Thursday, February 29, 2024

It’s Time to Innovate with Dairy: There’s a New Tool for That!


Cookie Wild is a unique spin on an ice cream bar. The new concept from Amazing Ice Cream consists of a chocolate-coated wafer cookie layered with chocolate fudge and premium ice cream, which is fully enrobed in a chocolate coating. What makes it stand out is the proprietary technology that keeps the cookie crunchy. Amazing Ice Cream will sample its bar at Expo West. 

Dairy Management Inc. is using Expo West to debut its new innovation tool geared toward assisting dairy entrepreneurs. The program—Innovate with Dairy--is made possible through the national dairy checkoff program. 

Innovate with Dairy is designed to be a one-stop shop for anyone seeking information about the innovation process. The tool gives entrepreneurs access to more than 250 vetted dairy resources, including many leading researchers and professors who comprise the checkoff-founded Dairy Foods Research Centers network. 

The tool helps identify high-growth health and wellness opportunities, along with attracting, stimulating and securing investment and talent in health and wellness science, technology and product innovation, according to Marla Buerk, executive vice president of innovation at DMI.

The tool is divided into three phases featuring tutorials that help entrepreneurs. 

Phase 1. Idea development: identifying the growth opportunity and developing the idea. This phase includes guidance on assessing technical and financial feasibilities.

Phase 2. Product development: developing the product, its name and what you need from a trademarking standpoint. There is assistance on package structure, graphics and finalizing the financial assessment.

Phase 3. Product launch: taking the product to market with a promotional and financing plan. This includes ideas and templates on how to approach investors and eventually monitor market results.

The DMI team wants to meet with dairy innovators at Natural Products Expo West in March to share insights about the tool and the dairy industry. Amazing Ice Cream is one of four innovative dairy companies that DMI is hosting at Expo West. The others are:

Darigold is debuting Darigold Belle Creamers (dairy-based, lactose-free creamers made with only five simple ingredients and no oils or fillers) and sampling Darigold FIT (lactose free, ultra filtered milk with more protein and less sugar than regular milk). 

Fiscalini Farmstead is a sustainable fourth-generation dairy farm that makes handcrafted cheeses.

Spare Tonic is a beverage that contains only four ingredients, is packed with probiotics and electrolytes and is Upcycled Certified for a healthy planet.

Explore these dairy innovations and meet with DMI at Booth N2326 in Hot Products (North Hall Level 200).

In addition, DMI is hosting an education session--What Consumers Really Want Top health & wellness needs and trends for food & beverages—on March 14 from 12:30 to 1:30pm at the Marriott Platinum Ballroom 5. 

Here are some highlights:
  • What Do Consumers Really Want? A study of more than 12,000 consumers conducted by ZS revealed over 50% of consumers in the U.S. are dissatisfied with the food and beverages they consume for health and wellness needs. This highlights a gap in nutritional fulfillment and a growing demand for health-enhancing foods. Dairy can do that!
  • DMI will discuss the top consumer needs and how to meet them, as well as bring them to life with the latest growth drivers and in-market innovation examples.
  • Five new dairy product innovations will be showcased: the four exhibitors plus GoodSport, a natural sports drink that’s been scientifically shown to provide rapid and long-lasting hydration and improve performance. 

New Research Identifies Opportunities for Aligning on Consumer Eating Occasions

Hot-off-the-press insights from FMI-The Food Industry Association, Oliver Wyman and Circana demonstrate new opportunities for food industry trading partners to cater to shoppers’ expanding definitions of value. The research--Finding Growth for Food & Beverage at Retail: Winning Eating Occasions throughout the Day--supports go-to-market strategies and ways that grocers can attract more shopper relevance regarding needs, experiences, tastes, rewards, health and, especially, convenience. 

“The research showcases how food and beverages that promote well-being, those that are competitively priced and products that are decidedly convenient to buy and prepare, will ultimately earn shoppers’ allegiance,” said Mark Baum, senior vice president of industry relations and chief collaboration officer, FMI. “We are witnessing shifts toward foodservice spending, a rise in digitization and return-to-office protocols that all provide food and beverage retail with opportunities to improve how they deliver on what matters most to consumers.” 

For instance, the research noted that while 87% of morning eating occasions and 76% of midday eating occasions are sourced from home, there is an increasing trend toward foodservice across many consumer segments, particularly Gen Z and Gen X, reflecting growing demand for convenience.

“Time is of the essence for Americans, especially when it comes to their morning routines,” said Sally Lyons Wyatt, global executive vice president and chief advisor, consumer goods and foodservice insights, Circana. “Sixty-five percent of morning eating occasions are prepared in less than five minutes.”

FMI Vice President, Research & Insights, Steve Markenson emphasized how retailers can share a compelling story for how these solutions meet the value-for-money and health preferences for busy consumers to prepare their midday food and beverages. He said, “The insights demonstrate how our industry can be successful by capitalizing on consumers’ shifting habits, especially when companies consider dayparts, such as snacks, to inspire experimentation and create new memories through food.”

Dairy innovation does that and a whole lot more!

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