Friday, December 14, 2018

Dairy Foods Flavor Forecast for 2019

Inviting. Make that a key criteria in flavor (and aroma) selection for your dairy foods innovation this coming year. Ask yourself if the product invites the shopper to try it.

While label claims—such as lactose free, high protein and contains probiotics—and a product’s story—everything from the dairy farmers to ingredient sourcing--invite shoppers to explore new entries in the refrigerated and frozen dairy cases, when appropriate—flavor—is often the real enticement. This is especially true for limited-time offerings, including seasonal items. While pumpkin pie yogurt and hot cocoa ice cream both sound quite festive, Grandma’s Butter Crusted Pumpkin Pie and Melty Marshmallow Cup of Cocoa invite trial.

Perry’s Ice Cream is doing just that with Elf Trash, a white chocolate ice cream with red and green fudge candies, fudge-covered pretzels, fudge-covered peanuts and praline peanuts. The pint package is whimsical and features the fourth generation, family-owned ice cream company’s head elf.

Pierre’s Ice Cream Company is also doing this with its new seasonal Mint Night Snack Premium Ice Cream. This 1.5-quart package is peppermint and vanilla ice cream swirled together with special chocolate candy cane sandwich cookies.

I have to share this non-food innovation that exemplifies how enticing the senses invites shoppers to purchase. For this winter season, Kentucky Fried Chicken, in partnership with Enviro-Log, is rolling out a firelog that smells like the Colonel’s famous fried chicken. The new limited-edition 11 Herbs & Spices Firelog is said to create a delightful, hearth-warming and hunger-inducing experience. (Enough said.)

So what are the three flavor and aroma themes driving innovation?

1. Culinary Inspiration. Not sure if a bucket of KFC’s Original Recipe qualifies as culinary inspiration to everyone, but nonetheless, it fits the bill. What’s really trending is the inclusion of cooking terms—and flavors—in product descriptions. Think poached pears, smoked pecans, caramelized apples, grilled pineapple and roasted cocoa nibs.

Coolhaus offers ice cream flavors such as Brown Butter Candied Bacon (brown butter base ice cream with brown sugar candied bacon), Fried Chicken and Waffles (brown butter maple ice cream with maple candied chicken skins and caramelized waffles, pictured in scoop below) and Nutella Toasted Almond Chocolate (hazelnut ice cream base with toasted almonds).

Each of these flavor systems would work well in spreadable cheese, or a sour cream or yogurt dip. Think about a savory dual-compartment yogurt.

“Don’t let the familiarity of dairy or the success of plant milks obscure the opportunities in this marketplace, given the culinary heritage, indulgence factor, usage rates and consumer appeal that makes dairy the cream on top for many different applications,” says David Sprinkle, research director for Packaged Facts, which recently published a report titled “Dairy Innovation: Culinary Trend Tracking Series.” “The very fact of dairy familiarity gives chefs and other food makers license to thrill with creative new recipes and products that take dairy to new realms: from haute French-flavored butters and crème fraiche to Middle Eastern labné to Japanese ice cream treats.”

Lactalis Group is rolling out Président Gourmet Pairings. The line is debuting in three flavor combinations: Feta with Roasted Red Pepper, Blue Cheese with Caramelized Onions and Aged White Cheddar with Apple Chutney. The smooth and creamy cheeses with culinary-inspired gourmet toppings are for spreading and dipping. They come in 7-ounce tubs intended for merchandising in the specialty cheese department. The ready-to-serve packaging is designed with a clear, semi-circle, cut-out window for visible toppings and a clean aesthetic for easy display.

This brings me to the next flavor trend.

2. An Ethnic Twist. This is not full-blown international cuisine. This is taking a familiar dairy base and adding a touch of something from over the border, across the ocean or a flight away. Middle Eastern cuisine is on fire in foodservice and shoppers want to explore these tastes at home. Think apple chutney, cardamom-infused honey and curried pistachios. Ethnic also includes a touch of heat, just a touch. Maybe it’s suggested by terms such as kick, sharp or tangy.

And move over cold brew to make room for matcha. This is not in beverage only. Expect to see more matcha in everything from yogurt to ice cream.

The New Nordic Dairy Company produces traditional Scandinavian strained yogurt in Upstate New York. The original nonfat line comes in Blueberry & Lavender, Elderflower, Gooseberries, Plain and Sea Buckthorn varieties. This year the company added three flavored whole milk options--Black Currant, Matcha, and Raspberry & Rosewater—all touting wellness benefits. Black currants contain twice the antioxidants of blueberries and four times the amount of vitamin C found in oranges. Matcha is potent in antioxidants and amino acids. Rosewater is beauty potion with anti-inflammatory qualities.

Speaking of rosewater, it is a flavor gaining traction in food and beverage. So is rosé wine.

This brings me to the third and final flavor theme.

3. A Touch of Nostalgia. This theme includes boozy flavors. Not so much the modern-day craze of rosé wine, rather the bootlegging whiskeys from around the U.S. Also part of this theme are flavors reminiscent of simpler times, such as cotton candy and root beer floats.

Earlier this year, General Mills offered Yoplait Tastes of Summer. The seasonal line included Original Cherry Sno Cone and Whips Root Beer Float. Chobani has launched the Gimmies kids’ Greek yogurt snack line. The Crunch concept includes Poppin’ Cotton Candy.

In addition to Culinary Inspiration, an Ethnic Twist and A Touch of Nostalgia, expect to see more flavor concepts in dairy foods to include whole grains and seeds—as an inclusion or mix-in—often coated with additional flavor. Think chocolate-coated quinoa clusters, pralined pecans with chia, and chipotle-infused honey nuts and oats.

And while I would like to say that unicorns and purple foods are a dying fad, all indicators suggest they will continue to gain momentum in 2019, but only in small batches and limited editions. Think moon milk. Read about it HERE. You got this dairy folks!

The Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) recently launched its second annual IFTNEXT Food Disruption Challenge. This is an innovation pitch to help emerging and investment-ready food start-ups, entrepreneurs and innovators gain visibility and make strategic connections to help advance the science of food and its positive impact on the sustainability of the global food supply. Link HERE for more information and an application to participate. Enrollment continues through January 10, 2019. 
Throughout the competition, finalists are selected in two stages, with six finalists chosen to participate in a six-week mentoring program where they receive guidance from business experts. From there, finalists are selected to present their innovations in a high-profile pitch competition at IFT19 in New Orleans on June 4, 2019. A panel of prestigious judges representing influential sectors of the food and related industries will select the recipient of the IFTNEXT Future Food Disruptor of the Year award, which includes a $25,000 cash prize.

IFTNEXT Food Disruption Challenge session attendees at IFT19 will be asked to select an IFTNEXT Future Food Disruptor People’s Choice awardee for a cash prize of $5,000. In addition to the cash prizes, other services and products for entrepreneurial advancement will also be included.

IFT19 is an annual event hosted by IFT that brings more than 17,000 science of food professionals together--including scientists, researchers, academics, ingredient, technology and manufacturing companies--with the intention to inspire and transform collective knowledge into innovative solutions that help advance our planet’s food safety, nutrition and sustainability.

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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.

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  1. Tried a number of years ago to introduce "Flavors from around the World It never took off. Timing is everything.

  2. I could see Root-beer float yogurt as a novelty, but not as something you add to your regular grocery list. The black currant does sound like a hit, health and flavor in a product with already know and love with health benefits of its own.

  3. I could see Root-beer float yogurt as a novelty, but not as something you add to your regular grocery list. The black currant does sound like a hit, health and flavor in a product with already know and love with health benefits of its own.