Thursday, October 25, 2018

SIAL 2018: Dairy Foods Innovation Inspirations

SIAL 2018 took place this past week in Paris. I was fortunate enough to attend and experience the expo’s mission of: Look deeper--take a trip around the planet—food of today and tomorrow. This year’s expo had three overarching themes of “Taste, True and Meaning,” which played out across the eight exposition halls, with hall seven focused predominantly on dairy foods. That’s where I spent most of my Sunday.

Theme #1: Taste is Back
So what is the theme of taste? It appears that over the years, with emphasis placed on better-for-you and restrictive diets, the industry lost sight of focusing on taste. “It was still there, on our plates, but seemingly packing less flavor and strength than in the past. Well, now it’s back,” according to SIAL’s innovation expert panel.

“Today we are witnessing a true return of strong tastes to satisfy the desires for new sensations expressed by consumers,” said Xavier Terlet, CEO, XTC World Innovation. “Yet this extra taste must not be at the expense of the natural virtues of the product.”

“Consumer expectations, in terms of taste, seem significantly more pronounced and, I’d go so far as to say, more sophisticated than before,” said Pascale Grelot-Girard, marketing intelligence, director Kantar TNS. “In 2018, 66% of consumers said that they pay more and give more attention to choosing high-quality products, for pleasure’s sake. Indeed, in most countries, food is above all associated with the notion of pleasure. Pleasure procured through quality and taste, but also through discovery. In fact, 62% of consumers like to discover new products, with scores fairly similar across the different countries that we have studied.”

“All around the world, artisans and industrial manufacturers alike are seeking to outdo each other with innovations for underpinning basic and raw pleasure, for rediscovering taste that is natural and true,” said Terlet. “It’s about the original taste, with nothing else added.”

Theme #2: True Food
What does true food mean? This refers to food that is more authentic, more natural, healthier and also safer. Consumers are paying more attention to what they eat, and the need for transparency and commitment has never been so strong.

Theme #3: Meaning
According to the experts, today’s consumers increasingly want to find new meaning in what they eat. Many consumers are getting closer to producers to do their food shopping. They favor short supply chains such as farmers’ markets and cooperatives. Local gives the food purpose.

Noteworthy Innovations
Taste, True and Meaning came to life on the exposition floor. Over two days and 44,332 steps, I explored the eight halls to identify a number of noteworthy innovation concepts for the global dairy processing community to consider in future product development.

A concept that caught my eye was new Iced Coffee Cubes from Germany’s Farmers Land Food GmbH. It’s simple. Extra-strong coffee gets frozen into cubes and sold in recloseable pouches. When you want an iced latte, just put some cubes in a glass, pour milk over and stir. This very simple concept has potential to be a distribution format for functional ingredients, such as probiotic yogurt cubes.

Speaking of probiotics, the time is now. These better-for-you bacteria were showcased in a range of foods and beverages, including one of the newest formats: ice cream. (Unilever introduced probiotic yogurt to the U.S. a few weeks ago.)

Dadu Ice Cream in Lithuania markets Probio Active frozen yogurt bars. The individually wrapped bars come in peach and raspberry varieties, with each bar delivering more than a million Bifidobacterium BB-12.

Industry forecasts suggest that the proliferation of gut-healthy foods is expected to explode in the New Year. It appears that it’s finally resonating with consumers that a healthy digestive system is the foundation of overall wellness, as a balanced, positive human microbiome is associated with vitality and healthy aging.

More than half of shoppers, globally, always or usually choose foods/beverages to improve digestion—ranking as the #1 benefit shoppers seek from a list of nearly 30 functional health benefits—according to findings from HealthFocus International.

Graph source: HealthFocus International

What’s key to note is that dairy no longer owns probiotics. There were a number of water kefir probiotic beverages showcased in the beverage hall, where kombucha was also a star attraction.

Healthy digestion in the dairy category also includes lactose-free options, and umerous global dairy brands now offer lactose-free versions of their most popular products.

That’s what Latteria Montello S.p.A., a 70-plus-year-old Italian fresh cheese company, is doing to keep customers who may leave the fresh cheese category because of lactose sensitivities.

One new lactose-free option is Nonno Nanni Fresco Spalmabile. The fresh taste of this spreadable cheese is the result of a careful selection of milk enzymes and accurate balance between sweet and savory notes. It comes in 150 gram resealable trays. This same variety of cheese is also available organic, made with 100% Italian milk.

Alive Greek Style Yogurt bars with fruit and muesli are marketed as mini meals. These probiotic dairy stick novelties are also described as being suitable for vegetarians.

Speaking to the “meaning” theme, France’s Eurial cooperative is all about local and organic (bio). The group recently introduced the 300 & Bio, which includes yogurt, fresh cheese and dairy desserts.

With 300 & Bio, Eurial wants to reassure consumers about its purpose of being true and having meaning.  The brand provides an ethical and health dimension to its products.

Behind the brand name there are 300 organic breeders from the west of France united in a cooperative. On the lids of the products, consumers are able to find the pictures of the breeders in order to humanize the range. All of the products are higher-fat and described as gourmet and less acidic. This speaks to the “taste” theme.

Another example of addressing “true” and “meaning” comes from Ireland’s Kerrygold, which is known globally for its butter and cheese, and in Germany, now for its yogurt. That’s right, Kerrygold yogurt is exclusively sold in Germany.

Its brand position is that it’s made with Irish milk and shipped within three days of manufacture to Germany for distribution.

There’s so much to be learned from the global dairy industry. The reassuring fact is that dairy is alive and thriving. There’s a saying that one gets complacent when there’s no competition. Let’s look at the plant-based movement as fuel to fire up dairy innovation!

Friday, October 19, 2018

Managing Moisture in Dairy Foods: A critical part of the innovation process

Pack Expo 2018 took place this week in Chicago. I spent some time talking with dairy industry suppliers to learn what are the biggest issues and obstacles they face when packaging new dairy product concepts. The number-one complaint was unrealistic expectations of product consistency throughout shelf life.

A pouch supplier explained that syneresis may occur in yogurt pouches just like it does in cups. When that first squirt into a toddler’s mouth is liquid and not yogurt, mom and dad can expect some spitting and complaining. That’s a sure way to lose a customer.

We talked about the larger pouches now housing sour cream and condiment Greek yogurt. No one wants that first squeeze to be what often occurs with ketchup and mustard, red or yellow liquid, respectively.

And no one wants to see a layer of whey in those attractive glass jars holding premium yogurt, puddings and other dairy desserts.

Smaller containers of ice cream—from pints to 4-ounce cups—have more exposed surface area than larger multi-serve containers. During distribution, product may undergo multiple freeze-thaw cycles, which leads to ice crystal development and eventually freezer burn. Better managing of moisture slows the onset of this defect.

If you are facing any of these issues, below you will find an overview on managing moisture. And, once you understand how to manage it, then it’s time to explore how to create unique textures by manipulating moisture.

That’s what you find at The Republic of Booza, a new ice cream store that opened this summer in the Williamsburg neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York. I had the opportunity to try it out when in town for the Summer Fancy Food Show.

Booza is a frozen dairy-based dessert widely known in the Eastern Mediterranean region called the Levant, which encompasses Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Turkey and Greece. It’s a denser, creamier, more-elastic ice cream—somewhat like taffy--than what Americans know.

It is made with the ancient ingredient sahlab, or ground orchid root, and mastic, a resin. These moisture-managing ingredients are added to milk and mixed in a freezer drum. At the Republic of Booza, this takes place with a three-foot wooden pestle and the ice cream is stretched by hand.

The product has the unique ability to resist melting, lending itself to almost being a chewy frozen treat. This format also makes it an excellent delivery vehicle for unique flavors. Original Qashta is a candied cream flavor. Other global flavors on the menu are Coconut Matcha, Horchata de Chufa, Mango-Tajin, Mint Tahini Chip, Red Miso, Saffron Peppercorn and Sichuan White Chocolate. The menu includes familiar favorites, too, such as Chocolate, Pistachio, Salted Caramel, Strawberry and Vanilla, as well as some experimental combinations like Salted Oreo and Bloody Mary.

photo source: The Republic of Booza

Managing Moisture 101
(This is adapted from an article I wrote years ago. You can read it in its entirety HERE.)

Product developers willing to explore technologies that manipulate moisture often discover unique and, typically, quite economical opportunities for innovative product development. This is because water, the most abundant, yet often frequently overlooked constituent in the food supply, is basically a free ingredient that impacts structure and increases yield, all for zero calories.

What product developers cannot afford to overlook is careful management of moisture in commercially manufactured foods, as too much or too little, or not being in the right matrix, can be detrimental to product quality and safety. This is very true for highly perishable refrigerated and frozen dairy foods.

Water content influences a foods structure, appearance, taste and even susceptibility to degradation. Water is used as an ingredient in many food formulations, and most food ingredients also contain noteworthy amounts of water. This must be carefully considered when attempting to manage moisture. For example, butter is approximately 17% water, whole eggs are more than three-fourths water, and wheat flour is about 12% water. The water content of inclusions and fruit ingredients must not be overlooked.

With moisture coming from so many sources, product developers must make sure water stays where it is supposed to be and does what it is supposed to do. Sometimes this requires taking the necessary steps to prevent evaporation, while other times the goal is to prevent the food from absorbing moisture from the surroundings. When dealing with a multicomponent prepared food, the issue might be moisture migration, or the prevention of water seeping from one component to another. Still another challenge is making sure the water is not available for the growth of undesirable living organisms.

Managing the water content of food products is necessary for efficient processing, packaging selection, and distribution and storage conditions. Before one can manage moisture, however, one must know how much water a foodstuff contains. In principle, the moisture content of a food can be determined by measuring the number or mass of water molecules present in a known mass of sample. However, for the most part, it is challenging to directly measure the number of water molecules present in a sample because too many molecules are involved. Thus, sometimes moisture contents are based on calculations using predetermined water contents of known food ingredients.

There are also various analytical techniques, ranging from vacuum to microwave ovens. The technology must be able to distinguish water from other components in the food matrix. This can be challenging, because despite having the same chemical formula (H2O), the water molecules in a food may be present in any of four varieties of molecular environments, depending on their interaction with the surrounding molecules, and thus they possess different physiochemical properties.

The most basic form is as bulk water, which is when water is free from any other constituents. Each water molecule is surrounded by other water molecules and its physicochemical properties resemble pure water.

Trapped water, also known as capillary water, is moisture held in narrow channels between certain food components. This trapped water is surrounded by a physical barrier that prevents the water molecules from easily escaping, such as all that water in a raspberry. This type of water tends to have physicochemical properties similar to that of bulk water.

Physically bound water molecules are in molecular contact with other food constituents, such as proteins, carbohydrates and minerals. These food constituents bind with water, creating a system that no longer recognizes the water as free bulk water. The bonds between water molecules and these constituents are quite different from water-water bonds.

Finally, there are chemically bound water molecules. This is when water molecules present in a food are chemically bonded to other molecules as water of crystallization or as hydrates. These bonds can be very strong.

Although the water content of a food is expressed as a percent, this number does not reflect how the water exists in the food. Food product developers must consider all four forms of water when trying to manage moisture. Further, commercially manufactured foods may contain water in different physical states, such as gas, liquid or solid. This is the reason why moisture management is necessary and can be quite challenging.

In addition to quantifying water content, product developers must consider water activity (aw), which describes the energy status or the escaping tendency of the water in a sample. Water activity is often described in terms of the amount of bound water and free water. Although these terms make the concept of water activity somewhat easier to conceptualize, the reality is that all water in food is somewhat bound; after all, it is contained in the food. Thus, water activity is a measure of how tightly water is bound and relates to the work required to remove water from the system. Water activity predicts safety and stability with respect to microbial growth, chemical and biochemical reaction rates, and various physical properties.

Moisture-management systems vary by application. Factors to consider include product storage conditions (ambient, frozen and refrigerated), the potential of temperature extremes, shelf-life expectations, and the overall objective of keeping moisture in, out or contained in a product.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Ice Cream Entrepreneurs: This Read is a Must for You (and everyone in the ice cream business)

Did you know that the majority of U.S. ice cream and frozen dessert manufacturers have been in business for more than 50 years and many are still family-owned businesses? These are strong brands with loyal customers.

There’s room for more players and innovation. After all, the average American consumes more than 23 pounds of ice cream per year. Retailers need to stock a lot of product. What they don’t need is another amazing vanilla. There’s plenty.

The retail ice cream market has been relatively flat for the past two decades, with growth in one brand or concept coming at the expense of another. For the year ending July 15, 2018, IRI reports retail ice cream sales of $5.7 billion, a 2% increase from the previous 52-week period. Much of that growth is attributed to the new category of higher-protein, lower-calorie ice creams.

I’ve been reporting on ice cream innovation for more than 25 years and often get asked by entrepreneurs for insights. Here I will share some considerations.

But first, got 13 minutes? Please check out this new episode of “Shopping with Michael,” where retail food expert Michael Sansolo interviews me on what’s moving and shaking in ice cream. The Private Label Manufacturers Association filmed this in September. Link HERE.

Ice cream is a passion industry. You love the product and want others to enjoy your creation. But it is a tough business and many don’t make it. But many do.

Jeni Britton Bauer did it. Back in 1996 she started out with the goal of setting a new standard for American ice cream. Her approach is to make no shortcuts on ingredient quality. Twenty-two years later, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams has grown from one scoop shop in Columbus, Ohio, to 32 sites across the country, and more on the way.

There are five takeaways from Jeni’s success.

1. Start out in foodservice and grow into retail. Be open to food trucks and carts. Without the expense of bricks and mortar, mobile stores are a great way to get your passion in front of potential customers. They are also conducive to sampling and taste testing. Many large urban areas offer approved kitchen facilities to produce product. In Jeni’s early years, she worked with hotel kitchens that had freezing capabilities.

2. Do not skimp on ingredients. Do not under price your product. A pint of Jeni’s in most retail locations is $10. Online it’s $12. You want delicious, you pay for it. Jeni’s Splendid had about $30 million in sales in 2017.

3. Packaging matters. You might have the most amazing product in the most delicious flavor combinations, but if the package does not get noticed in the freezer case, it won’t be purchased. When Jeni’s Splendid first got into hand-packed pints, employees used a permanent marker to write the flavor on the very simple, unadorned pint packages. The simplicity caught shoppers’ eyes, and they bought it up. Today the brand tries to keep it simple so it stands out in the burgeoning retail freezer.

To read more about The Power of the Pint, link HERE.

4. Never stop inventing flavor. Limited editions keep the brand alive. Jeni’s is always getting creative.

Her most recent seasonal flavor is Sweet Potato with Torched Marshmallows. It is designed to resemble the classic Midwestern Thanksgiving casserole, just frozen. The company hand makes marshmallows, cubes them, and then spreads them on sheet trays so they can be caramelized with blowtorches. They also roast cinnamon-scented sweet potatoes, which are grown for the company by a longtime family-farm partner located just an hour from the production facility. This effort—and the story—makes the pint worth $10.

Another newbie is Middle West Whiskey & Pecans. This ice cream is fueled with single-origin, Ohio wheat whiskey that explodes with notes of butterscotch, honey, coconut and vanilla. It is blended with grass-grazed milk for a distinct flavor profile, and adorned with and lots of crunchy, salted, toasted pecans.

The company makes this disclaimer: The alcohol in any of our flavors tops out at about 0.5% or less per volume, which is a trace amount. The alcohol from any beer, wine and spirit we use to make a flavor is not burned off during production. Alcohol lends a distinct flavor to several of our signature flavors, and especially in sorbets, it prevents ice crystals from forming, creating a smoother texture. Is a flavor safe for a child to eat? We leave that entirely up to each parent to decide.

5. Get personal. Partner with the community. Support local teams. That’s what you get with another one of her new creations--Roxbury Road—described as a devilish detour from traditional rocky road ice cream. This dense milk chocolate ice cream is loaded with salty smoked almonds, hand-made marshmallows and a swirl of sweet, buttery caramel sauce. The story goes that when in high school, Jeni loved driving down Roxbury Road, a Columbus, Ohio, street lined with beautiful old homes built in a variety of classic architectural styles. Just like the street for which it’s named, Roxbury Road ice cream is a patchwork of textures, colors, and tastes. Spoonful after spoonful, Roxbury Road is pure, gooey, decadent, instant gratification.

Read more about Jeni HERE in an article in Entrepreneur.

Here are five recent innovations from regional and national brands that caught my eye.

This past summer, family-owned Hudsonville Ice Cream, Holland, Mich., teamed up with nearby Bowerman Blueberries, a family-owned blueberry farm, to create Bowerman’s Blueberry Donut Ice Cream. The small-batch, limited-edition flavor pairs traditional vanilla ice cream with a Michigan blueberry swirl and chunks of blueberry donut.

The flavor is the first of Hudsonville’s Michigan Artisan Collection, which has the objective of creating ice cream representative of the best parts of Michigan, with ingredients sourced from local artisans.

“Bowerman’s Blueberry Donut was an immediate favorite in our testing process,” according to my friend Morgan Craig, flavor development scientist with Hudsonville Ice Cream. “Not only did the blueberry donut pieces pop when mixed with our ice cream, but we’re tapping into a flavor strongly associated with Michigan. Bowerman Blueberries has been an amazing partner through this creation process.”

My friends over at Kemps in Minneapolis love to energize Green Bay Packer fans with limited-edition dairy products in the fall and winter months. (This Chicago native would like to see some Bears ice cream, please.) This year’s ice cream range has something for everyone.

  • Frozen Tundra is caramel and vanilla ice cream swirled with sea salt caramel and chocolaty coated pretzels.
  • Go Pack Go Under the Stars is chocolate ice cream swirled with peanut butter and peanut butter filled stars.
  • Leap is chocolate ice cream with pieces of peanut butter cups.
  • Pack Attack is caramel-flavored ice cream with thick caramel ribbons and cookie chunks.

From New York City, there’s new Peekaboo Organic Ice Cream with Hidden Veggies. The new pint concept is the brainchild of Founder and CEO Jessica Levinson, who wanted to get more vegetables into her family’s diet. After much tinkering, she created five flavors of Peekaboo. They are:

  • Chocolate with Hidden Cauliflower. Cauliflower contains vitamins C and K, folate and fiber. It’s also a source of B vitamins, manganese, potassium, protein, phosphorus and magnesium.
  • Cotton Candy with Hidden Beets. Beets are a good source of vitamin C and contain folate, potassium manganese, copper, magnesium and iron.
  • Mint Chip with Hidden Spinach. Spinach is an excellent source of vitamin A and contains iron, magnesium, manganese, calcium, folate, potassium and vitamins C, B6 and B12, in addition to copper and zinc.
  • Strawberry with Hidden Carrot. Carrots are an excellent source of vitamin A, a good source of vitamin C, and contain potassium, vitamin B6, vitamin B1, phosphorus and folate.
  • Vanilla with Hidden Zucchini. Zucchini is a good source of vitamins A and C and contains magnesium, potassium, folate, copper, B12 and B6, calcium, zinc and protein. 

On the more decadent side of the freezer, national ice cream leader Nestle developed Slow Churned Triple Filled for the Dreyer’s and Edy’s labels. The half-the-fat ice cream contains three cores of gooey deliciousness. The four varieties are:

  • Chocolate Fudge Cores features cookies and cream and chocolate ice creams with three chocolate fudge cores.
  • Creamy Chocolatey Cores features red velvet and vanilla ice creams with three chocolate fudge cores.
  • Rich Caramel Cores features cookie dough ice cream with three caramel cores.
  • Salted Caramel Cores features caramel and vanilla ice creams with three salted caramel cores. 

It also looks like the company has decided to bring some of its Haagen-Dazs Spirits line to the States. Pint options include Bourbon Vanilla Truffle and Irish Cream Brownie.

Need Ice Cream Innovating Assistance?

The Frozen Dessert Center, housed within the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Food Science, will hold its second annual Frozen Dessert Center Conference October 22 to 23 on the UW-Madison campus. Speakers will address the scientific, manufacturing and technical aspects involved in the production of ice cream and other frozen desserts. This includes freezers, distribution, dairy and non-dairy ingredients, sensory analysis and other trends.

Participants will be led through an ice cream sensory evaluation and taken on a guided tour of the UW-Madison’s Babcock Hall Dairy Plant and the Frozen Dessert Center’s pilot plant and lab space.

The conference is designed for manufacturers, product developers, researchers, distributors and sales personnel involved in the field of ice cream and frozen desserts. Attendees will gain relevant and up-to-date information on production, ingredients, equipment and distribution.

For more information, link HERE.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Cheese Innovation: Curds Come in Many Ways

U.S. cheese consumption is at an all-time high. The U.S. Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service reported that in 2016, per capita consumption of natural and processed cheese varieties reached 43.6 pounds. Of that, 36.6 pounds was natural cheese, representing an increase of 12.1% since 2006. The remainder—6.97 pounds—is processed cheeses, which encompasses many varied products, and has been a fluctuating number over the 10-year period.

Cottage cheese, though typically classified as a cultured dairy product, starts out as cheese curd. It’s been a declining category. Per capita consumption in 1976 was 4.6 pounds. This figure dropped to 2.6 in 2006 and even further down to 2.2 in 2016. Yet, I am hopeful this figure will turn around soon with the innovation taking place in flavors and single-serve containers. (This week a new player in this space will be featured as a Daily Dose of Dairy.)

Muuna, for example, continues to reimagine the category with its rollout of the first-ever Pumpkin & Spice cottage cheese. This individually portioned product blends real pumpkin puree, pumpkin spice seasoning, and creamy, protein-packed cottage cheese, conjuring the flavor of pumpkin cheesecake. Part of the new product’s marketing message is that it’s a guilt-free way to enjoy the seasonal flavor. For instance, one medium pumpkin spice latte averages approximately 50 grams of sugar and little to no protein whereas a 5.3-ounce snack cup of Muuna’s new Pumpkin & Spice flavor has only 8 grams of sugar plus a whopping 17 grams of protein, and even contains probiotics and potassium. dairy&utm_term=texture

America’s love affair with cheese is both deepening and evolving, according to David Sprinkle, research director at Packaged Facts.

“Consumers increasingly want healthier, better-for-you cheese that isn’t only low in fat or sodium, but is fresh, organic and made from healthier milk. Today’s busy consumers also demand convenience and manufacturers continue to offer products and packaging that are easy to use and store, and are portable,” he says. “Cheese manufacturers are capitalizing on the snacking and on-the-go eating trends with a slew of new products in special cuts, sizes and packs.”

Packaged Facts forecasts innovation will continue to maximize the experience of eating cheese with unique takes on flavor and indulgence, craftsmanship and authenticity, and health and nutrition.

I agree. Below are some recent innovations to inspire cheesy innovation.

But first, have you heard about how South Dakota is disrupting the dairy industry, namely in cheese manufacturing? To learn more, link HERE to an article I wrote recently wrote for Food Business News after attending a media tour showcasing South Dakota’s investment in growing its cheese production. Something to note is how Valley Queen encourages innovation with its customers, which is possible through its use of open drain tables.

“This allows us to add condiments to the curd to make flavored cheeses,” said Doug Wilke, CEO. “The smallest batch size is 10,000 pounds of cheese.”

Photo source: The Mozzarella Company 

Speaking of flavors, The Mozzarella Company is rolling out Dolce Habanero, which is made by mixing sweet apricots and firey habanero chiles into cows milk curds and then pressed into round discs. Dolce Habanero delivers its unique characteristics perfectly timed to tantalize the palate with every bite. First there’s a creamy sensation, then a pleasant sweetness and finally exiting fire.

Saputo’s Frigo Cheese Heads is all about flavor exploration. The company has two new cheese and meat combo snack packs: Queso Blanco with Chorizo and Mozzarella with Salami. Specialty deli meats have continued to show growth year-over year, with 65% of shoppers seeking meat snacks that include spicy flavors and broader ethnic appeal, according to the company.

This combination of meat and cheese is booming, and is especially appealing to low-carb, high-protein dieters. Cheesewich, the original player in the breadless cheese and meat sandwich space, is growing its hand-held combo line with two all-natural options and two halal-certified products. They are: Uncured Genoa Salami & Colby Jack, Uncured Pepperoni & Mozzarella, Halal Beef Salami & Colby Jack and Halal Beef Salami & Mozzarella.

Meat snack marketer Jack Link’s recognizes the meat and cheese snacking space as an opportunity and is rolling out Cold Crafted Linkwich. Made with premium cured meats and real Wisconsin cheese, each Linkwich provides 15 grams of protein and only 1 gram of carbohydrates. The launch includes three varieties: Colby Jack & Hard Salami, Pepper Jack & Genoa Salami and Cheddar & Hard Salami.

Dried 100% cheese snacks are also designed for the low-carb dieter. These cheese snacks come in many forms, shapes and flavors. To read “New cheese snacks feature the crunch carb-avoiders crave” in Food Business News, link HERE.

Some recent introductions in this space include Joyfull Bakery’s Parmesan Crisps, a line of slow-baked 100% parmesan cheese. Available in two varieties—Everything (sesame and poppy seeds, onions and garlic and Original—the crisps are gluten and wheat free, low carb and packed with protein. The 3-ounce containers are intended to be merchandised in the deli or bakery department.

NutraDried Food Company has its new Moon Cheese Toppers. Using patented technologies, the company removes only the moisture from cheese while keeping all the nutrition and flavor to make Moon Cheese snacks. The company is now flavoring that cheese and offering it in smaller pieces than the snack version. Crunchy Moon Cheese Toppers are positioned as a high-protein, flavorful garnish for soup, salad and other meals. Varieties are: Bacon Spiced, Italian Herb and Parmesan. A 2-ounce bag contains 4.5 servings, with a serving being 22 to 26 pieces. One serving contains 70 calories, and 5 grams of both fat and protein. It’s carbohydrate and gluten free, while being an excellent source of calcium.

The company also offers Moon Cheese Mix-Ems. This crunchy snack is a unique tomato and basil pesto seasoning blend with 100% real cheese and sun-dried tomato pieces.

The Specialty Cheese Company now offers Just the Cheese Bars in Aged Cheddar, Buttery Grilled Cheese and Fiery Jalapenos varieties. A single-serving pack (22 grams) contains two bars and provides as much protein (8 grams) and calcium as a glass of milk, according to the company. Made with 100% all-natural Wisconsin cheese, a serving is 150 calories and contains 12 grams of fat and less than 1 gram of carbohydrates, making it very attractive to keto dieters.

Cheese and snacking just make sense, as cheese can be both a treat and protein nourishment. And that’s what Americans are looking for in snacks. Half of Americans say they snack to treat themselves, while others snack to fuel their day or take a quick break, according to Mintel research.

Bel Brands is all about snacking. One of the company’s newest products is The Laughing Cow Cheese Cups, which features the same The Laughing Cow cheese taste but now available in a portable, dunkable cup to enjoy whenever, wherever and however. The new cups join the classic The Laughing Cow Cheese Wedges and Cheese Dippers. Made from real cheese with no artificial colors, preservatives or artificial flavors. The cups come in Creamy Swiss Original, Creamy Swiss Garlic & Herb and Creamy White Cheddar varieties.

Under its Babybel brand is new Babybel Cheese & Crackers. The snack pack combo comes in three varieties. They are: Original with mini butter crackers, White Cheddar with mini butter crackers and Light with mini whole grain wheat crackers. They come in one-count and three-count packs.

Kraft Heinz is making its premium cheese brand Cracker Barrel into a dippable format. New Cracker Barrel Dippers are adult-centric snack packs. The single-serve packs come in four varieties: Cracked Black Pepper Parmesan Dip and Pretzels, Garlic and Herb Jack Cheese Dip and Crackers, Jalapeno Jack Cheese Dip and Crackers, and Sharp Cheddar and Pretzels.

Red Clay Gourmet is introducing the Dip ‘N Devour Snack Pack, which features the company’s award-winning batch-mixed, hand-packed pimiento cheese spread along with La Panzanella Mini Croccantini Artisan Crackers. The pimiento cheese spread varieties are: Sharp Cheddar, Hickory Smoked Cheddar, Flame-Roasted Jalapeno and Sriracha. The North Carolina husband-and-wife owned company uses locally sourced ingredients, when possible, to produce its unique version of this southern treat. For example, they source North Carolina-grown jalapeños and banana peppers. They are roasted and processed by hand. The non-GMO, cage-free egg mayonnaise is handmade weekly and used sparingly.

When it comes to telling a story about cheese, Dorothy’s has one to tell. Owned by Savencia Fromage Dairy, the new line of Dorothy’s branded cheeses has a story that dates back to the 1930s, when young Dorothy Kolb fell in love with the cows at her grandfather’s Illinois creamery, which grew into Kolb-Lena, the first European-style cheesery in the Midwest. After Kolb became the first woman to earn a degree in dairy science at Iowa State University in Ames, she married a fellow cheese-aficionado--Jim Demeter-- and together they reinvented her family business. Now some 50 years later, Dorothy’s family and the Kolb-Lena plant are behind two new cheeses crafted in her honor. Dorothy’s Comeback Cow is a bloomy rind cheese with rustic, fragrant notes and tinged orange with age. Dorothy’s Keep Dreaming is a soft-ripened cheese with creamy notes and a robust flavor. Featuring artificial hormone-free local cows milk and proprietary cultures, Dorothy’s cheeses uphold a respect for the cheesemaking process, including hand-on efforts such as dipping, coating and wrapping. dairy&utm_term=texture