Friday, September 26, 2014

Changing Dairy Foods

The calendar indicates autumn arrived this week. The changing color of leaves confirms it.

Those beautiful changing colors remind me of the power of plant pigments.

Pardon this slight digression to set the stage for why natural colors are the way to formulate dairy foods.

This past weekend at one of the last farmers’ markets of the season, a vendor selling me corn on the cob explained that the tips of the cobs are slightly moldy because of the excessive rain and his lack of spraying, meaning pesticides. We got into a lengthy discussion about sprays. I explained I have no issues with them. They serve a purpose, much like the human bug spray I repeatedly apply on a hot sticky summer night watching my son’s baseball game in the forest preserve. He appreciated the analogy and wished others understood.

The conversation continued with my gal pal with whom I was shopping. She was shocked to know I am fine with artificial sweeteners—they keep sugar intakes down. High-fructose corn syrup keeps costs down and many foods fresh. (Think bread.) Partially hydrogenated oils, though I am told are not safe for my body even in the smallest amounts, do keep fats from going rancid. The list goes on and on. I’m an all things in moderation kind of woman…except when it comes to food colors.

(If you need a refresher course on food color additive regulations in the States, scroll to the bottom of this blog to read “Food Colors 101.”)

(If you would like to know more about the legislation of food colors in Europe, link HERE for a position paper from The Natural Food Colours Association.)

Here’s the deal with food colors in dairy foods. If you can use naturally derived colors to make foods and beverages more appealing, why use artificial, petroleum-based colors? The only purpose of the colorant is to add color, so keep the label clean and simple. Photo Source: DDW

According to DDW’s Jody Renner-Nantz, “It’s almost never impossible to avoid certified colors in certain dairy foods. It is easier in the hue ranges of yellow to orange and pink to red…For the most part, dairy products are refrigerated or frozen and protected from light, so the light stability of pigments is not an issue. In terms of heat, exempt colors can withstand high temperature short-time (HTST) pasteurization; however, most will not withstand ultra-high temperature (UHT) processing.”

With that said, the science of natural colors continues to progress and advancements are constantly being made to assist with vibrancy and stability. For example, new oil dispersible technology allows for water-soluble colors to be added to oil-based systems or used for plating to ensure even distribution. This technology is particularly useful for browns, pinks and purples. Applications include compound coatings used on ice cream and various inclusions, cheese/dairy spreads, and more. To view a video about this technology, link HERE.

I hope to see many of you at The International Association of Color Manufacturers this week in Chicago, which carries the theme of “Making an Impact: Using Color to Safely Enhance Food and Beverage.”

In the meantime, check out these new products and the natural colorants being used.

Yoplait calls out on package fronts of its Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Yogurt that it’s made with natural colors. Just look at the beautiful hues of blue and red obtained from fruit and vegetable juices.

New Misha Quark uses paprika extract to liven up the Peach Mango variety and vegetable juice in the Strawberry variant.

The new Haagen-Dazs Pomegranate Dark Chocolate Ice Cream Bars are enhanced with elderberry juice concentrate.

Dannon Creamery Dairy Desserts rely on fruit and vegetable juices for vibrancy.

And Ben & Jerry’s shows us there’s no excuse to color candy and inclusions artificially. The company’s new limited-edition Cotton Candy Ice Cream comes loaded with candy sprinkles colored with fruit and vegetable juices.

Food Colors 101
The term color additive is legally defined in Title 21, Part 70 of the Code of Federal Regulations (21 CFR 70). Basically, any ingredient with the sole purpose of adding color to a food or beverage is a color additive, with all color additives requiring approval by FDA as a food additive.

In the U.S., synthetic food colors are classified by FDA as color additives subject to certification (21 CFR 74). They are certified with an FD&C number. This indicates that the additive has been tested for safety and is approved for used in foods, drugs and cosmetics, or FD&C. Seven colors were initially approved under the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906. Over time, several have been delisted and replaced. Today there are still seven, which can be combined into an infinite number of colors; hence, the seven are considered primary colors.

The seven synthetics are further classified as standardized dyes or lakes. Dyes are a concentrated source of color and are water soluble and oil insoluble. Lakes, on the other hand, are made by combining dyes with salts to make them water-insoluble compounds. Thus, they are best described as providing color by dispersion. Lakes are considered to be more stable than dyes and are ideal for coloring products that either contain fat or lack sufficient moisture to dissolve dyes.

FDA also provides a list of color additives that are exempt from certification (21 CFR 73). By default, these colors are often characterized as natural but FDA does not consider any color added to as food unless the color is natural to the product itself. For example, consumers expect strawberry milk to have a red hue. If strawberry juice is added for color, and providing that none of the other ingredients in the milk were characterized as artificial, this product could be labeled “all-natural strawberry milk.” Such a description is not possible if beet juice, an FDA-recognized exempt-from-certification color additive, is used for a colorful boost. What is appropriate to say is “does not contain any artificial colors.”

In general, artificial colorings are manufactured from petroleum-based raw materials. Colors exempt from certification are obtained from a variety of sources, including plants, minerals, insects and fermentation, resources considered by many to be natural.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Milk. Milk. And More Milk.

On my 6:03 am flight to Baltimore on September 19 for Natural Products Expo East, I decided not to work (for once!) and instead indulged in a popular 20-something women’s magazine. Lo’ and behold, much to my surprise (actually a lot of the content surprised me…my I have aged!), and I am sure to most of you, DSW Designer Shoe Warehouse provided some great free milk marketing. Check this ad out. This beats the American Express ad earlier in the year featuring Tina Fey’s top-20 shopping list where milk is listed numerous times. 

This ad tells me milk is cool…and milk is cool to women in fancy shoes! Milk is cool to Millennials in fancy shoes...the future moms of society!

This next product I found at Expo East reinforces that milk definitely is highly regarded by the female population. New Buff Her Milk & Honey Exfoliating Food Powder is a facial cleanser made from whole dry milk powder, oryza saliva rice powder, honey maltodextrin and honey powder. Though it’s said to be “for external use only” and it does not have a Nutrition Facts or Supplement Facts, trust me, if you taste a little by mistake, there’s no need to rinse out the mouth.

In addition to learning about a number of new dairy foods at Expo East—to be featured as a future Daily Dose of Dairy—it was very exciting to see many, and I mean many, unlikely foods formulated with whey proteins. From baked chips to pancake mix to salad dressing, whey proteins are the reason these products exist. The products all taste great, too.

Back to milk. Here’s a link to a recent article I wrote for Food Business News about innovations in the fluid milk category despite the declines in sales. You can access it HERE.

Photo Source: Midwest Dairy Association

And, if you were unaware, this Wednesday, September 24, is World School Milk Day, a global event organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. Celebrating its 15th year, the event has grown to become an annual celebration in more than 40 countries around the world with continued growth each year. The FAO’s goal is to provide a particular day when attention is focused on school milk and to have all countries celebrating on the same day. The end of the month was selected to allow countries sufficient time to prepare for this day, as in most of the countries surveyed the school year starts in early September. Wednesday was chosen as it was a school day in all countries. For more information, visit HERE.

The celebration is designed to promote the importance of drinking milk at school to children in a fun, memorable and educational way. Dairies that provide milk to schools, as well as dairy councils/associations across the country provide schools with materials to celebrate this special day…to celebrate milk’s WOW.

By Popular Demand, the Milk Mustache Returns
For the first time since 1877, the Quaker Oats Man, affectionately known as Larry, is donning a new accessory--the iconic Milk Mustache. (By popular demand, the mustache is back. I knew it would be!) Larry’s new ‘stache puts him in good company among a long and impressive line-up of actors, athletes and musicians who have worn the iconic Milk Mustache. It’s all part of a partnership between America’s milk companies, dairy farm families and Quaker Oats, designed to encourage Americans to make their oatmeal with low-fat milk instead of water and serve it alongside a glass of milk for a boost of protein.

The Milk Mustache ad featuring Larry’s new important accessory will debut this week as part of People magazine’s “Best Dressed” issue, hitting newsstands September 19. In addition, the image will be featured on Quaker Oats canisters, marking this the first time a Milk Mustache has made its way on-shelves in the grocery aisle.

In addition to the ad in People, the partnership features TV and online ads and robust content living on Quaker and Milk Life social media properties. On-pack messaging also feature interactive mobile technology allowing shoppers to scan the package to unlock recipes and snap and share their very own Milk Mustache selfies.

Here’s the BEST milk news of all. At the recent 12th Euro Fed Lipid Congress held in Montpellier, France, earlier this week, Dr. Sabita Soedamah-Muthu from Wageningen University, Division of Human Nutrition, Wageningen, the Netherlands, presented new conclusions from a meta-analyses of milk intake and risk of cardiovascular diseases and mortality during the Milk and Dairy Products in Human Health. The fact is that the consumption of milk may influence the risk of hypertension, cardiovascular diseases (CVD) and total mortality, but findings have been conflicting. The researchers examined the associations between milk, and the risk of hypertension, fatal and non-fatal CVD (including coronary heart disease (CHD) and stroke) and total mortality via meta-analyses of prospective cohort studies.

They conducted two main meta-analyses to study the association between 1) milk and risk of hypertension and 2) to study the association between milk and fatal-and non-fatal CVD, CHD, strokes and all-cause mortality. They systematically searched the literature using MEDLINE, EMBASE and Scopus. Random-effects meta-analyses were performed with generalized least squares for trend estimation of summarized dose-response data, pooling results of prospective cohort studies.

Photo Source: MilkPEP

Nine prospective cohort studies were found comprising 57,256 individuals with 15,367 incident hypertension cases accrued during a follow-up time of 2 to 15 years. Intake of milk (six studies) was inversely and linearly associated with a lower risk of hypertension (up to intake of around 600 milliliters per day for milk). The pooled relative risk (RR) for intake per 200 milliliter per day was 0.96 (95% CI: 0.93 to 0.99) for milk, without statistical heterogeneity.

Among 17 prospective studies, there were 2,283 CVD, 4,391 CHD, 15,554 stroke and 23,949 mortality cases. A modest inverse association was found between milk intake and risk of overall CVD (four studies; RR=0.94 per glass/day (200 milliliter/day), 95%CI: 0.89 to 0.99). Milk intake was not associated with risk of CHD (six studies, RR per glass/day=1.00, 95%CI: 0.96 to 1.04), stroke (six studies; RR=0.87, 0.72 to 1.05) and total mortality (eight studies; RR per glass/day= 0.99, 0.95 to 1.03).

These dose-response meta-analyses of prospective studies indicates that with increasing milk intake per glass a day there is a borderline significantly inverse association with incident hypertension and CVD, and no significant association with risk of total mortality or with CHD or stroke.

Wow….milk is amazing!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

International Whey Conference: Market and Technical Highlights

Photo Source: California Milk Advisory Board
It was so nice to connect with many Daily Dose of Dairy subscribers earlier this week in Rotterdam for the 7th International Whey Conference (IWC). And welcome to the many new individuals who I met at the conference and are now one of the 6,000-plus subscribers. 

Congratulations to the organizers and thank you to the sponsors for a well-rounded conference.

(MARK YOUR CALENDAR: The 8th International Whey Conference will take place in Chicago September 17-20, 2017.)

The conference commenced with Christophe Lafougere, director of the food and drink market consultancy and research firm GIRA, explaining supply and demand developments of whey in a global perspective. For attendees who deal with dairy markets daily, this information is likely not new, but I found in fascinating and I am sure many of you will, too.

For starters, the EU and U.S., combined, supply the world with 92% of whey ingredients (standardized to whey protein equivalents), 61% and 31%, respectively.

It is estimated that in 2014, production will be distributed like this, with these projected annual growth rates during the next five years:

Whey Powder, standard (WP): 48%, +1.4%
Whey Protein Concentrate (WPC): 36%, +2.6%
Whey Protein Isolate (WPI): 9%, +7.7%
Demineralized Whey Powder (DWP): 7%, +6.8%

The U.S. will be making the majority of WPC and WPI, while the EU will dominate DWP. Argentina is also going to make significant inroads as a whey producer.

To make all of this whey, cheese production must increase. Where will all that cheese go? “To China,” said Polly Olson, vice president of business development, sales and marketing at Davisco Foods International, the event’s sole Platinum sponsor. China is where the action is, she explained.

“The Chinese are being bombarded with western fast-food chains, from burger joints to pizza parlors. And they love the cheese, in particular mozzarella, as it is a mild cheese that their discerning taste buds find enjoyable.”

Photo Source: Papa John's

In a one-on-one conversation, Ms. Olson explained another major driver of the Chinese dairy market—infant formula. “With infant formula the number-one use of whey ingredients in China (and actually globally), and the recent legislation allowing select demographics to have a second child, the increased demand for whey ingredients is going to be significant,” she said. But on the same note, the Chinese recognize this need, as well as their growing desire for more cheese, and they are starting their own dairy farming and processing operations.

“Old cruise ships are being used to transport large herds of pregnant cattle to China so that when they arrive, they are ready to give birth and soon ready for milking,” she said. “China is currently the largest importer of dairy products. They say they want to be the largest exporter as soon as possible.”

Currently China imports around 12% of all whey ingredients produced annually. After infant formula, hog feed is the second largest application. The EU is the largest user of whey ingredients at 48% share, followed by the U.S., at 20%. Globally whey consumption is expected to increase by 2.7% from now until 2018.

Enter the Russian crisis
Russia’s recent ban of agricultural imports from the EU and U.S., accelerated what was already an existing trend in declining Russian exports for many EU countries. This is not so much the situation for the U.S., which had shied away from exporting to Russia in recent years because of the regulatory demands from Russia.

But here’s the deal, Russia is not a large whey ingredient buyer but they do buy lots of cheese from the EU. In fact in 2013, Russia imported 33% of all EU cheese exports.

Russia’s freeze on cheese imports means less whey. It also means that these EU dairies need to turn highly perishable milk into something with longevity, and that something is appearing to be skim milk powder (SMP). An excess of SMP is causing prices to drop significantly. This was confirmed by Dutch producers attending IWC, as The Netherlands is, or make that was, the largest supplier of cheese to Russia. Market data shows that SMP prices are down 20%. 

It’s no wonder Mr. Lafougere began his presentation by saying that this is an interesting period for the whey ingredients market. “The future is wide open,” he said. Anything can happen.

Geoffrey Smithers, a food consultant based in Australia, talked about the love-hate relationship humans have had with whey for the past 7,000 years. Historical documents make reference to Hippocrates prescribing whey for therapy, while whey houses were like today’s coffee houses during the 17th and 18th centuries. Whey baths became popular in the 19th century, but by the 20th century, whey became a menace due to increased industrial cheese manufacturing. Humans started viewing it as a nuisance.

“Towards the end of the 20th century is when we started seeing whey as a value stream,” he said. “Modern knowledge caught up with ancient wisdom.” Advancements in science and technology started to allow for market sophistication and globalization. Whey was no longer the byproduct of cheese making, rather cheese became the byproduct of whey production.

What does the future hold?
Ms. Olson told attendees that the protein ingredient market is changing dramatically. Eggs and egg products are being reformulated out of many prepared foods, while new product development efforts avoid eggs altogether. Reasons include the desire to remove allergens, improve carbon footprint, formulate vegan, manage costs and eliminate fear of avian influenza.

Numerous new vegan protein sources, most notably pea, are gaining momentum among food formulators. Other legumes, as well as pulses, oats, microalgae and even insects are being pursued as sources of sustainable protein. Even with these threats, the future is bright for whey proteins.

With whey exceeding the biological value of egg protein, the former protein quality benchmark, the opportunities are endless, according to Mr. Smithers. He believes the future will be about whey peptides with novel health and wellness applications. Specialty whey proteins will drive innovative product development, including the development of nutritionally enhanced dairy products.  Photo Source: U.S. Dairy Export Council

Technical sessions
To give you an idea what the future looks like, here is some of the research that was presented at the conference, along with the presenter’s name and affiliation, in case you want to follow up.

  • Maintaining textural quality in high-protein food. Allen Foegeding, North Carolina State University, USA
  • Enzymatic modification of whey proteins to alter functionality: cross linking and beyond. Riitta Partanen, Valio, Finland
  • Impact of enzymatic modifications of whey proteins on their bioactive properties. Dick Fitzgerald, University of Limerick, Ireland
  • Membrane separation techniques in whey concentration and fractionation and ways to control deposit formation, Ulrich Kulozik, Technical University, Munich, Germany
  • Infant food quality: whey products, microbiology and functionality. Martijn Fox, NIZO Food Research, The Netherlands
  • Leucine defines the unique metabolic value of whey protein. Donald Layman, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA
  • Dietary protein, physical activity and aging. Douglas Paddon-Jones, The University of Texas Medical Branch, USA
  • The effects of milk proteins on immunity: Mechanisms and implications. Joost Van Neerven, Wageningen University, The Netherlands
  • Controlled aggregation of whey proteins: Matching structure and functionality. Richard Ipsen, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Approaches to modify structure and functional properties of whey proteins. Hasmukh Patel, South Dakota State University, USA
  • Milk oligosaccharides: enzymatic synthesis and structural analysis. Lubbert Dijkhuizen, University of Groningen, The Netherlands
  • Potential utilization of milk oligosaccharides of cows and other domestic farm animals. Tadasu Urashima, Obihiro University of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine, Japan
  • Functionality of milk oligosaccharides: only the tip of the sugarloaf? Lars Bode, University of California-San Diego, USA
Make it Magnifique
Changing direction, but still keeping with the EU export and cheese themes, I recently participated in a sampling of French cheeses during a media tour sponsored by The Cheeses of Europe Marketing Council. The organization is promoting how any dish can go from “good” to “great” to “magnifique.” Add cheese to a dish, it becomes great; add French cheese to “Make it Magnifique,” the official campaign name. You can read the article and see the slide show of French cheeses HERE.

And, of course, I visited a number of supermarkets while I was abroad. All of next week’s Daily Doses will feature innovations I discovered.

MARK YOUR CALENDAR: The 8th International Whey Conference will take place in Chicago September 17-20, 2017.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Clean Label Series: Frozen Desserts—See What’s New in Terms of Product and Marketing

The unseasonably cool summer in many parts of the world prevented many ice cream marketers from meeting their sales goals this year. (I know, you don’t need to be reminded. Sorry!) But this has not prevented aggressive companies from pursuing the rollout of new products as well as marketing campaigns to keep consumers eating ice cream as the temperatures get even cooler.

A key variable with many of the innovations is having the product be “label friendly.” This, of course, is not something readily defined, as the concept of clean label has many meanings. To read a comprehensive article on clean labeling of dairy foods, link HERE.

What I do know is that terms such as natural, artisan, gelato, and of course, organic, all resonate with consumers looking for permission to indulge on frozen desserts. Better-for-you formulations, including low-fat, extra protein, reduced sugar and a boost of fiber, add value, too.

Just yesterday I visited the largest of the three Whole Foods Market locations within a four-mile radius of my house. The ice cream freezer (pictured) takes up an entire aisle of the store. Within the packaged foods sector, frozen desserts and chips are almost equal in merchandising space at this Whole Foods Market. (What happened to the whole in Whole Foods Market? That’s another topic.)

All of these products have one or more of the descriptors I mentioned in common. They also do not contain any of the ingredients listed on the company’s “Unacceptable Ingredients for Food” list, which can be accessed HERE.

All of these products qualify as clean label and appeal to consumers who want to indulge, but in a label-friendly fashion.

What’s preventing your ice cream from competing in this space? Remove anything artificial—colors and flavors are the two big ones in ice cream. Don’t use artificial sweeteners. Work with the many clean-label sweetening options in the market, including the basic sugar and corn syrup, as well as stevia, monk fruit and erythritol. Skip the modified starches and opt for native, functional ones. Gums are OK, too, but some consumers do take issue with their chemically sounding names. And finally, maybe add a boost of nutrition through fiber or protein, or both.

Before I showcase products that exemplify these opportunities, here are some interesting ice cream reads.

Science Behind Ice Cream Revealed
Maya Warren, PhD student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and member of the Institute of Food Technologists Student Association, explains how food science plays an important role in the creation of ice cream. From coming up with different ingredients and flavors to making sure it stays fresh in the freezer, food scientists are hard at work creating a product that is fun and tasty. View the video and fact sheet HERE.

The Difference Between U.S. and Italian Ice Cream Consumers
According to recent reports from Canadean, U.S. consumers prioritize indulgence in ice cream consumption, whereas Italian consumers turn to that scoop of gelato for some relaxation.

That’s right. When it comes to their choice in ice cream, U.S. consumers favor indulgence over anything else. They look for the most decadent flavors to fulfil this need. The report revealed that the desire to indulge motivates 47% of ice cream consumption in the U.S., as consumers want to treat themselves with novel flavors and creamy textures for the tastiest experience. The need for indulgence is most prevalent in the consumption of impulse ice creams such as packaged cones or ice cream sandwiches, where it motivates half of consumption, at 50%. As a result, consumers see this category as an indulgent treat that offers escapism. (Those label-friendly terms give them permission to indulge.)

Many put health concerns aside when it comes to their choice of ice cream. Consumers looking for the creamiest and sweetest ingredients will often turn to products that are inherently unhealthy. (But again, health makes it easier to have a second scoop!)

Health-conscious consumers have historically either avoided ice cream completely or reduced their consumption, opting for healthier food categories to consume. (Give them permission to indulge.) When they do indulge, they will look for decadent products and moderate their consumption, choosing smaller portion sizes to reduce the guilt factor.

Consumers in the U.S. like to feel they are getting good value for money from their ice cream choice, whether they are trading up or down. However, manufacturers should remember that the primary reason for consumption is the desire to indulge, and consumers fear that cheaper products may involve a trade-off of taste--a sacrifice they are not willing to make. On the other hand, manufacturers should focus on creating products with a unique taste to satisfy consumers.

According to Joanne Hardman, analyst at Canadean, “Manufacturers should extend their portfolios to offer premium products to meet the demand for luxury indulgence, combining sweet and savory flavors such as the heat of chili or a soft hint of elderflower, and sorbet textures for those consumers looking for more novel experiences at home.”

Then there’s the busy Italians who consider ice cream as relaxation therapy. According to Canadean research, Italian consumers look to the creamy texture of ice cream to help relax and unwind after a busy day at the office. Italians who feel stressed and fatigued after a hard day’s work are sure to have their moods uplifted after some gelato.

Canadean found that 22.3% of ice cream consumption in Italy is led by the need for a comforting moment, to calm down and forget about the pressures of everyday life. Consumers in Italy often look to restore their inner balance, with simple, yet tasty ice cream products to remind them of happy times and inspire childhood memories.

Unlike other European countries where the need for the tastiest treat drives the market, this trend only influences 14.5% of consumption in Italy. Consumers look for ice creams in traditional flavors including chocolate, hazelnut and coffee, which reduces the stress and acts as recuperation mechanism.

“To boost competition in the ice cream market, Italian manufacturers should produce innovative products targeting consumers who seek to relax,” says Hardman. “As an example, the Italian market should consider Ben & Jerry’s idea to produce ice cream infused with chamomile tea.”

Check out these recent clean-label innovations that connect with consumers.

The Haagen-Dazs brand is keeping the feeling of summer alive nationwide with the introduction of its new line of decadent Haagen-Dazs Gelato bars. Whether one is catching the sunset or jumping in the car for one last road trip, flavors Strawberry Dark Chocolate, Tiramisu Dark Chocolate and Vanilla Caramel Pizzelle are planning to be the must-have treat for ice cream and gelato lovers who want to enjoy a taste of Italy in the United States. (I think spas should start serving them for the R&R factor!)

The expansion into gelato snack bars comes on the heels of the brand’s gelato line that debuted in March 2013 and, most recently, the introduction of four new gelato flavors-- Caramelized Banana Chip, Pistachio, Pomegranate Swirl and Tiramisu--in February 2014.

“With the success of the Haagen-Dazs Gelato line, consumers began to ask for on-the-go gelato options, and we brainstormed new ways for them to experience the essence of Italian gelato,” said Alex Placzek, brand director. “With unique ingredients such as pizzelle cookies, mascarpone cheese and rich dark chocolate, the new bars are crafted unlike any others on the market--a true representation of dense, delightful Italian flavor that Americans have grown to love.”

Each Haagen-Dazs Gelato Bar flavor is available in packages of three for a suggested retail price of $4.99 and will be sold nationwide beginning this month.

Whole Foods Market is rolling out Italian Gelato described as “authentic gelato made in small batches before being imported from Italy into the States.” Product labels tell a story about the artisan process, using strong graphics to communicate the inclusion or premium ingredients and clear packaging to convey product quality. Varieties are: Caramel & Sea Salt, Dark Chocolate, Hazelnut and Pistachio.

The company also offers private-label ice cream under its 365 brand. There’s nothing real special about this everyday value line other than the fact it does not contain any “unacceptable ingredients.”

The product is described as not containing any hydrogenated fats, artificial flavors, colors or sweeteners, as well as being made with milk from cows not treated with artificial growth hormones.

But if a short and simple ingredient statement is what one considers “clean label,” the Cookies & Cream variety is not a candidate. It reads:


The Fair Trade Chocolate variety is much simpler. It reads:


Other varieties in the 365 line include Butter Pecan, Fair Trade Coffee and Mint Chocolate Chip.

Speaking of Fair Trade, Three Twins Ice Cream, a San Francisco Bay Area-based manufacturer of organic and Fair Trade ice cream, is making its bulk ice cream and novelty products available to foodservice operators nationwide. Available in pans, tubs, sandwiches and cups, Three Twins is now available in bulk orders for foodservice professionals, including restaurants, universities, hospitals, corporations and more.

“With our expanded foodservice offerings, we aim to bring our inconceivably organic ice cream at an approachable price point to more people across the country,” says founding twin Neal Gottlieb.

Three Twins Ice Cream comes in 5-liter pans (22 flavors), 2.5-gallon tubs (22 flavors), 5-ounce cups (6 flavors) and 5-ounce sandwiches (3 flavors). Foodservice professionals will find Three Twins’ new 2014 flavors including Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Brownie Batter Chunk and Land of Milk and Honey alongside the staple flavors like Sea Salted Caramel, Madagascar Vanilla and Cookies & Cream.

According to a Packaged Facts recently published report entitled Proteins—Classic, Alternative and Exotic Sources: Culinary Trend Tracking Series, nuts and nut butters are riding the protein wave. This includes their inclusion in various foods, such as ice cream.

With that said…the only combination better than peanut butter and bananas is peanut butter, bananas and ice cream! Peanut Butter & Co., and Turkey Hill Dairy have joined forces to create Limited Batch All Natural Banana Peanut Butter Ice Cream, which is made with banana-flavored ice cream swirled with Peanut Butter & Co.’s Smooth Operator peanut butter.

Made in a limited batch, this is the latest addition to Turkey Hill’s All Natural Ice Cream lineup. In line with Peanut Butter & Co. and Turkey Hill’s all-natural philosophies, the flavor is made with the simplest of ingredients--just cream, milk, sugar, bananas and Peanut Butter & Co. peanut butter (made from peanuts, sugar, peanut oil and salt).

“Ice cream flavors with peanut butter always seem to be big sellers, and peanut butter and banana sandwiches are enjoying a newfound popularity,” says Peanut Butter & Co.’s Founder and President Lee Zalben. “This is an ice cream flavor whose time has come!”

On the better-for-you side of the business—and I might add, this is the type of product that gives me permission to indulge—Enlightened has added four new flavors to its frozen bar lineup. Each 75-gram stick novelty contains a mere 70 to 80 calories, 2 grams of fat and 3 grams of sugar. Here’s the bonus, each bar also provides 5 grams of fiber and 8 to 9 grams of protein, depending on variety.

Mint, Peanut Butter, Toasted Almond and Vanilla Bean join the original lineup of Coffee, Fudge and Orange Cream.     To read more about the product, link HERE.

Clean-label formulating provides permission for Americans to indulge in ice cream, Italians to relax with ice cream and everyone else simply to enjoy ice cream!

By the way, if you are looking for some R&D assistance with formulating your dream ice cream product or need a co-packer, link HERE for a list of resources. There are co-packers suited to produce organic-certified ice cream, too.