Friday, March 24, 2017

It’s Ice Cream Season!

Where did the first quarter of 2017 go? Yes, it’s almost gone, which means it’s ProFood Tech time. That’s right. In less than two weeks, dairy industry professionals will gather in Chicago—my home town, born and raised and still living in the city. I’m a true Windy City girl. Welcome. If you need any restaurant suggestions, grocery store hot spots or just some sightseeing tips, please don’t hesitate to ask by email HERE.

I highly suggest visiting the new Whole Foods that opened this week at 3201 N. Ashland Ave. At 75,000 square feet of space, it is the 3rd largest Whole Foods in the world (behind London and Austin). It’s in my neck of the woods, not far from Wrigley Field, which is always a nice place to visit.

Make sure you get the Daily Dose of Dairy LIVE on your ProFood Tech calendars. Each day of the expo, which runs April 4 to 6 at McCormick Place, I will be giving trends presentations at the International Dairy Foods Association booth (#910) in the Dairy Pavilion. For more information, link HERE.

Here’s the schedule:
Tuesday, April 4
12:00-12:30 Trends in Frozen Desserts
1:00-1:30 Trends in Fluid Milk and Dairy-Based Beverages
Wednesday, April 5
12:00-12:30 Trends in Yogurt and Cultured Dairy Foods
1:00-1:30 Trends in Frozen Desserts
Thursday, April 6
12:00-12:30 Trends in Fluid Milk and Dairy-Based Beverages
1:00-1:30 Trends in Yogurt and Cultured Dairy Foods

Visit Double H Plastics at Booth 2810 at ProFood Tech.

And, if it’s ProFood Tech time, ice cream season is here, too.

According to Ice Cream and Frozen Desserts in the U.S., 9th Edition, from Packaged Facts, the market for ice cream and other frozen desserts is, as it has been for a very long time, an extremely mature market with little room for growth. Occasionally a new product will cause a stir that increases sales, but usually the success of a new product comes at the expense of existing products, rather than as added sales to the category overall.

Make sure you are that new product with sales success, not the one losing share. On-trend flavors, consumer-appealing formulations and eye-catching, convenience packaging may assist. These topics will be addressed at Daily Dose of Dairy LIVE. Let’s take a sneak peek at what we can expect to see this summer ice cream season. 

First, to give you an idea of the ice cream landscape, for 2016, Packaged Facts estimates that the market for all ice cream and frozen dessert sales, including packaged ice cream and frozen novelties sold through retail channels and ice cream purchased at foodservice outlets, was just shy of $28 billion. This figure includes $12.3 billion on the retail side and $15.7 billion from foodservice. Total ice cream and frozen dessert sales are projected to approach $30 billion by 2020. Retail dollar sales are projected as growing to almost $13 billion while foodservice will surpass $16.3 billion.

If you are primarily a retailer player, now’s the time to start exploring foodservice. Convenient, on-the-go-packaging is paramount for this channel.

The Packaged Facts report starts that forces currently shaping the ice cream market are likely to be the same ones that will determine its direction through the next several years. These include the introduction of products that fit in with the “free-from” trend in the food and beverage industry in general; an increase in gelato and superpremium ice cream introductions and sales; reduced sales of packaged frozen yogurts; and more variations on already popular flavors. In addition, the market will continue to see new packaged ice cream and frozen dessert products emerging that feature successful local or regional foodservice brands.

Interestingly, the report explains that while size and shape of package play a part in distinguishing product quality types, the artwork on containers of all quality levels has seen improvement over the last several years, with several premium brands affecting a superpremium style in their graphic presentation. In addition, representation of the flavor sources—fruits, nuts, etc.—has become more common and more appealing through recent years.

Also increasingly common is to carefully—and subtly--make formulation call outs on ice cream packages, with the lid rim proving to be an attractive spot to flag product facts without being overwhelming. That’s what you get with the new organic pint line from Humboldt Creamery.

This is a beautiful package. The real-food photography jumps out at you while the lid conveys important product attributes, such as pasture raised, non-GMO and organic. Read more about this new product line this coming week when it is featured as a Daily Dose of Dairy.

When it comes to package size, small is big, and smaller is often even bigger, in the eyes of the shopper. That’s because many of today’s shoppers appreciate smaller volume packs, which encourages them to purchase more variety to satisfy curious taste buds. An extra bonus is a spoon in the lid for immediate consumption.

Last year, just in time for National Ice Cream Month (July), Yuengling’s Ice Cream launched a new 8-ounce single-size serving cup complete with spoon attached inside the lid. This grab-and-go cup is intended for the convenience channel and made its debut in four of the brand’s best-selling superpremium flavors. They are: Black and Tan, Original Sea Salt Caramel Swirl, Root Beer Float and Vanilla. More flavors may be likely in the works for this ice cream season.

“When we were developing this new size we wanted to cater to families that wanted the option of providing flavor options to each loved one while at the same time feeding the whole family on the go,” says David Yuengling, president “We believe the 8-ounce cups hit the mark.”

Never forget that ice cream is meant to be fun and enjoyed by all.

Taking inspiration from a popular wizarding beverage, earlier this week, the company announced that Butterbeer is joining its pint line. Once described by Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling as “a little bit like less sickly butterscotch,” Yuengling’s take on the flavor will be half buttercream ice cream and half butterscotch ice cream, twisted with a butterscotch swirl. The result is magical decadence that will transport you to another place and time, according to the company.

“We are always looking for ways to inspire our fans and spark creativity. Whether it’s our flavor names and descriptions or the recipes themselves—we’re in the business of having fun,” says Yuengling.

Looking for something a little more fruity? Strawberry was also announced to the Yuengling’s Ice Cream lineup in response to popular demand. That’s right…strawberry ice cream is trending.

Yuengling’s turned to social media to gauge customer interest levels and solicit fan feedback on new flavors and strawberry has been a consistent request since the brand relaunched in 2014.

The two new flavors are currently available in pints, with quarts being made available soon.

Trending flavors and a forecast of flavor innovation will be part of the Daily Dose of Dairy LIVE series at ProFood Tech.

That strawberry trend continues with Graeter’s new Strawberry Cheesecake ice cream that features a rich cheesecake base with sliced strawberries and pieces of buttery graham cracker crust. Like all of Graeter’s ice cream, this product is handcrafted 2.5 gallons at a time using French pot freezers, a 147-year-old technique that five generations of the Graeter family have perfected.

Another on-trend flavor is coffee. Not just ordinary coffee, rather cold-brew coffee.

Blue Marble Ice Cream of Brooklyn, N.Y., is adding this flavor to its organic ice cream line up. The 14-ounce packs of Organic Cold Brew Coffee explain that the ice cream is made with organic 100% Arabica beans from Colombia’s Andean Highlands.

Enlightened continues to grow its pint line of “the good-for-you ice cream,” with seven new flavors, which also includes the on-trend Cold Brew Coffee. The other six newcomers are: Banana Foster, Birthday Cake, Black Cherry Chocolate Chip, Fudge Brownie, Red Velvet and Strawberry Cheesecake. (There’s that strawberry.)

A half-cup serving ranges from a mere 60 calories to 100. Most varieties have 1.5 grams of fat, 5 to 6 grams of sugar and 6 to 7 grams of protein per serving. This is accomplished through a proprietary base mix including skim milk, milk protein isolate, erythritol, soluble corn fiber and monk fruit extract.

San Francisco’s Humphry Slocombe rolled out six new flavors at Natural Products Expo West a few weeks ago. Known for its adult-centric creations (in terms of both taste and flavor names), the company’s bold new offerings continue to target mature taste buds. They are: Black Sesame, Blueberry Boy Bait, Cheesecake Chocolate Wafer, Cinnamon Tres Leches, Dirty Chai and Salted Caramel Cocoa Nib.

Friendly’s Manufacturing and Retail is introducing Signature Sundaes, a new line consisting of four unique, indulgent sundae creations that are the perfect sweet treat for sundae enthusiasts. The 28-ounce clear package enables them to see all their favorite sundae components in one convenient carton.

The flavors are:
Forbidden Chocolate Fudge Sundae: Signature Forbidden Chocolate ice cream loaded with fudge, topped with even more fudge, whipped topping and indulgent brownie pieces

Peanut Butter Fudge Sundae: Premium vanilla ice cream loaded with peanut butter, topped with fudge, whipped topping and chopped peanut butter cups

Vanilla Caramel Sundae: Premium vanilla ice cream loaded with caramel, topped with even more caramel, whipped topping and rich caramel curls

Vanilla Chocolate Chip Fudge Sundae: Premium vanilla ice cream loaded with chocolate chips and fudge, topped with even more fudge, whipped topping and more chocolate chips

The company is also rolling out Naturally Friendly’s, an ice cream line featuring eight flavors made from simple ingredients. Created with ingredient-conscious consumers in mind, Naturally Friendly’s does not contains any artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, corn syrup or GMO ingredients. The flavors are created using only the finest, uniquely sourced ingredients from natural sources like fresh milk, cream, cane sugar, vanilla and carob bean gum, according to the company. Packages communicate this.

The flavors are: Chocolate, Chocolate Fudge, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Mint Chocolate Chip, Vanilla, Vanilla Caramel, Vanilla Blackberry Swirl and Vanilla Peanut Butter Fudge. The 48-ounce cartons range in price from $4.49 and $4.99 and boast 12 individual servings per package.

“We developed these new ice cream product lines to address two key trends driving ice cream consumption,” says Tim Hopkins, president and general manager. “We know there are consumers who are now looking for clean-label products with simple ingredients, and on the other hand, there are consumers who want unique and highly indulgent ice cream products that take dessert to another level.”

Need some innovation ideas? Plan to attend the Daily Dose of Dairy LIVE during ProFood Tech. See you soon!
          Visit Double H Plastics at Booth 2810 at ProFood Tech.

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