protein concentrate and coconut medium-chain triglyceride oil (MCT) oil. It also contains l-theanine, an antioxidant found in green tea. This combination of ingredients is said to provide a smooth, sustained, energy boost without the crash.

“Everybody needs energy, and until now, the only fast and effective energy options on the market are loaded with sugar and artificial ingredients,” says Jordan DeCicco, co-founder. “Super Espresso provides the energy we all need without the sugar, and the added benefits of healthy fats and a little bit of protein.”

Many of these natural energy drinks do not contain added sugar, further contributing to their healthful positioning. Ingredients such as inulin/chicory root fiber may assist with sweetness without contributing to sugar content. Such fiber is also recognized for its ability to mask off tastes from intense sweeteners, and in some applications, contributes a creamy mouthfeel without adding fat.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Frozen Dessert Innovation: Gaining Inspiration from Foodservice

Photo source: Parker Products

For most food and beverage categories, trends start out at restaurants, cafes and even quick-service chains. Ice cream is no exception.

Culinary professionals have few limits when they get creative in the ice cream category. While ingredient sourcing and long-term shelf life stability are critical considerations in the packaged product space, these are not barriers for most foodservice establishments, where ice cream may be churned onsite, in small batch and/or using local ingredients.

Many of you will be attending the International Dairy Foods Association Ice Cream Technology Conference this week in Florida. I am sorry to miss it due to a personal commitment but am sure lots of great ideas will come out of the conference. I look forward to reading about the annual contest’s winning flavors and regret missing the opportunity to taste them. Have a scoop for me, please!

Let’s explore some recent foodservice ice cream innovations and get a kick start on the innovation inspiration that will be exchanged at the conference. Don’t forget to stop by Parker Products’ display of inclusions, including 2020 Feature Flavors such as Tin Cup Whiskey Cake, It Takes Two to Mango, Get Churr-Own, Crystal’s Geode Cookie and more.

On the morning of April 17, the conference will commence with insights from Salt & Straw, a Portland, Ore.-headquartered scoop shop with a presence along the West Coast. One of the company’s most recent innovations is Wild-Foraged Berry Slab Pie (pictured). Like all of its creations, a local story is involved and always shared with guests.

Originating in July 2015, Salt & Straw’s Slab Pie flavor was inspired by a friend who was foraging wild berries in Washington State and the culinary experts had to get them into ice cream. Pies were baked and globs were added into a salted vanilla base.

Almost four years later and the artisan ice cream makers are still working with those same berries, but this year have expanded the repertoire to include cranberries, cherries and other fruits that they’ve cooked into a gorgeous pie filling that gets heaped into vanilla base alongside chunks of golden-brown pie crust.

These artisan ice cream crafters are known for collaborating with some of Portland’s most talented chefs to create some of the shop’s featured flavors. Smoked Sea Salt & Chocolate Crack (pictured) was based on a dessert by Naomi Pomeroy of Beast. At the time of the ice cream flavor’s fist rendition, she really fancied feuilletine, which are delicate baked crêpes crushed into small, crisp shards, almost like fancy French corn flakes. Coating these in chocolate protects them from going soggy in ice cream, and a smoked salt base provides both a contrast to the sweet, rich bits and a canvas for the surprisingly sophisticated crack.

Since its first release in July 2012, the company revisited the formulation with each new limited-edition offering. There have been adjustments to the levels of salt and smokiness and they’ve played with different chocolates.

The 2019 rendition has a toastier, crunchier texture from combining feuilletine with genmai, a sweet Japanese short-grain rice deep roasted until puffy, fragrant and complex. Guests can expect a light smoked salt base with gratifyingly crackly bits of chocolate scattered throughout.

New for this spring, Salt & Straw created Spring Flower menus, with some offerings unique to each of its major markets. Each menu featured a number of dairy and vegan options. In Portland, there was: Rhubarb Crumble with Toasted Anise, Wildflower Honey with Ricotta Walnut Lace Cookies, Chocolate Rose Petal, Hibiscus with Rosé Lemon Curd, and Orange Blossom Sorbet with Edible Flowers.

After a long, cold winter season, Cold Stone Creamery celebrated spring with the rollout of Wild Blueberry Muffin Batter Ice Cream and non-dairy Whipped Meyer Lemon. The new flavors are served in promotional creations through mid-May. Pie Like You Berry Much is the Wild Blueberry Muffin Batter Ice Cream with blueberries, graham cracker pie crust and sugar crystals. Golden Oreo Lemon Whip features to Whipped Meyer Lemon with strawberries, Golden Oreo cookies and whipped topping.

Have you heard of Creamistry? Founded in 2013 and franchising since 2014, Creamistry is an Irvine, Calif.-based franchise that serves made-to-order liquid nitrogen ice cream using all natural and organic ingredients that can be customized with more than 60 flavors and toppings. Currently, there are over 60 shops open and operating in six states, with more than 200 additional locations in various stages of development worldwide.

Here’s how Creamistry works. Customers choose a portion size, then an ice cream base and flavor. Then the fun begins with the addition of premium toppings and upgrades including candies, cookies and cereals, fresh fruit, sauces, made-to-order waffles, and freshly baked brownies. Each scoop of ice cream is hand-crafted to order using liquid nitrogen. Creamistry’s unique freezing process results in fresh ice cream that is luxuriously rich and decadently creamy.

Creamistry's new Creations menu:

The company recently introduced a menu featuring reinventions of classic combinations and drawing inspiration from other cultures. The Lunch Box PB&J is a take on a childhood favorite that is comprised of peanut butter ice cream, fresh strawberries, strawberry sauce and topped off with crushed toast to bring back the memories of a simple afternoon snack. Creamistry’s take on the popular Mexican frozen dessert Mangonada features mango sorbet covered in chamoy and tajin. It is accompanied by spicy Takis chips and a dash of fresh lime juice. The Unicorn Creation is a combination of birthday cake ice cream, mini marshmallows, blue marshmallow cream and, of course, unicorn dust.

While Cool Haus is becoming a household name thanks to its growing retail packaged pint business, it’s the innovation you find at the scoop shops that really impresses. The culinary team sets out to build masterpieces and they do not disappoint.

To make Candy Cap Mushroom (pictured), they soak dried candy cap mushrooms in the ice cream base. This mushroom breed has an inherent sweetness with tastes of maple and vanilla bean and the inherent earthy-ness of mushrooms, of course (similar to a porcini).

Fast Food Ice Cream is salted Tahitian vanilla bean ice cream, chocolate malt balls and French fry crisps. Street Cart Churro features mouthwatering bits of sugar-coated fried dough goodness. And, well, you have to taste it to believe its deliciousness. Fried Chicken and Waffles is brown butter maple ice cream with maple candied chicken skins and caramelized waffles.

Restaurant Hospitality recently published an article on trending ice cream shops for grown-ups. You can read it HERE.

These establishments are designed for ice cream-loving adults who want to get their scoop fix in a more sophisticated setting. Dubbed barlors, short for boozy ice cream parlors, many focus on serving whiskey and beer-infused sundaes and frozen cocktails. Many are franchising and spreading across the country.

Buzzed Bull Creamery, for example, specializes in mixing ice cream or coffee with liquor to make such dessert treat flavors as Honey Bourbon Pecan (pictured), Lemon Cake Gin and Hard Apple Pie.

For the younger consumer, unicorns, glitter and shimmer is holding strong. This past month, Marble Slab Creamery and MaggieMoo’s Ice Cream and Treatery’s handspun shakes introduced two new offerings nothing short of magical. New over-the-top Majestic Shakes in Cookie Dough and Cotton Candy are showstoppers. I challenge packaged ice cream innovators to turn these concepts into retail products.

The Cookie Dough Majestic Shake is an imaginative combination of cookie dough shake served in a glass jar rimmed with vanilla frosting and chocolate sprinkles. The shake is topped with a mountain of vanilla frosting, brownies, Oreo Cookie, cookie dough pieces, chocolate pirouette and finished with Hershey’s chocolate drizzle and a colorful fun wide-mouth straw.

The Cotton Candy Majestic Shake is a dreamlike creation of blue cotton candy shake served in a glass jar rimmed with vanilla frosting and rainbow sprinkles. The shake is creatively capped with lots of vanilla frosting, a rainbow swirl lollipop, marshmallows, cotton candy and mini gumballs.

Ice Cream Contest Celebrates the Birthplace of the Sundae

Back in 1881 in Two Rivers, Wis., George Hallauer asked Ed Berner, owner of a soda fountain, to top his dish of ice cream with chocolate sauce, an ingredient used only to make ice cream sodas. It became a popular treat limited to only being sold on Sundays. Legend has it that one day a little girl asked for one on another day of the week, suggesting they pretend it was Sunday. To communicate the order, sundae was written on the check.

The State Historical Society dedicated a marker in a downtown park in 1973 commemorating the first ice cream sundae and city limits billboards advertise the town’s claim to ice cream sundae fame. Berner’s original soda fountain still exists and every July, the town celebrates Ice Cream Sundae Thursday.

This year Two Rivers is hosting a bigger tribute to the sundae, and the city invites craft ice cream makers to participate in the celebration. “Every Day is Sundae Week” will kick off on Friday, June 14 with a concert and beer and ice cream pairing event in Central Park. On the following day there will be a host of activities, including a public tasting and ice cream flavor contest, an ice cream sundae building contest and more.

Amateur and hobbyist ice cream makers are invited to submit their most inventive flavors for judging. In addition to cash prizes for best of show and people’s choice, all entrants will have their costs sponsored and the best flavors will be featured at ice cream parlors and restaurants throughout the summer. For more information, link HERE.

World Dairy Innovation Awards
Many dairy processors have introduced great new products this past year and I encourage you to enter the World Dairy Innovation Awards 2019. U.K.-based FoodBev Media has organized and presented this award for the past 13 years, and this year will be selecting winners in 22 different categories ranging from products, brands and catering to marketing, packaging and sustainability. All are designed to celebrate excellence and innovation across every category of the global dairy industry.

Every year, some of the biggest, most world-renowned brands and groundbreaking new start-ups enter the awards, highlighting their newest innovations on this global platform. The finalists and winners of the 2019 awards will be announced at a special gala dinner during the 13th Global Dairy Congress on the evening of June 26, 2019, in Lisbon, Portugal.

For more information and to enter, link HERE. This year, the closing date for entries is May 10, 2019.

Once again I am fortunate to be one of the judges. To learn more about the judges and what they are looking for in a winner, link HERE.

Friday, April 5, 2019

Bacon > Cheese > Plants: Never Forget Taste Reigns

Photo source: Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board

It’s cheese. I am convinced it’s cheese that allows only a mere 2% of the American population to call itself vegan. And with BaconFest—a three-day event in Chicago where bacon is the star, in the buff and added to everything from cookies to ice cream to, you guessed it, cheese—kicking off this afternoon, I have a theory that bacon is what keeps the number of self-proclaimed vegetarians in the U.S. hovering at about 5%.

These are the only two foods I know of that can be described as “making everything better.” And it shows in consumption data. Both continue to grow in the midst of the plant-based movement.

According to the USDA Economic Research Service, Americans consumed 1.5 cup-equivalents of dairy products per person per day in 1976 and in 2016. While overall quantity is the same, the mix has changed. Fluid milk consumption has fallen from 0.9 to 0.5 cup per person per day, while cheese consumption has doubled.

U.S. cheese consumption is expected to continue to grow over the next decade, topping 38 pounds per person by 2026. That’s a lot of cheese. Could it be to make all those plants taste better? This is not anything new. Think broccoli in cheese sauce.

While cheese as an ingredient—both in the home kitchen and in commercial manufacturing--continues to grow, retail sales are also booming. Year-to-date retail volume sales are up 3% compared to the same period in 2018, according to IRI data provided to Dairy Management Inc., courtesy of the Midwest Dairy Association. Cheese prices are at favorable levels, down 1.8% vs. the same period last year.

Source: IRI data provided to Dairy Management Inc., courtesy of the Midwest Dairy Association

Natural cheese continues to be the driver, with early 2019 growth observed across most top-selling cheese varieties and forms. Most cheese blends and shredded forms—what home cooks often use in the kitchen--continue to outperform the category as a whole at retail. Sales of imitation cheese—those vegetable oil and plant-based dairy case invaders—continues to decline despite the fact that products continue to enter the category. Why? They just don’t beat the real thing.

Let’s take a moment to celebrate the hard work that goes into making delicious cheese by recognizing the 2019 U.S. Championship Cheese Contest Winners. Out of a record-breaking 2,555 entries in this year’s contest, a team of 60 elite cheese judges evaluated entries from 35 states based on technical merits, including flavor, texture, appearance and, of course, taste.

A Baby Swiss Wheel made by Guggisberg Cheese, Millersburg, Ohio, was named the best cheese in the United States with an impressive score of 98.54 out of 100. Marieke Gouda of Thorp, Wis., claimed both the first and second runner-up positions. Coming in just one-tenth of a point behind the Champion Cheese, with a score of 98.41, was Marieke Gouda Premium, a gouda cheese aged 18 to 24 months. Marieke Gouda Overjarige earned a score of 98.39.

Overall, Wisconsin cheesemakers dominated the 2019 competition, earning gold medals in 60 of the 116 contest classes and sweeping the gold, silver and bronze medals in 25 classes. New York cheesemakers earned nine gold medals, while those in California and Idaho earned six each. Gold medals went to dairy processors in Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Vermont and Washington.

The U.S. Championship Cheese Contest is the largest technical cheese, butter, yogurt and dry dairy products competition in the country, and has been held biennially since 1981. For more information on the contest link HERE. For complete results for all entry classes, link HERE.

Photo source: Chr. Hansen Inc.

Interested in tasting some of the winning cheeses? Plan to attend the Chr. Hansen Reception & Auction of Champion Cheeses on April 17, 2019, as part of the 2019 Cheese Industry Conference in Madison, Wis.

The conference is co-hosted by the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association and the Center for Dairy Research. Innovation sessions on topics such as trending new flavored cheese concepts, creative packaging and ingredients to improve cheese yield and quality will be offered during this two-day event (April 17 and 18). For more information, link HERE.

Here’s a sneak peek at Chr. Hansen’s new CHY-MAX Supreme, a coagulant designed to increase yield by up to 1%. Launched this week, such groundbreaking innovation in the coagulant space is rare.

“We understand the challenges of modern cheesemakers who are under pressure to generate maximum value, increase flexibility and meet customer demand for better functionality and convenient cheese formats,” says Soeren Herskind, vice president of commercial development at Chr. Hansen. “With a small but crucial change to our renowned CHY-MAX enzyme, we are making a big difference across cheese production and functionality for cheddar, continental or pasta filata/mozzarella cheese types.”

Photo source: Chr. Hansen Inc.

CHY-MAX Supreme is the third generation of the CHY-MAX fermentation produced chymosin range of coagulants and a result of five years of intensive research. It helps cheesemakers deliver a greater commercial return by offering up to 1% more cheese over the market leading coagulant without compromising whey quality. It enables faster, more precise production and better slicing and grating of cheese with controlled protein breakdown over time.

The new coagulant maximizes value by allowing the cheesemaker to produce considerably more cheese out of the same amount of milk. A 1% yield increase of global cheese production means more than 220 million kilograms of cheese without more milk to the vats.

That is enough to satisfy the yearly cheese consumption of 15 million American consumers!

World Dairy Innovation Awards

Many dairy processors have introduced great new products this past year and I encourage you to enter the World Dairy Innovation Awards 2019. U.K.-based FoodBev Media has organized and presented this award for the past 13 years, and this year will be selecting winners in 22 different categories ranging from products, brands and catering to marketing, packaging and sustainability. All are designed to celebrate excellence and innovation across every category of the global dairy industry.

Every year, some of the biggest, most world-renowned brands and groundbreaking new start-ups enter the awards, highlighting their newest innovations on this global platform. The finalists and winners of the 2019 awards will be announced at a special gala dinner during the 13th Global Dairy Congress on the evening of June 26, 2019, in Lisbon, Portugal.

For more information and to enter, link HERE. This year, the closing date for entries is May 10, 2019.

Friday, March 29, 2019

The Scoop on Ice Cream, Milk, Dairy-Based Beverages, Yogurt and Cultured Dairy Foods

Photo source: Dairy Management Inc.

It was wonderful to see so many Daily Dose of Dairy subscribers at ProFood Tech this week in Chicago and a big welcome to the more than 100 new subscribers who I had the pleasure to meet at the expo. I hope you will enjoy being part of this dairy innovation community.

To view any of the Daily Dose of Dairy LIVE! presentations from ProFood Tech, please click on the title.

Trends in Frozen Desserts
Trends in Yogurt and Cultured Dairy Products
Trends in Milk and Dairy-Based Beverages

Here are five key takeaways from these presentations.

1. Seasonal/Limited Edition. Limited-time-offerings keep consumers interested in the category and your brand. Knowing that a flavor may not be available the next time they shop creates an urgency to purchase. Even if dollars are tight, consumers are often willing to dig deeper into their pockets to make sure they experience the flavor adventure you are selling.

2. Value-Added Nutrition. To differentiate in the crowded refrigerated and frozen dairy cases, it is imperative to offer products with an additional layer or two of nutrition to keep products relevant with today’s health and wellness shoppers. The most common extras include protein, probiotics, prebiotic fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, grass-fed dairy, and caffeine, as a natural form of energy.

Source: IRI data provided to Dairy Management Inc., courtesy of the Midwest Dairy Association

3. Less Sugars. Today’s shoppers are increasingly avoiding sugar in every shape and form. No high fructose corn syrup is basically a must in any better-for-you product if you want it to sport a healthful halo. Also very important are claims of less sugar, or even no sugar, for products designed to have keto diet appeal. And finally, formulating lactose free is proving to be a great strategy to keep shoppers in the dairy department.

4. Farm-to-Fork Story. Whenever you can bring the product back to the farm, do it. Be transparent when you can be traceable. This includes highlighting the source of all ingredients, not just the milk. This is everything from coffee and chocolate to fruits and spices. 

Source: The Hartman Group, as presented on March 28, 2019, at Trends and Innovations, A Sosland Publishing Seminar

5. Keep it Clean, Simple and Relevant. I’ve attended numerous educational conferences this month and the “clean, simple, relevant and TASTES GREAT” message is always emphasized. Dairy owns “tastes great.” If you are not working on the others, it’s time!

Concurrent with ProFood Tech, Sosland Publishing hosted its first Trends and Innovations seminar. When addressing the topic of what’s important to the health and wellness consumer, who, by the way, is a growing portion of the population, speaker Shelley Balanko, senior vice president of The Hartman Group, explained that the question modern wellness consumers ask these days is “What does this food do for me?”

“Progressive consumers are becoming savvy about choosing the right kinds of protein, the right kinds of fat and the right kinds of and amount of carbohydrates,” she said. “It has to taste good and be of good value.”

She went on to explain that while plant-based foods are dominating the conversation these days, “There’s still space for animal products, although specialized and regional,” she said.

She also predicts there soon will be backlash against some plant-based foods when consumers learn about how highly processed they are, along with the resources used in their manufacture.

Dairies would be smart to be prepared for this pending criticism of plant-based foods. Be ready to share your clean, simple, farm-to-fork story.

(Table source: IRI data provided to Dairy Management Inc., courtesy of the Midwest Dairy Association)

So how are retail dairy sales so far in 2019?

Unfortunately, 2019 milk sales remain in a depressed state, according to IRI data provided to Dairy Management Inc., courtesy of the Midwest Dairy Association.

About two-thirds of all channels were down 3% in the first month of 2019, compared to the same time period one year ago. Milk’s rate of decline steepened as 2018 progressed with full year 2018 sales volume down 2.8%.

Source: IRI data provided to Dairy Management Inc., courtesy of the Midwest Dairy Association

Growth pockets continue to be lactose-free milk and whole milk, with each posting continuous growth over many years. While still very early in 2019, flavored milk posted a small increase following a flat 2018.

It should be no surprise that milk alternatives remain strong, with almond the dominant force. Oat is likely right in tow. New players continue to emerge, with many dairies joining the movement.

Yogurt sales also continue to decline. The overall start to 2019 is an improvement over yogurt’s weak 2018 retail sales performance (-3.1%), with the most recent four-week period essentially flat compared to the same period a year ago.

Source: IRI data provided to Dairy Management Inc., courtesy of the Midwest Dairy Association

Contributions to this improved performance came from a number of areas, namely innovation in product and package. The whole fat segment continued to show strong growth at +10% for the four-week period ended Jan. 27, 2019. Whole fat growth can be tied to key consumer trends operating in the market, including consumers’ ongoing desire for whole, natural foods and a growing recognition among professionals and consumers that dairy fat can make positive contributions to health and wellness. Plain whole milk yogurt, as well as double and triple cream formulas, appeal to the growing number of keto dieters.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Ice Cream Concepts to Spark Innovation

“With total sales of $56.7 billion, frozen food is a significant department,” according to Anne-Marie Roerink, president, 210 Analytics LLC, and author of The Power of Frozen Foods 2019, a study published by The American Frozen Food Institute and The Food Marketing Institute. “Ice cream is the second largest category, behind dinners and entrees. Novelties is third. Ice cream is the leader in household penetration, with 87.5% of U.S. homes purchasing some form of ice cream. Novelties come in third with 79.6% household penetration.”

For the 52-weeks ended Nov. 4, 2018, ice cream generated $6.8 billion in retail sales, up 0.2% from the previous year, with unit sales up 1.1%, according to IRI. Novelties experienced $5.2 billion in retail sales. Dollar sales increased 4.2%, while unit sales were up 2.3%. New products that provide flavor adventure and better-for-you and the earth brands are fueling much of this growth.
Visit Double H Plastics Inc., at ProFood Tech, 
March 26-28, 2019, Booth 1031

Let’s explore three formulating concepts gaining traction in the marketplace.

1. Dairy-Free. The IRI retail ice cream and novelty sales include dairy and dairy-free products, with the latter increasingly being offered by traditional dairy brands. Consumers who want to mix up their diet with dairy and plant-based products, or households that may have a dairy-allergy, dairy-intolerance or dairy-avoider member appreciate the dairy brands they have come to love and trust offer dairy-free options. It’s smart business to keep dairy brands in both refrigerated and frozen dairy departments.  

One of the most recent dairy brands to enter the dairy-free space is Coolhaus, which is well known for its premium cookie sandwiches, pints and bars. Like its dairy products, the new plant-based line is thoughtfully crafted with the highest quality ingredients for a superior creamy texture. The dairy-free line is made with a base that differentiates itself from other vegan ice cream brands on the market by introducing unique ingredients, such as organic cocoa butter, pea protein and organic whole grain brown rice.

The dairy-free line continues the brand’s endeavor to adopt more sustainable practices to keep the earth healthy. Earlier this year Coolhaus received a certificate from the Culver City Sustainable Business Program for its “Going Green” initiatives, and now the brand is channeling that same energy into dessert options with environmentally conscious and sustainably sourced ingredients.

Dairy-free pint flavors include: Chocolate Campfire S’Mores, Chocolate Sandwich Cookie Crumb, Cookie Dough Lyfe, Dirty Mint Chip, Mocha Marcona Almond Fudge, Peanut Butter Fudge Chip and Salted Caramel Crunch. The dairy-free cookie sandwich flavors are Cookies and Cream with double chocolate cookies, Cookie Dough Lyfe with chocolate chip cookies, Dirty Mint Chip with double chocolate cookies, Horchata with Snickerdoodle cookies and Tahitian Vanilla Bean with chocolate chip cookies. Each pint is priced at $6.99, while sammies are priced at $5.49. 

“We’re really excited to launch a dairy-free line that’s inclusive of plant-based diets without compromising on decadence,” says Natasha Case, CEO and founder. “Our dairy-free experience will be just as rich and self-indulgent as our dairy line, and we can’t wait for vegan and dairy ice cream-lovers alike to taste it!”

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams is going dairy-free, too. A few years ago, Jeni’s set out to make the best dairy-free ice cream in the world. They tried all the trendy ingredients and none lived up to Jeni’s standards of flavor and quality. Taking a step back, Jeni’s realized its premise was all wrong because it’s impossible to ask ingredients that are not milk or cream to act like milk or cream.

They returned to the roots of what it is they do every single day: source the best ingredients they can find and use their expertise to make them shine. This is how Jeni’s came to use pure coconut cream, the most delicate and delicious part of the coconut and the reason the new dairy-free line is so creamy. The dairy-free line is launching in four flavors: Cold Brew with Coconut Cream, Dark Chocolate Truffle, Roasted Peanut Butter & Strawberry Jam and Texas Sheet Cake.

“This is dairy-free ice cream that’s not jealous of dairy, made by people who love dairy,” says Jeni Britton Bauer, founder and chief creative officer. “Bringing people together is the core of what Jeni’s is all about, building and inspiring our community. And we’re excited to be able to offer the pleasure of ice cream to our dairy-free, vegan and dairy-loving friends.”

G.S. Gelato is onboard. The company now offers nine vegan-certified frozen desserts. Flavors are: Caramel Sea Salt, Chocolate, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Cold Brew, Cookie Dough, Cookies No Cream, Mint Chocolate, Vanilla and White Mint Chocolate.

2. From Farm to Freezer. If there was one big takeaway from Natural Products Expo West 2019 it was that many natural and organic foods consumers appreciate real dairy foods. What many need is permission to enjoy them and that comes from certifications and storytelling.  

Straus Family Creamery, a pioneer in sustainable organic dairy farming practices, is introducing three new ice cream pints intended for ice cream aficionados who care about the origin, quality and taste of their dairy products. The new flavors are: Chai Latte, Maple Cream and Vanilla Fudge Swirl.
The new flavors expand the company’s organic superpremium offerings to 13 pints and six quarts, all of which feature the pure, rich taste of Straus’ premium organic milk and cream from cows on family farm organic pastures. Each bite represents a commitment to farmer-first business practices, environmental leadership, and premium quality and taste of organic dairy. This keeps those who enjoy dairy’s deliciousness purchasing real dairy ice cream.

Straus developed ice cream flavors without artificial ingredients and coloring agents that showcase the distinctive sweet taste and creamy texture of their fresh organic milk and cream. The Chai Latte is a blend of Indian spices, beloved in the traditional seasoned beverage, for a classic global flavor. The Vanilla Fudge Swirl has thick and rich chocolate fudge swirls churned into the award-winning vanilla ice cream. The Maple Cream features golden maple syrup, which complements the sweet cream ice cream, evoking a nostalgic American taste.

“As an organic dairy farmer, I’m focusing on sustainable agriculture and organic family farming to strengthen our rural communities,” says Albert Straus, founder and CEO. “We’ve come a long way in helping sustain local family farms, but there is still more work ahead of us.”

In recognition of its 25th anniversary, the company has redesigned its packaging to more clearly communicate its mission, brand benefits and offer greater consistency across categories. The company is committed to full transparency in its sustainable agriculture and organic family farming efforts, as shown in the accompanying infographic. 

Kemps, a wholly owned subsidiary of Dairy Farmers of America, is introducing Kemps Simply Crafted Ice Cream. Packages explain that the product is void of artificial flavorings and high-fructose corn syrup, and that it is “made with real cream from real farms.”

The company showcases on its website the local family farms who are part of the cooperative. Each of the families is photographed and tells a story.

New Kemps Simply Crafted Ice Cream comes in 16 flavors, including: Brownie Cookie Dough Delight, Chocolate Peanut Butter Bliss, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Cookies & Cream Dream, Decadent Chocolate, Mint Chocolate Chip, Mocha Mudslide, Roasted Butter Pecan, Salty Caramel Swirl, Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler, Summer Strawberry, Vanilla Bean and White Chocolate Raspberry.

3. Keto. While higher-protein, lower-fat, lower-calorie ice creams continue to have a prominent spot in many retailers’ freezers, the number of brands playing in this space does seem to be dwindling, as predicted. What is emerging is a new more indulgent category formulated for the keto diet, a lifestyle diet that is approximately 70% fat, 20% protein, and 5% each simple carbohydrates and non-starchy vegetables.

Dairy, especially high-fat dairy, meat and eggs all have prominent roles in the keto diet and thus are growing the presence of animal-based foods in the natural products industry. Many keto foods and beverages include medium chain triglyceride (MCT) fats. These are inherently concentrated in milkfat, in particular grass-fed milkfat, and coconut oil and are well recognized for breaking down fat in the body.

Mammoth Creameries Keto Ice Cream is making its debut in Chocolate Peanut Butter and Vanilla Bean varieties, with Chocolate Chocolate Chip and Lemon joining the lineup soon. The primary ingredients are heavy cream, grass-fed butter, egg yolks and xylitol. A half-cup serving contains 25 to 26 grams fat, 1 to 2 grams total sugar, 5 to 6 grams sugar alcohol and 2 to 3 grams of protein, depending on flavor. The product makes rBST-free, cage-free, grass-fed, no-added-sugar and no-gum claims.

Keto works in ice cream because it’s all about the cream, and that’s what makes ice cream delicious. The next few weeks a number of these concepts will be featured as a Daily Dose of Dairy. You can also hear more about them if you attend ProFood Tech and take the time to hear the frozen desserts installment of the Daily Dose of Dairy LIVE.

Daily Dose of Dairy LIVE
The Daily Dose of Dairy LIVE will be at ProFood Tech, which will be held March 26-28, 2019, at Chicago’s McCormick Place.

At this year’s expo, I will make daily 30-minute presentations featuring 10 to 20 of the most innovative products in a specific dairy product category. There are three presentations and each presentation is offered twice at the show. Each presentation includes products not previously featured in the Daily Dose of Dairy newsletter. Sessions will end with a Q&A.

Here’s the schedule:
Daily Dose of Dairy Live: Trends in Frozen Desserts
  • 3/26/2019 at 10:30 AM and 3/27/2019 at 1:30 PM
Daily Dose of Dairy Live: Trends in Yogurt and Cultured Dairy Foods
  • 3/27/2019 at 10:30 AM and 3/28/2019 at 12:30 PM
Daily Dose of Dairy Live: Trends in Fluid Milk and Dairy-Based Beverages
  • 3/26/2019 at 1:30 PM and 3/28/2019 at 10:30 AM 
 Visit Double H Plastics Inc., at ProFood Tech, March 26-28, 2019, Booth 1031

Friday, March 15, 2019

Expo West 2019: Probiotics Are Alive and Thriving; Make Sure Your Dairy Products Deliver

I’m still digesting everything learned at Expo West, and then mix in the education gained at the Research Chef Association’s conference this week, one would think I’d be popping antacids. Seriously. Thankfully probiotics are a regular part of my daily diet.

For obvious reasons, I consume probiotics through dairy foods. But today’s consumers have many varied food and beverage options. It was less than 10 years ago when dairy owned this space. And while it’s likely too late to lead this functional foods segment, it’s never too late to be part of the digestive health movement.  

To read more about the many probiotic innovations on display at Expo West, link HERE to “Gut feelings flourishing in new product development,” an article published by my colleague Monica Watrous at Food Business News.

These products are right on target with what today’s consumers want from their food and beverage options in their pursuit of health and wellness. More than half of consumers are actively dealing with one or more chronic conditions in their households, according to the Hartman Group, which reports that consumers are treating on average 3.3 conditions while preventing on average 5.2 conditions. Foods and beverages are key remedies for a variety of conditions, not just lifestyle conditions like weight and blood pressure. The research firm reports that consumers use food and beverage to treat/prevent an average of 2.7 conditions.

The Hartman Group’s Health + Wellness 2017 report showed 36% of consumers are treating or preventing digestive irregularity, with more than two out of five (43%) doing so through food and beverage choices. This includes probiotics and the prebiotic fibers that fuel these beneficial microorganisms.

On March 4, 2019, the scientific journal Nutrients published a study investigating “Human Gut Microbiome Response Induced by Fermented Dairy Product Intake in Healthy Volunteers.” Results showed that consuming fermented dairy products fortified with probiotic microorganisms can cause rapid positive changes in the gut microbiome. The findings suggest that a single month of fermented dairy product consumption can significantly shift microbial composition and function, which may benefit overall health.

The researchers used microbiome analysis to characterize changes in gut microbiota composition after 30 days of oral intake of a yogurt fortified with Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis BB-12. Gene sequencing was used to assess the gut microbial composition before and after fermented dairy product consumption in healthy adults (n = 150). Paired comparison of gut microbial content demonstrated an increase in presence of potentially beneficial bacteria, particularly of the Bifidobacterium genus. At a functional level, an increased capacity to metabolize lactose and synthesize amino acids was also observed, accompanied by a lowered potential for synthesis of lipopolysaccharides.

While the extent and details of the possible impact of fermented dairy product consumption on gut microflora varies across individuals, this research may prove to be useful in the growing field of personalized nutrition, helping keep dairy foods in the forefront. The researchers, however, do note that further research is warranted to confirm any potential lasting impact on microbiota.

It’s no wonder that Packaged Facts’ 2019 U.S. Food Outlook identifies several key disruptive trends to watch for this year. One of the top-four is gut health.

“As consumers increasingly focus on digestive issues and increasing gut health, they have gravitated to fermented and probiotic-rich foods and beverages, like yogurt, kefir, kombucha and kimchi,” says David Sprinkle, research director and publisher. He cites cereal as an up-and-coming probiotic category.

Kellogg’s recent HI! Happy Inside cereal, for example, promotes digestive wellness with prebiotics, probiotics and fiber. The cereal contains one billion live probiotics from active strains, 2. 5 grams of prebiotics, and 8 to 9 grams of fiber. Available in three flavors, HI! Happy Inside cereal is a blend of fruit, yogurt pieces and 100% whole grains.

One of the biggest opportunities for probiotics, according to Packaged Facts, is ice cream. Sprinkle says that new products will be “pushing bounds of healthier indulgence, such as functional benefits from healthy fats, antioxidants, probiotics and prebiotics.”
And it’s already being done.

Unilever now offers Culture Republick. This new ice cream brand with probiotics is on a mission to support culture both inside and out. The inside support comes from the three billion live active cultures in each pint, along with 16 to 18 grams of protein, 11 to 12 grams of fiber and no artificial sweeteners. Culture Republick is currently available in seven unique flavors in creatively designed containers. That’s where the outside element of culture comes into play. The brand collaborated with emerging artists to design the pints, with 10% of the brand’s profits going to support the arts in local communities.
“Culture Republick was created with a distinct purpose in mind,” says Leslie Miller, marketing director of ice cream at Unilever. “We believe that humanity could use a bit more brightness. By combining our passions for culture and ice cream, we intend to do our part in making people feel more balanced, inspired and connected.”

To read more about the business model for Culture Republick, link HERE to another Food Business News article.

There’s now another probiotic ice cream ready for market. JoeFroyo is rolling out Crema Smart. The new lactose-free line of 14-ounce containers of ice cream contain a nutritional boost of prebiotics, six live and active probiotics, and protein. Eliminating lactose makes this a gut-friendly product for those with lactose sensitivities.

The ice cream features a proprietary natural dairy sweetener called Crema Sweet, which is hydrolyzed lactose. This equates to glucose and galactose, which is sweeter than lactose. This lactose-free milk sugar is said to be easily metabolized without spiking insulin levels, all at one-third the calories of sucrose. The company adds lactase to break down all remaining milk sugar.

“We believe milk is the original clean-label beverage and have taken an intelligent approach to improving dairy in our Crema Smart line of products, allowing people to return to real dairy without the discomfort of lactose,” says Zach Miller, founder.

The ice cream is made with the same gently pasteurized milk that goes into JoeFroyo’s Functional Cold Brew. This refrigerated beverage 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.

JoeFroyo Functional Cold Brew uses high-pressure processing to extend shelf life. It has no impact on the viability of probiotic cultures.

The company also is rolling outs JoeFroyo Clean Label Creamer. This is the first and only 100% real half-and-half infused with seven probiotic cultures and manufactured using high-pressure processing. The addition of lactase enzyme renders the creamer lactose free.

About a year ago, Kemps, a wholly owned subsidiary of Dairy Farmers of America, introduced Probiotic Milk. The new half-gallon cartons come in fat-free and 2% reduced-fat and contain Bifidobacteria and Lactobacillus acidophilus. Carton fronts state: Supports healthy digestion.

The company also offers Live Real Farms Wholesome Smoothie. Made with real yogurt and real fruit, the drinkable cultured dairy beverage is loaded with probiotics and contains no added sugars, artificial colors or artificial flavors.
Springfield Creamery used Expo West to promote its new Organic 100% Grass-Fed Yogurts sold under the Nancy’s Probiotic brand. These rich, cream-on-top-style yogurts are made with milk from grass-fed cows who enjoy a diet of organic grass and no grains, yielding milk that’s high in omega-3 fatty acids. Nancy’s sources the milk from organic family-owned farms, all within 60 miles of Springfield Creamery. Like all other Nancy’s yogurts, these 100% Grass-Fed Yogurts contain live probiotics, including strains delivered at therapeutic levels to help support immune and digestive health.

Springfield Creamery first added live, beneficial probiotics more than 48 years ago, and the company has led the growing probiotic revolution ever since. These grass-fed yogurts contain 41 billion colony forming units of live probiotics per 6-ounce serving at the time of expiration.

“Cows who eat a fully grass diet, including alfalfa, clover and other forages, produce milk with added nutritional benefits. This is due to the direct relationship between what cows eat and the levels of beneficial fatty acids in their milk. In other words, when cows eat well, so do we,” says Sheryl Kesey Thompson, co-owner and vice president of marketing. “With many choices in the yogurt aisle, we wanted to offer our customers a 100% grass-fed, organic option with the high probiotic counts they have come to expect from Nancy’s products.”

Also making its debut at Expo West was Brainiac Kids. Developed and marketed by Ingenuity Brands, a company dedicated to food-based brain nutrition, this is 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; choline; and three strains of live and active probiotic cultures.

New Stonyfield Organic YoBaby Veggie yogurts are made with whole milk and intended for children between six months and two years old. YoBaby Veggie comes in Purple Carrot and Sweet Potato varieties. A single 4-ounce cup contains 80 calories, 4 grams of fat, 4 grams of protein and 5 grams of total sugar, all of which are inherent to the milk and vegetable, as the yogurt contains no added sweeteners. The yogurts are also loaded with probiotic cultures with digestive health benefits. The brand is also growing its kids’ Whole Milk Yogurt Pouches with Apple Cinnamon Sweet Potato and Blueberry Apple Carrot varieties.

Pillars Yogurt is introducing Whole Milk Greek Yogurt Pouches for adults, but kids, of course, are welcome to enjoy them, too. Each of 3.5-ounce recloseable pouches contains 10 grams of protein and a mere 3 grams of sugar—all naturally occurring—along with probiotics and prebiotics. Very soon the company will add product designed specifically for the kids’ market.

Lifeway Foods, the leading U.S. supplier of kefir probiotic dairy products, has partnered with TruFusion Fitness Studios to launch a co-branded probiotic protein smoothie: TruEnergy fueled by Lifeway.

The product was promoted at Expo West, where Lifeway Foods also sponsored the first morning of yoga for expo attendees. While the weather required—for the first time ever—to move early-morning yoga inside, it was still a fabulous experience. Thanks to Julie Smolyansky, Lifeway’s CEO (pictured with me) for this uplifting and energizing annual event.

TruEnergy is an 8-ounce kefir drink that provides the benefits of 21 grams of protein and 12 live and active probiotic cultures. The product is designed as workout recovery refuel beverage.

“It’s an honor to partner with TruFusion to provide their members with a convenient, on-the-go probiotic protein solution that’s formulated to nourish the whole body,” says Smolyansky. “Most protein drinks are only concerned with building muscle. At Lifeway, we know that your gut should be just as strong as your biceps and your quads. We’ve created a fitness drink that serves the whole body, including support for digestion and immunity.”

Make sure you are keeping dairy foods relevant through the inclusion of probiotics.

The Daily Dose of Dairy LIVE will be at ProFood Tech, which will be held March 26-28, 2019, at Chicago’s McCormick Place.

At this year’s expo, I will make daily 30-minute presentations featuring 10 to 20 of the most innovative products in a specific dairy product category. There are three presentations and each presentation is offered twice at the show. Each presentation includes products not previously featured in the Daily Dose of Dairy newsletter. Sessions will end with a Q&A.

Here’s the schedule:

Daily Dose of Dairy Live: Trends in Frozen Desserts
  • 3/26/2019 at 10:30 AM and 3/27/2019 at 1:30 PM
Daily Dose of Dairy Live: Trends in Yogurt and Cultured Dairy Foods
  • 3/27/2019 at 10:30 AM and 3/28/2019 at 12:30 PM
Daily Dose of Dairy Live: Trends in Fluid Milk and Dairy-Based Beverages
  • 3/26/2019 at 1:30 PM and 3/28/2019 at 10:30 AM
Hope to see you there!