Thursday, October 16, 2014

Dairy Foods 2015: Are you ready for the New Year?

Many innovations debuting at last week’s NACS (convenience store) show have retailer rollout dates of January 2015, serving as a reminder that 2014 will soon come to an end. Are you ready for the New Year…or better yet, do you have new products in the pipeline to meet the needs of the savvy consumer of 2015?

Without a doubt, reducing sugar and increasing protein will drive innovation in 2015. In a recent HealthFocus study, An In-Depth Look at Consumer Views on Protein and Carbohydrates, 73% of the 1,009 respondents claimed to limit carbohydrates in some way. At first glance this might seem like a major issue for all carbohydrate-based products but it turns out that the definition of carbohydrates also plays a role. For the most part, it is the simple carbs, those known as sugar or a comparable term, that are being limited.

The study combined both an in-depth look at the carbohydrates being cut with current interest in increasing protein. While the two are happening simultaneously, one did not cause the other. Further, protein has no downside to most consumers.

From discussions at NACS, SupplySide West and Expo East this past month, as well as the myriad of calls I had this past week (Gosh, I was on the phone a lot, and I am so not a phone person!), I can confirm these five general trends will drive new dairy foods development efforts in 2015:

1)    There will be less added sugar in everything dairy. In some cases, the reduction will be stealth. Reducing inherent lactose complements this trend.
2)    Dairy proteins rule in the world of food ingredients.
3)    The cultured dairy category, including yogurt, will be fat friendly, and Greek is no longer the only word.
4)    Simple and clean continue to be important. Get rid of those artificial colors.
5)    Functional nutrition in dairy foods seemed to be on hiatus the past few years because of both the economy and regulatory mayhem in the European Union. The time is right to get back on track. Think fiber, omega-3s and plant sterols.

Let’s explore 10 new dairy foods that complement many of these trends.

In Denmark, Arla Foods now offers Matilde Mini flavored milk in 1-liter shelf-stable boxes. Available in chocolate and strawberry flavors, Matilde Mini is a guilt-free milk made with skim milk and contains half the sugar of typical flavored milk. To maintain a desirable sweet profile, the company adds lactase enzyme to break down lactose, milk’s inherent sugar, into galactose and glucose, which naturally increases sweetness without adding sugar. The ingredient statement indicates that the formula contains only 2% added sugar. Chicory root fiber also helps with sweetness, while delivering 2.8 grams of fiber per 100-gram serving. A serving contains 43 calories, 0.5 grams of fat and 3.5 grams of protein. Containing no artificial additives, it’s clean label, too.

As the name suggests, TeaGurt is a drink that combines tea with nonfat yogurt. Produced by Kirin and sold in Thailand, the drink combines the health benefits of these two on-trend foods into one convenient 350-milliliter single-serve bottle.  

French-based retailer Carrefour markets private-label tiramisu dairy desserts in four packs of 90-gram cups. A serving contains 226 calories, 10 grams of fat, 22 grams of added sugar and 4.6 grams of protein. Calories and added sugars are kept in check through the use of chicory root fiber, which also provides for 2 grams per serving. Carrefour Tiramisu is made with mascarpone, eggs and Italian Marsala wine.

Chobani grows its Simply 100 Greek Yogurt line with Pineapple Coconut and Key Lime, which joins the original six flavors of Black Cherry, Blueberry, Peach, Pineapple, Strawberry and Vanilla. The ingredient panel for the Pineapple Coconut variety reads: Nonfat Yogurt (Cultured Pasteurized Nonfat Milk, Live and Active Cultures: S. thermophilus, L. bulgaricus, L. acidophilus, Bifidus and L. casei), Chicory Root Fiber, Pineapple, Water, Evaporated Cane Juice, Pectin, Natural Flavors, Coconut, Locust Bean Gum, Pectin, Monkfruit Extract, Stevia Leaf Extract, Tumeric (for color).

It is the only 100-calorie brand to use chicory root fiber, monkfruit extract and stevia to keep calories low and add fiber. In fact, Chobani is the only 100-calorie Greek yogurt to be enhanced with fiber. The chicory root does that and more. It also enhances and rounds out sweetness. The key nutritionals are: 0 grams fat, 5 grams fiber, 7 grams sugar, 12 grams protein, per 5.3-ounce cup.

In case you missed this week’s Daily Dose of Dairy on Nestle’s soon-to-be introduced Skinny Cow Iced Coffee, you can link to it HERE.

Each 8-fluid-ounce bottle contains 120 calories, 2.5 grams of fat and 18 grams of sugar. The latter is achieved through the use of a blend of sugar with monk fruit extract. Reduced-fat milk is the number-one ingredient in this shelf-stable beverage.

Ready-to-drink (RTD) or iced coffee has been seeing a period of strong product and market activity in recent years. It remains one of the smallest sectors of the soft drinks market in terms of new product activity, accounting for just over 4.2% of global launches according to Innova Market Insights in the 12 months to the end of July 2014. This is up from less than 3% five years ago; however, and the actual number of launches has nearly trebled over that period. Asia continues to dominate in terms of RTD coffee introductions, accounting for more than half (53%) of the global total, ahead of Europe with 30% and North America with 11.5%.

The nature of the market is changing, according to Lu Ann Williams, director of innovation at Innova Market Insights. “Although ambient canned and bottled coffee drinks continue to dominate globally,” she reports, “particularly in well-established markets such as those in parts of Asia and the U.S., it is the chilled milk-based variants in lidded cups for on-the-go consumption that have been leading growth, particularly in the relatively undeveloped European market.”

In the U.K., the Modern Milk range, which is manufactured by Lakeland Dairies’ foodservice arm Pritchitts, was recently relaunched after a two-year sabbatical. Targeting college students with a positioning of being a healthful snack, the long-life, semi-skimmed flavored milk range comes in three sophisticated flavors: Chocolate with a Hint of Fudge, Coffee with a Hint of Vanilla and Strawberry with a Hint of Cream.

In the States, Shamrock Farms recently launched a first-of-its-kind fat-free protein milk that complies with new USDA standards for U.S. schools. Positioned as flavored milk, the product comes in 12-ounce bottles, which comply in size for middle school and high school students. The milk is packed with 20 grams of high-quality protein and no artificial sweeteners, colors or preservatives. A bottle contains 260 calories, 35 grams of sugar and 2 grams of fiber. Sucrose and fructose provide sweetness.

This product was previously featured as a Daily Dose of Dairy. You can read more HERE.

U.S. retailer Safeway adds a light version to its private-label, protein-enhanced dairy beverage line. Sold under the Lucerne brand, new Plus Protein Light Dairy Beverage comes in vanilla and chocolate varieties. The 12-fluid-ounce vanilla variety contains 180 calories, 0 grams of fat, 20 grams of sugar and 21 grams protein.
Based on nonfat milk and milk protein concentrate, calories and added sugars are kept low through the use of acesulfame potassium and sucralose.

Purefood in Germany markets Lycka Frozen Yogurt. The hand-packed 600-milliliter containers come in four all-natural varieties: Mango, Strawberry, Vanilla and Zitrone (lemon). A 100-milliliter serving contains 84 calories, 0.8 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of protein, 16.3 grams of added sugar and 1.8 grams of fiber. Chicory root fiber helps keep calories and sugar grams low while also contributing fiber.

And here’s a sneak peak at Monday’s Daily Dose of Dairy. Stay tuned…

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