Friday, April 17, 2020

Dairy Foods Innovation: Product Development and Marketing for the New Norm

I hope that you, your team and all of your families are staying healthy, safe and sane. Thank you to all the dairy farmers, haulers, processors, distributors, retailers and innovators…for your time and energy to keep refrigerators and freezers stocked. Please be smart. Stay active. Eat healthy. Keep clean. Be kind. We can do this. xo

Without conferences or expositions, and following smart quarantine direction, I’ve got time, lots of time. So, I have been reaching out to folks around the world, who have many varied roles in the food and beverage industries, to pick their brains and try to make sense of the new norm.

(Thanks Kerry Kaylegian, associate research professor at Penn State, for that late-night chat on Thursday. It was exciting to hear about the great innovation taking place in your lab. Mums the word by me!) 

Indeed, it is reassuring to know that there’s a great deal of focused product development taking place right now. That’s a good thing because we are going to need to find new ways to serve dairy. We love our cheese, milk and ice cream during uncertain times, but we are going to need to find new ways to serve these products to replace what McDonald’s, Starbucks and Baskin-Robbins has been doing for us for years.

Link HERE to read “Food Makers Get Shot of Reality Now that Panic Buying Has Waned,” published by Bloomberg on April 16.

While supermarket sales are up, it’s not enough to compensate for the loss in foodservice. Every 10% decline in out-of-home food spending translates into a gain of just 3% in the retail channel, according to Rabobank. With nearly half of U.S. cheese production going into foodservice—think pizza, burgers and tacos—there’s going to be lots of excess cheese.

I’ve stocked my refrigerator. I believe I have at least 20 pounds of cheese in varied forms and varieties. There’s no room for any more and we are not eating it as fast as I thought we would. I need to find new ways to eat cheese!

The innovators at Imbibe identified five trends we should all anticipate following COVID-19. These may help with your innovation efforts in identifying new ways to eat dairy. They are:

1. Cost Consciousness: Consumers will seek out products that are affordable and meet taste, quality and functional expectations, especially for everyday items.

2. Demand for Do-It-Yourself: Even after the country reopens, there likely will be residual uncertainty about the safety of crowded public places, namely restaurants. But home cooks need ideas. Meal kits and combination concepts will help. Shake Shack, for example, is offering cook-at-home burger kits complete with cheese, buns and their special sauce.

3. Essential Functions: Expect greater demand for products that support improved immunity, sleep and stress relief.

To read more about “Immunity-Boosting Products on the Rise,” link HERE to a Food Business News column I wrote this week.

4. A Taste of Nostalgia: There’s something comforting in the familiar, from childhood favorite foods to something that reminds us of a recent good time.

5. Rethinking Escapism:  This is all about packaged retail brands creating experiences that mimic foodservice. Consumers became more adventurous with their food and beverage in recent years to escape everyday stresses. Foodservice led this innovation by creating new eating experiences. This presents a huge opportunity for food manufacturers to get more creative with exotic flavors, enticing colors and novel textures.

Link HERE to read more details from Imbibe.
This brings me to some of the products featured this week as a Daily Dose of Dairy. While these concepts were already in the works prior to the pandemic, their uniqueness is extremely timely for the current environment.

The Danone YoPRO Nut Protein Bars that are rolling out to the Australian marketplace are made with an advanced protein blend that combines nuts, peanut butter, soy, collagen and yogurt powder. The bars are sold in the refrigerated dairy case and are making their debut in three varieties. They are: Apple Cinnamon, Mixed Berry and Salted Caramel.

Kemps’ new Bold Cottage Cheese comes in 7.3-ounce single-serve cups, much larger than most single-serve cups that range from 4 to 6 ounces, and is targeted to the male consumer looking for protein without sugar and is interested in strong, bold flavors. The four varieties are: Bacon Cheddar (with real bacon bits and cheddar cheese), Bacon Ranch (with real cheddar cheese and zesty ranch seasoning), Chipotle (with tangy, smoky chipotle seasoning) and Jalapeno Cheddar (with real cheddar cheese and jalapeno pepper bits). 
Each serving provides 210 to 230 calories, 9 to 10 grams of fat and 23 to 25 grams of protein. Whey protein concentrate helps reach that protein content.

Here’s a new one and showcases a new way to eat dairy, Scramblers: The Original Omelet Bar, from Deliciously Different LLC, is a hand-held mini meal that provides the convenience of a protein bar with the texture and nutrition of a real egg omelet.

Developed in partnership with the culinary innovators at Chew, the team of chefs and food scientists focused on clean label and transparently sourced ingredients. The keto-friendly omelet bar is made with whole food ingredients, including free-range, organic, certified-humane eggs from Pete and Gerry’s Organics LLC, along with grass-fed butter, cheese and skim milk.

The bars made their debut in ham with cheddar and spinach with feta varieties. Chicken chorizo is scheduled to roll out in the near future. Each bar provides 130 to 140 calories, 9 grams of protein, 2 grams of total carbohydrates and no added sugar. The fully cooked bar is prepared using a patent-pending process. It comes packaged in a vacuum-sealed tray and has the consistency of a fluffy omelet. The technology allows the bar to have a 12-month shelf-life with no refrigeration or chemical preservatives added.

Latest Sales Data
So where is dairy on that family dinner table? According to IRI data, provided courtesy of the Midwest Dairy Association, for the week ending April 5, 2020, as compared to the same seven-day period in 2019:
  • Dairy aisle sales are up 30.1% compared to a year ago (the prior week was +21.1%). The last two weeks of growth are more modest than a the initial “stock up” phase. See graph below.
  • All dairy category sales increased slightly from the previous week. This uptick is possibly driven by households replenishing.
  • Fluid milk sales are up 13.7% (volume sales) and 19.8% (dollar sales). In the previous week, sales were up 3.4% (volume) and 9.6% (dollar).
  • Butter sales are up 72.7% (volume) and 71% (dollar). In the previous week, butter sales were up 58.6% (volume) and 61.9% (dollar).
  • Cheese sales are up 33.2% (volume) and 40.2% (dollar). In the previous week, cheese sales were up 25.5% (volume) and 32% (dollar).
  • Yogurt sales picked up, but are still at roughly a negative (-2%) in volume and dollar sales. Specific brands, namely those marketed for probiotic function, are flying off the shelf.
  • Pizza sales are up 51.6% (volume) and 57.2% (dollar). In the previous week they were up 46% (volume) and 52.6% (dollar). 

Several dairy categories are showing positive year-to-date numbers as a result of the past several weeks of growth:

  • Milk now reports a year-to-date growth of 2.4% (volume) and 9.8% (dollar).
  • Yogurt sales year-to-date are up 3.9% (volume) and 3.5% (dollar).
  • Cheese sales year-to-date are up 13% (volume) and 17.9% (dollar).
  • Frozen pizza sales year-to-date are up 20.9% (volume) and 23.9% (dollar).
  • Butter year-to-date volume and dollar sales are up almost 25%, driven in part by more home cooking.
Prairie Farms Milk Caps Support Food Banks During COVID-19
The Prairie Farms charitable giving program, Our Caps Your Cause, donates thousands of dollars each year to local non-profit organizations. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Prairie Farms is going to give back even more by increasing support for nearly 50 food banks that are currently registered as an Our Caps Your Cause charity. Points for cap codes redeemed for food banks will quadruple through the end of May. This means each cap is worth 20 cents instead of 5 cents. 

It’s easy for anyone to participate by simply purchasing gallons or half gallons of Prairie Farms milk, peeling the sticker on the cap to reveal the code, visiting the Our Caps Your Cause redemption webpage, choosing a food bank and entering the cap code. Once the 1,000 cap goal is met, the food bank will receive a check for $200. 

To help families navigate the “stay at home” reality, Prairie Farms has launched a webpage that offers a variety of resources including recipes, “how to” cooking tips, coupons and a video series featuring Prairie Farms dairy farm families. 

Thank you, Prairie Farms Dairy! 
And, thank you award-winning Idaho Milk Products for sponsoring this week’s blog!

No comments:

Post a Comment