Thursday, September 28, 2017

Dairy Foods’ Role in Mindful Snacking Movement

Chances are that sometime today you will snack. You are not alone. Research from The Hartman Group shows that a whopping 91% of consumers snack multiple times throughout the day. The notion of three square meals a day is long gone, as the boundaries further blur between what constitutes as a snack and as a meal. Snacking has become the most significant food and beverage occasion and dairy processors are wise to develop products that meet this need.

This occasion is now being fine-tuned into the concept of mindful snacking. Research shows that taste is the number-one driver of snack selection; however, nutrition and health, or what the snack provides, is increasingly important. This is particularly true to the nearly nine out of 10 consumers who snack multiple times per day.

The Future of Snacking survey from The Hartman Group showed that grazing has become the new normal. In fact, 7% of snacking consumers foregoing traditional meals altogether in favor of all-day grazing.

There are three main drivers for snacking. More than half (56%) of the survey respondents indicated they snack for needs related to nourishment. This is all about hunger abatement, managing hydration, health and diet conditions, as well as snacking for sustained energy. Other motivators include seeking satisfaction and performance optimization.

“Forty-nine percent of respondents said they snack for needs relating to pleasure, which fulfills emotional desires for enjoyment, craving, variety and comfort,” says Laurie Demeritt, chief executive officer at The Hartman Group. “Snacking for pleasure also includes satisfaction of needs for discovery when consumers want to explore food types, tastes, provenances, preparation methods, food purveyors and new products.”

One third (34%) of respondents indicated they snack for needs relating to optimization in order to satisfy physical and mental performance demands.

“Optimization snacking might be for quick energy, or to recover and rejuvenate,” says Demeritt. “It is also undertaken to help mental focus and manage stress.”

It’s important to note that snacking drivers change across the day, as do snack forms, flavors and even nutrition profiles. Morning snacks may be more about satiation and nourishment to get through a hectic start. An afternoon snack might be for energy or to satisfy a sweet craving. For the evening snack, maybe it’s about relaxation and pleasure.

The fact is, what you eat between meals as snacks can and does affect health. To attract shoppers, dairy processors are exploring better-for-you formulations, bold flavors and convenience in order to grab share of the snacking dollar. Products are designed to meet these varied needs throughout the day. Many products, in particular in the dairy foods space, make natural, simple and clean label part of the mindful nutrition platform.

“The demand by consumers for products with natural ingredients is continuing to grow because of an overall focus on the lifestyle benefits derived from making healthier choices,” says Jon Peters, president, BENEO. “With 65% of consumers in the Americas considering natural products as better and 47% actively looking for natural products when making food purchase decisions, according to our research, clean label and natural claims are becoming more important in the creation of food products.”

These healthier choices include increasing consumer interest in energy, weight and blood sugar management. Dairy-based snack foods can be formulated to easily address these attributes.
In addition to boosting protein content with high-quality complete dairy proteins, other ingredients to consider including in dairy-based snack foods are chicory root fiber-based inulin and oligofructose. These ingredients help manufacturers improve a product’s nutritional profile by reducing sugar, fat and calories while adding a valuable fiber source from nature. Being soluble and having a moderate sweet taste, they can be easily applied and maintain the taste and texture of the finished product.

Slowly digested and absorbed sugars such as isomaltulose also make sense. A natural ingredient derived from beet sugar, isomaltulose provides balanced and sustained energy with a lower blood glucose rise and less insulin release. 

“It creates an improved metabolic profile with more stable blood glucose levels and a higher concentration of fat utilization in energy metabolism,” says Peters. “It can be used as a sugar alternative, replacing sucrose of other high-glycemic carbohydrates on a gram-to-gram basis.”
For more information on formulating mindful snacks, link HERE.

A New Concept in Dairy Snacking: Jouzge
Jouzge represents confidence and serves as the inspirational name behind a new line of dairy-based snack bars developed to promote healthy eating and a healthy self-image among young women. Created by University of Wisconsin-Madison alumnus and Oregon, Wis., resident Dana Wendt, with formulation assistance from the Center for Dairy Research (CDR), Jouzge bars were born out of Wendt’s desire to create a dairy-based snack for young girls that would fuel their self-love, rather than disparage it.

“Years ago, I was eating a particular bar that had a weight management message attached to its name and marketing,” says Wendt. “My daughter, Hadley, saw me eating this bar and asked if she could take it to school as a snack. While the nutrition was acceptable, I began to worry about the message the bar was trying to send to my daughter. It basically said, ‘you’re not the right size, but if you eat this, you’ll be better.’”

Disillusioned by the messaging, Wendt worked with her daughter and her mother to develop the initial plans for a bar that would pair a positive message with an ingredient list and flavor profile young women and their caregivers could support. In terms of the messaging, Jouzge became a natural name for the bar, as it was the phrase Wendt’s father used as a self-affirmation each day before he headed to work at his B-to-B dairy company.

Growing up in the dairy industry, Wendt was aware of the health benefits of milk and milk products, so she was eager to create a dairy-based bar. Wendt was also looking for that campus connection, so she reached out to CDR, located on the UW-Madison campus, to see if they could help her formulate a nutritious and flavorful bar.

Experts in the application of dairy ingredients, CDR Dairy Ingredients, Beverages & Cultured Products Coordinator K.J. Burrington and CDR Associate Researcher Susan Larson, helped Wendt develop her product. For several months, the team experimented with a variety of different formulas, bar shapes, sizes, coatings and drizzles.

Utilizing dairy proteins was an important part of the formulation process, which included the use of whey protein concentrate, whey protein isolate, milk protein isolate and whey protein crisps, which created a crunchy texture in some of the bars.

“Dairy proteins are high-quality complete proteins that contain all the essential amino acids,” explains Larson. “Essential amino acids are ones that must be provided by your foods as your body cannot make them. Specifically, whey proteins have an especially high concentration of branched chain amino acids-- leucine, isoleucine and valine--that are used for building and maintaining lean body muscle.”

The CDR team helped Wendt to create three flavors: Chocolate Peanut Butter, Chocolate Mint and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. Filled with dairy goodness, each clean-label bar contains no more than 130 calories and 7 to 8 grams of dairy-based protein and no more than 7 grams of sugar.
The CDR also assisted with identifying a co-packer to bring the bars to market. Burrington suggested that Wendt also consider collaborating with industry to help the Jouzge business grow. In particular, Burrington shared the opportunities put forth by the Land O’Lakes, Inc. Dairy Accelerator program, which supports U.S. dairy entrepreneurs by providing access to business resources, financial support and more. Interested companies must apply and be accepted into the highly competitive program. A successful applicant, Wendt recently became a part of the program.

“The Land O’Lakes, Inc. Dairy Accelerator program will serve as a mini-MBA,” Wendt says. “We expect it will accelerate the launch of Jouzge and advance dairy.”

All about positive messaging for girls and for dairy, Jouzge has been growing quickly. Launched in August, the bar is sold locally as well as on Amazon. Jouzge was recently accepted into the Amazon Launchpad program, which provides start-ups with the resources they need to succeed on Amazon.
For more information on Jouzge, link HERE.

Dairy Accelerator Program
In addition to Jouzge, four other dairy companies were recently selected to participate in the new Land O’Lakes, Inc. Dairy Accelerator program. To qualify for consideration, each company was required to utilize dairy as a primary ingredient in their products.

Beehive Cheese: (Hand-made, artisan cheese)
Beehive Cheese owners Pat Ford and Tim Welsh traded the fast-paced world of software and real estate for a simpler way of life as artisan cheese makers. Based in Utah, Beehive Cheese produces artisan cheeses including award-winning Promontory cheese and hand-rubbed cheeses. 

Dreaming Cow: (Grass-fed yogurt and yogurt drinks)
Dreaming Cow CEO Kyle Wehner grew up on rotational grazing dairies and assisted his family’s cheese company. Based in Georgia, Dreaming Cow is a family-owned company that produces low sugar, high flavor yogurt products using milk from local grass-based, New Zealand-style rotational grazing dairy farms.  To read more about LUSH, link HERE.

Petit Pot: (Gourmet Pot de Crème)
Founded in San Francisco by French pastry chef Maxime Pouvreau, Petit Pot blends French and California culinary heritages in its creamy, rich and gourmet desserts. The company’s Pot de Crème and Riz Au Lait are packaged in glass jars and made with only a few, simple ingredients.  To read more about Petit Pot, link HERE.

Yooli: (Artisan-style farmer’s cheese snacks)
Inspired by the farmer’s cheese she ate as a child in Eastern Europe, Yooli Foods co-founder and CEO Yuliya Flynn developed a protein-rich, creamy dairy snack that is a unique alternative to yogurt. Based in California, Yooli produces snacks made with artisan-style farmer’s cheese. The protein snack is available in a variety of flavors. To read more about Yooli, link HERE.

For more information on the Land O’Lakes, Inc. Dairy Accelerator program, link HERE.

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