Thursday, October 24, 2019

Shaking Up the Dairy Department

Many of you were born into the dairy industry. You were raised on a farm and milked cows daily. Others of us chose dairy as a career because we believe in the nutritional value of cows’ milk and have the desire to bring wholesome, healthful and delicious products to homes everywhere. Then there’s a group of you who landed in dairy and just cannot leave because, well let’s face it, the dairy industry is good people.

None of these reasons, however, are enough to keep dairy foods relevant to today’s adventurous consumers. These are folks who are way too connected into social media and online shopping. When they visit a bricks and mortar store, they often do not make it all the way back to the dairy department. Remember the dairy department’s location was once a strategic placement by retailers, as grabbing a gallon of milk was often the reason for shopping at the store. Having to walk through extra aisles often resulted in unplanned items being added to the cart. Not anymore!

Maybe produce should get swapped with dairy? Or how about co-locating the CBD department with dairy?

I recently visited the Meijer store in South Haven, Michigan, and was surprised to see they moved the condiment aisle to the back of the store, facing the refrigerated juice and yogurt aisle. This was previously home to coffee and tea. Then it dawned on me, today’s flavor-seeking consumers are all into hot sauce, dressings and fermented jarred foods. That’s become a new bricks and mortar destination. While not a logical merchandising approach in terms of like items, it does get shoppers to the furthest end of the store. Maybe sriracha will help drive milk sales. They say whole milk does provide relief from peppery heat.

I highly encourage dairy processors to get more involved with the International Dairy Deli Bakery Association, which at its annual exposition, offers many product display and merchandising ideas. Creating products that complement these modernized retailing techniques is critical for the future.
Link HERE to see some ideas presented this past June.

Here are some recent new refrigerated dairy product concept from around the world poised to create excitement at the supermarket.

When I first reported on Live Real Farms Dairy Plus Milk Blends as a Daily Dose of Dairy/ exclusive on July 12, 2019, (read the post HERE), I was corrected on it being a global industry first. My apologies to Schärdinger in Austria, which earlier this year introduced an oat and whole milk beverage and yogurt. By combining oat beverage with cows’ milk, consumers get the heart-healthy, plant-derived benefits of oats with the nutrition and deliciousness of cows’ milk.

Made with 100% non-GMO Austrian milk, the beverage is marketed as having a special taste that makes it an ideal addition to muesli, porridge, cornflakes and much more. The lactose-free, no-added-sugar beverage works great in coffee, cocoa and other milk drinks, too.

That beverage gets cultured into a yogurt product. It, too, is lactose free with no-added sugar and currently comes only in a plain variety.

The Live Real Farms product, which is a new brand owned and managed by Dairy Farmers of America, uses a unique blending process to combine cows’ milk from 100% family-owned farms with either almonds or oats to create a new milk taste and texture with just the right amount of sweetness. The new beverage comes in five lactose-free varieties.

To read more about going lactose free to reduce added sugars and keep dairy in consumers’ diets, link HERE.

Lactose-free dairy is a huge dairy department disruptor. Green Valley Creamery has become a leading player in the natural foods retail space thanks to its clean-label formulations and many organic offerings. The company has an extensive range of lactose-free cultured dairy products, with Greek yogurt and cottage cheese two of its most recent rollouts. The company is all about bringing “the joy of real dairy back into people’s lives.”

Kalypso Farms Dairy has been shaking up the refrigerated dairy department for some time with its use of terracotta pots. Nicholas Trastelis, CEO and founder, decided to use the pots to help protect and preserve the freshness and premium great taste of its dairy products. Plus, the pots are 100% sustainable and reusable.

Earlier this year the New York-based company introduced a range of refrigerated puddings--Belgian Chocolate, Coconut Rice and Madagascar Vanilla Rice--in the pots. The gluten-free desserts join the company’s authentic strained Greek yogurts, which are now undergoing a facelift and a new package option, which continues the company’s corporate ethos and mission statement of not using plastic.

The terracotta yogurts will come in 2% and 4% milkfat varieties and new labels will flag the product as the company’s “Heritage Brand.” The pudding and butter lines will follow. In addition, a 0% grass-fed milkfat yogurt line will now be available in 100% sustainable and ecofriendly paper cups. The new line will be rolling out in the next few weeks and includes all of brand’s fan-favorite flavors: Apricot Peach, Black Cherry, Fig, Honey, Madagascar Vanilla, Mango Passionfruit, Mocha, Natural Plain, Strawberry and Toasted Coconut.

Glass jars have also disrupted the yogurt case. General Mills took it mainstream with oui yogurts and pudding, but it’s some of the smaller, specialty players who have really been able to use the premium glass jar to build a brand.

St. Benoit Creamery is one such example. The company is rolling out a four variety line of single-serve organic desserts made with farm-fresh dairy cream and egg yolks. The wide-mouth jars (for easy spooning) come in Salted Caramel, Snickerdoodle, TCHO Chocolate and Vanilla flavors.
Refrigerated dairy desserts in all shapes and sizes continue to be one of the biggest opportunities for growth. This includes turning yogurt into a dessert, too.

While convenience is a major selling point of 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 by combining the nutritional benefits of creamy, whole milk yogurt with the convenience of a hand-held treat. Varieties are: Blueberry, Espresso, Hazelnut, Honey, Peanut Butter, Strawberry and Vanilla.

Chobani is creating disruption in yogurt by celebrating the American dairy farmers who are the backbone of many rural communities and are facing deep challenges to their livelihood. Building upon the company’s dairy industry initiative Milk Matters, the company has launched its second limited-edition charity flavor called Farmer Batch Chobani Greek Yogurt Milk & Cookies. It is made in partnership with American Farmland Trust (AFT), a non-profit dedicated to saving the land that sustains us by protecting farmland, promoting sound farming practices and keeping farmers on the land. Chobani is donating 10 cents from every purchase of the new four-pack to AFT to offer multiple micro-grants of up to $10,000 to help farmers.

“At Chobani we always try to use food as a force for good,” says Peter McGuinness, president of Chobani. “We believe the most important thing we can do is make a difference. And we want to continue our mission-led innovation to help make a meaningful difference in dairy for the communities we operate in, the farms we source from, and the fans for whom we make our food.”

Ingenuity Brands has disrupted the kids’ yogurt segment with Brainiac Kids and is going full speed ahead with gaining distribution. Following its launch this spring, Brainiac Kids whole milk yogurts and yogurt drinks are now available at key retailers, including Whole Foods, Walmart, Hy-Vee, ShopRite, United Supermarkets, Central Markets and Fairway Market.

Brainiac Kids is the first line of kids’ yogurts specifically targeted to help their developing brains. The products are enhanced with the company’s proprietary BrainPack, a unique blend of brain-building nutrients, including omega-3 fatty acids, both DHA and ALA, as well as choline. The whole milk yogurts have 40% less sugar and 50% more protein than the leading kids’ yogurt, while the yogurt drinks have 50% less sugar than the leading kids’ yogurt drink. They are made with three strains of live and active probiotic cultures, are non-GMO, gluten-free, kosher, contain no artificial ingredients and are made with milk from cows not treated with artificial growth hormones. Extra protein comes from milk protein concentrate.

Process and package are causing disruption in the refrigerated milk category. Lancaster Local is a milk brand from a Pennsylvania community of farmers. The milk now comes in a light-protected package shown to preserves nutrients, flavor and overall quality of Lancaster Local’s new Organic Whole Milk with A2 Protein.

“Our dairy comes from grass-fed cows raised on small, family-owned farms and our farmers work hard to provide the best farm-fresh milk available in the Lancaster area,” says Philip Lehman, managing director of Swiss Villa LLC, Lancaster Local’s packaging provider and distribution partner. “With Noluma’s technology, we were able to design a light-protected bottle that preserves the product’s quality, nutritional contents and fresh flavor throughout its full shelf life. Now, when Lancaster Local milk drinkers see the Noluma logo, they can trust it’s providing all the benefits listed on the label, and more.”
And lastly, there’s Australian milk company Made by Cow. The company recently launched the world’s first cold-pressed raw milk using its new patented cold-pressure process to kill harmful bacteria, giving it about 10 days refrigerated shelf life and a safety net unavailable in untreated raw milk. The milk has the potential to prompt a much-needed revival of the cows’ milk category, according to GlobalData, a data and analytics company.

There because there’s a growing segment of consumers seeking out minimally processed foods. That basically rules out plant-based milk alternatives. After all, turning a pea into a liquid takes some processing. Made by Cow’s mantra is “from cow to bottle to you.”
The milk comes from a single Jersey herd and is bottled and sealed just hours later. It is cold pressurized (in the sealed bottle) the following day.

“As more consumers gravitate towards plant-based foods, including milks, for health and environmental reasons, there has been a need for traditional cows’ milk to reposition itself and make it more relevant to a new generation of health-conscious consumers,” says Katrina Diamonon, consumer analyst at GlobalData. “However, raw milk has justifiably garnered the disapproval of government and health authorities, who have warned of the risk of such products being contaminated with harmful germs and in turn resulting in foodborne illnesses. Made by Cow’s patented process was approved by the NSW Food Authority as safe to drink, which overcomes a crucial obstacle for raw milk.

“Cold-pressed raw milk has the ability to reinvigorate the category, given the compelling health benefits of high pressure processing,” she concludes. “This new method of milk processing may be just what is needed to tip the balance back in favor of cows’ milk.”

This is what disruption is all about.

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