Thursday, July 9, 2015

Innovative Yogurt Concepts—Mouthfeel Matters and More

It’s less than 10 weeks until the International Dairy Show takes place in Chicago (September 15 to 18). Today’s blog sponsor—Chr. Hansen—will be exhibiting at booth 7137. Chr. Hansen is also sponsoring the Daily Dose of Dairy Live! presentation on Wednesday, Sept. 16, from 10:00am to 10:30am on the show floor. The topic is Innovations in Yogurt and Cultured Dairy Foods. Please mark your calendar and plan to attend.  

Today’s blog highlights some of the trends you can expect to see showcased at the International Dairy Show.

The Greek yogurt market continues to mature (36% volume share, +1.5% from a year ago), according to data from the IRI DMI Custom Database, which was provided courtesy of Midwest Dairy Association. This is while traditional non-Greek yogurt products are nearly flat and both Australian and Icelandic-style yogurts are showing rapid growth. But that growth is still very nominal, with sales of both combined accounting for only about 1% of volume. (See chart and graph below.)

What’s driving volume sales growth across all sectors: whole milk formulations. Why? Because mouthfeel matters, and whole milk, fermented with premium cultures, produces a yogurt that is naturally creamy and delicious without the addition of thickeners or stabilizers. It’s the natural way to be clean label and apparently quite appealing to today’s consumers, as reflected in the IRI volume sales data showing whole milk yogurt is up 8.6% for the 52-week period ended May 17, 2015.

Source: IRI DMI Custom Database, Courtesy of Midwest Dairy Association

Research supports that whole milk dairy can be part of a healthy, well-balanced diet. A study published in June 2015 by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported that eating full-fat cheese and whole milk did not relate to weight gain or weight loss among healthy men and women. Similarly, a review of research published in the European Journal of Nutrition found that, in the majority of the studies evaluated, people who consumed more whole milk dairy products either weighed less or gained less weight over time. Researchers believe that this may be because whole milk dairy products, which contain more fat, might be more satisfying, meaning people might eat less of the richer version and this effect may also carry over into eating less in their overall diets.

Source: IRI DMI Custom Database, Courtesy of Midwest Dairy Association

Embracing this information, siggi’s is launching a new line of whole milk skyr yogurt in five varieties—Plain, Vanilla, Strawberry & Rhubarb, Mixed Berries and Fig & Lemon Zest--with the last variety exclusive to Whole Foods Market.

What is skyr? Pronounced “skeer,” skyr is the traditional yogurt of Iceland and until now, has always been nonfat. It is a strained yogurt that is extra thick and creamy and loaded with milk’s nutrients. Approximately four cups of milk go into the production of one cup of skyr, with the finished product containing two to three times the protein count of standard yogurt.

The new 4% milkfat varieties of siggi’s Icelandic-style yogurt continue the brand’s tradition of simple ingredients and not a lot of sugar. Made with whole milk yogurt and a touch of cream for a richer taste experience than the 0% and 2% milkfat varieties, the yogurts contain more protein than sugar per serving, without using low-calorie sweeteners or sugar substitutes.

Sold in 4.4-ounce containers, each serving contains 5 grams of fat along with 100 to 120 calories, 10 to 11 grams of protein and 3 to 8 grams of sugar, depending on variety.

“My father eats his skyr the old-school way by pouring fresh cream over it, and that inspired me to create siggi’s whole milk yogurt; it honors his tradition. Plus, I have to say it is pretty delicious,” says Siggi Hilmarsson, who started making his yogurt in the kitchen of his New York City apartment in 2004. “I am excited to share that experience with siggi’s fans everywhere, especially now as people are starting to embrace the satiating quality of fat.”

Siggi’s whole milk yogurt became available in U.S. grocery stores on July 1, 2015, and have a suggested retail price of $1.69. For more information, link HERE.

The company also markets a unique drinkable yogurt that resembles traditional filmjölk in Sweden. Filmjölk is to Scandinavians what kefir is to Eastern Europeans and it can be enjoyed straight from the bottle or poured over fruit or granola. It is slow fermented using Lactococcus and Leuconostoc culture strains to give it a soft buttery flavor. It is also loaded with probiotic cultures, delivering one billion per serving.

siggi’s Filmjölk comes in four flavors: blueberry, plain, raspberry and vanilla. The nonfat drinkable yogurt contains 8 grams of protein per 8-ounce serving, along with 100 to 120 calories, depending on variety.

Arla Foods is launching Arla Skyr into the U.K. market as part of the company’s expansion into the yogurt category. The product comes in two sizes and multiple flavors. The 150-gram single-serve pots come in Apple & Lingonberry, Natural, Nordic Mixed Berry, Nordic Sour Cherry and Strawberry. There are also 450-gram multi-serve containers in Honey, Natural and Strawberry.

Back in Denmark, its global headquarters, the company is currently responsible for around 50% of the market share of total skyr. To continue to grow the category, Arla Foods identified an opportunity with a thinner, more drinkable format and introduced Cheasy skyr this past February. It is slightly lower in protein (2.6 grams less protein per 100 grams than regular skyr) with a smooth, easy-to-pour consistency. It contains no added sugars and comes in two varieties: Blueberry/Vanilla and Pomegranate/Raspberry.  For more information, link HERE.

In the States, another skyr concept, Smari Yogurt, has gotten creamier with Grass-Fed Whole Milk Yogurt in Pure and Vanilla variants. The company has also added coconut and peach to its nonfat skyr line. For more information, link HERE.

Technically a fresh cheese, quark is often consumed—and cooked with--in the same way as yogurt. “misha -- new american quark,” is a not-tart, protein-packed spoonable cultured dairy product that is made with milk from grass-fed cows. Much like skyr, four cups of milk goes into each cup of quark, with misha quark having up to 17 grams of protein per cup and 2% milkfat.

To read more about misha, link HERE.
 Photo source: Evi Abeler Photography

Innovation is taking place in the frozen yogurt arena as well. Earlier this year, Yogurtland introduced 10 limited-edition flavors for its third annual Flavor Question promotion that takes guests on a culinary journey around the world with flavors representing 10 countries. One of these flavors, Peanut Nougat with Almond Butter and Honey, is the company’s first cultured gelato offering and is made with whole milk for a creamier, more indulgent taste.
The flavors and the countries they represent are:

  • Alphonso Mango Tart – from India, a tropical-style tart flavor
  • Banana Pudding – from the U.S., a homage to comfort food
  • Blood Orange Ice – from Spain, bold and citrus in one
  • Churro – from Mexico, based on cinnamon-infused, sugar-coated hot pastry
  • Cinnamon Coconut – from Thailand, a perfectly spiced coconut recipe
  • Espresso Float – from Italy, a bold and robust coffee flavor with no-sugar-added
  • Peanut Nougat with Almond Butter and Honey Gelato – from Denmark, an ultra-rich, creamy tripod of authentic Danish desserts
  • Pineapple Sorbet – from Brazil, a pucker-punching sweet treat
  • Pom Berry Lemon Tart – from Egypt, a medley of savory fruits indigenous to the country
  • Salted Dark Chocolate – from France, balanced salt tones complement sweet dark cocoa
All of Yogurtland’s flavors meet the National Yogurt Association Criteria for “live and active culture frozen yogurt.” Presently Yogurtland has 300 locations across the U.S., Australia, Guam, Thailand, Venezuela and Dubai. For more information, link HERE.

And the Award Goes to…

The annual World Dairy Innovation Awards took place in Amsterdam as part of the ninth Global Dairy Congress at the end of June. The judging panel, which included myself, considered almost 220 entries from 30 countries in 18 categories.

“We saw a fantastic range of products this year as innovation continues to ignite consumers’ growing interest in dairy,” said FoodBev Media’s Bill Bruce, coordinators and hosts of the contest. “We also saw an increased number of entrants from Asia and Africa representing the healthy dairy market now present in these regions.

“The awards are a great way to keep up to date with the industry’s best innovation across the globe from key players and some of the world’s most exciting startups,” he said. “It’s a great celebration and highlights company successes in the areas of finished products, marketing, manufacturing, ingredients and, importantly, commitment to corporate social responsibility.”

All entries will be featured in a special Awards Showcase magazine, which will be distributed with issue 62 of Dairy Innovation magazine and available as a digital edition. If you would like to subscribe to Dairy Innovation or receive a copy of the showcase magazine, link HERE.

For a list of all the winners and finalists, link HERE.

For Best Yogurt, the winner is Meiji Amino Collagen Yogurt from Meiji Co Ltd in Japan. The yogurt combines Japan’s best-selling yogurt brand with Japan’s top-selling collagen supplement brand, providing this popular skin-care ingredient in a yogurt product.

There were two finalists in the yogurt category. One was Vegetable Yoghurt from Australia’s Yummia Pty Ltd, which is a range of vegetable and fruit yogurts. Each 150-gram pot contains a half-serving of vegetables. The layered yogurts come in three different varieties: Apple and Carrot, Strawberry and Beetroot, and Sweet Potato and Cinnamon. Each pot includes a spoon for added consumer convenience.
For more information, link HERE.

The other finalist--Yoatz Oats + Yogurt—is a range of single-serve cups of organic ready-to-eat oats, fruit and yogurt. The product line made its debut earlier this year as a nonfat product. You can read about it HERE.

Recognizing consumers’ renewed interest in milkfat, the product is now made with whole milk Greek yogurt. “Our original Oats + Yogurt product was made with skim milk only,” says Chris Straface, founder and CEO of Facci Food Co., marketers of Yoatz. “We had been working on the 4% line since the beginning of the year and quickly realized it was a far superior product. Consumers are refocusing their sights, worrying less about fat and more about sugar, which ultimately better aligns with our greater vision of a lower-sugar, more-satiating product set. The fat is icing on the cake.”
For more information, link HERE.

New Process to Improve Protein Content in Foods 

In spirit of science and innovation, as the annual meeting of the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) kicks off this weekend in Chicago, here’s some news from Cal Poly.

Researchers at the university have developed an improved process to extract protein from milk. The patent-pending process allows for fast and cost-effective extraction and produces a protein that will enable foods and snacks--including potato chips, corn chips and crisps--to be produced with enhanced protein content, protein from dairy! For more information, link HERE.

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