Thursday, November 29, 2018

Hit Reboot: Target your Innovation Efforts to “Potential” Dairy Superconsumers

Photo source: Baskin-Robbins

Many of us look at December 31st as a reboot button in the game of life. January 1st is a start over.

I encourage your innovation team to do the same. Put all projects away and start over with a clean mindset. Often times we get so engrossed in an assignment that we lose sight of the innovation’s purpose, or worse, it never even had a purpose and it was just a task someone higher up in the chain of command thought might be good idea. But for what?

The recently released What’s in Store 2019 annual report from The International Dairy Deli Bakery Association (IDDBA) contains data on retail/market trends, growth and category changes shaping the food industry. Link HERE for insights from the report in an article I wrote for Food Business News titled “Seeking growth in today’s diverse retail environment.”

The report explains that today’s consumers want “real food,” and while one singular definition of real food does not exist, for many, real means existing, not imitation. Real food then is a food that’s as close to its natural state as possible. Dairy foods are the real deal.

It’s imperative that your innovation efforts keep it real and that this gets communicated to shoppers, especially “potential” dairy superconsumers.  “Potential” dairy superconsumers are the biggest opportunity for growth. They shop the dairy case and have the potential to buy more when they are attracted to the product.

Hit reboot: Face it. Haters are going to hate. You are not going to convert a dairy hater into a dairy consumer.

Hit reboot: Dairy lovers, a.k.a., dairy superconsumers, are already passionate about dairy products. They are heavy users and highly involved. You do not need to innovate to keep them buying dairy foods.

Hit reboot: Let me introduce you to one-out-of-five households. These are the “potential” dairy superconsumers. Your future innovations should talk to their needs and wants.

Photo source: Dairy Management Inc.

In 2017, IDDBA commissioned The Cambridge Group to explore superconsumer opportunities. The research found that dairy superconsumers represent 10% of households and drive 22% of the total dairy spend. The more important finding is that 20% of households are “potential” dairy superconsumers, people who often really like dairy, but spend less than a dairy superconsumer (about $311 per year versus $634). Potentials may need to be taught or given permission to use more of a product. Permission comes in the form of targeted innovation.

Data source: IRI data provided to Dairy Management Inc., courtesy of the Midwest Dairy Association

According to IDDBA, the teaching angle may be as simple as getting back to the basics, such as pushing the positive nutritional qualities of dairy by amplifying the marketing message that dairy is full of calcium, protein and other healthy vitamins. A number of dairy experts interviewed by IDDBA indicated that they believe the dairy industry has moved away from touting the natural benefits—including the “realness”--of products made from milk and that consumers are hearing inconsistency in the messaging. Dairy superconsumers have clearly retained the messaging that other consumers have lost. Emphasizing these messages may get potentials to increase their dairy spend, which would directly result in an increase in category growth.

So where are the innovation opportunities to turn the “potentials” into full-fledged dairy superconsumers? Well, I can tell you it’s not in white milk, unless it’s value-added, and possibly full fat.

Data from IRI provided to Dairy Management Inc., and courtesy of the Midwest Dairy Association, show that total retail milk volume sales were down 2.6% for the 52-weeks ending Oct. 7, 2018. Milk sales are also declining at a faster pace than other beverages; however, coffee-milk beverages and yogurt drinks are bright spots. Both may contain milk, dairy ingredients and dairy proteins.

Overall, whole milk continues to be a growth segment. It is now the largest fat level variety with 38% volume share of total retail milk, up from 29% in 2013. Whole milk’s growth in 2018, however, has moderated from 2016 to 2017.

Data source: IRI data provided to Dairy Management Inc., courtesy of the Midwest Dairy Association

Lactose-free milk remains a strong growth platform. It is only 4% of retail milk volume, but that’s double what it was 2013. Eliminating lactose in all dairy products keeps many consumers buying dairy. It’s one of the ways to convert a “potential.”

Flavored milk also continues to be a bright spot for the fluid category; however, for the 52 weeks ending Oct. 7, 2018, volume was fairly flat compared to the previous 52-week period. A key opportunity here is to go lactose free, and then either boost nutritional profiles or make it indulgent.

Data source: IRI data provided to Dairy Management Inc., courtesy of the Midwest Dairy Association

Yogurt continues to decline in retail sales; however, the declines are more moderate than in 2017. The yogurt segments showing growth speak to key consumer trends, namely convenience, protein and real food, with the latter including fruits/inclusions with less sugar and more wholeness. Convenience is helping drive the growth in yogurt drinks, while continued growth for whole-fat yogurt is also associated with consumers’ ongoing desire for whole, natural foods.

Data source: IRI data provided to Dairy Management Inc., courtesy of the Midwest Dairy Association

Retail cheese continues to perform well. Let’s face it, nothing beats real cheese. And it does not take a dairy superconsumer to know that. Most dairy avoiders, when talking about non-dairy cheese-type products in the market will use language such as “it’s not as bad as some of the others.”

That’s why cheese remains central to consumer enjoyment, offering a compelling way for the category to engage consumers in this age of increased interest in plant-based eating. Cheese also speaks to those three key consumer trends: convenience, protein and real food. One of the biggest opportunities in cheese is ethnic cheeses, namely authentic Hispanic cheeses.

Data source: IRI data provided to Dairy Management Inc., courtesy of the Midwest Dairy Association
The IDDBA research emphasizes that there’s this misconception that all shoppers are looking for cheap milk, as well as other low-priced dairy foods. This is not the case. Shoppers find value in quality and will pay for it. Remember, “potentials” may need to be taught or given permission to use more of a product.

Hit reboot December 31st.  Target your innovation and never devalue your efforts through low pricing.

In order to help me best serve the industry, please spare five minutes to answer a quick seven-question survey about your experience with Daily Dose of Dairy/ For every survey completed, I will donate 50 cents to The Great American Milk Drive. Please link HERE to the survey.

About The Great American Milk Drive: Each year, 46 million people, including 12 million children, rely on Feeding America food banks for regular access to milk, which is one of the most-requested, but least-donated, items. On average, these food banks are only able to provide the equivalent of less than one gallon of milk per person per year. The Great American Milk Drive was created to help address this specific need, and is the first-of-its-kind national program.

By completing this brief survey (link HERE), you will assist with providing more hungry families with fresh U.S. milk. Your feedback in the survey will also assist me with improving Daily Dose of Dairy/ in 2019. I will share survey results with sponsors for them to better understand how their support and investment is appreciated by the industry.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Six Forward-Thinking Dairy Innovations to Complement 2019 Food Forecasts

It’s that time of year when food industry analysts predict product trends for the coming year. Whole Foods’ list has been garnering the most attention in consumer media, while Mintel, Innova, the Specialty Food Association and others are being picked up by the trade press. I like to analyze the predictions and, after 25-plus years of writing for the dairy industry, share with you the forecasts that are relevant to the dairy processing industry, along with offering up some forward-thinking innovations.

1. Probiotics and Fermented Foods. This past year saw probiotics and fermented foods and beverages go mainstream. Expect more of this, along with more varied applications, as new shelf-stable strains find their way into products merchandised at ambient temperature.

This presents an opportunity for the dairy industry to get aggressive with innovation. For long, many have been asking “what’s the next Greek yogurt?” The answer is probiotic dairy shots. Think Yakult and Activia, and take it to another level. These fermented drinks may be formulated with other value-added ingredients for additional benefits. Think “beauty from within” in a collagen shot. How about a relaxing shot containing dairy bioactives?

2. Healthy Fats and Keto Friendly Foods. The Whole Foods forecasters say fat is back in a big way, and keto diet-friendly foods will be a big call out in 2019. It’s all about fat and protein, and milkfat and dairy proteins make for delicious innovations. When carefully crafted, no-added-sugar claims are possible.

Rebel Creamery offers a premium, high-fat, low-carb, no-sugar-added ice cream. Rebel Ice Cream uses only all-natural, keto-friendly ingredients that won’t raise blood sugar, raise insulin levels or kick you out of a fat-burning state. The focus of this grain-free, gluten-free keto-friendly product is to be very low in net carbohydrates. One pint contains 5 to 8 grams and no added sugars. This is achieved through the use of erythritol, monk fruit and chicory root fiber. Fat is also a priority. The use of cream and egg yolks make Rebel one of the highest fat ice creams in the market. One pint contains 56 to 76 grams. A half-cup serving contains 150 to 200 calories, 14 to 19 grams of fat, 2 to 3 grams of fiber, 0 grams of sugar, 7 to 10 grams of sugar alcohol, and 2 to 3 grams of protein, depending on variety.

SmashPack manufactures Protein Smoothies, a line of all-natural, high-protein and real fruit nutritional snacks that come in spouted squeeze packs. Each shelf-stable pouch is packed with 14 grams of high-quality whey protein, one serving of real fruit, 5 grams of healthy fats and only 180 calories. The company recently reformulated the smoothie snack with medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oils, which are trending as one of the hottest health and wellness ingredients for 2019.

MCT oils are healthy fats recognized as optimum fuel sources for both brain and body, and, when part of a high-protein and very-low-sugar product, appeal to the growing number of consumers following a ketogenic diet. They pair great with value-added dairy proteins to make nutritional snacks on target with today’s consumers’ health and wellness goals.

3. Hemp. That’s right, hemp. And why add it to value-added dairy foods? Hemp seed oil is extracted from cannabis plants but it doesn’t contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the chemical responsible for most of cannabis’ psychological effects. The oil is rich in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids and is a concentrated source of vitamins, minerals, amino acids and enzymes. It is reported to improve skin, hair and nails; reduce risk of heart disease and cancer; aid in weight loss; lessen inflammation and help with better brain function. And, being an oil, disperses best in a fat-containing system, including dairy.
Evia Yoghurt Company is rolling out Hemp-seed infused yogurt to the Australian market. The new superfood yogurt comes in three new flavors: no-sugar-added Natural, Mango, and Blueberry and Acai.

4. Plant-based evolution. The plant-based movement has been firmly established in consumer eating habits. It’s now evolving as consumers discover what they like, and what they don’t. Plant-based foods are not necessarily vegan and many are designed to have broad appeal to consumers who are intrigued by health benefits and have concerns about how their food is sourced. (Don't forget, hemp is a plant!)

Innovators are creating new product categories and disrupting old ones. The movement is becoming one situated in the larger context of sustainability: intertwined with upcycled products, as more companies turn to root-to-stem ingredients to combat food waste; snacks made from rescued bananas, or flours made with spent grains or pulp, according to the Specialty Food Association.

Think “the blend.” These are burgers, meatballs and other ground meat formats, which, on average, are a 50-50 blend of beef with umami-rich mushrooms. By mixing plant with animal, the nutritional profile of the product is improved and there’s an environmental story with energy, water and land savings.

Dairy blends well with plant-based ingredients, including legumes, fruits and vegetables. Think Darling Foods’ Darling Pickle Dips, a line of refrigerated dips made from a cream cheese and white bean base. The base is blended with pickled vegetables, herbs and spices. The cream cheese gives the dips richness, while the pureed beans provide a slightly chunkier texture than most creamy dips. Each variety has some taste of dill pickle without being overwhelming.

5. Healthy Aging and Edible Beauty. Noted as emerging by last year’s Specialty Food Associations’ Trendspotter panel, collagen is a full-fledged trend in 2019, and part of a bigger move to develop products that promote skin health and appearance, and overall beauty from within.

It’s all about healthy aging. And, adding dairy bioactives back into dairy foods makes sense.

Food and drink will build on today’s dialogue about wellness and transition into more solutions for healthy aging, according to Mintel. Formulations can be developed for people of all ages to efficiently consume vitamins, minerals and other ingredients that are potentially beneficial for bone, joint, immune system, brain health and overall wellbeing. Mintel cites fairlife milk with DHA Omega-3 as an example.

The lines comes in 2% and whole fat formulations. The milk is lactose free and concentrated in protein as a result of being processed using ultrafiltration.

“As a dairy company rooted in innovation, fairlife is dedicated to consistently launching great-tasting products that provide essential nutrients and vitamins. And, as a mother and grandmother of triplets, I understand the health benefits derived from good nutrition and I want nothing more for my family,” says Sue McCloskey, dairy farmer and co-founder of fairlife LLC. “Scientists have linked these fatty acids to a variety of health benefits throughout life, including brain health and health aging. I’m thrilled to say that our new ultra-filtered whole milk option offers 125 milligrams of DHA omega-3 fatty acids in each serving. That’s more than triple the amount found in other DHA-milks.”
Here’s an innovation from abroad. Polish dairy company Bakoma now offers a senior-friendly line of yogurt and yogurt drinks that are lactose-free and enriched with calcium and vitamin D to help maintain healthy bones and support muscle and immune system functioning. Check out that shot-style packaging. That’s what I’m talking about!

Both sets of my grandparents were Polish immigrants. This is not how I remember my busias and dziadzias. Check out this VIDEO.

6. Flavor Adventure. And for goodness sake, if you are going to get creative and push the envelope in terms of dairy innovation, please do not limit flavor offerings to chocolate, strawberry and vanilla. Mixed berry is no longer edgy, by the way, and strawberry kiwi is dead. Younger generations—Millennials and Gen Z--have had unprecedented exposure to global culture and cuisine from an early age. They are adventurous and seek experience in their travel and in their food, which has led to a shift in interest to authentic regional fare.

Targeting increasingly adventurous consumers, set on new discoveries and experiences, will be key to developments in the food and beverage industry in 2019, according to Innova. The connected world has led consumers of all ages to become more knowledgeable of other cultures, contributing to 35% growth of “discovery” claims, when comparing 2017 and 2016 new product launch numbers.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Let’s Unite to Ensure Dairy Products Play an Active Role in Shaping the Future of Food

The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) hosted its fifth reThink Food conference in Napa Valley this week. Food industry leaders, visionary chefs, growers, entrepreneurs, scholars, scientists, behavioral economists and design leaders all came together to explore how they can best contribute to the major revolution taking place in food.

Get a taste of what reThink Food is all about HERE.

“Earlier food revolutions changed the course of human history, beginning with the first agricultural revolution, followed by the industrialization of food and then the Green Revolution,” says Jacquelyn Chi, director of programs and special projects at CIA. “Today’s explosion of information technology, with its attendant impacts of massive high-speed computation and mobile connectivity, has unleashed a global conversation about needs, values and aspirations around food and food systems.

“Increasingly, consumers want to know where their food comes from, how it was grown and prepared, and how good—or bad—it is for them,” she says. “As a result, a critical imperative of this current revolution is that companies must embrace fundamentally new approaches to transparency, an imperative that itself is accelerating the pace of change.”

Think Impossible Burger, cricket flour and even almond milk. Many consumers are very open to science and the food innovations that result. There’s a great deal of “clean-label” science available to dairy product innovators.  %20Blog&utm_medium=728x90_animatedbanner&utm_campaign=TRUStoriesMillennial&utm_content=728x90_animatedbanner

We need more companies to push the envelope. That’s what fairlife milk did and it has changed the way many of us drink milk.

And have you heard about General Mills’ success with oui? Launched in July 2017, this French-style cup-set yogurt comes in 5-ounce single-use glass jars. Not much more than a year after its launch, oui is now a $100 million brand in what is a declining category. This product appeals to the young and old. It’s all about the ingredients, the experience and the connection with the consumer.

“We’ve been hearing that Millennials are outpacing older generations in driving an unprecedented embrace of culinary adventure,” says Chi. “From experimentation with far-flung global flavors to the embrace of new product, restaurant, hospitality and retail concepts that completely upend old models and categories, consumers have indicated their willingness—indeed, eagerness—to re-think food as never before.”

source: FleishmanHillard, Shaping the Future of Food, 2018

At the reThink Food conference, Kristie Sigler, senior vice president partner at FleishmanHillard, Kansas City, presented findings from a new report that shows when it comes to food and nutrition, there’s an emergence of shared beliefs and behaviors among Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X and Boomers.

“We call these cross-generational influencers ‘Gen Food’ because food defines them and is an important part of their values and belief system,” says Jamie Greenheck, global managing director of FleishmanHillard’s Food, Agriculture and Beverage practice. “They’re taking personal responsibility for improving the way we eat and drink, which provides a tremendous opportunity for brands looking to connect and drive action through food.”

The study of engaged consumers shows food unites more than it divides Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X and Boomers. Sigler shared some key findings, including:
  • 91% say food is an important part of their values and belief system.
  • 35% say that food defines them.
  • 79% feel it’s their role and responsibility to share food information with others.
  • 81% believe they can make a difference in the kinds of foods we eat and how they are grown.
  • 78% have taken action to address food issues important to them, with reducing food waste emerging as their top priority.
  • 60% say they bear the responsibility for improving what and how we eat, more than food companies, government entities or health professionals.
source: FleishmanHillard, Shaping the Future of Food, 2018

“The implications for food, agriculture and beverage companies are profound,” says Greenheck. “Speaking Gen Food’s language and understanding their values is important to having relevant conversations about everything from sustainable nutrition to agricultural practices and food waste. It’s also vital to focus on the benefits of innovation as they become the primary drivers of food choice. Additionally, companies should make it easy for consumers to participate and contribute to a better, more responsible food system.”

The biggest news here is that everyone in the dairy foods chain has the potential to be more effective and efficient by focusing on this highly engaged group of influencers as a way to communicate across all generations. Never forget for Gen Food, food is a personal, connective, human experience.

source: FleishmanHillard, Shaping the Future of Food, 2018

FleishmanHillard’s Shaping the Future of Food study was conducted by its TRUE Global Intelligence practice, which conducted an online survey with 2,001 nutrition-forward consumers September 14-20, 2018, and evaluated drivers related to food, influences and behaviors. Respondents were screened for engagement on such factors as seeking information about food, sharing content about food and paying attention to ingredient lists. You can download the report HERE.

source: FleishmanHillard, Shaping the Future of Food, 2018

“At the center of this new food revolution is the innovator,” concludes Chi. “This is everyone from individual entrepreneurs, chefs, farmers, early-stage companies and innovative larger companies who are disrupting current business practices and re-inventing our agriculture, food systems, cooking and food experiences. They typically leverage new information tools as soon as they are invented or developed, giving them faster access to market trends and opportunities.”

It’s time for all players along the dairy industry supply chain to unite to ensure that butter, cheese, cultured dairy, ice cream, milk and yogurt—as is, or in out-of-the-box innovative new formats--are part of the future of food.  %20Blog&utm_medium=728x90_animatedbanner&utm_campaign=TRUStoriesMillennial&utm_content=728x90_animatedbanner

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Reimaging Dairy Foods: Designing New Formats to Play in New Spaces

If your innovation efforts currently do not include exploring dairy-based foods outside traditional dairy spaces, it’s time to get out of your comfort zone and get creative. This may require the use of dairy ingredients, everything from simple nonfat dry milk to whey protein crunchies, or just making fluid milk work harder for you.

For example, let me introduce you to Numa Milk Chews, which are milk-based chewy snacks infused with nuts and dried fruit. They are inspired by Taiwanese nougat, an extremely popular Asian treat, which until now has only been available in the U.S. as an imported product.

The name Numa comes from the Chinese characters for daughter (nu) and mother (ma), and that’s who developed this new shelf-stable dairy snack: Joyce (the nu) and Jane (the ma). The all-natural chews are described as tasting like candy but performing like a bar. Not too sweet, they are a good source of calcium and iron with one serving (two chews) providing 4 grams of protein. Packages state: You’ve never had milk like this before.

Made with just six ingredients—with Grade A Pasteurized Milk the second ingredient—Numa made its launch in an Original flavor (with peanuts and dried cranberries) in 2017 in select New York City stores and through Amazon in early 2018. The mom and daughter team just launched a Kickstarter campaign to assist with the rollout of Chocolate and Strawberry flavors.

Here’s a few more out-of-the-dairy-department innovations. PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay division is rolling out a range of yogurt- and cheese-based snacks. Targeted to kids, new Imagine brand shelf-stable snacks make dairy the star ingredient.

Imagine Cheese Stars are poppable crackers with real cheese as the first ingredient. Initial offerings are Parmesan and White Cheddar, which both containing 6 grams of protein per serving. Imagine Yogurt Crisps combine real fruit with real yogurt for a crunchy whole grain snack that comes in Apple Cinnamon and Mixed Berry. Nonfat yogurt powder is the first ingredient, with a serving containing 4 grams of protein and 8 grams of whole grains.

It’s been more than a year since Prairie Farms Dairy Inc., introduced a new dairy concept into the refrigerated case: Milk Snack Bars. The perishable two-layer whole milk crème-filled chocolate cake bars are dipped in chocolate and have a short, simple ingredient list and do not contain artificial colors or preservatives.

TSC Food Products GmbH, Austria, which worked with Prairie Farms on Milk Snacks, showcased similar new products at SIAL 2018. Product will be rolling out to select European markets under the Cadbury and Milka brands.

Vilvi, Lithuania, showcased its quark bars at SIAL. These bars are composed of an inner filling of quark (fresh cheese curd) encased in a thin chocolate coating. The quark comes in many flavors, including basics like chocolate and vanilla, as well as more adventurous like poppy seed, mascarpone and pistachio.

Imagine if these perishable bar snacks included an extra dimension of taste and texture by having the chocolate coating topped with flavorful whey protein pods. This would boost protein at the same time. They could even be colored for extra allure.

Another innovation that debuted at SIAL was Cheese Crumble from Granarolo Italian Milk and Dairy Group. This new topper combines the company’s classic oven-baked 100% Italian cheese crisps with other flavorful ingredients, namely dried fruits and seeds. The topper is intended to be used in salads, soups or any food that can benefit from some extra flavor. Think cottage cheese and plain yogurt. The three varieties are: Blueberry and Seeds (flax, pumpkin and sunflower), Dried Tomato, Oliva and Seed (sunflower) and Goji Berry, Pear and Seeds (flax and sunflower).

Here’s another example of a processor reimagining dairy foods. Finland-based Valio has developed Valio MiFU, a dairy-based product that substitutes for meat or poultry in recipes. Made from Finnish milk using proprietary technology, MiFU comes in strips and is ready to eat.

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.

Back in the States, another new concept in dairy snacking is Jouzge, a line of dairy-based shelf-stable snack bars developed to promote healthy eating and a healthy self-image among young women. Created by University of Wisconsin-Madison (CDR) alumnus Dana Wendt, with formulation assistance from the Center for Dairy Research, 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 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.’”

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. For several months, she worked with researchers at CDR and 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,” says Susan Larson, associate researcher at CDR. “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 Ms. Wendt 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 grams of sugar, along with 7 to 8 grams of dairy-based protein.

Agropur launches dairy accelerator in North America

Canadian dairy cooperative Agropur is launching Inno Accel, a North American accelerator for dairy businesses. Inno Accel is an offshoot of the Inno Agropur program, a large open innovation initiative in the North American dairy industry. It matches Agropur’s resources with high-potential start-ups in order to reinvent dairy and quickly bring the most exciting innovations to market.
For more information, link HERE.

The first cohort of five young entrepreneurs from Canada and the U.S. promises to help reinvigorate and reinvent dairy. They are:

  • U Main, a Montreal company that develops do-it-yourself artisanal cheesemaking kits.
  • Sweetaly Dolceria, entrepreneurs who make decadent desserts using simple ingredients and their Italian grandmother’s traditional recipes.
  • SaltiSweet Ice Cream Factory, a company revolutionizing ice cream novelties by replacing the stick with a biscuit, eliminating the unpleasant taste and environmental footprint of wood
  • Cheese Grotto, a collective that makes cheese storage devices for the home to preserve fine cheeses under ideal conditions
  • Peak Yogurt, entrepreneurs who make triple-cream, low-sugar yogurt designed for those following a ketogenic diet

The group will spend four months at Inno Accel, disrupting convention and thinking outside the box. Each business will be supported by two mentors--a successful entrepreneur and a member of the Agropur executive--and about 20 coaches with different areas of expertise, e.g., marketing, sales, research and development, etc., who will provide guidance and help them develop their enterprises in an environment that resembles real-life conditions in the business world and the food industry.
Agropur launched its innovation program in 2016 to explore new avenues in a fast-changing business landscape and to keep focus on better meeting the needs of consumers for a unique dairy experience.

Reimaging dairy foods. The possibilities are infinite.