Thursday, May 29, 2014

Getting Creative with Dairy Desserts and Cultured Dairy Foods

Chobani showed culinary professionals at the recent National Restaurant Association (NRA) Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show that its original namesake product can be so much more than “a cup of Greek yogurt.” The concepts Chobani presented are inspiration for all types of packaged, ready-to-eat meals and desserts…some of which I am sure Chobani is working on as I write this.

Chobani’s menu included:
  • Farfalle pasta tossed with a sauce made of nonfat plain yogurt, basil pesto and sundried tomatoes.
  • Chopped lettuce with candied pecans, Fuji apples and crumbled goat cheese, all tossed with a strawberry balsamic dressing made with nonfat strawberry Greek yogurt.
  • Nonfat vanilla Greek yogurt blended with dulce de leche and layered with banana slices, dark chocolate-covered pretzels and candied pecans.
  • Sweet potato chips served with a whole milk plain Greek yogurt dip flavored with roasted shallots and chives.                                                                                                                  

 I have long encouraged dairy processors to do more with their base ingredients. Turn them into dressings. (Think refrigerated buttermilk ranch packaged in a single-serve milk bottle). Make them into pasta sauces. (Think refrigerated Alfredo and similar sauces intended for tossing with hot and cold pasta, as well as vegetables.)

What about dairy desserts? In almost all developed countries other than the U.S., refrigerated dairy desserts are a booming business that continues to grow in both the pre-packaged refrigerated case and at the bakery/confection counter of mainstream supermarkets.

In the States, pre-packaged products have limited shelf space and fresh products are limited to the bakery/confection counter of finer, specialty food retailers. There is so much opportunity for growth here, especially as the millennial consumer seeks out impulse, indulgent products made locally with premium ingredients.
Here are some impressive innovative concepts to ponder. Many rely on the addition of dairy proteins for extra nutrition and natural stabilization. 

Wild Oats Marketing LLC is one of the first packaged ready-meal manufacturers in the U.S. to take Greek yogurt to the next level…the level beyond the berries and granola parfait. Currently making their debut through the Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market, a chain of grocery stores in the western U.S., new Wild Oats Marketplace Originals Parfaits are tagged as a super food and merchandized alongside prepared sandwiches and salads. The parfaits come in unique fruit, grain and yogurt combinations.

Varieties include Cinnamon Berry Quinoa & Vanilla Greek Yogurt, which is vanilla Greek yogurt layered with blueberries, cranberries, walnuts and a drizzle of honey. A 7-ounce square-shaped clear container with peel-off film lid provides 310 calories, 9 grams of fat and 12 grams of protein. The Cranberry Coconut Quinoa & Vanilla Greek Yogurt variety contains 310 calories, 13 grams of fat and 15 grams of protein.

There are also larger 8.5-ounce “Fusion” varieties. The line includes Berry Almond Chia and Honey Greek Yogurt, which is made with fresh berries, a honey drizzle and lemon zest. The single-serve parfait contains 340 calories, 9 grams of fat and 20 grams of protein.

The 7-ounce varieties sell for $3.49 while the 8.5-ounce ones go for a dollar more.

Nasco Gourmet Foods shows us that yogurt is not just for breakfast anymore. Yogüri Yogurt Dips are a blend of Greek-style yogurt with trendy herbs and spices. The product line is positioned as a smooth, creamy replacement for mayonnaise, sour cream and cream cheese. Varieties are: Cheddar Jalapeno, Cilantro Jalapeno, Garden Vegetable, Original, Parmesan, Ranch and Tzatziki. A 2-tablespoon serving contains 1 gram of protein along with 40 to 60 calories and 3 to 5 grams of fat, depending on variety. Here’s an extra perk: the dips are enhanced with probiotic cultures. The suggested retail price for an 11-ounce container is $4.99.

On the dairy dessert side, Germany’s Dr. Oetker recently added two varieties of Splits to its Marmorette line. These layered desserts blend either chocolate or vanilla pudding with chocolate flake-containing cream. The dessert is sold in four packs of 100-gram cups, with each individual cup containing 160 calories, 8.5 grams of fat and 3 grams of protein.

In Japan, Moringa Milk Industry adds a layer of health to creamy dairy pudding through the addition of stone-milled matcha green tea. This new pudding product comes in 80-gram portions, which contain 120 calories, 5 grams of fat and 2 grams of protein.

Lastly, the Germany convenience store chain Penny Markt recently introduced fruit and rice pudding combinations. New Penny To Go Milchreis comes in 400-gram containers in a variety fruity options.

There’s a great deal of opportunity to innovate in the categories of refrigerated dairy desserts and dairy ready meals. Formulating with dairy proteins and other dairy ingredients assists with improving nutritional profiles as well as ensuring product quality through stabilization.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Winning Gelato and Ice Cream Flavor Combinations…a Great Way to Welcome Summer 2014!

The past two months have been a whirlwind of food-related trade shows and gelato and ice cream contests. Here are some highlights.
If you are interested in the top-five food trends (one of them being gelato) from the annual National Restaurant Association (NRA) Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show that took place this past week in Chicago, link HERE to an article I wrote for Food Business News.

What really stood out at this year’s NRA was how gelato dominated the frozen dairy dessert category, much like frozen yogurt had in past years. Nearly two dozen gelato companies, either those who sell mix for onsite freezing or finished product ready for serving, sampled innovations.

Two of them made a winning impression on me. Al Gelato Inc., one of the original gelatorias in Chicagoland and long known for making gelato truffles, which are balls of gelato that are coated and rolled in a topping, debuted Gelato Truffle on a Stick. This packaged retail product comes in three varieties: Caramel & Toffee, Chocolate and Praline Pecan and Vanilla & Caramel. Each 5-ounce truffle contains 420 to 430 calories and 26 to 28 grams of fat. They are absolute heaven!

PreGel America showcased the most innovations in gelato, including parfaits, dessert beverages and…the Panini Gelato. This novel concept is basically gelato neatly spooned onto an opened golden sweet bun and layered with a savory or sweet topping. The bun is then pressed together, much like a Panini sandwich. The company supplies the easy-to-use gelato Panini press that allows for customized, assembled on the spot, original frozen desserts. The end result is warm on the outside and cold on the inside.

Some of the more popular combinations are almond gelato with pureed fig, coffee gelato with coffee and nut crunch, salted caramel gelato with caramel sauce and custard gelato with lemon cookie crumbles. Pictured here is pistachio and almond gelato with cherry pieces.

Not from NRA but still foodservice related in this incredible sundae that the chefs at US Foods dished out at a media sampling event at the end of March. The sundae starts with the company’s new Chef’s Line Salted Caramel Ice Cream with Sea Salt and is topped with its new Patuxent Farms Bourbon Flavored Bacon Topping for the ultimate chill in sweet and savory.

I wrote an entire review of the event for Food Business News. If you are interested in reading about US Foods’ more than 30 new products for this summer, click HERE.

Right before NRA opened its doors in Chicago, Hudsonville Ice Cream, from across Lake Michigan in Holland, MI, was wrapping up its contest with Chicagoans to name its upcoming limited-edition flavor to honor the Windy City’s football team. The company teamed up with the Chicago Bears to launch a recipe of chocolate ice cream with fudge pieces and a peanut butter ripple and asked Bears’ fans to vote online for one of three names: Chocolate Monster, Da Ice Cream and Bear Traxx.

Bear Traxx won! One random voter of the flavor also came out a big winner, as he/she will receive a year’s supply of free ice cream.
Bear Traxx will roll out just in time for tailgating at Soldier Field as part of Hudsonville’s quarterly rotation of seasonally inspired ice creams that capture the best flavors that the Midwest has to offer. “We are truly excited and honored to partner with the Bears organization. The Bears work hard and bring Chicagoans together; their milestones have caused celebration since 1920. At Hudsonville we feel we have many of those same qualities,” says CJ Ellens of Hudsonville Ice Cream. “The artisans at Hudsonville started making ice cream back in 1926 and we work hard every day to make the best ice cream we can. Ice cream brings people together and helps us celebrate.”

Photo source: The Ice Cream Informant Some other innovative ice cream winners were announced in April at IDFA’s Ice Cream Technology Conference. The Most Innovative Ice Cream Flavor in the marketplace went to Publix Super Markets for Southern Banana Pudding. The Most Innovative Prototype Flavor went to SensoryEffects for Lemon Poppy Pound Cake. Wells Enterprises Inc., the maker of Blue Bunny ice cream, won the most innovative novelty with Greek Strawberry with Granola, a Greek frozen yogurt bar with a strawberry swirl and granola coating.

The grandest contest of all—the Gelato World Tour--took place Mother’s Day weekend in Austin, TX. Of the 16 North American competitors who were finalists in the Gelato World Tour, only three will advance to the World Champion Finals in Rimini, Italy, on September 5 to 7. The winning flavors were chosen by a (secret) panel of expert judges who work as chefs, educators and food journalists from around the country. But of equal weight were the people’s choices (50% professional jury and 50% visitors who voted). Thousands of visitors joined the competition, tasted the flavors and selected their favorite. When those scores were combined, the following artisans were selected to represent North America in the world championships:

Salted Pecan with Montmorency Tart Cherries & Tahitian Vanilla by James Coleridge & Salvatore Boccarossa of Bella Gelateria, Vancouver, Canada

Profumi di Sicilia by Stefano Versace & Francisco Blanco of Versace Gelateria Italiana & Gourmet, Doral, FL (pictured above)

Nuts by Matthew Lee of TEO, Austin, TX (pictured)

A “Peers Award,” voted on by competing artisans, was given to:
Goat Cheese Cashew Caramel by Jessica Oloroso of Black Dog Gelato, Chicago (pictured)

The professional jury presented two technical awards. They went to:
Raspberry Beet by Baron W. Von Gottsacker of Bent Spoon Gelato, Sheboygan, WI (pictured)

La Grande Bellezza–The Great Beauty (Avocado Basil) by Silvia Bertolazzi of Carpe Diem! Gelato-Expresso Bar, Lafayette, LA

The other finalists and their concepts were:

Bananas Foster by Elizabeth McCleary of Devine Gelateria & Café, Sacramento, CA

Carmastachio by Stephen Hovis of Nucci’s Gelato, Franklin, TN

Chocolate Orange Liqueur by Peter Miller of Tazzina di Gelato, Tucson, AZ

Chocolate Stout Beer with Carmel Crunch by Kimberly Zanni of Gelato Di Babbo, Lititz, PA

Fior di Bronte ¬ pure Sicilian Pistachio by Josh Collier of Café Dolce Gelato, Houston, TX

Maple Brown Butter Pecan by Carmen Angelo Ricciardi of Carmen’s Gelato, Anchorage, AK

Rich Chocolate, Dark Rum & Wild Cherry by Tammy Giuliani of Stella Luna Gelato Café, Ontario, Canada

Texan Kulfi by Jasmine Chida of Sweet Cup Artisan Gelato & Espresso, Houston, TX

Toasted Marshmallow Graham Cracker: That’s a Smoré by Jon Snyder of Il Laboratorio Del Gelato, New York, NY

by Mary Stanley of The Turtle Gelateria, Brownwood, TX

The event, attended by thousands of visitors and gelato enthusiasts, was organized by Carpigiani Gelato University, the most prestigious Gelato School in the world, which has 13 schools on five continents. For more information, visit HERE.

And lastly, for your reading pleasure, check out this article from The Huffington Post on “5 Crazy Ice Cream Flavors Around the World.” Click HERE. (Thanks Bob for sending this!)

Click HERE to view a slideshow of the flavors.

Enjoy this summer kick-off holiday weekend with…none other than…your favorite ice cream!
(And thank you SensoryEffects for sponsoring today's 100th Daily Dose of Dairy blog!)

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Clean Label Dairy Series: Innovations in Cultured Dairy Foods, Plus Non-GMO Ingredient Options

The number of Americans who consider healthfulness when purchasing foods and beverages has shown a significant uptick in the past two years according to findings from the International Food Information Council (IFIC) Foundation’s 2014 Food and Health Survey, which was presented for the first time to media on Thursday, May 15, during an invite-only webcast. While taste and price consistently have been the top-two factors impacting consumers’ food and beverage purchases (90% and 73%, respectively), healthfulness in 2014 almost entirely closed the gap with price, rising from 61% of consumers in 2012 to 71% this year, a 10 percentage-point increase.

Healthfulness means different things to different people. To some, it is the naturalness of the food, including the absence of artificial ingredients. For others, it is products made with easy-to-understand ingredients.

Reading Labels
According to the IFIC study, between 2013 and 2014, there were decreases—some of them substantial—in the categories of information consumers say they look for on the label of a food or beverage. “Expiration date still leads the list at 66%, returning to traditional levels after a spike last year to 82%. The percentage of consumers who check the Nutrition Facts panel was relatively unchanged this year at 65%, along with the ingredients list at 52% and calorie/nutrition information at 42%.

Significant decreases in label-reading behavior were found with serving sizes and amount per container (44% in 2014 vs. 55% in 2013), brand name (35% in 2014 vs. 53% in 2013), cooking instructions (32% vs. 45%), and statements about nutrition benefits (30% vs. 43%).
The study also showed more than a third of consumers report regularly buying food that is labeled as “natural” (37%) or “local” (35%), with 32% who regularly buy products advertised as “organic.”

Interestingly, while a solid majority of Americans remain confident in the safety of the U.S. food supply, there nevertheless has been a steady erosion since 2012. This year, 66% of consumers are at least somewhat confident in the food supply, while 30% are not too confident or not at all confident. In 2012, the former figure stood at 78%, while the latter stood at 18%, an overall negative swing of 24 points in three years.

The category of food safety also includes additives. According to the IFIC survey, 23% of consumers consider the chemicals in food or packaging when evaluating the safety of a food. Eight percent consider unfamiliar ingredients when evaluating a food’s safety.

The 2014 Food and Health Survey was fielded by Greenwald & Associates of Washington, D.C., between March 26 and April 7, 2014. It involved 1,005 Americans aged 18 to 80. Results were weighted to match the U.S. Census based on age, education, gender, race/ethnicity and region to be nationally reflective.

The GMO ConnectionThe IFIC survey did not address genetically modified organisms; however, I would not be surprised if it is included in next year’s study, probably under food safety. After all, GMOs, which are plants or animals created through the use of technologies that merge molecules of DNA from the genes of other plant or animal species to create new life forms that previously did not exist in nature nor could be created through traditional crossbreeding techniques, are a growing area of concern among consumers.

Not surprisingly, new products made with non-GMO ingredients are on the rise. Specifically in the U.S., Innova Market Insights reported a 42% year-over-year increase of products launched containing non-GMO ingredients in 2012. Furthermore, HealthFocus International found that 31% of U.S. shoppers surveyed say non-GMO is extremely or very important to them on labels, which was up from 18% a decade ago.

Link HERE for a recent article about the use of GMOs on dairy farms. The author does a fine job of describing the science behind the controversy.

The fact is that there is a growing segment of the population that is demanding non-GMO foods. According to Packaged Facts’ October 2013 report entitled “Non-GMO Foods: Global Market Perspective,” global sales of non-GMO food and beverages are projected to reach $550 billion in 2014, or nearly 11% of the global market. “However, this market exists largely under the rubric of organic products, and the question remains whether non-GMO will simply bolster the case for organics, or truly mark a fork in the road for the food industry,” says David Sprinkle, research director.

Packaged Facts estimated a compound annual growth rate of 28% in the number of non-GMO foods and beverages introduced globally between 2009 and 2013. The number of product launches doubled between 2009 and 2010. Launches remained stable during the following two years but experienced a surge of about 25% in 2013. “The key areas of opportunity are currently to be found in Europe, where consumers are seemingly opposed to all things GMO, and in the U.S., which is the main producer of GMO crops,” says Sprinkle.

According to the Packaged Facts report, the key food categories for non-GMO product introductions globally are dairy; condiments and ingredients; meals, entrees and side dishes; and salty snacks. Amazingly, the dairy case accounted for 19% of non-GMO new product introductions globally.

The good news for dairy foods formulators is that ingredient suppliers are broadening their portfolio of non-GMO ingredients, from starches and flours to sweeteners and nutrition ingredients. This handy checklist from Ingredion includes questions you should be asking your suppliers.

Here are some recently introduced either non-GMO or clean-label cultured dairy foods innovations:

Epicurean Dairy in the United Kingdom offers The Collective Great Dairy brand of chilled pouch yogurts designed for children. The 100-gram pouches of yogurt are described by the company as having “no added nasties.” This includes artificial colors and flavors, preservatives, GMO ingredients and gluten. Flavors are: Black Currant & Apple, Blueberry, Peach & Apricot, Heilala Vanilla, Honeycomb, Nommy Banana, Sassy Strawberry and Sunkissed Tropical.

The company also markets a hand-crafted, limited-edition cup yogurt line. For summer 2014, Raspberry & Amaretto debuted on May 1. Blueberry & Acai ended in April. The yogurts come in 500-gram pots. For more information, link HERE.

In Germany, MyMuesli Müslidrink is a lactose-free, organic drinking yogurt with Bircher muesli. It comes in three varieties: Apple & Banana, Blueberry and Original. The company touts that the product is free of artificial colors and flavors, as well as GMOs and preservatives. For more information, link HERE.

Also from Germany, DMK offers seasonal flavored buttermilk beverages. Milram Lime & Raw Sugar Butter Milch Drink is debuting for the summer. This past winter, Cranberry with Vitamin C was available for a limited time. The clean-label beverage comes in 500-gram cartons. For more information, link HERE.

Innolact in Spain offers innovative cream cheese spreads. Marketed under the new premium Quescrem Sabores Espanoles brand, the Queso-Crème Con line comes in three ethnic flavors: Algas (seaweed), Chorizo and Aceitunas (olives). For more information, link HERE.

To learn more about Ingredion’s portfolio of non-GMO ingredients, contact Ingredion at 866-961-6285 or visit HERE.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Dairy Foods: Opportunities to Address Digestive Health

Photo source: PB Creative

The past few weeks wreaked havoc on my sensitive digestive system. Thankfully I understand the benefits of synbiotic dairy foods and was able to self-medicate and make my tummy all better.

This is definitely TMI, but for starters, I tasted a total of 18 student-developed innovations over a 10-day period as a judge with two different collegiate new product competitions. Then I had a few business dinners out at edgy restaurants where the chefs don’t always reveal their secret ingredients…but are willing to accommodate allergies. My intolerances, which include cruciferous vegetables and pulses, most notably dried beans and peas, are not “allergies” and often impossible to avoid. (Every culinary specialist wants to work kale into a recipe. To my GI, kale is the enemy.)

But here’s what really got my bowels in an uproar. On Wednesday afternoon, while having a celebratory lunch with some friends (yes, I turned 29 again!), the waitress asked if we had any food allergies. I replied no, but mentioned a preference to avoid my intolerances. The waitress replied: Are you sure it’s those foods? I suggest you cut out dairy—the lactose--and all your symptoms will go away!

Who knew the college student waiting tables at the trendy small plates wine bar in Lincoln Park was a medical student…and a misinformed one at that! I explained to her my body loves lactose and that lactose intolerance is often used as a scapegoat by the medical community in place of proper testing and diagnosis. 

That brings me to opportunities with dairy foods to address digestive health. In a few weeks, the International Food Information Council (IFIC) Foundation will release results from its 2014 Food & Health Survey. All indications suggest that digestive health will remain a key health and wellness concern.

According to last year’s survey, both probiotics and prebiotics were most associated with maintenance of a healthy digestive health. This association is expected to be greater in 2014. The good news: dairy foods are well poised to be the preferred delivery vehicle of these beneficial digestive health ingredients.

Simply, probiotics are live microorganisms, which when administered in adequate amount, confer a health benefit on the host. They positively alter the body’s bacterial composition to encourage overall wellness. Some strains provide specific benefits such as improved intestinal function and increased immune response. Prebiotics are food for probiotics and are selectively fermented by these beneficial bacteria. When the two are found together, they work in synergy, with the process described as synbiotic.

I recently wrote an article entitled “Probiotics and prebiotics: The future is now” for Food Business News. You can access it HERE.

In particular, there’s a great deal of opportunity for inclusion of prebiotic fibers in dairy foods. Not only do they add dietary fiber, a nutrient of concern according to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines, and function as a prebiotic, they can also assist with sugar reduction and weight management.

For example, Organic Valley, La Farge, WI, uses unrefined organic pure cane sugar to sweeten its aseptic organic low-fat vanilla-flavored milk. To keep calories at 150 per 8-ounce serving, the company includes 2 grams of inulin fiber to assist with sweetness. The product does not flag fiber content nor use inulin in its chocolate-flavored version. The fiber in the vanilla variant is an added bonus.

There’s been a lot of regulatory talk about fiber. FDA currently plans to define fiber. An article published April 12 in Nutrition Journal makes the case for a definition that includes both fiber found intrinsically in food and also added to food. The latter is often referred to as novel fiber food ingredients.

According to the paper’s author, Julie Miller Jones, professor emeritus, foods and nutrition, St. Catherine University, St. Paul, MN, “Since the intake of dietary fiber is significantly below recommended levels throughout the world, the recognition that ‘all fibers fit’ is an important strategy in bridging the fiber gap by enfranchising and encouraging greater intake of foods with inherent and added dietary fiber. Fortifying foods with added dietary fiber makes it easier to increase intakes while maintaining calories at recommended levels.”

To read a comprehensive summary of this paper written by my colleague Jeff Gelski at Sosland Publishing, link HERE.

He also wrote another excellent piece on the potential changing regulations on added fiber. It can be accessed HERE.

In addition to the opportunities with adding probiotics and prebiotics to dairy foods to address consumer desire for improving digestive health, another HUGE opportunity is to make your product lactose free. This can be accomplished through physical or enzymatic treatment of the milk.

“The Expanding World of Lactose-Free Dairy Products” will be addressed in two weeks at IDFA’s Milk and Cultured Dairy Conference in Indianapolis. There’s still time to make plans to attend this event to be among the first to hear about an exciting new generation of lactose-free products and how they’re made. Traditionally confined to milk and ice cream, the world of “lactose-free” products is quickly expanding to include cottage cheese, yogurt, Greek yogurt, kefir and other fermented and non-fermented creations. Better yet, new inroads are being made in using enzymatic reduction of lactose to increase sweetness in fluid milk, flavored milk and fermented milk products, allowing a reduction in added sugar.

Combining these technologies with prebiotic fibers, with or without probiotic cultures, is a HUGE opportunity for dairy foods manufacturers to address consumers’ desire for improved digestive health. After all, digestive health is positioned to become the largest segment of the functional foods market worldwide.

You can read more about dairy foods and digestive health movement HERE.

Here’s a noteworthy innovation from Arla Foods in the United Kingdom. Wing-Co Light Chocolate Flavoured Milk Drink is targeted to men. The chocolate milk drink claims to “shoot down hunger fast” thanks to an additional 40% protein in its composition, which comes through the creative use of filtered milk and whey protein. The addition of chicory inulin also helps. The beverage comes in 500-gram plastic bottles, with a 100-gram serving containing 50 calories, 0.6 grams fat, 5.2 grams protein, 3 grams fiber and 4.6 grams sugar. The formulation includes lactase enzyme, which assists with sweetness management…and a lower lactose positioning.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Yogurt Can Help Close the Global Dairy Gap: A Recap from Experimental Biology

Experimental Biology (EB) 2014 took place this week in San Diego. Scientists and researchers in the fields of anatomy, biochemistry, nutrition, pathology, pharmacology and physiology convened for this annual meeting where dairy had a large presence. Most notably, the American Society for Nutrition hosted its Second Global Summit on the Health Effects of Yogurt on the last day of EB, which was April 30.

The event was hosted by The Yogurt in Nutrition Initiative for a Balanced Diet (YINI) with the American Society for Nutrition (ASN), Danone Institute International and International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF). Building on last year’s conversations, scientists discussed a variety of issues, from looking at new research about the association between yogurt consumption and Type 2 diabetes to analyzing how yogurt can help play a role in improving dairy consumption in young adults.

Sharon Donovan, Ph.D., former president of ASN and co-chair of YINI, helped guide the summit proceedings. “This work is crucial,” she said, “especially in light of the global shortfall of dairy consumption. From China to Brazil to the United States, the majority of people simply aren’t eating enough dairy to meet their countries’ daily recommendations.

“Although eating practices and lifestyles differ throughout the world, dietary guidance for dairy food consumption is surprisingly consistent. However, when it comes to that same dairy recommendation, some countries are doing better than others,” Donovan noted.
For example, in France, 97% of the population is meeting the recommendation for daily dairy intake, while in the U.S., that number is at only 52%. Other countries that are doing better than the U.S. in meeting their government’s daily dairy consumptions include Italy (70%) and Spain (62%), while China and Brazil are lower than the U.S., at 16% and 41% respectively.

The Federal University of Sao Paulo’s Mauro Fisberg, M.D., Ph.D. concurred with Donovan. “Consuming enough dairy is an important part of a healthful diet,” he noted. “Most yogurts help provide the calcium, potassium and vitamin D lacking in so many diets. Not getting these necessary nutrients may lead to suboptimal nutritional status and possible longer-term health risks, especially for children and adolescents as they develop.”

Adding yogurt to the daily diet would help close the gap between recommendations and actual dairy consumption. For instance, adding a single 8-ounce serving of fat-free or low-fat yogurt would help increase the average U.S. daily dairy consumption to 84% of the recommended three servings per day.

A new study presented as the Summit shows that only 14% of adults and 20% of children in the U.S. consume at least three servings of dairy a day, which is the amount recommended in the current Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Nutritionist and best-selling author Ellie Krieger was on hand to offer up easy solutions to help people reach the recommended dairy goal.

“While most people consider yogurt a healthy snack, they don’t know the many ways that yogurt can be incorporated into recipes to make meals more nutritious,” Krieger said. “Given the right tools and knowledge, anyone can attain a healthy balance with their lifestyle practices and reach dietary goals.” Krieger previewed foods from her latest book Weeknight Wonders, a collection of healthy, delicious recipes using simple ingredients such as yogurt.

Other key research presented at the summit included:
Consumption and healthy behavior. Mauro Fisberg, M.D., Ph.D., Federal University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, examined the history of yogurt and consumption, noting that one of the most important modifications of yogurt in modern times is the global spread of ready-to-eat products for children and yogurt with probiotics. He noted differences in yogurt consumption around the world: traditional European countries, Asian and Russian sphere influence regions have higher consumptions while regions with high lactose-intolerance levels have low intake of dairy products, leading to very low calcium intake.

Fisberg also reported that because of the increased acknowledgement of yogurt as an essential food in some developing countries, there is a growing tendency towards consumption. Yogurt is seen as an important source of calcium and protein and not only as a snack or a dessert. The live cultures in yogurt improve lactose digestion of the product in individuals who have difficulty digesting lactose.

Type 2 diabetes. Nita Forouhi, Ph.D., University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine, U.K., reported that researchers in the U.K.-based EPIC Norfolk study analyzed the relationship between higher consumption of low-fat fermented dairy products and diabetes over 11 years, compared with non-consumption. Low-fat fermented dairy products largely (87%) consisted of yogurt, but also included unripened cheese, such as fromage frais and low-fat cottage cheese, in a middle-aged population in the U.K.

Yogurt consumption and weight management. Angelo Tremblay, Ph.D., Department of Kinesiology, Laval University, Canada, presented findings regarding the impact of yogurt on appetite control and energy balance and body composition. In a study of nutrition in adult women in the U.S., the authors (Gugger, C.K., et. al.) performed a two-year analysis of the relationship between regular consumption of yogurt and BMI. Another (Miguel A. Martinez-Gonzalez, et. al.) reported on a longitudinal study from Spain that examined the association between frequent yogurt consumption (at least one serving a day) and the onset of overweight and/or obesity.

Yogurt and cardiovascular disease risk in children and adolescents. Luis Moreno, Ph.D., professor of Public Health, University of Zaragoza, Spain, reported on research that measured cardiovascular disease risk factors in 511 adolescents from nine European countries (Greece, Germany, Belgium, France, Hungary, Italy, Sweden, Austria and Spain) who participated in the cross-sectional HELENA (Healthy Lifestyle in Europe by Nutrition in Adolescence) study.

The importance of milk proteins in elderly health status. Robert R. Wolfe, Ph.D., University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, Arkansas, focused on the importance of plentiful protein for the elderly in maintaining muscle mass, and in benefiting cardiovascular and bone health.

If you missed last week’s blog on probiotics, which included information on the proceedings from last year’s First Global Summit on the Health Effects of Yogurt, link HERE.

For more information, visit on The Yogurt in Nutrition Initiative, link HERE