Friday, May 3, 2024

Explore Opportunities to Grow Dairy in Foodservice


Photo source: Black Rock Coffee Bar

TGIF! It’s been a tough news week for dairy with all the dramatized headlines and stories circulating about bird flu. Take time for you. Sit back and read about all the great dairy innovations being served outside the home.

Foodservice is one of the biggest opportunities for dairy innovation, real innovation, not just adding another slice of cheese to a sandwich or a dollop of sour cream to a baked potato. And remember, what’s happens in foodservice makes its way to retail. Here are some recent innovations to learn from. 

While saving the planet remains a challenging number-one, two or even three selling point at retail (shoppers prioritize taste, price and convenience), especially if the product costs a premium, the story is different at foodservice, where many diners choose an establishment for its sourcing and sustainability efforts, among other feel-good reasons. Shake Shack is one such place.

Neutral Foods has partnered with Shake Shack to supply its certified Carbon Neutral Whole Milk to more than 90 locations in the U.S. Operators use the milk to make the chain’s beloved hand-spun shakes.

“Shake Shack has always stood by its commitment to do the right thing since day one, and we respect its dedication to support American farmers who are investing in climate smart practices,” said Marcus Lovell Smith, CEO of Neutral Foods. “The scale, reach and popularity of Shake Shack has been integral to our foodservice business supporting our mission to radically reduce the carbon footprint of agriculture across the U.S.”

Neutral Foods partners with farmers across America to support carbon emissions reduction projects, which can reduce the carbon intensity of milk production. From researching feed supplements that can reduce enteric methane emissions to low-carbon electricity when using on-farm equipment like tractors and feed mixers, to off-farm processing, manufacturing and transportation, Neutral Foods invests directly with farmers to mitigate the climate impact of dairy farming.

“Staying focused on delivering the highest-quality ingredients and experience is core to what makes Shake Shack the brand it is today,” said Jeffrey Amoscato, Senior Vice President of Supply Chain and Menu Innovation at Shake Shack. “As many American farmers face economic challenges, Neutral Foods is partnering with them to innovate and find new ways to thrive and help our industry reduce its environmental footprint. This support is something we can certainly get behind as a company born in the hospitality business.”

Shake Shack first started its pilot with Neutral Milk at select Shake Shack locations in early 2022 and is now expanding to more locations across New York, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, New Jersey and Massachusetts. By using Neutral Milk, to date, Shake Shack has already avoided more than 375 metric tons of CO2e, equivalent to 873,000 miles driven by an average gasoline-powered passenger vehicle (source: US EPA Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator). 

Hopefully more foodservice brands will find a way to source better-for-the-planet dairy to assist with educating consumers. In the meantime, many are doing a great job at getting creative with dairy-centric menu items. 

For example, Chicken Guy!, the chicken chain owned by Guy Fieri and Robert Earl, is debuting the Berry Bomb Shake. It is described as hand-spun vanilla soft-serve with mixed berry puree, topped with fresh whipped cream and cinnamon toast crumble.

Yogurtland’s newest soft-serve frozen yogurts are on flavor trend. There’s Strawberry Matcha and Milk & Honey. Guests can also enjoy limited-time-only toppings such as Lychee Star Jelly and Strawberry Heart Jelly. 

Häagen-Dazs Shops are now serving a limited-time dessert, the New York Strawberry Cheesecake Dazzler. Available in Shops nationwide through June 14, the dessert is a playful take on New York’s renowned treat that honors the city where Häagen-Dazs Shops opened its first-ever bricks and mortar location.

The New York Strawberry Cheesecake Dazzler is a blend of Häagen-Dazs creamy cheesecake ice cream with a swirl of sweet strawberry sauce and graham cracker crust pieces, layered with fresh strawberries, graham cracker pieces, and topped with whipped cream and a strawberry garnish.

Coffee cafes are all about fluid milk, cream and dairy-based foams and froths. Tim Hortons is toasting to a quarter century of sipping on Iced Capps with the rollout of CARAMILK Iced Capp and the return of fan-favorite OREO DOUBLE STUF Iced Capp. All Iced Capps start with a base that’s a blend of coffee, cream, vanilla and brown sugar.

The CARAMILK Iced Capp features Tims original Iced Capp base along with a blend of milk chocolate chunks, a swirl of whipped topping and a drizzling of gooey caramel syrup. The OREO DOUBLE STUF Iced Capp blends the Iced Capp base with OREO cookie crumble and vanilla syrup, then adds a layer of vanilla-flavored whipped topping.
Tim Hortons also has a new Tiramisu Cold Brew. The coffee is steeped for 16 hours in the restaurant for an incredibly smooth and velvety taste. This gets mixed with tiramisu syrup and topped with an espresso-infused cold foam that is sprinkled with cocoa powder.

Black Rock Coffee Bar (pictured right), a national boutique coffee chain, has kicked off its Summer Daze Campaign, which includes new chilled beverages. Vanilla Cookie Mocha is a fusion of the chain’s full-bodied espresso stirred into white mocha and vanilla flavoring then combined with whole milk. The alluring sweetness of white mocha, and the comforting essence of vanilla is poured over ice and topped with a luscious crown of chocolate macadamia nut cold foam. 

Orange Dream Fuel is a blend of vanilla, orange zest and the invigorating kick of Black Rock’s Original Fuel energy drink. It gets crowned with a creamy orange cold foam reminiscent of childhood orange cream popsicles. The Orange Dream Fuel is served over ice or is available frozen. 

Dutch Bros Coffee is in on the coffee latte trend. Its latest innovation is the Churro Freeze, which features caramel coffee topped with a cinnamon sugar-flavored Soft Top and churro bits.

The Churro Freeze is a great treat for Cinco de Mayo, as is the new Waffle Ice Cream Taco at Cold Stone Creamery. At the heart of the Waffle Ice Cream Taco is the company’s signature Sweet Cream Ice Cream, which is nestled within a freshly made waffle taco shell. To elevate the experience, each taco is generously coated with rich, creamy chocolate and sprinkled with crunchy peanuts, creating a perfect blend.

Treat yourself this weekend to some dairy outside the home. 
(Need more flavor trend insights? Click on the Synergy banner below.)

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