Friday, January 25, 2019

Dairy Forum 2019: “Nobody is more respected than the farmer.”

Source: MilkPEP

Speaking at the International Dairy Foods Association’s Dairy Forum 2019 in Orlando this past week, Beth Ford, president and CEO, Land O’Lakes Inc., said, “Nobody is more respected than the farmer.” I just cannot get that phrase out of my head. It’s something the dairy industry owns and something we need to talk about.

While the consensus at this annual meeting of dairy industry executives was that plant-based products are here to stay, those plant-based products cannot trace the almond, coconut, pea, etc., back to the farm or farmer. Milk, as is, or in the form of butter, cheese, ice cream, yogurt, etc., can be tracked back. It’s a story to tell and one that makes dairy real to today’s consumers.

It’s an opportunity for the dairy industry to open the throttle and stay relevant in the marketplace. That’s what the keynote speaker—Ken Schmidt, former director of communications strategy at Harley-Davidson Motor Company—left Dairy Forum attendees with after he drove his bike out of the Ritz-Carlton Ballroom. (Wowza! It was a spectacular presentation.)

Dairy processors recognize that plant-based products are not going away, and in some categories, such as yogurt, can be an important part of their business. To read more on this, link HERE to the article “Culture clash – Yogurt innovation driving category disruption,” which I wrote for Food Business News and features research and insights presented at Dairy Forum 2019.

Those of us who attended the final breakfast session of Dairy Forum 2019 were fortunate to hear McKinsey & Company consultants share findings from independent research conducted in partnership with IDFA this past fall. The study captured insights from in-depth interviews with 30 CEOs of international dairy companies and findings from a survey of more than 1,000 American households to chart consumer preferences that are shaping the domestic dairy market.

Slide source: McKinsey & Company

“The success of our industry lies in our ability to partner together to move dairy forward,” said Michael Dykes, IDFA president and CEO. “This is just the start of the way we’ll use these findings to transform our industry for continued prosperity.”

Based on the research, the consultants believe U.S. dairy companies should consider four strategic responses--innovating to capture domestic growth, revamping the supply chain to serve a new type of demand, exporting to markets with high projected dairy deficits and attractive trade agreement groundwork, and investing directly in deficit markets to maximize long-term success--to create a winning growth formula for dairy. Focusing on the U.S. market, the consultants suggest dairy companies adopt a strategy combining innovation that supports a diverse range of consumer preferences along with a revamped supply chain to serve new types of demand.

Slide source: McKinsey & Company

“Dairy consumers are trying new things,” said Christina Adams, associate partner at McKinsey. “Our research showed that 41% of dairy consumers have tried a new dairy brand in the last 12 months. As a result, 48% now buy both, the new and the original brand.”

About one fourth (24%) stick with the new brand while the others (28%) return to the original. It’s the small brands, however, that are driving dairy growth.

And interestingly, big and small companies have similar success launching new brands. Both have about a 25% four-year survival rate. Tactics that comprise a winning strategy, Adams said, include a focus on identifying growth spaces through analytics, making quick and small investments instead of big bets and investing in new supply chain capabilities.

Slide source: McKinsey & Company

It’s not that companies are not introducing new products. It’s just that many are taking too long to respond to marketplace trends and therefore the product loses relevancy. The McKinsey study showed that 83% of dairy companies have grown their product offerings in the past five years, and while doing so, nearly two-thirds (64%) still don’t have enough consumer insights to get it right, according to Roberto Uchoa de Paula, senior partner at McKinsey.

Land O’Lakes’ Ford suggested the previous day that it is paramount that dairy processors evolve their innovation efforts in order to win in a rapidly transforming marketplace.

“Today people want to try new things,” she said. “Entrepreneurs understand the speed of innovation.”

Slide source: McKinsey & Company

Entrepreneurs do business differently and don’t let corporate structure box them in, she said. They also know when to pull the plug and start over. Large dairy processors need to embrace this new way of doing business.

Adams explained the role of agile innovation in dairy foods product development. Agile by definition means “able to move quickly and easily.” In recent times, it has come to mean “relating to or denoting a method of project management, which is characterized by the division of tasks into short phases of work and frequent reassessment and adaptation of plans.”

It’s really quite simple and has long been the approach of entrepreneurs, if for no other reason, simply because of their small size. With agile innovation, a company empowers a small, focused, cross-functional team that basically analyzes, tests, designs and builds until the product is just right. This is done quickly, using resources on hand. Gone are the days of expensive market trials.

Ford explained that Land O’Lakes will test product concepts at farmers’ markets in order to get quick feedback.

Slide source: McKinsey & Company

Agile innovation is a process that is transparent to everyone, often with the team “living” together in an off-site office space. Daily briefings are common and prevent debates or holdups. Speed is the name of the game.

Perishable dairy products are uniquely poised to be agile, as they have a short shelf life and can easily be tweaked for improvement or simply changed to stay exciting. Limited-time offerings (LTO) are a strategic approach to stating connected to consumers.

It’s classic supply and demand. Shoppers recognize if they don’t purchase the LTO when it hits the store shelf, it may not be available the next shopping trip. They present consumers with an opportunity to explore seasonal flavors, in particular those associated with a holiday. They encourage purchase and often serve as a means to help one get in the spirit. To many, purchasing products that recognize local sports teams or national competitions show a sign of support. Even when food dollars are tight, consumers may dig a little deeper into their pockets to participate.

Limited runs of flavored milk present an opportunity to make it a more desirable beverage. The Hartman Group, Bellevue, Wash., conducted research on what it calls beverage culture. Beverage culture includes shared beliefs and behaviors around drinking, including beliefs around what is appropriate to drink, when, how and with whom. Beverage culture matters because it defines what choices an individual can make.

Most Americans (65%)--especially Millennials--always have a beverage on hand, according to The Hartman Groups’ research. Nearly half (46%) of Americans love to try a new beverage, with Millennials (64%) leading the way. A whopping 47% of Americans say they will often pay a bit more for a beverage that is higher quality or a more interesting flavor, while 62% say beverages play an important role in health and wellness.

That’s where the new MilkPEP consumer campaign--Milk. Love What’s Real—comes into play. The campaign was launched at Dairy Forum, alongside marketing programs offered by Dairy Management Inc. (DMI). The goal is to have the dairy community come together to re-ignite the milk category and increase trust and relevance in dairy among consumers.

“Real milk is the real deal. We’re painfully aware there’s increasing competition and changing consumer habits and demands, but milk is still a top choice for so many people because it’s got so much going for it,” said Julia Kadison, MilkPEP’s CEO. “And today, there’s even more reason to connect people to milk in real and salient ways, making sure that they recognize and realize the importance milk plays in their daily lives.”

The campaign was inspired by insight that people today are craving authenticity in a world where so much is fake. Milk has something worth sharing: real food made by real people, and contributing to so many things that really matter in Americans’ lives.

“Over the past year, the community has come together through the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy to share the story of dairy from farm to table,” said Beth Engelmann, chief marketing and communications officer at DMI. “As we continue to build on the momentum of Undeniably Dairy, our campaign to increase trust and relevance with consumers, we are excited for the partnership and collaboration with MilkPEP, under the theme of real, showcasing that there is no substitute for real dairy. The community also continues to work together on priority areas that will reinforce dairy’s role in sustainable nutrition while highlighting our commitments to animal care, environmental stewardship and innovating to meet consumers’ evolving tastes and nutritional needs. Our shared goal is to connect consumers to the great work of the dairy community and to the people behind the nutritious, responsibly produced and real dairy foods they love.”

Check out this Land O'Lakes video about future farmers:

Just remember, “Nobody is more respected than the farmer.” The industry can trace real dairy foods back to real dairy farmers. That’s how to dominate the marketplace.

It was wonderful to visit with so many of you at Dairy Forum. Would love your feedback on this blog by dropping me a note HERE.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Dairy Foods Winter Fancy Food Show Takeaway: It's Time to Get Seedy

Photo source: McCormick & Company Inc.

The Winter Fancy Food Show was held this past week in San Francisco. Dairy foods were prominent, with cheese having an overwhelming presence. This makes sense. Specialty cheeses are fancy foods. Artisan and better-for-you ice creams were also a noteworthy attraction. Let’s get more dairy foods mainstays to play in this space.

Here’s what was surprising at the Winter Fancy Food Show. At times I thought I was at Expo West, the annual natural products show held in early March in Anaheim. All the buzz words that dominate the healthy foods space are now integrated throughout the fancy food segment. Plant-based, cannabis, adaptogens, organic, no added sugar, these trends and more were observed. There was one subtle theme I kept observing that has not been well publicized. It’s the addition of seeds.

That’s right, seeds. Those crunchy, colorful, nutrient-dense reproductive components of plants. I noticed their addition in all types of foods and beverages, sometimes as a non-characterizing ingredient, but more often as the star attraction.

My observation was supported by the 2019 McCormick Flavor Forecast released Jan. 17, 2019. The flavor company identified “the must try flavor trend for 2019” as: The Need for Seed.

Photo source: McCormick & Company Inc.

“Little package. Giant punch! We’re talking seeds of the crunchy, citrusy, nutty, buttery and pungent form. It’s time the whole world started sprinkling, cracking, crusting, toasting and of course eating them on everything, like overnight coconut guava basil seed pudding, Cajun puffed lotus seed snack mix and gomasio, a Japanese black and white sesame seed seasoning blend. Seeds are food, fuel and flavor, and they give us texture, taste and wholesome goodness that makes both sweet and savory dishes pop.”

Seeds, of course, are not a new food. They’ve been consumed forever, with many traditional ethnic dishes relying on the taste and texture of varied seeds. While the health benefits are an obvious driver for the growing popularity of seeds today, their crunchy consistency and earthy flavors appeal to today’s adventurous consumers.

Fruits and nuts have long been added to all types of dairy products. Think pistachio pudding, Swiss almond cheese spread and butter pecan ice cream. Seeds, on the other hand, are a rather new inclusion, but one that is quickly gaining traction. 

Seeds—a plant-based food—are capable of turning an ordinary dairy food into an extraordinary dairy food: a specialty better-for-you food.

Photo source: McCormick & Company Inc.

“Plant-based ingredients, combined with dairy foods, can help Americans improve their intake of essential nutrients,” according to Jane Dummer, a registered dietitian, industry consultant, author of The Need for Seeds and a good friend. “They help to achieve the Dietary Guideline’s recommendation for consuming a mostly plant-based diet, while also meeting the two to three servings of dairy recommendation.

“Consumers want more convenient nutrient-dense snack options for their on-the-go lifestyle,” she says. “Seeds pack a punch of plant protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids. For consumers who require nut-free or gluten-free, seeds are outstanding ingredient choices.”

Her book profiles the seven most common seed ingredients: chia, flax, hemp, quinoa, pumpkin, sesame and sunflower. “The reason I chose them is because of their outstanding health benefits, from decreasing inflammation to promoting digestive health,” she says. “Cultured dairy products, such as yogurt, have similar health benefits, which makes this a winning combination for consumers wanting an everyday nutritious choice that is interesting and delicious.”

So add some seeds while keeping added sugars low or no.

That’s what Elli Complete is all about. This creamy whole milk quark—a fresh cheese made using an authentic German recipe—comes in a dome cup loaded with superfood inclusions for the consumer to mix into the no-added-sugar flavored quark. Elli Complete comes in three varieties. Banana Nut Bread has a dome filled with walnuts, white chia seeds, pecans and dark chocolate. The German Chocolate Cake dome contains walnuts, toasted coconut, dark chocolate and white chia seeds. Peanut Butter ‘N’ Jelly features a dome filled with peanuts, almonds and white chia seeds. Each single-serve container provides 20 to 25 grams of protein, 9 to 12 grams of net carbohydrates and 1.6 to 3.9 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids.

Slingshot Foods patented a unique package design for its Slingshot Shake drinkable high-protein yogurt. First reported as a Daily Dose of Dairy new product innovation in 2015, Slighshot Shake is positioned as a complete breakfast. Developed by a former refrigerated smoothie yogurt executive who wanted a macronutrient-dense, simple ingredient portable breakfast, Slingshot Shake is an 11-ounce yogurt protein drink with a 1-ounce crunchy shot wrapped around the bottle neck and intended for the consumer to pour into the yogurt, shake and drink.

That shot is a patented plastic stick pouch filled with chia seeds, rolled oats and toasted almond bits. The beverage is made with low-fat yogurt enhanced with milk protein concentrate. The entire shake provides 18 grams of protein, 3 grams of fiber, probiotic cultures and prebiotic fiber.

Averaging about 300 calories per bottle, the shake comes in Blueberry, Peach, Simply Plain, Strawberry, Vanilla Bean and the most recent addition, Power Plant. This yogurt shake contains spinach, pineapple, ginger and turmeric. This past year the drink gained distribution across the country and its popularity is growing.

Seeds are being featured in ice cream, too.

Humphry Slocombe’s Black Sesame ice cream was named the Gold winner for “Outstanding Ice Cream, Gelato or Frozen Treat” in the Specialty Foods Association’s 2018 Sofi Awards. The flavor features
hand-toasted black sesame seeds and a little sesame oil.

New Re:Think ice cream, which will be featured as a Daily Dose of Dairy this week, is a better-for-you frozen treat with one-third the sugar of traditional ice cream. It is packed with whey protein and other better-for-you ingredients. One of the flavors in the pint lineup is Meyer Lemon Poppyseed. (featured)

Sonoma Creamery continues to grow its baked/dehydrated cheese concept. Last year the company introduced the Cheese Crisp Bar, which is savory snack bar baked from real cheese and simple ingredients. The Savory Seed variety includes pumpkin and sunflower seeds.

The company is now rolling out Sonoma Savory Seed Baked Cheese Toppers. Designed for sprinkling on salads and soups, or used as a crunchy layer in a sandwich, or just to snack on, the Toppers are cheesy, crunchy, keto-friendly, gluten-free, all natural and have zero sugar. They are made using 10-month aged parmesan and aged white cheddar and feature organic pumpkin and sunflower seeds.

 Mustard is a seed and Marin French showcased its new Petite Mustard triple-cream brie at the Winter Fancy Food Show. The soft cheese features the bold, nutty aromatic characteristics of black and brown whole mustard seeds on the inside and the added kick of flavor thanks to crushed mustard seeds on the exterior of the bloomy wheel.

Last year, PepsiCo rolled out Quaker Morning Go-Kit. The three refrigerated kits each contain a nuts and seeds trail mix, a nuts and seeds breakfast bar and Greek nonfat yogurt. Each kit is loaded with 18 grams of whole grains from nuts, seeds, oats, quinoa and more, without any artificial sweeteners, flavors or colors. Banana Honey, Blueberry and Cranberry.

Let’s redefine the act of “being seedy,” and add some seeds to dairy foods in 2019! There's so many opportunities to be creative.

Hope to see many of you at Dairy Forum!

Friday, January 11, 2019

Ice Cream Innovations 2019: The Year for “Inspired Ice Cream”

Photo source: McConnell’s

Happy New Year! Hoping you had a great holiday season and are ready to get creative in 2019! I’m here to assist with innovation inspiration. Got an idea? A question? Interested in being a sponsor/advertiser to keep this innovation tool available to the industry? Please contact me--Donna Berry-- HERE.

Let’s kick off the New Year with a discussion on ice cream. With total retail ice cream sales relatively flat—this has been the story for decades—it’s time to face reality. Per capita consumption is declining and will likely continue on this path. It’s not as if consumers don’t crave, purchase and enjoy ice cream. But rather than eating large volumes of mediocre product, today they seek out premium product and enjoy it in smaller portions.

It’s called mindful eating. It’s something we all should be doing, according to most health experts.

The industry needs to recognize that growth of one brand or flavor comes at the expense of another. While basic vanilla and chocolate varieties are not going away, what grabs shoppers’ attention and gets them to buy is “Inspired Ice Cream.”
Visit DOUBLE H PLASTICS at ProFood Tech March 26-28, 2019, in Chicago. Booth #1031.

Trends both in the freezer and in other supermarket departments suggest there are six “inspirations” driving innovation in the ice cream category. With all innovations, the package plays a pivotal role in communicating the inspiration. Treat the package like a billboard and use it wisely.

Here are the six inspirations with a brief description, followed by a dozen recent rollouts exemplifying the Inspired Ice Cream movement. 

1. Locally Inspired: Sourcing ingredients—or other essentials, even the artwork that adorns the package-- from local businesses builds a connection with the shopper. The locality need not be nearby to the shopper. The shopper simply wants to know that the ice cream manufacturer supports its local community.    

2. Culinary Inspired: What’s cooking? The flavors of breakfast, lunch and dinner—or a chef’s secret ingredients--come alive in frozen desserts.

3. Globally Inspired: Full blown ethnic recipes, or melding something foreign with the familiar, provides the consumer with flavor adventure.

4. Seasonally Inspired: Go traditional or get bizarre. These limited-edition offerings invite shoppers to purchase.

5. Health/Diet Inspired: Stop focusing on simply the calorie and protein content of better-for-you pints. Speak to the shopper. Add extra value. Maybe eliminate the lactose or add probiotics for digestive health. What about including whole fruit or vegetable nutrition?

6. Sensory Inspired: It’s all about flavor and texture that lingers. From sweet meets heat (link HERE for some flavor combination inspiration) to chewy, crunchy, crackling and flavor bursts. Think of a swirl of bacon-infused, maple-flavored overnight oats. Other textures that linger include shredded coconut and citrus zest. Figs, pears and seeds/grains deliver unusual mouthfeels that ignite the senses.

Humphry Slocombe, one of San Francisco’s unconventional ice creameries, returns to The Winter Fancy Food Show, which kicks off this Sunday. (Hope to see you there.) After celebrating 10 years of crafting rebellious, ultra-premium and chef-driven ice cream creations and winning the 2018 Gold Sofi Award for its Black Sesame flavor, Co-founders Jake Godby and Sean Vahey are excited to share their plans for the New Year. Humphry Slocombe has established itself as a trailblazer for its use of inventive ingredients to create bold flavors that truly take the scoop to the next level, and the brand is excited to keep the decade-long momentum going with new flavors and experiences never seen before.

Located at booth 5582, Humphry Slocombe will unveil a surprise flavor as part of its partnership with the Emmy winning series Queer Eye. The flavor will represent the effervescent nature of the show and include an unexpected marriage of ingredients. Launching in March, the new flavor will be available in Humphry Slocombe scoop shops and select retailers. (Watch for it featured soon as a Daily Dose of Dairy.)

In addition, Humphry Slocombe will showcase a brand-new flavor: Strawberry Blondie, a strawberry ice cream embedded with white chocolate chip blondies.

Photo source: Double H Plastics

The company is also introducing a new single-serve cup option, which is a perfectly sized scoop featuring a lid with a built-in spoon, perfect for indulging in ice cream on the go. The new size will make its debut in four flavors: Blue Bottle Vietnamese Coffee, Malted Milk Chocolate, Secret Breakfast and Strawberry White Chocolate Chip.

Marietta, Ga.-based High Road Craft Ice Cream, which recently acquired Ciao Bella Gelato, has big plans for 2019. Executive Chef Keith Schroeder, co-founder of High Road with his wife Nicki, will be reinforcing what the two ice cream brands are best known for, and that is creating innovative flavors inspired by, and for, chefs.

“With our acquisition of Ciao Bella, we’ve found the perfect complement to the High Road Craft brand, helping to make us a broader player in the craft ice cream, gelato, sorbet and novelty categories,” says Keith. “We’re going back to focusing on the types of flavors that put our company on the map like Blueberry Ricotta, Matcha Coconut and Caramel Pecan.”

With the same uncompromising dedication to quality that High Road is known for, the Schroeders plan on returning the Ciao Bella brand to its origins with classic, high-end (yet playful) Italian-inspired flavors, such as Fior di Latte, Hazelnut, Espresso Gelati, and Pear & Peppercorn sorbetto, all packed in revamped sophisticated paper pints.

Among the many innovations and product introductions planned, High Road will be introducing the first superpremium Helados pint to the U.S. market. Helados La Neta will celebrate the flavors of native Mexico, including Horchata, Avocado and Mexican Chocolate. Watch for the line featured in the near future as a Daily Dose of Dairy.

Keith is often asked how he and the High Road chefs come up with their creative flavors.

“Listening to chefs and customers has always driven flavor decisions,” he explains. “We’re always sensitive to hearing what flavors, mouthfeel and taste experiences people enjoy, and then going out of our way to use ingredients that speak to them.

“I enjoy shining a light on great cuisines, ingredients and foodstuffs from around the world,” he says. “There’s a language of food rich with stories to be told, and those are conversations we want to be engaged in.” 

Bourbon Burnt Sugar, for example, gives High Road a chance to highlight sorghum, an under-appreciated sweetener with roots in the Deep South. Cherry Almond Chip speaks to the classic pairing of dark cherries with almonds, “whose respective flavor compounds work together like a great jazz chord,” explains Keith, ever the creative food scientist (and author of the James Beard Award-winning book, Mad Delicious: The Science of Making Healthy Food Taste Amazing).

Whether from Mexico, Italy, the American South, Africa or Asia, or beyond, High Road Craft Brands’ ingredients are sourced the world over. Keith and Nicki have introduced a series of sourcing journeys, traveling the globe not just to discover the finest ingredients, but to interact with the people who grow them, the local flavors they produce and the stories they tell.

“On our recent vanilla sourcing journey to Tanzania we spent a week living, eating, dancing, exploring and harvesting with our vanilla-sourcing partner,” says Nicki. “We didn’t speak the language, but we sure felt the joy they shared, and we hope that’s the emotion people get from the ice cream.” 

Salt & Straw, an Oregon-based creamery with stores up and down the west coast, with a few in San Francisco--make plans to check one out during a break from the Winter Fancy Food Show—shows us that anything is possible in ice cream. .

This past winter holiday season the company served a five-course Thanksgiving dinner, but in ice cream form. Offerings included savory courses such as Salted Caramel Turkey, which featured buttery turkey brittle folded into a turkey fat caramel ice cream, and Roasted Peach & Sage Cornbread Stuffing, which was sage-infused ice cream with cornbread cookies and spiced peach jam.

On the sweeter side, there was Sweet Potato Casserole featuring maple pecan ice cream with a light ribbon of maple syrup marshmallow fluff and homemade candied pecans. Spiced Goat Cheese & Pumpkin Pie was a goat cheese-flavored ice cream with swirls of pumpkin pie filling. For the vegan at the table, there was Roasted Cranberry Sauce Sorbet made from roasted cranberries, cranberry juice and candied cranberry jam, all made from Washington State-sourced berries.

There have been many retail packaged “Inspired Ice Creams” to hits freezers the past few months.

Serendipity 3 is a dynamic new line that takes inspiration from the namesake iconic New York City restaurant. The pint line is rolling out in eight varieties.

They are:
  • Birthday Cake: Cake-flavored ice cream with swirls of pink frosting, cake pieces and sprinkles
  • Café Espresso Chip: Coffee ice cream with chocolate chunks
  • Forbidden Broadway Sundae: Chocolate-flavored ice cream with brownie pieces and fudge swirls
  • Frrrozen Hot Chocolate: Hot chocolate-flavored ice cream with whipped cream swirl and chocolate shavings
  • Humble Pie: Peanut butter ice cream with peanut butter swirls, chocolate chunks and graham pieces
  • Outrageous Banana Split: Banana-flavored ice cream with fudge swirls, walnuts and strawberries
  • Strawberry Fields Sundae: Strawberry ice cream with strawberries and cheesecake pieces
  • Vanilla Vogue: Vanilla ice cream with Madagascar vanilla

New Peekaboo Organic Ice Cream with Hidden Veggies is the brainchild of Founder and CEO Jessica Levinson, who wanted to get more vegetables into her family’s iet. After much tinkering, she created five flavors of Peekaboo. They are: Chocolate with Hidden Cauliflower, Cotton Candy with Hidden Beets, Mint Chip with Hidden Spinach, Strawberry with Hidden Carrot, and Vanilla with Hidden Zucchini.

Sensory-inspired Slow Churned Triple Filled, which is sold by Nestle under both the Dreyer’s and Edy’s brands, is a half-the-fat ice cream that 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. 
Lactose-free formulating and labeling should be considered for all dairy foods innovations, as digestive health is on top of mind among consumers. By eliminating lactose—a disaccharide unique to all mammalian milk—from dairy foods, you may prevent consumers from switching to dairy alternatives, when the sole reason for the swap is to avoid lactose.

That’s the goal of Beckon Ice Cream: to enable lactose-sensitive ice cream lovers the opportunity to have real dairy ice cream once again. The company uses traditional ice cream ingredients, including milk and cream. With the help of added lactase, the company eliminates lactose from the product. This process also adds some natural sweetness to the ice cream. Beckon pints come in five flavors: Chocolate, Espresso, Mint Chip, Sea Salt Chocolate Chip and Vanilla.

Locally, culinary and health-inspired Culture Republick from Unilever is a line of probiotic ice cream pints. Beyond having live probiotic cultures in the ice cream, the brand aims to support culture in everything it does. It collaborated with emerging artists to design each pint, giving these artists a canvas for their work, complete with their signature and information on pack. Additionally, 10% of the brand’s profits will support the arts in local communities, with all charitable donations made possible by the Unilever Foundation.

“Culture Republick was created with a distinct purpose in mind,” says Leslie Miller, marketing director of ice cream at Unilever. “We believe that humanity could use a bit more brightness. By combining our passions for culture and ice cream, we intend to do our part in making people feel more balanced, inspired and connected.”

Culture Republick is currently available in seven unique flavors and is the first premium light ice cream brand with probiotics. Each pint contains three billion live active cultures, 400 to 500 calories, 16 to 18 grams of protein, 11 to 12 grams of fiber and no artificial sweeteners.

The unexpected flavor combinations are:

  • Chocolate & Cherry: chocolate light ice cream with extra cocoa mixed with cherry light ice cream containing Fair Trade Bordeaux cherry chunks. Pack art is by Hawnuh Lee, a designer and illustrator based in Portland. She creates cohesive visual stories by breaking elements down into designs, textures and tones.
  • Cold Brew & Chocolate Chi: cold brew light ice cream made with Fair Trade Brazilian and Colombian coffee extract and loaded with chocolate chips. Pack art is by Paulina Ho, a California-born, Texas-raised, and New York City-based artist who incorporates a wide spectrum of images and symbols, leaving the viewer to connect them and create more meaning.
  • Lemon & Graham: sweet lemon light ice cream, made with real lemon puree and lemon juice concentrate, and textured with graham cracker crumb swirl. Pack art by is Jason Naylor, an artist, designer and creative director based in Brooklyn. His street art murals carry a distinct style of upbeat messages and colorful visuals.
  • Matcha & Fudge: matcha tea light ice cream with swirls of fudge. Pack art is by Fiona Chinkan, a visual artist based in Brooklyn, who uses lines and forms to express herself and interpret the world around her. Her style pulls inspiration from the embellishments of graffiti writing.
  • Milk & Honey: sweet cream light ice cream swirled with wildflower honey. Pack art is by Joe Geis, an artist, designer and woodworker based in Brooklyn. Joe’s artwork is all about movement and balance.
  • Pistachio & Caramel: chopped pistachios in a pistachio light ice cream with added swirls of salty caramel. Pack art is by Teri Kaplan Trigalo, a creative content director based in New York City. Born in South Africa, Teri has been painting ever since she could hold a brush, now creating large-scale abstract pieces inspired by her surroundings.
  • Turmeric Chai & Cinnamo: turmeric blended with a chai spice light ice cream with swirls of cinnamon streusel. Pack art is by Sarah Dewlin, a Brooklyn-based artist who specializes in unique geometric shapes and compositions, with natural edges and organic imperfections.

Brazilian artists were enlisted by Häagen-Dazs to create this past holiday season’s ice cream cakes. The brand’s global campaign is all about being “extraordinarily luxurious.” The company decided to showcase a pure, refined cake as if it were a precious gem that you discover when opening a box. Simplicity was a key driver in order to focus on the quality of ingredients.

There were two cake varieties offered this year. Belgian Chocolate & Vanilla is soft brownie with crispy pieces paired with Belgian chocolate and vanilla ice creams. The exterior is textured with praline iced mousse and given a twist of originality with a mango and passionfruit confit.

Frozen Yogurt & Raspberry Sorbet is crunchy biscuit spiced with ginger and cinnamon paired frozen yogurt and raspberry sorbet, which gives it a light touch. The surprise center is bursting with a delicate jasmine cream lifted by a berry confit.

The artists, the Campana Brothers, describe the cakes as, “Intriguing is the idea of a surface that stimulates all of the senses. The look of a new facet of cutting a diamond stimulates the ultimate sense of real luxury, which becomes a feeling of crescendos. Like an avalanche of sensation, like a wave that wants to break, but keeps the highest position for being able to enjoy the shape and the taste explosion.

McConnell’s Fine Ice Creams is launching the Winter Collection at the Winter Fancy Food Show (Booth 6240). Made completely from scratch using Central Coast grass-grazed milk and cream, the seasonal flavors were inspired by sensory-stimulating citrus fruits. The three flavors are:

  • Blood Orange features the distinct and intense orange-meets-berry flavors of Moro blood oranges.
  • Vanilla Grapefruit combines grapefruit’s tart sweetness with smooth, sweet, vanilla-scented cream. 
  • Winter Pear Crisp blends a delicate purée of D'Anjou pears with a swirl of homemade pear jam and crispy oatmeal crumbles.

And here are two first-of-their-kind ice creams. NightFood Inc., a snack food company dedicated to providing consumers delicious, better-for-you, sleep-friendly choices for evening snacking, is rolling out Nighttime Ice Cream. Each pint has a fun, nighttime-themed name, and delivers ice cream indulgence with a sleep-friendly recipe for both kids and adults. The eight flavors are: After-Dinner Mint Chip, Breakfast in Bed (maple-flavored waffle), Cherry Eclipse, Cold-Brew Decaf, Cookies n’ Dreams, Full Moon Vanilla, Midnight Chocolate and Milk & Cookie Dough.

Nighttime ice cream means that NightFood’s team of sleep experts made sleep-friendly decisions regarding the recipe, according to Sean Folkson, CEO. Cherry Eclipse, for example, is made with nutrient-rich tart cherries, one of the few foods naturally high in melatonin (the hormone that triggers sleep) and the coffee ice cream is decaf.

UpStar Ice Cream now offers Keto Pint. This diet-inspired ice cream will be featured this coming week as a Daily Dose of Dairy. In the meantime, if you are at the Winter Fancy Food Show, you can experience the product firsthand in the Incubator Village.

Hope to see you in San Francisco!
Visit DOUBLE H PLASTICS at ProFood Tech March 26-28, 2019, in Chicago. Booth #1031.