Friday, June 28, 2024

The Pint Package Provides Contemporary Comfort, Community and Satisfies Curiosity.


“Special, yet approachable, with no real commitment” was a recurring theme at the Fancy Food Show. That is what you get with the pint package.

Pints are a powerful package size especially in the world of ice cream. By definition, pints hold 16 fluid ounces of product; however, for economics, some “pint” packs contain a little less.

Regardless of how much is inside, pints cost more--often a lot more—on a per-ounce-base than larger-sized ice cream containers. In fact, numerous artisan, hand-crafted brands command as much as $15 per pint at retail. Such smaller-sized containers, though more expensive, invite consumers to try “something new.” There’s less product, and thus less risk of waste if you don’t like it.

That “something new,” more often than not, speaks to many consumer desires. Ice cream has long been associated with providing pleasure and comfort. And that’s what consumers continue to crave.  

A resurgence of self-care and comfort eating in 2020 boosted ice cream and frozen novelties sales. This was followed by a period of steady inflation that made at-home frozen treating that much more appealing and budget friendly, according to the hot-off-the-presses report “U.S. Ice Cream and Frozen Novelties Market Report 2024” from Mintel. 

As inflation is cooling, consumers and younger generations are getting back to away-from-home frozen treating. This raises the bar for at-home expectations and perhaps even paving the way for a new wave of premium frozen treats.

“The comfort and joy found in frozen treating is solid, yet frozen treats can chip away and add occasions with formats, sizes and new-ish flavors,” said Kelsey Olsen, food and drink analyst at Mintel. “Credibility, novelty and high-impact benefits are key pillars of innovation and strategy in a competitive category wherein switching-out is commonplace.”

Consumers find comfort in traditional frozen treat flavors and have some sense of routine with product choices, but unique options bring the fun, too. In fact, three in four ice cream consumers agree that trying new flavors of frozen treats is a fun experience, according to Mintel.

This past week at the Summer Fancy Food Show in New York City, Nancy Kruse, a trend analyst, said that today’s consumers are curious and crave contemporary comfort, community and curiosity. These are all needs that innovative pints of ice cream can provide. 

She also said that consumers seek out food experiences that allow them to treat themselves, offering small escapes from daily life. Again, this is something pints do, and quite well. 

Pints of ice cream can provide a premium experience. Pints also help ice cream manufacturers overcome formulation challenges associated with adding lots of inclusions, especially variegates and fruit sauces that impact freezing temperature and product integrity over shelf life. Pints also allow for unique formulations, such as layers and cores. This is something Ben & Jerry’s taught the ice cream industry when the brand started packing in chunks, chips, swirls and all types of flavorful ingredients that could cause the aerated ice cream mixture to collapse in a larger-sized container that would go in and out of the home freezer for multiple eating occasions.

Here are a bunch of noteworthy recent rollouts, including many that debuted at the Fancy Food Show.

In case you missed this Daily Dose of Dairy posting this week, here’s a TikTok-inspired frozen dessert: FroCo. This first-of-its kind frozen dairy dessert starts with cottage cheese as its base ingredient. The product comes in 5-ounce single-serve containers and 14-ounce multi-serve pints in three varieties: Mocha Joe, Peanut Butter and Vanilla Bean. The product is enhanced with collagen. It’s marketed as having half the fat and seven-times the protein of regular ice cream. 

McConnell’s Fine Ice Creams and See’s Candies teamed up to roll out four limited-time ice cream pints. To develop the collaborative ice cream flavors, the McConnell’s and See’s teams innovated to merge the top beloved See’s Candies pieces with McConnell’s house-made artisan ice cream bases. Pints sell for $12. 

The flavors are:
Banana Cream with Toffee-ettes: ripe bananas pureed into Central Coast milk and cream, a salted caramel swirl and handfuls of See’s legendary Toffee-ettes (roasted almonds embedded in Danish butter toffee and enrobed in See’s creamy milk chocolate then rolled in more crunchy almonds)
Coffee with Molasses Chips: See’s dark and milk chocolate-coated, crispy molasses honeycomb wafers, bathed in medium-roast, coffee-infused, Central Coast grass-fed milk and cream, alongside swirls of decadent chocolate sauce

Chocolate with Polar Bear Paws: buttery caramel with salt-roasted peanuts enrobed in white chocolate and a peanut butter swirl in McConnell’s Dutchman’s Chocolate

Vanilla with California Brittle: See’s buttery almond brittle covered in rich, dark chocolate in McConnell’s classic, full-flavored (R.R. Lochhead) vanilla ice cream, topped off with even more crunchy, salt-roasted almonds and ribbons of chocolate ganache

Greece-based Kri Kri S.A. Milk Industry is bringing its authentic frozen Greek yogurt to the States. Varieties include Cherry, Hazelnut, Honey, Peach and Salted Caramel. 

A little closer to home, but still separated by the Atlantic Ocean, comes pints of Campverde Ice Cream and Sorbet from Matosantos Commercial Corp., in Puerto Rico. In addition to Chocolate, Strawberry and Vanilla, there are specialties such as coconut and Tropical Mix. The brand also has a line of pints that combine exotic fruits with whole milk yogurt, such as Acai Sorbet and Cream (opening photo). 

Amazing Ice Cream is all about creating “amazing” frozen desserts. The brand’s three newest ice cream creations are: Chocolate Raspberry (rich chocolate ice cream with ribbons of raspberry and crunchy berry crumbles), Speculoos Cookie (salted caramel ice cream with spiced crunchy Belgian style cookies) and Yuzu Lemon Cheesecake (tart, creamy cheesecake ice cream with a sweet lemony punch in flavor and crunch). 

Ben & Jerry’s never slows down. The brand rolled out a number of new flavors this summer, including  limited-edition Marshmallow Sky. This cool blue ice cream is packed with marshmallow and cookie dough goodness. The brand also reinvented the classic summertime campfire treat with an exciting peanut buttery twist. New PB S’more is toasted marshmallow ice cream, peanut butter cups, graham cracker pieces and marshmallow.

On a side note, earlier this week, a new study identified the most popular U.S. food snack brands based on YouGov data and social media popularity. Ben & Jerry’s secured the sixth spot with 1,020,212 Instagram hashtags. Data suggests that 97% of people have heard of the brand, making it one of the most famous dessert brands in the States. 

Graeter’s Ice Cream released its first Bonus Flavor of the summer in May. Limited-edition Peanut Brittle is a combination of a butterscotch base and praline peanuts, which results in a balance of smoothness and crunch, according to the company. Each Bonus Flavor remains a secret until the day of its release and is only available for a limited time, creating an urgency to purchase.  

There’s a new way to enjoy a root beer float and that is by the scoop. A&W Root Beer Float 
Ice Cream from Blue Bell features vanilla ice cream swirled together with an A&W Root Beer flavored sherbet. The limited-edition flavor is available in half-gallon and pint containers through 2025.

The Häagen-Dazs brand is growing its Pierre Herme Paris Macaron Ice Cream brand with
Vanilla & Blueberry. It’s described as “velvety vanilla ice cream with bursting blueberries and juicy blackcurrants, and mini purple macarons that provide a crunchy contrast against deep purple swirls of sauce.” The collection is available at retailers across Europe, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East, and in select international Häagen-Dazs Shops.

Alec’s Ice Cream, notably made with A2/A2 dairy and sustainably sourced regenerative organic ingredients, debuted nine premium craft ice creams this summer. 

The new flavors are:
Meyer Lemon Cookie: organic Meyer lemon ice cream, sweet lemon curd swirl and crunchy lemon cookie.
Triple Chocolate Blackout Cookie: organic chocolate ice cream with chunks of dark chocolate cookies and a fudge swirl.
Palm Springs Banana Chocolate Date Shake: an ice cream twist on Palm Springs’ famous “Date Shake” featuring Regenerative Organic Certified bananas with sweet dates, cinnamon and dark chocolate chips.
Nutty Butter Brittle: Regenerative Organic Certified salted almond butter swirled into browned butter ice cream with pieces of crunchy almond brittle.
Groundwork Coffee ‘N’ Toffee: cold-brewed Groundwork coffee, sweet cream and chocolate-covered toffee.
Maple Cardamom Candied Pecan: Regenerative Organic Certified maple syrup, roasted sweet and salty candied pecans, and a touch of cardamom.
Salted Dark Chocolate: organic dark chocolate from single-sourced natural cocoa and a sprinkle of sea salt.
Sea Salt Caramel: organic salted caramel ice cream with a sea salt caramel swirl.
Strawberry Oat Crumble: organic sweet strawberries paired with the warmth of a baked oat crumble in ultra-creamy ice cream.

July is National Ice Cream Month! It’s time to celebrate! 

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