Like with any exposition, in the weeks leading up to the event, editors get inundated with press releases announcing new products and innovative applications, which is what IFT is all about. It goes without saying that plant-based foods will dominate the show floor. Color companies will be coloring them and flavoring companies will be…yep, you guessed it, flavoring them. Nutrient companies will be making them delivery vehicles for everything from caffeine to fiber to vitamins.
I encourage you to explore these innovations. And so do others in the dairy industry.
John Talbot, CEO of the California Milk Advisory Board, authored an excellent column for the June 8, 2018, issue of Cheese Market News. He wrote:
“There are many loyal dairy consumers getting caught up in experimentation, and we must be very careful how we address those who may be a little more adventurous. We ﬁnd dairy and dairy alternatives in the same refrigerators and consumers don’t seem to have anywhere near the problem with that as we do. They’re already consuming both. Telling consumers they are wrong is not going to gain their loyalty, we must show them how we ﬁt in.”
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He goes on to write that the industry needs to stop talking about dairy “alternatives” because that just legitimizes them. They are not alternatives to dairy. They are their own product.
“Identifying these products as alternatives and then telling our consumers they are wrong to buy them is not a recipe for success.”
It’s important to provide consumers options. Give them smart food options. These may be traditional dairy foods, dairy-free foods or dairy foods in a whole new format.
This week General Mills introduced YQ by Yoplait to the yogurt aisle. “Smarter, not sweeter.” That is the philosophy behind the new product made with ultra-filtered milk. It delivers big on protein with an intentionally less sweet taste.
This is the type of smart ingredient technology to explore when you are at IFT.
YQ by Yoplait Plain brings the yogurt category a new 1-gram-sugar-per-serving option, while packing 17 grams of protein in each 5.3 oz. container. The flavored varieties deliver 9 grams of sugar--40% less than the leading Greek low-fat yogurt--and are lightly sweetened with cane sugar, real fruit and natural flavors.
Flavored varieties deliver 15 grams of protein per 5.3 ounce serving and are available in Blueberry, Coconut, Lime, Mango, Peach, Strawberry and Vanilla. Plain and Vanilla are also available in 26 ounce tubs.
“We talked to thousands of people to really understand what they were missing from the yogurt aisle. We heard loud and clear the need for a smart snack option, something made with simple ingredients, less sugar and higher protein,” says Doug Martin, vice president of marketing for Yoplait USA. “What we’ve been able to accomplish with YQ by Yoplait delivers on this desire. Through our use of simple ingredients, ultra-filtered milk and active cultures, we’ve created a protein-packed, less sweet flavor profile with a thick, smooth, extra creamy texture. It’s unlike anything that exists in the yogurt aisle today.”
YQ by Yoplait starts with ultra-filtered milk, which is milk that has been filtered to concentrate the amount of protein while removing much of the milk’s sugar, or lactose. Lactose is a naturally occurring sugar that adds virtually no sweetness. The ultra-filtered milk is then combined with active cultures and goes through a special churning technique, perfected by Yoplait in France. The result is a differential nutritional profile without the tart tang or chalky aftertaste of Greek-style yogurts, according to the company.
YQ by Yoplait is gluten free, 99% lactose free and contains no artificial preservatives, no artificial flavors and no colors from artificial sources. And, its package is eye-catching, just what today’s adventurous consumers want to explore.
“Quite a lot is demanded from even a simple home-cooked dish: it should be healthy, quick to prepare and tasty to the whole family. People get tired of making the same meals and are looking for variety. We had these issues in mind when we set out to develop MiFU. The products inspire people to try something new,” says Business Manager Pia Järvinen. “Valio MiFU is a great example of how milk can be turned into many forms and uses.”
The story of Valio MiFU products started when Valio’s internal innovation team was assigned the task of coming up with a new way to use the casein protein found in milk. The starting point for product development was to find alternative protein sources to meat. Many challenges had to be overcome before the successful end result.
“One of the most important tasks of product development was developing a texture that could be pan-fried. Creating a good texture and mouthfeel, however, wasn’t enough: the product also had to remain the same when heated and be easy to use in food preparation,” says Niko Nurmi, a researcher at Valio. “The nutritional values we aimed for were a high protein and a low fat content, without compromising good taste.”
MiFU is best when used in hot meals as is or after browning in a frying pan. MiFU maintains its texture and mouthfeel well when heated. Valio MiFU is 24% protein and is free of lactose, gluten, eggs and yeast, so the strips are suitable for many special diets.
This week, Valio MiFU strips won the World Dairy Innovation Awards competition in the Best New Brand/Business category. This was the 12th year of the annual awards and the winners demonstrated high levels of innovation across new flavors, concepts, packaging designs and manufacturing technologies.
The U.K.’s Bio-tiful Dairy Kefir-Quark was the winner in two categories: Best Functional Dairy and Best Brand Extension. It was also a runner-up on Best Dairy Snack, which was won by Nanyang Polytechnic for its Aloha Bliss Frozen Yoghurt.
Kefir-Quark is a 150-gram cup of kefir and quark made with British milk. It is free from any artificial colors, flavors, preservatives or added sugars, and contains probiotic cultures, including Bifidobacterium, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus casei and Lactobacillus rhamnosus. The original variety contains 90 calories, 18 grams of protein, 0.6 grams of fat and 3.5 grams of sugar (inherent to the milk). The Cranberry & Chia variety has a dome cup with a topping composed of dried cranberries, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds. A cup contains 191 calories, 21.4 grams of protein, 7.2 grams of fat and 6.7 grams of sugar (inherent to the milk and the topping).
Aloha Bliss is a frozen yogurt bite-sized snack made with functional ingredients extracts from fruits, vegetables and even edible flowers. Inside every bite is a chewy center of chia seeds for texture, flavor and extra nutrition.
Nanyang Polytechnic research institute was also a finalist for the Best Dairy Drink with its Fleuryo High Calcium Yoghurt Drink. Made with ingredients such as heat-treated egg shells, yogurt, earl grey tea and chia seeds, a serving of Fleuryo is said to meet the recommended daily intake of calcium for adults aged 19 to 50 years old. The beverage tastes similar to Thai milk tea with chewy bits of chia seeds. Egg shells were used because they are some of the most calcium-rich whole food ingredients in the world. Instead of sugar, the researchers used monk fruit extract, which is 300 times sweeter than sugar and has no calories. The drink is low in fat, high in protein and has live yogurt cultures, omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants and calcium.
Fleuryo is another example of smart product development.
Link HERE to view the list of all the winners and runner-ups.
This last example of smart product development comes from Tyson Innovation Lab, the Chicago-based team of Tyson Foods Inc., tasked with bringing new consumer products to market in just six months. These out-of-the-box thinkers developed a meat snack designed to help address food waste.
Given the scale of the food waste problem, Tyson Innovation Lab sought partnerships with like-minded food companies. Together they developed Yappah! Protein Crisps, which is a chicken-based snack crafted from rescued and upcycled vegetable and grain-based ingredients that might otherwise be left behind. The brand name was inspired by a tradition in the South American Andes called “yapa,” which refers to the little something extra a merchant gives to a valued customer so that nothing gets wasted.
“The Yappah! brand mission is unique, important and far-reaching,” says Rizal Hamdallah, head of Tyson Innovation Lab. “The brand was created to inspire people and partners to rethink their relationship to food and how it impacts society. Through this launch, we intend to address global food challenges such as food waste. With the Protein Crisps we are taking forgotten ingredients and crafting them into a delicious protein snack.”
The statistics behind food waste are overwhelming. In the U.S., nearly one-third of all food used in food production ends up as waste, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. The average person wastes 3.5 pounds of food per week and uneaten food equates to Americans throwing out as much as $218 billion each year, most of which ends up rotting in landfills where it emits harmful greenhouse gases.
It is these statistics that often give animal-based foods, including dairy products, an earth-unfriendly reputation. Here’s what Tyson is doing to change that for chicken. The company uses chicken breast trim that is still full of flavor and protein and combines it with either rescued vegetable puree from juicing or rescued spent grain from beer brewing to create the line’s four flavors, which are: chicken carrot curry, chicken celery mojo, chicken IPA white cheddar and chicken shandy beer.
With all these smart product development ideas, I challenge you to explore this year’s IFT with an
Visit Ingredion at Booth S2131 in Chicago’s McCormick Place.