Friday, June 30, 2023

Pardon Me for Getting Personal. I have a favor: please lower the sugar content of dairy foods to boost their healthful halo.


There’s no easy way to write this, and I’ve been told sharing helps heal. The wonderful man who gave me his name to open my own business passed away a week ago after many years of battling Type 1 diabetes. If you want to know more about the amazing man behind, please link HERE

A wise friend reminded me this week—thanks Susan Q.—that there’s no such thing as coincidences. I’ve always believed in signs and messages, but it was reassuring for her to remind me. See, there’s nothing my husband loved more than a glass of cold whole milk, which is why I am so excited about the Whole Milk for Healthy Kids Act.

In case you were unaware, the Whole Milk for Healthy Kids Act, H.R. 1147, reached a major milestone on June 6, when the bill was passed in a bi-partisan vote by the House Committee on Education and the Workforce. The next step is scheduling the vote on the House floor. This is the first time in three legislative sessions that the bill to restore the choice of whole and 2% unflavored and flavored milk in schools has made it this far in the legislative process.

The Whole Milk for Healthy Kids Act will allow the 95% of schools that participate in the school lunch program to serve all varieties of flavored and unflavored milk, including whole milk. I am happy the majority of the committee finally decided to follow real science, not political science. No one is force-feeding anybody anything. It’s about providing options. We are all responsible for our own dietary choices and listening to what our body needs. 

“The bill provides children, parents and schools a wide variety of milk options to meet their nutritional needs,” said Michael Dykes, president and CEO of the International Dairy Foods Association. “Whole milk provides students with milk’s 13 essential nutrients for growth, development, healthy immune function and overall wellness. A wide majority of parents and medical and nutrition professionals know that offering whole milk increases school meal participation, reduces food waste and adds to the nutritional value of school meals for children and adolescents.”

Jim Mulhern, president and CEO, National Milk Producers Federation, said, “Good nutrition is a cornerstone of kids’ health and development, and milk plays an unparalleled role in providing the nutrients kids need to grow and thrive. However, most kids and adolescents do not meet the daily dairy intake recommendations made in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Kids take more milk, and drink more milk, in school when they have options they like. A growing body of evidence shows that dairy foods at all fat levels have a neutral or positive effect on health outcomes, ranging from lower prevalence of obesity and diabetes to reduced heart disease risk and healthy cholesterol levels.”

It is possible to make those flavored milk options lower in sugar content when you incorporate ingredient technology. Please explore the many options that will be showcased at IFT FIRST (Food Improved by Research, Science and Technology), which will be held at Chicago’s McCormick Place, July 16-19. 

I will be at IFT FIRST representing the many titles of Sosland Publishing, including Baking & Snack, Dairy Processing, Food Business News, Meat + Poultry and Pet Food Processing. Have something amazing to share? Link HERE to schedule a meeting.

Chobani is on board. The company recently launched Chobani Zero Sugar Drinks, an innovative zero-sugar offering in a convenient drink format that provides consumers with a protein-packed, on-the-go option made with natural ingredients. The new platform comes as Chobani’s Zero Sugar Greek Yogurt sees record sales growth as consumers continue to be conscious of sugar content.

Consumers want more protein and fiber and less sugar in their diet, according to the 2023 Food and Health Survey from the International Food Information Council. In fact, 37% of consumers surveyed equate “low in sugar” with a healthful food. This is noteworthy increase from 32% the previous year.

Chobani’s new line builds on its mission of making good food for all. It is an extension of the company’s zero sugar portfolio, which launched in 2019 with Chobani Zero Sugar Greek Yogurt cups and now holds a market share of 2.1% within the total yogurt category, according to Nielsen xAOC for the 52-week period ending April 29, 2023. For the same period, Chobani Zero Suga* contributed 37% to Chobani’s overall growth in the yogurt category.

Yogurt drinks are expected to own 21% of category sales over the next five years, according to Mintel data, making the decision to further expand into this burgeoning market more desirable. As part of the company’s focus on its zero sugar portfolio, Chobani recently invested more capital into its capacity and capabilities and expanded the production of zero sugar products into the Twin Falls, Idaho, plant to meet the ongoing demand.

An excellent source of protein and billions of probiotics, Chobani Zero Sugar Drinks are made using natural fermentation, where live and active yogurt cultures and probiotics eat the sugars found in milk. It’s sweetened with only natural sugar alternatives, free of lactose and preservatives, contains zero grams total sugar, serves as a good source of calcium and is only 50 calories per 7-fluid-ounce bottle. Varieties are Milk & Cookies, Mixed Berry, Peaches & Cream and Strawberry Cheesecake.

A shout-out to today’s blog sponsor, BENEO, who will be rolling out a new ingredient—a short-chain fructooligosaccharide (scFOS)--for sugar reduction and fiber enrichment at IFT FIRST. Consumers in the States are not the only ones looking to reduce sugar intake. Globally, more than one in two consumers (57%) state that “low in sugar” claims influence their purchasing decisions, according to the FMCG Gurus Global Clean Label & Naturalness Surveys 2023. 

scFOS is a fiber derived from beet sugar that offers a mild sweet taste, good solubility and natural credentials that can contribute to improved taste and texture, as well as possibilities for bulking in applications such as bakery, dairy and cereals. Using scFOS means replacing sugar while adding dietary fiber. This, in turn, improves the nutritional profile of a product, allowing manufacturers to achieve a better score for front-of-pack nutrition labeling systems worldwide.

got innovation? enter the execelerator
The 5th year of the Real California Milk Excelerator, in partnership with the California Milk Advisory Board (CMAB) and VentureFuel, is back. Do you have an innovation to submit to the contest?  

As the largest global dairy accelerator, the program seeks anyone building any product made with at least 50% dairy, including, but not limited to foods, beverages, personal care products, packaging, material sciences, textiles, pet products or anything else using dairy in an innovative way. This year’s competition offers a value of up to $500,000 in prize money and program value for products that introduce novel applications in any form and drive utilization of Real California dairy.

During the past four years, the Real California Milk Excelerator has worked with 45 startups across numerous categories including food, beverage, direct-to-consumer platforms, textiles and personal care. Representing nearly 40% of states across the U.S., program alumni have gone from idea to distribution with organizations such as UNFI and KeHE; and many can now be found on the shelves of retailers like Walmart, Safeway, Kroger, Amazon and Whole Foods.

“The program has grown and evolved over the last five years as we’ve had the pleasure of bringing some interesting, innovative and delicious products to the market using milk from our California dairy families. What hasn’t changed is our focus on creating the future for dairy product innovation in whatever form that takes,” says John Talbot, CEO of the CMAB. “Real dairy continues to be an attractive tool for product developers, with functional and practical benefits hard to replicate. The business insight, contacts, and tools this program offers, along with the marketing power of the Real California Milk seal, makes this a golden opportunity for brands.” 

Each of the eight participants selected for the 2023 cohort will have access to a group stipend and a robust network of resources to refine and scale their product and business. They will also participate in the CMAB/VentureFuel Mentorship Program, consisting of elite counsel from successful founders, investors, leading corporate executives, and experts across design, marketing, sales, manufacturing, distribution, farming and processing industries. Past mentors have included venture capitalists, successful entrepreneurs and executives from organizations like Unilever, UNFI and Mondelez, to name a few. The deadline to apply is July 7, 2023.

For more information, link HERE.

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