Friday, February 22, 2019

Dairy Foods Innovation: The Indulgence Opportunity

While health and wellness are powerful targets in your refrigerated dairy foods product development efforts, indulgence presents one of the biggest growth opportunities in the U.S. Most other developed countries have long appreciated the indulgent side of dairy, dedicating large portions of refrigerated retail departments to the likes of flan, parfait and pudding. In the U.S., this is a very small section, sometimes just a shelf or two, housed alongside cookie dough and other misfit perishable products that are not dairy, eggs or juice.

Now that indulgence has found a home in yogurt, it’s time to think premium refrigerated desserts.

Mariano Lozano, chief executive officer, Danone North America, sat down with me during the International Dairy Foods Association’s Dairy Forum in January 2019 and explained that while lower sugar, probiotics and protein are priorities for the company, on the polar opposite end of the spectrum is indulgence, which is also an opportunity. That’s exemplified in the company’s new Oikos Oh! line.

This indulgent double cream yogurt is crafted with premium ingredients and interlaced with decadent amounts of flavorful ingredients. The fruit- or sauce-on-the-bottom yogurt comes in 5.3-ounce containers in four varieties. They are: Honey Drizzled Blueberry, Lemon Sweet Cream Delight, Magnificent Mixed Berry Rhubarb and Salt-Dusted Caramel Crème. Each single-serve cup contains 210 to 220 calories, depending on variety, and 11 grams of fat, 21 grams of sugar and 7 grams of protein.

The company’s new Wallaby Organic Aussie Crème Yogurt is another indulgent option. The chef-inspired flavors--Caramelized Pineapple, Spiced Peach and Strawberry Red Wine--are the brand’s answer to a more mindful dessert without sacrificing bold flavor. The base is an 8.5%-milkfat yogurt infused with a dulce de leche flavor. Each cup contains 210 to 220 calories, 11 grams of fat, 7 grams of protein and 20 to 21 grams of sugar, of which 9 grams are added.

Danone N.A. is taking a “one size does not fit all” approach to business, which means managing a diverse portfolio of products, dairy and plant-based. To read more about Danone N.A.’s investment in innovation, link HERE to the Food Business News article I recently wrote titled “Danone investing in both cows and plants.”

While convenience is a major selling point of new Clio Greek Yogurt Bars, the dark chocolate enrobing the yogurt elevates it to premium, indulgent status. Clio bars are uniquely positioned to bring new life to the declining spoonable yogurt category. These hand-held bars are the creation of Sergey Konchakovskiy, founder and CEO of Clio Snacks.

While prepping a Greek yogurt rub for a lamb roast, Konchakovskiy put the rub in the refrigerator and forgot about it until several days later when his kids discovered the highly strained yogurt. It had developed a feta-like consistency and in an a-ha moment, he realized that this textured yogurt would be a great way to get his kids to eat yogurt, especially if it was wrapped in chocolate.

To his surprise, Konchakovskiy learned that no U.S. dairy companies had the capabilities to make this yogurt bar. He leveraged his savings to purchase cheese-making equipment from Europe and after two years of learning, research and development, Clio Snacks was born.

Clio Greek Yogurt Bars consist of creamy, whole milk Greek yogurt wrapped in chocolate. They combine the nutritional benefits of yogurt with the convenience of a bar. Varieties are: Blueberry, Espresso, Hazelnut, Honey, Peanut Butter, Strawberry and Vanilla. A 50-gram bar contains 140 calories, 6 grams of fat, 10 grams of sugar and 8 grams of protein. (The peanut butter flavor is 170 calories, 8 grams of fat and 13 grams of sugar.)
Outside of the yogurt case, there has been some recent dairy dessert activity.

Raymundo’s introduced Pudding Toppers. These refrigerated puddings feature a dome top that contains flavorful and crunchy mix-ins.

Hand-crafted in small batches, Pudding Toppers come in five varieties. They are: Dark Chocolate Pudding with Churro Crumbles, Flan with Salted Caramel Crumbles, Key Lime Pie Pudding with White Chocolate and Pie Crumbles, Rice Pudding with Granola, and Vanilla Pudding with Chocolate Brownies. Each package includes two 5.25- to 5.4-ounce single-serve pudding cups and retails for about $2.29.

Dessert Italiano, an imported product available at Costco this past holiday season, is a box of 24 1.2-ounce mini dairy desserts. They come in single-serve plastic containers in a mix of four varieties. They are: Pistachio, Raspberry, Tiramisu and Triple Chocolate.

Cheesecake Factory at Home recently introduced restaurant-inspired refrigerated parfaits. Made with whole milk and cream, one serving contains 250 to 290 calories, 12 to 13 grams of fat, 30 to 39 grams of sugar and 3 to 5 grams of protein.
Sold in packs of two 5.5-ounce clear cups, the dairy desserts come in four varieties. They are:

  • Cake Batter Strawberry Royale is creamy cake batter-flavored pudding over a sweet strawberry puree.
  • Chocolate Black-Out is rich Belgian chocolate pudding over dark chocolate fudge sauce.
  • Salted Caramel Delight is creamy salted caramel pudding over rich caramel sauce.
  • Vanilla Fudge Duet is creamy vanilla bean pudding over dark chocolate fudge sauce. 
 Belgian Boys is importing a range of individual dairy desserts from Belgium. They come two to a pack, in an individual-serving glass ramekin. They make claims of being non-GMO, as well as containing no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives, and are kosher certified. The desserts are distributed and merchandised frozen but intended to be served chilled.

“As a company, our mission is to offer premium quality products to the modern-day comfort food-loving customer,” says Robin Kula, vice president of sales. “Our millennial audience is seeking convenience while not compromising on quality and flavor of the product.”

The three retail varieties are: Crunch Chocolate Souffle, Key Lime Cheesecake and Raspberry Cheesecake. There was also The Zillionaire Cheesecake, which was available during the 2018 winter holiday season at select Costco locations. This dessert is four layers of pure indulgence. Crunchy chocolate biscuits are topped with a layer of creamy, gooey salted caramel, covered with a luscious vanilla cheesecake and finished with a rich layer of real Belgian chocolate ganache.

“If you are going to indulge, indulge well,” says Anouck Gotlib, CEO of Belgian Boys. “Every flavor from our new line is a superb mouth-watering dessert that can also be an escape from the everyday.”
Petit Pot is a growing player in the creamy and delectable desserts category. Famous for its creamy Pot de Crème (French for delicious pudding) and Riz Au Lait (French for delicious rice pudding), as of about a year ago, Petit Pot is also now organic. The company manufactures premium, clean-label pudding that is both organic and kosher and comes in dairy and non-dairy varieties.

“Making our puddings organic delights everybody,” says Petit Pot Founder Maxime Pouvreau, a French pastry chef. “Customers feel that much better about indulging in a creamy French dessert and retailers benefit from a reputation of offering higher quality and something special and new.”
The Pot de Crème puddings come in 3.5 ounce glass jars that retail for about $2.99. Varieties include Dark Chocolate, Lemon Curd, Madagascar Vanilla and Salted Caramel. The Riz Au Lait comes in a single-serve 4-ounce glass jar.

Outside of the refrigerated dairy case, yet still  flagging on package labels that it’s “Made with Real Milk,” is new Snack Pack Unicorn Magic from Conagra Brands Inc. With its sweet flavor and enchanting pink and blue colors, Unicorn Magic is a bold addition to the Snack Pack shelf-stable pudding family. Sold in six packs, the gluten-free pudding cups are made with nonfat milk and contain 100 calories, 2.5 grams of fat, 14 grams of sugar, and no protein.

Are you feeling the magical indulgence opportunity yet?

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