Thursday, November 24, 2016

Dairy Foods Forecast 2017: Cheese Snacking Trends

Photo source: Di Bruno Bros.
This is the third in a series of reports predicting dairy innovation rollouts in 2017.
As the year starts to wind down, food and beverage market analysts issue forecasts for macro trends that will drive innovation. I take those trends and combine them with the knowledge gained throughout the year from attending international trade shows and talking with suppliers and dairy foods marketers. This year the entire dairy foods supply chain is pumped up about the future. And this is thanks to all the dedicated people who work in every link, from farm to table.

With snacking now ubiquitous--more than three in five (64%) consumers agree that snacking is necessary to get through the day, including 77% of millennials, according to Mintel data—food and beverage marketers are aggressively developing what they believe will be a winner with the growing number of snackers. Mintel data also show that millennials are more likely to be motivated by healthy snack options (68%); and that three in four (73%) consumers are willing to pay extra for snacks made with high-quality ingredients.

Reinventing cheese as a snack and emphasizing its healthful halo—it’s packed with protein and numerous essential nutrients--is one of the hottest trends. There’s a plethora of cheese snacks made with premium, all-natural ingredients rolling out by marketers, both big and small. Some are designed for the convenience channel, while others come in bulk for consumers to grab from their refrigerator as they run out the door. Still others are designed for spreading or dipping, with the carrier being everything from a bagel to a crudités.

To read an article I wrote on this topic for Food Business News, including a slide show of recent innovations, link HERE.

According to data from IRI provided to Dairy Management Inc., and courtesy of the Midwest Dairy Association, almost half (47%) of U.S. households purchase cheese forms associated with snacking at least once a year.  The average buyer makes 4.6 trips per year to the store for snack cheese, purchasing 5.0 pounds during the year. The heaviest buyers are households with children, especially households with children between the ages of 12 and 17. Snack cheese forms also skew towards Caucasian, higher income, and younger (Millennial) households.

Some innovative new cheese snacks are intended for children while others have adult’s palates in mind. Many are one-size-fits all in order to appeal to everyone in a household. Here are 10 unique examples.

Denver-based WhiteWave has been in the cheese business for a number of years with organic chunks, slices and shreds, as well as multi-serve packs of sticks and shapes for snacking. Now the company is entering the grab-and-go segment with individually wrapped 1-ounce sticks of organic mozzarella that come in convenient 24-pack merchandising units. There’s also new 1-ounce pouches of organic cheddar and organic Colby and jack bites.

Winona Foods now offers Alejandro On The Go snack cups designed for cheese lovers on the move. These pasteurized snack packs are made with real Wisconsin cheese and are available in cheddar and jalapeño varieties. The 1.5-ounce portion cups, which are sold three to a carton, have a one-year unopened ambient shelf life and are perfect for snacks and lunches, dipping chips or fresh vegetables, or spreading on a sandwich or burger.

Just in time for holiday entertaining, Philadelphia-based Di Bruno Bros., launched two new cheese spreads: Pinot Grigio & Fig and Smoked Gouda & Beer with Pimentos. Made with real Wisconsin cheddar, the two new varieties join Spicy Abbruzze, Roasted Garlic & Herb, Port Wine, Gorgonzola, Provolone & Chianti, and Cheddar & Horseradish. 

Pinot Grigio & Fig Cheese Spread is made with aged cheddar, white wine and figs. It is a sweet and savory spread with identifiable pieces of fig. The Smoked Gouda & Beer with Pimentos Cheese Spread has a nutty, smoky taste that gets amplified with a splash of brown ale.

Fiorucci Foods now packs its popular cheese and meat rolls into single-serve two packs. There’s mozzarella with hard salami, pepperoni or prosciutto, as well as hard salami with pepper jack.

In Greece, Kourellas markets a range of Feta Bites, which are snack-sized pieces of feta cheese in 90-gram containers. There’s a plain version, as well as seven seasoned options. They are: Garlic & Pepper, Greek Herbs, Olive & Chili, Poppy Seed, Sesame, Smoked, and Tomato & Oregano.

Kraft Heinz Co., has big plans for cheese snacks in the coming year. First in its list is new Kraft Snack Trios, which are 1.5-ounce snack trays. As the name suggests, each tray has three compartments. One contains cheese cubes. The others include chocolate chunks, dried fruit or granola clusters. The company is also growing its P3 line with fruit medleys. Also a three compartment tray, the new medleys include cheese, cubes, dried fruit and salty nuts.

Kerry Ireland is debuting Cheestrings Scoffies. There are three varieties of this new three-container snack, with one container having real chunks of cheese. The second is either crackers or pretzels, while the third is dried fruit, chocolate and/or biscuit pieces. The three containers are described as ‘mixable,’ and offer kids the opportunity to ‘swap them,’ ‘switch them’ and ‘save them,’ as each pack has a convenient resealable tab.

The Green One features crunchy crackers and a fruity mix with white chocolate shortcake pieces. The Purple One features crunchy crackers and a blend of cherry strings, biscuits and chocolate raisins. The Red One features mini pretzels and a blend of cherry cubes, yogurt raisins and biscuits.

Here’s a different kind of cheese snack. It’s popped cheese. Cheesepop comes in Emmental and Gouda varieties and is produced by the namesake company based in The Netherlands. It is 100% cheese that is simply popped. The heat dries the cheese into snack size balls that no longer require refrigeration. The crispy, airy pops come in 65-gram single-serve, convenient on-the-go cups.
Wausome Foods has expanded its line of cheese crisp snacks with new flavors and convenient grab-and-go 1.6-ounce pouches. Wausome Wafers are now available in Blissfully Bleu Monterey and Wholly Jalapeño Pepper Jack, in addition to the original Clever Cheddar and Hug & Kiss Colby/Swiss flavors. Blissfully Bleu Monterey is made with Wisconsin Monterey jack cheese with Roqueforti cultures added for blue veining. Wholly Jalapeño Pepper Jack is flavored with real jalapeño chiles for just the right amount of heat. Wausome Wafers are made with 100% Wisconsin cheese and can be eaten as a snack or served as creative appetizers, with dips or crumbled over salads and soups.

Cheese snacks are gaining traction in private label. The Meijer grocery chain just rolled out Meijer Snack Breaks. Selling for about a dollar piece, the snack packs come in three varieties. There’s pepper jack cheese with roasted peanuts and raisins; sharp white cheddar cheese with dried cranberries and sea salted and roasted almonds; and sharp cheddar cheese with cherry-infused cranberries and roasted and sea salted cashew pieces.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Dairy Foods Forecast 2017: Functional Dairy Foods—It’s All About Transparency

Photo source: Milk Unleashed/Tetra Pak Inc.

This is the second in a series of reports predicting dairy innovation rollouts in 2017.
As the year starts to wind down, food and beverage market analysts issue forecasts for macro trends that will drive innovation. I take those trends and combine them with the knowledge gained throughout the year from attending international trade shows and talking with suppliers and dairy foods marketers. This year the entire dairy foods supply chain is pumped up about the future. And this is thanks to all the dedicated people who work in every link, from farm to table.

But wait…is everything about to change? This week there have been numerous perspectives published on the future of food under the president-elect’s administration. Later in this blog you can read insights from Mark Mansour, partner, Mayer Brown LLP, an expert in food industry regulations and someone I have relied on for insight over my 20-plus years in food industry journalism.

Milk: The original functional food
So let’s talk the future of functional foods, specifically functional dairy foods, which are those foods that provide benefits beyond basic nutrition. Dairy foods are one of the original functional foods, with milk still being one of the biggest players in the category as a result of vitamin D fortification.

Voluntary addition of vitamin D to fluid milk started back in the 1930s when rickets, a bone-debilitating disease, was prevalent. Incidence was linked to a deficiency in this fat-soluble vitamin. Because milk was a highly consumed food, the medical community encouraged fortification. To date, vitamin D fortification of milk remains voluntary, yet the norm, in U.S. and most developed countries.

Not all functional foods mitigate disease. They can deliver a myriad of purported benefits ranging from anti-aging to inducing satiety. Some provide energy while others promote relaxation. Some such foods are inherently functional, for example, a cup of brewed green tea is loaded with antioxidants, while other rely on the addition of functional ingredients.

Vitamin D fortification of ALL dairy products is one of the greatest opportunities for dairy foods in the functional foods sector, which consumers continue to embrace, but some are starting to question. That’s because of the transparency issue.

Source: The 2016 Label Insight Food Transparency ROI Study

Dairy’s inherently clean and simple reputation makes it an ideal delivery vehicle for functional ingredients. This includes everything from vitamins and minerals to probiotics and prebiotic fibers to omega-3 fatty acids and plant extracts, such as those from green tea or red wine. What is paramount is that marketers communicate to consumers why these ingredients are being added and where they come from.

I promise you, the next few years will be all about complete transparency. This is particularly true if the new Washington, D.C., regime makes changes in regulations that take us back to the ice milk ages.

The fact is, Baby Boomers, in particular, are very open to functional foods. According to the National Marketing Institute, 61% of Baby Boomers use functional foods and beverages, and 54% consume fortified products. Adding vitamins, minerals and other key nutrients to dairy foods will keep Baby Boomers in the category.

According to Packaged Facts, two of the most appealing “functional ingredients” to Baby Boomers are vitamin D (for bone health) and omega-3 fatty acids (for cognitive function).

This week I attended the 2016 Food Tank Summit in Chicago. The non-profit’s vision is to build a global community for safe, healthy, nourished eaters. This is a beautiful vision.
Its values are to: Educate. Inspire. Advocate. Change.

I’m all for it, as I am sure many dairy foods industry members are, too. But let me tell you, there are some extremists in this space. Many are vegans. Some believe pasta is an overly processed food. (I do think I saw the same person who said pasta was an overly processed food enjoying a brownie after lunch, which did not come with any disclaimers or ingredient sourcing statements.)

The point is consumers are fickle. They will make compromises to suit their desires, their needs, their opinions, their beliefs. To keep consumers in dairy, in milk—the original functional food—talk about your product. This is the functional dairy foods trend for 2017. Add it. Tell them why. Explain it.

Source: The 2016 Label Insight Food Transparency ROI Study

The 2016 Label Insight Food Transparency ROI Study from Label Insight Inc., Chicago, was released in June 2016. Findings from the study showed that consumers want brands to be completely transparent when it comes to food, but they largely do not trust them to accurately provide complete product information. Let’s prove this study wrong when it comes to dairy foods.

The study surveyed more than 2,000 consumers about their preferences for transparency and how it affects their trust for and loyalty toward brands. The results showed that consumers want more than just the required product information on a product’s label and will purchase from and be loyal to brands that provide more detailed insights. They want to see everything from a complete ingredient breakdown to sourcing information. What’s more, if a brand doesn’t provide them with this information consumers will look elsewhere for it. This puts brands in a vulnerable position, one that involves shoppers consuming (and likely believing) third-party information about their products. Trust me, this is not a place you want your customers to go.

According to research by Label Insight, millennial moms are leading this move toward digital transparency. Millennial moms--mothers between the ages of 18 and 34—value transparency more than any other demographic, are significantly more interested in seeking product information through digital channels and are willing to pay more for it. This demographic represents nearly $200 billion in spending power. Millennials also love dairy.

So between Baby Boomers trying to defy aging and millennials doing what millennials do, there’s a huge opportunity for functional dairy foods, if they are clean, simple and transparent. 

Label Insight survey research showed that product transparency influences purchasing behavior, plays a significant role in customer loyalty to a product and opens the door to the brand’s entire portfolio of products. The survey revealed that nearly all consumers (94%) are likely to be loyal to a brand that offers complete transparency. What’s more, transparency ranked highest in a list of factors that motivate consumers to be loyal to a brand, with 25% listing it as their top factor.

The survey found that 39% of consumers would switch from their current preferred brand to one that offers more product transparency. Furthermore, once a consumer has switched to a brand in favor of increased transparency, he or she is likely to remain loyal long term. Fifty-six percent say they would be very likely to remain loyal to a brand for life if it offered complete transparency.

Transparency is so important to consumers that they are actually willing to pay more for it. Almost three in four consumers (73%) say they would be willing to pay more for a product that offers complete transparency in all attributes (ingredients, nutrition, sourcing, etc.).

Source: The 2016 Label Insight Food Transparency ROI Study
When asked to indicate the importance of transparency for each product category, consumers proved transparency is important across the board. However, dairy ranked highest, with 97% of respondents indicating it is very important or somewhat important for dairy brands to be transparent, followed by produce, meat and frozen food products.

Most consumers (77%) believe a food brand is transparent when it provides a complete list of ingredients in its products, followed by in-depth nutritional information about the ingredients (54%) and certifications such as USDA Organic or “low sodium,” an FDA nutrient content claim.

Consumers also say they want more information than brands are required to include on the physical product label. More than half (56%) say additional information on how food is produced, handled or sourced would make them trust a brand more, and this information ranked more than twice as high as brand packaging claims such as “low fat” or “low sugar.”  Sixty-two percent say missing information on labels causes them to be skeptical about a brand. This distrust may increase with new governing bodies.

Source: The 2016 Label Insight Food Transparency ROI Study

In summary, transparency has positive implications for brands. It fosters product loyalty, brand loyalty and increases the product’s worth in a consumer’s mind. In an age where consumers are more concerned about what’s in the products they use and consume than ever before, brands that provide shoppers with the information they seek through their preferred channels will reap the benefits. This is very important in the functional foods sector, where ingredients are added for specific health and wellness benefits. For 2017: Add it. Tell them why. Explain it.

Insight from Mark Mansour, partner, Mayer Brown LLP, Washington. D.C., as stated on November 17, 2016: 
The Trump transition team has stalled in its effort to vet and announce appointments, while potential appointee names continue to surface. Several high profile departures have slowed the transition to a crawl. With the removal from the HHS transition team of NJ governor Chris Christie, Rich Bagger and a number of lobbyists close to Christie.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker aide Andrew Bremberg becomes the transition head for HHS. It is looking likely that U.S. Rep. Dr. Tom Price of Georgia will be HHS Secretary. Dr. Ben Carson has removed his name from consideration for any position in the Trump administration.

As you may have heard, the Trump transition team is asking all potential appointees to relinquish their lobbying privileges and pledge not to lobby for five years after they leave the administration, although the ban has numerous qualifiers. Based on what we are hearing, other cabinet appointments will be announced soon. The announcements will not be made in the order of importance, but rather based on the achievement of consensus regarding a particular candidate. We have had many requests for information about FTC. Our sources indicate that the key agencies will be addressed as soon as cabinet is chosen, unless there is consensus on a given agency head candidate. No names have yet emerged for FTC head, and FDA will almost certainly await an appointment of an HHS secretary. Assuming that Tom Price is chosen for HHS, look for an effort to re-evaluate numerous HHS and FDA regulations, something Donald Trump promised would happen at most departments and agencies. Our colleagues here at Mayer Brown have ongoing relationships with Rep. Price, which certainly will be helpful as the changeover at HHS takes effect.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Dairy Foods Forecast 2017: Dairy-Based Beverages

This is the first in a series of reports predicting dairy innovation rollouts in 2017. 

As the year starts to wind down, food and beverage market analysts issue forecasts for macro trends that will drive innovation. I take those trends and combine them with the knowledge gained throughout the year from attending international trade shows and talking with suppliers and dairy foods marketers. This year the entire dairy foods supply chain is pumped up about the future. And this is thanks to all the dedicated people who work in every link, from farm to table.

Donald Moore, executive director of the Global Dairy Platform wrote in his letter accompanying the GDP’s annual review, “These are exciting times, as the dairy sector has embarked on a journey to own its own story of how it is addressing global health and nutrition issues.”

The GDP states that dairy’s story is about an industry that has created millions of jobs and has the capability to sustain and revitalize rural communities in all corners of the world. It’s about a quest to help children thrive, communities grow and generations build upon responsible land stewardship. World economic, financial and food crises contribute to make dairy’s tale one of food security and producing nutritious food, both safely and sustainably.

Since its inception, GDP has worked to promote the nutrient richness of dairy products, bring balance and research to the role of milkfat in the diet and provide clarity on how dairy is managing its relationship with the environment. Now more than ever, as the world’s population increases by 75 million people per year, the time is right to tell the story of dairy’s power as a sustaining life force, as well as the dairy goodness we bring to billions of people every day.

Well stated. Now here are the five trends to guide your product development efforts in the dairy-based beverage sector.

1. Clean, Simple Labels. One of the reasons milk and dairy-based beverages are popular with today’s consumers is their lack of “stuff” that consumers just don’t want in their foods. While many food and beverage products are challenging to simplify and clean up, it is pretty straightforward with milk and dairy-based beverages. Use only natural flavors and colors. When building mouthfeel or keeping flavors and colors in suspension, opt for stabilizing systems recognized as natural. Dairy proteins are one of your best choices. It’s putting dairy back into dairy, and giving consumers more of what they are looking for in the diet. That’s protein.

Source: Global Dairy Platform

2. Protein, Fat, the Whole Package. Speaking of protein, I’ve been hearing there is some concern in the nutritional community that a growing number of protein-obsessed consumers are taking in so much protein that they are now not getting enough of other essential nutrients. That’s where dairy-based beverages come out a leader among all protein sources. The protein is inherent, as is the fat, and fat is back. Make your new beverage innovations either low-fat or even full-fat. Add extra high-quality, complete whey protein for function and nutrition. Talk about the protein and the fat, and how the latter contains essential fatty acids necessary for growth and body function. Dairy-based beverages are also an ideal vehicle for many important nutrients and functional compounds, namely prebiotic fibers and probiotic cultures. These beverages can also be formulated to contain fruits and vegetables, foods most consumers are lacking in their diet. Only dairy-based beverages can deliver all of this in one package. The time is right to do this, simply and powerfully, and to communicate the story to the consumer.
3. Package. That’s right, the package. Fresh from attending Pack Expo, I can tell you there’s a great deal of opportunity to differentiate in the beverage sector with packaging. It’s time to invest. The flexible beverage package was the star at Pack Expo. Multi-serve flexible packages have been catching on the past few years in Europe for products such as coffee cream. This year at SIAL, Sodiaal was a SIAL Innovation Awards finalist for its Yeo Fontaine a Yaourt. This is a 1.5-liter flexible stand-up pouch with spout to keep beverages on tap. This is yogurt, but it can be flavored milk, a dairy-based protein beverage or some other innovative dairy concept. This package was generically on display throughout Pack Expo. And, why not bag-in-a-box flavored milk?

Here’s something to consider regarding an investment in single-serve pouch technology. Though most adults today may not be comfortable eating or drinking from a single-serve pouch package. That will change, and no, it’s not millennial driven. It’s Gen Z. This population grew up with pouches. Many were seldom fed baby food from a jar. They were given a pouch and sucked away. It is a different oral sensation, and even a different way of tasting, but none the less, something this demographic knows and is comfortable with. Single-serve pouches are a great way to deliver a powerful, viscous dairy food that Gen Z will embrace in their early adult life and beyond.

Source: Global Dairy Platform

4. Early Adult Life and Beyond. The concept of foods and beverages formulated for specific life stages—beyond baby, toddler and pre-teen--is finally catching on in the U.S. It’s been an active area for some time in Asia and in select countries throughout Europe. At SIAL, there were dairy-based beverages for moms and moms-to-be, for nursing moms and the moms of moms (grandmothers). There were dairy-based protein drinks for athletes and seniors, and for energy and stress.

5. Flavors. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of including limited-edition and seasonal flavors in your milk and dairy-based beverage mix. You want to be in coffee- and tea-based beverages, too. Cold-brew coffee, as a latte and straight up, is being made by everyone, including breweries and corner cafes. Now’s the time to offer your milk in this beverage format. Give it a whimsical name. Tell a story.

According to Sterling-Rice Group’s top-10 culinary trends for 2017, “Wake and Cake” will be big. This is consumers having their cake and eating it for breakfast. With recent science and research endorsing this diet strategy, in the year ahead SRG expects more people to partake in this decadent post-breakfast trend. Why not give it to them in a dairy-based beverage. Think crème brulee or cheesecake flavored whole milk protein smoothies.

There’s a lot of unknowns in our near future. Hopefully this forecast helps your business thrive in 2017 and beyond.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Adding Fiber to Dairy Makes Sense; Inulin Makes No-Added-Sugars Possible in Many Dairy Applications

photo source: Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board

By now you should be fully aware that on May 20, 2016, FDA released mandatory nutrition labeling revisions. FDA made changes to the content and format of the Nutrition Facts label as well as to the reference amounts that determine the serving sizes of conventional foods. The compliance date for manufacturers with more than $10 million in annual food sales is July 26, 2018. For manufacturers with less than $10 million in annual food sales, they get an additional year to get their labels in order.

Do not be fooled. This time will fly by faster than you think.

With that, let’s talk about fiber. Let’s back track to much earlier in the year when the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines were published. Once again, the guidelines identified fiber as a nutrient of concern in the American diet. In other words, Americans are not consuming enough fiber. (Fiber is actually a global health concern, so this information is relevant to all readers.)

Now let’s jump to May 20, when FDA, for the first time, proposed a definition for “dietary fiber,” a nutrient that will now need to be declared on the Nutrition Facts panel. Prior to the May 20 ruling, declaring dietary fiber was voluntary, and if stated, was to be quantified by appropriate AOAC analysis.

FDA’s proposed definition is based on the definition developed by the Institute of Medicine way back in 2001, prior to numerous fiber food ingredients being isolated, purified and extensively studied for physiological health benefits.

FDA’s proposed dietary fiber definition requires the product to meet one of the two following criteria in order to be classified as such:

  1. Non-digestible soluble and insoluble carbohydrates (with three or more monomeric units), and lignin that are intrinsic and intact in plants, or
  2. Isolated or synthetic non-digestible carbohydrates (with three or more monomeric units) determined by FDA to have physiological effects that are beneficial to human health.

“The problem with the proposed definition is that FDA provided a very limited list of ingredients that have been determined to have physiological effects that are beneficial to human health,” said Scott Turowski, technical manager at Sensus America Inc. “This list excludes the majority of ingredients currently utilized in the market as sources of ‘dietary fiber.’”

One of the most common fiber food ingredients is chicory root fiber, also known as inulin. It’s not on the “proposed definition” list. 

Photo source: Vitamix

In response to the new definition and requirements, the major chicory root fiber inulin suppliers jointly submitted a petition to FDA on September 12, 2016, requesting this ingredient, in its varied forms, be added to the list.

“The petition provides a great deal of clinical research demonstrating the beneficial health benefits of chicory root fiber,” according to Carl Volz, president at Sensus America. “The petition itself links chicory root fiber to four physiological effects that are beneficial to human health and includes clinical data from human studies supporting the benefits.”

In summary, the benefits and the number of studies are:
  1. Improved Laxation/Bowel Function (15 studies)
  2. Increased Absorption of Calcium (7 studies)
  3. Reduction of Blood Cholesterol Levels (9 studies)
  4. Attenuation of Postprandial Blood Glucose Levels (5 studies)

“Further, inulin-type fructans from chicory are one of the most studied food ingredients in the world,” says Volz. “It is defined as fiber in Europe, Canada and the rest of the world. We are very confident it will be defined as fiber as we go through this process with FDA, possibly even before the year ends.”

It truly is just a matter of time, as it makes sense that consumers be able to increase their fiber intake through chicory root fiber inulin-enhanced foods, including dairy products, namely yogurt, flavored milk and even ice cream.

And here’s even better news. Less than two weeks ago, on October 20, 2016, Sensus received written legal analysis by Covington & Burling LLP that determined chicory root fiber inulin ingredients, which have varying degrees of sweetness, are in fact not sugars and therefore, when used in a product formulation, do not require declaration as an added sugar…another new requirement on the Nutrition Facts.

That’s right, for the first time, the Nutrition Facts label must declare “added sugars,” and “sugars” now will be declared as “total sugars.” The value for total sugars will include all naturally occurring sugars, such as lactose in milk, and added sugars. No Daily Value was set for total sugars; however, for added sugars, it is 10% of calories, or 50 grams for adults and children over four years of age.

The FDA based this new requirement on a review of the science underlying the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines. It is intended to help Americans make healthy dietary choices by monitoring their intake of added sugars.

To read about consumers’ opinions of added sugars, link HERE.

Responding to comments on the proposed rule’s definition of added sugars, FDA issued the following definition:

Added sugars are either added during the processing of foods, or are packaged as such, and include sugars (free, mono- and disaccharides), sugars from syrups and honey, and sugars from concentrated fruit or vegetable juices that are in excess of what would be expected from the same volume of 100 percent fruit or vegetable juice of the same type, except that fruit or vegetable juice concentrated from 100% juices sold to consumers, fruit or vegetable juice concentrates used towards the total juice percentage label declaration or for Brix standardization, fruit juice concentrates which are used to formulate the fruit component of jellies, jams, or preserves, or the fruit component of fruit spreads shall not be labeled as added sugars.
The legal experts at Covington & Burling LLP concluded that chicory root fiber inulin ingredients do not fit the definition of “added sugars.”

To read an article about reducing added sugar in beverages, including flavored milk and drinkable yogurt, link HERE to an article I recently wrote on the topic for Food Business News. It provides a detailed explanation on the sweeteners that won’t count as added sugar on the new Nutrition Facts label, as well as how fruit juice can be used as a natural sweetener, color and flavor in dairy beverages.
Chicory root fiber inulin ingredients can assist with taking sugar out and putting fiber into dairy foods. These are dietary fibers that provide natural sweetness, at only two calories per gram, vs. sugar’s four calories per gram. Some ingredients provide more sweetness than others, and their ability to work synergistically with other no-added-sugar sweetening systems varies, too. Such other systems include high-intensity sweeteners, cultures, enzymes and flavors. Here are some products with chicory root fiber inulin at work.

The President’s Choice brand, a private label of Canada’s Loblaw’s supermarket chain, is rolling out Greek Yogurt with Oats. There are two versions: overnight oats and steel-cut oats. Varieties include Banana Vanilla, Blueberry, Maple Brown Sugar and more. The variegate component is sweetened with stevia and contains chicory root inulin, which adds sweetness and fiber. A 150-gram serving contains 4 grams of both fat and fiber, and 10 to 11 grams of protein and 12 to 13 grams of sugar, depending on variety.

In Italy, Parmalat has introduced Fibresse Plus Wellness Milk and Yogurt. Both products are enhanced with soluble dietary fiber and biotin to assist with digestion and energy metabolism. A 100-milliliter serving of the milk contains 1 gram of fat, 3.2 grams of protein and 1.2 grams of fiber. The yogurts come in 115-gram pots, with a single-serve cup containing 1.7 grams of fat, 4.5 grams of protein and 2 grams of fiber. Yogurt flavors are: Orange & Cereals, Pear & Rolled Oats, Plain and Prune & Muesli.
Dannon Oikos Triple Zero, which rolled out in early 2015, contains 0 fat, 0 added sugar and 0 artificial sweeteners, plus 15 grams of protein per 5.3-ounce container. To sweeten the yogurt without adding sugar, the formulation relies on a variety of technologies, including stevia; chicory root fiber, which contributes sweetness while also delivering 6 grams of fiber per serving; and the lactase enzyme. The line debuted in six flavors--Banana Crème, Coconut Crème, Mixed Berry, Peach, Strawberry and Vanilla—with three varieties—Chocolate, Plain and Salted Caramel—joining this year.

Luv Ice Cream is a line of artisan products that boast on front labels “stevia sweetened.” Some of the ice cream ingredient panels indicate the product is made with the proprietary trade-marked Sweet Luv sweetening system, which consists of plant polyols, chicory root inulin and organic stevia. Other products simply state chicory root inulin and stevia individually. Ice cream flavors are: Coffee, Dark Chocolate, Chocolate Chip, French Vanilla, Mint Chocolate Chip, Raspberry Chocolate Chip and Strawberry.

What is open innovation?
The race to invent, reinvent or simply improve products has become so fast that traditional development processes and cycles no longer cut it. Open innovation has become a proven and well-established method for reducing development times by sourcing disruptive ideas and solutions from all over the world. Open innovation itself is being reinvented as companies become more comfortable with the practice and seek to align their brand with “openness” while still accomplishing their goals for accelerated product development. The innovation challenge has emerged as a finely tuned open innovation option that delivers speed, transparency and ultimately solutions that can be applied more quickly in the market.

Canada’s Agropur Cooperative, in partnership with the Quartier de l’innovation de Montréal, AgBioCentre and NineSigma, announced this week the launch of Inno Challenge, an initiative to create new dairy products through open innovation. This is a Canadian first in agri-food innovation. Under the theme “Together, Let’s Reinvent Dairy!” a first call is going out across Canada and internationally to creative thinkers who will have until December 7, 2016, to submit their proposals for innovative dairy products.

The challenge seeks to identify impactful new innovations that expand, sustain and reinvigorate the use of dairy products and elevate dairy beyond a household staple. The selected participants will be announced in January 2017. Up to four projects will each receive an up to $25,000 grant and access to Agropur’s innovation support resources. Agropur will work with them to co-develop the selected concepts and bring them to the prototype stage. The results of their efforts will be presented at Agropur’s Inno Expo in April 2017. For more information, link HERE.

Thanks for cheering on the Cubs. They did it!