Friday, March 23, 2018

Ice Cream Category Disruptor #1: Better-for-You, Higher-in-Protein Formulations

A new generation of ice cream entrepreneurs is disrupting the ice cream category, using everything from global and local flavors, small-batch and hand-packed options, and sports nutrition and snack products. Here’s a quick overview of the most disruptive trend in the U.S. ice cream market. It’s protein, and always dairy proteins, as only clean-tasting dairy proteins allow for heavy protein loads.

The number of such ice creams and frozen dairy desserts in the market continues to grow. Here’s something to know about many of them. The consumer they are attracting is not the ice cream shopper, it’s the protein shopper, the consumer who has grown tired of protein bars and beverages.

In some cases this is athletes, sports enthusiasts and fitness fans. Other times it is dieters or those managing their weight. And, then there’s the consumer who simply knows that protein satiates. All of these consumers are looking for new products to provide them high-quality protein. Ice cream is proving to be that product and whey ingredients typically that protein.

Many of these products are marketed by the content of the pint package they come in. Flagging calories is an important selling point. And while many of these products contain a noteworthy amount of protein on a pint basis. Some are unable to make a “good” or “excellent” source claim, as those are based on a per-serving basis; however, many are able to make these claims when they use the right combination of dairy ingredients and dairy proteins.

Wells Enterprises Inc., is the latest player to enter this growing frozen desserts segment. New Chilly Cow is made with ultra-filtered milk, which boosts protein content while providing for 55% fewer calories, 70% less fat and 60% less sugar than regular ice cream.
The new brand is rolling out this month in seven flavors, as a two-pack of half pints and in novelty bars. The flavors are: Brown Butter Salted Caramel, Chocolate Brownie Batter, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Cookies N’ Cream, Mint Dark Chocolate Chip, Sweet Cream Peanut Butter and Vanilla Graham Swirl. An 8-ounce tub flags that it provides 12 to 13 grams of protein, depending on flavor.

ProYo is reinventing itself to better compete in the category and is now sold as Swell Ice Cream. After conducting an in-depth consumer study, the company learned two things that were keeping it from connecting to frequent frozen dessert/ice cream shoppers. One was the ProYo name and the other was the packaging. Some consumers were confused by the name ProYo, wondering if it was ice cream, frozen yogurt or a novelty. Others felt that the bold, black packaging, and oversized protein callout on the front of the package resonated predominantly with men.

The new package features a clean, premium oceanic blue package that pops on the shelf. It highlights key points of differentiation like high protein, lower sugar and 120-calories per serving. Additionally, to meet demands for indulgent flavors with inclusions, each flavor is communicated with a photographed, single delectable scoop and color-blocked, front-of-pack flavor names and lids.

The ingredients and formulations of the ice creams have not changed. New Swell Ice Cream is not only low-fat (2.5 grams or less per half-cup serving), it also delivers a market-leading, excellent source of 10 grams of protein per 120-calorie serving (35 grams of protein per 14-ounce container). With the rebrand, the company is launching two new inclusion-laded flavors: Chocolate Chip Cookie Batter and Cookies ‘n Cream.

Arctic Zero, a forerunner in the better-for-you ice cream sector, is expanding its product line with new Arctic Zero Light Ice Cream. Made with real milk, cream and whey protein concentrate--yet only 280-360 calories a pint--Arctic Zero Light Ice Cream is naturally sweetened with cane sugar without any sugar alcohols or corn syrup. Arctic Zero Light Ice Cream joins the brand’s original whey protein-based and lactose-free Arctic Zero Fit Frozen Desserts.

One pint of Arctic Zero Light Ice Cream contains 8 to 12 grams of protein, depending on flavor, of which there are seven. They are: Chocolate Chunk, Cookie & Brownie Dough, Cookies & Cream, Mint & Chocolate Cookie, Peanut Butter & Chocolate Cookies, Toffee Crunch and Vanilla Bean.

“We heard our consumers loud and clear: even with indulgence, clean ingredients matter,” says Amit Pandhi, CEO of Arctic Zero. “Sweeteners are a significant issue of concern and conversation for consumers. Many of the lower-calorie ice creams in the category use questionable sweeteners like sugar alcohols that can cause bloating and digestion issues. Arctic Zero Light Ice Cream is naturally sweetened with cane sugar. We want people to feel good after indulging.

“While many people--particularly those with dietary restrictions--love our original whey protein-based, lactose-free Arctic Zero frozen dessert, others were looking for something more indulgent with a taste and texture like premium ice cream,” he says. “In the spirit of ‘no taste bud left behind,’ we set out to create a revolutionary everyday indulgence, a low-calorie ice cream that delights and truly satisfies.”

Ben & Jerry’s now offers Moo-phoria, a pint line with 60% to 70% less fat and at least 35% fewer calories than traditional ice cream. Each half-cup serving of Moo-phoria has 140 to 160 calories, depending on flavor, of which there are three. They are: Chocolate Milk & Cookies, Caramel Cookie Fix and PB Dough. Like all Ben & Jerry’s flavors, Moo-phoria doesn’t contain artificial sugar substitutes or sugar alcohols. The addition of nonfat milk enables a half-cup serving to contain about 3 grams of protein.

Yasso, a leader in frozen Greek yogurt bars, is launching frozen Greek yogurt in pints. Made with nonfat milk, Greek yogurt and milk protein concentrate, a half-cup serving contains 100 to 150 calories, and 5 to 6 grams of protein, depending on variety, of which there are eight. They are: Best of Both Swirlds,  Caramel Pretzel-Mania, Chocolate PB & Yay, Coffee Brownie Break, Loco Coco Caramel, Mint Champion-Chip, Party Animal and Rolling in the Dough.

Three Twins is now offering an organic higher-protein ice cream branded Slim Twin. A half-cup serving has 6 grams of protein, with each pint containing 24 grams of protein. The protein comes from nonfat milk, egg yolk and milk protein concentrate. The flavors are: Cardamom, Chocolate, Coffee, Cookies & Cream, Lemon Cookie, Mint Chip and Vanilla.

Last year, Unilever entered the category with Breyers Delights. And, both Enlightened and Halo Top, two of the original players, continue to grow their product offerings.

Want to learn more about the evolving ice cream category in order to best plan for future innovation? Plan to attend the International Dairy Foods Association’s annual Ice Cream Technology Conference April 10 to 11, 2018, in Fort Myers, Florida. For more information, link HERE.

Here are five reasons to develop high-protein ice cream:

1. Consumers want more protein.
Numerous surveys show that consumers are trying to increase their protein intake, as they understand protein satiates and builds muscle. It’s top of mind when consumers think about health and wellness. In fact, two thirds of Americans said they were seeking out protein in the diet, according to the 2016 Food and Health Survey from the International Food Information Council Foundation. This was a statistically significant increase compared to 2015.

2. Dairy proteins are high-quality, complete proteins. 
Not all proteins are created equal. Consumers are starting to understand that dairy proteins offer benefits that make them a higher-quality option than plant proteins. Dairy proteins have long been the protein of choice among athletes and frequent gym-goers.

There are two types of high-quality dairy protein ingredient options: whey proteins and milk proteins. Both are high-quality, complete proteins that contain all of the essential and nonessential amino acids the body needs. The difference lies in the dominant protein found in each one. With most milk protein ingredients, such as milk protein concentrates and milk protein isolates, casein is the dominant protein. The typical composition of these ingredients reflects what you find in cows milk, which is about 80% casein and 20% whey protein.

Whey protein ingredients, as the name suggests, are a concentrated source of whey proteins. For example, whey protein concentrate typically contains 34% to 89%, while whey protein isolate contains 90% or more.

Protein quality is quantified through the Digestible Indispensable Amino Acid Score (DIAAS) and the Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score (PDCAAS). The latter has long been the standard measurement. The newer DIAAS is proving to be a more accurate assessment of protein quality.

Dairy proteins have an exceptionally high DIAAS score because of the presence of branched-chain amino acids, which help stimulate muscle protein synthesis. Each dairy protein has more branched-chain amino acids than egg, meat, soy and wheat proteins. Whey protein, specifically, is seen as higher quality because of the presence of leucine, a branched-chain amino acid accountable for muscle synthesis.

3. Dairy proteins are versatile.
They have a neutral, bland taste that complements most foods and beverages, and they work especially well in ice cream. They readily dissolve in systems, with some proteins contributing creamy, dairy-rich whiteness, while others becoming invisible. In ice cream, dairy proteins have traditionally assisted with emulsification and freeze-thaw stability. The “extra” protein being added to high-protein ice creams may cause the product to be firmer with poor melt. Using multiple dairy ingredients and dairy protein blends may assist.

4. They are clean-label ingredients.
When Americans define what makes a food healthy, it’s becoming more about what is not in a food rather than what is in it. The presence of artificial ingredients and preservatives is a leading deal breaker when it comes to purchase intent. Dairy proteins have a positive image and are considered simple, clean, natural and wholesome ingredients. This is why formulators of all types of foods and beverages are seeking out dairy proteins for their product development efforts and making package claims such as “made with real dairy” and “contains quality dairy proteins.”

5. They build lean muscle mass and optimize athletic performance.
Numerous studies show that high-quality protein, most notably whey proteins, demonstrate a greater ability to stimulate muscle protein synthesis at rest and following resistance exercise. This is because whey is quickly digested and helps immediate protein synthesis by stimulating muscle growth and recovery. Casein protein provides similar effects in terms of muscle growth but is more slowly digested, providing longer-lasting protein synthesis.

According to Donald Layman, professor emeritus of nutrition at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, data indicates all humans need about the same amount of dietary protein every day for basic lean muscle repair and remodeling. To reap other benefits—those for optimum performance—one must consider the quality of the protein and the quantity of the protein at every meal and snack. Each primary eating occasion should include 30 grams of high-quality protein, including protein that is high in the branched-chain amino acid leucine. This is the amount of protein for the body to function at its best. Of all the protein ingredients available to food and beverage manufacturers, whey protein isolate contains the most leucine: 11%. Milk protein concentrate comes in second at 9.5%, followed by egg protein at 8.8%.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Natural Products Expo West 2018: “Fresh dairy” observations to influence your future innovations.

It’s been less than a week since the 38th annual Expo West wrapped up in Anaheim. It goes without saying that natural, organic and clean-label conversations dominated the exposition floor. After three days of observation and five days of digesting, I’ve identified three trends from the show that I believe are important to the fresh dairy industry moving forward, with fresh dairy being the fluid and cultured categories.

But first, something to take note of is the rise in foods for the keto diet. This is not to be confused with the paleo diet, which bans dairy foods. Daily nutrient intake for the keto diet is around 70% fat, 25% protein and 5% carbohydrate. High-fat dairy is welcome.  %20Dairy&utm_medium=Leaderboard_728x90_Static&utm_campaign=Ingredion_2018_Q1_Mar

It’s no wonder there was a plethora of baked 100% cheese snacks at the expo, many coming from traditional grain-based snack food manufacturers. For carb-avoiders, such cheese snacks provide the crunch they crave.

Riding the coattails of the keto diet is FODMAP, a category of carbohydrates linked to gastrointestinal distress in sensitive individuals. Not surprising, lactose is on that list. Thus, it makes sense for full-fat dairy foods to go the extra step and be lactose free.

Foods designed for improved gastrointestinal health also tend to contain probiotics and prebiotics, both of which were prominent at Expo West 2018. The terms were associated with everything from condiments to packaged salads, and of course, cultured dairy foods. But also, take note, dairy-free yogurt-type products now contain probiotics and are being marketed as gut-health foods.

To read an article on the keto and FODMAP trend, please link HERE to an overview written by my Food Business News colleague Monica Watrous.

Here are my three takeaways from Expo West 2018 for fresh dairy.

1. Grass-fed milk. Not only is it not for everyone, there’s not enough for everyone. But here’s the deal with grass-fed milk, and fresh dairy products made with grass-fed milk. Cows on a 100% grass-fed diet produce milk with a significant increase of omega-3 fatty acids and conjugated linoleic acid, as compared to conventionally fed (mostly grain) cows. This has been known for some time. A study showing this was published in the February 2018 Journal of Food Science and Nutrition.
These healthful fatty acids are in the fat component of milk, so it makes sense that grass-fed dairy products be whole milk. And what do keto dieters want more of in their daily diet?

Further, the grass-fed diet approach appeals to consumers striving for a more plant-based diet. Try this for a marketing spin: the original plant-based milk comes from cows who enjoy a 100% grass-based diet.    

Grass-fed dairy ingredients are a key differentiator for Picnik, an Austin, Texas-based coffee house that entered the ready-to-drink category in 2017 with a line of functional coffee-dairy beverages. The shelf-stable drinks are based on fair-trade coffee, grass-fed butter, grass-fed whey protein and medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil. The company says grass-fed butter fuels the body with a sustained, clean energy that satiates appetite and reduces cravings, while the grass-fed whey protein absorbs rapidly into the body to reduce hunger and sustain muscle growth. The MCT oil offers cognitive boost, supports fat burn and balances mood and hormone levels, while the coffee provides alertness. It’s a keto dieter’s dream beverage.

2. Skyr. This Icelandic yogurt is strained, much like traditional Greek yogurt. But whereas Greek yogurt’s primary appeal was protein content, skyr focuses on probiotics and minimal-to-no-added sugar, as well as protein. Traditional skyr was made with nonfat yogurt, mostly to keep protein levels as high as possible in order to fuel the Vikings who relied on skyr for daily nutrition. Today, the new-generation of skyr being produced in the U.S. is made with whole milk. Look for a number of new skyrs to be featured in upcoming weeks as a Daily Dose of Dairy. In the meantime, link HERE to some new products that rolled out earlier this year.
3. Probiotics. Yes, they are not only now common language and mainstream, they are in almost every food product imaginable. Add them to your dairy foods and market them LOUDLY! At Expo West, DanoneWave gave attendees a sneak peek to a recently developed probiotic shot-style product. Showcased under the trademark-pending brand The Cultured Beverage Company, the daily probiotic comes in plain and strawberry flavors. Each 3.1-ounce bottle contains 70 calories, 1.5 grams of fat, 10 grams of sugar and billions of probiotic cultures. 

Expect to see a lot more this year and next in the areas of grass-fed dairy (and meat), skyr and probiotics.

A shout out to my friends at DanoneWave. Loved the love!

It's time to turn dairy goodness into greatness! Love Dairy!  %20Dairy&utm_medium=Leaderboard_728x90_Static&utm_campaign=Ingredion_2018_Q1_Mar

Friday, March 9, 2018

Dairy Foods: Innovation Knows No Limits at Expo West 2018

Welcome to Expo West 2018, where there is an estimated 82,000-plus attendees exploring innovations from more than 3,500 exhibitors, of which 600 are first-time exhibitors. The first day of the expo—Thursday, March 8—was limited to educational sessions and table-top exhibitors in the new north halls.

There were many show-stoppers, with numerous being dairy based. There were also many that were not, but still provide inspiration for innovation. Come explore with me.

But first, the morning kicked off with Carlotta Mast, senior vice president of content at New Hope Network, providing insight to the state of the natural industry, which grew 6.5% to $207 billion in 2017. Natural, organic and functional foods and beverages are 70% of sales. These sales are growing about 10-times faster than total food and beverage sales.

This supports data from The Hartman Group that shows across all regions of the U.S., consumers agree that the two most important attributes when shopping for foods and beverages are what’s good for my heart and what’s locally grown or produced. There is no doubt that consumers continue to view food and beverages as the linchpin of achieving a health and wellness lifestyle. They seek food-and-beverage products with recognizable ingredients and minimal processing as cues for fresh, less processed.

Mast identified five food trends driving inspiration at Expo West 2018. By far, the leader is the Plant Revolution. There was everything from new meat and dairy alternatives, to condiments and smoothies, including frozen desserts, cultured products, burgers, nuggets and frozen meals.

Lifeway Foods is in. The nation’s largest kefir manufacturer debuted dairy-free Plantiful Plant-Based Probiotic. Available in 24-ounce plastic bottles in chocolate and vanilla, with other flavors to be decided soon, the live-and-active cultured beverage is made with organic ingredients, namely organic pea protein. An 8-ounce serving provides 11 grams of plant protein.

Honest Stand debuted a line of refrigerated dips based on blended potatoes, cashews and carrots with vinegar and seasonings. They were tasty! Varieties are: Cheddar-Style, Garlic Parm, Mild Nacho, Smoked Cheddar-Style and Spicy Nacho.

Another trend identified by Mast is Regeneration, also often referred to as Biodynamic. This is a nod to farming and manufacturing practices that restore vitality to the earth. Grass-fed falls into this category.

New Know Brainer Ketogenic Cream is based on medium-chain fatty acids and organic grass-fed butter. The creamers come in two varieties, either made with grass-fed milk and cream or made with almond and coconut milks. The no-sugar-added creamers are also enhanced with collagen protein and are described as “brain boosting, metabolism moving.”

There are a lot of new products designed for the keto and paleo consumer. This speaks to the third trend Mast identified: Having it Your Way. Some of this trend has to do with customization, but it also includes products that address specific dietary needs.

New vegan Cake Shake is a line of ready-to-drink no-sugar-added coconut milk shakes enhanced with medium-chain fatty acids. The single-serve glass bottles are intended to be shaken and consumed as a sweet treat, just without the added sugar. They are low in carbs and gluten free. Flavors are: Chocolate, Coffee, Strawberry and Vanilla.

The two other trends identified by Mast are The World Traveler and Waste Not. Examples of innovations supporting these trends include cold-pressed juice made from the lettuce leftovers that don’t make it into bagged salad, seasoned plantain chips made from rescued fruit and nutrition bars made with flour produced from the grain byproduct from beer production.

There were a number of innovations that showed everyday foods in a different format. Innovation knows no limits.
One that really stood out was EggLife wraps. Appealing to those on keto diets, these wrap are almost all egg white. They are free from dairy, gluten and sugars and contain less than 1 gram of carbohydrate, only 25 calories and 4 grams of protein per wrap. 

Riding the gluten-free protein trend, there’s new Pork Panko crumbs, which are made from pork skins. A half-cup of this breadcrumb alternative provides 5 grams of fat and 9 grams of protein.

Schuman Cheese is growing its wildly successful Whisps Cheese Crisps snack line with Bacon BBQ and Tomato Basil varieties. These join Asiago & Pepper Jack, Cheddar and Parmesan. Made with pure cheese, one serving of the gluten-free snack provides 10 or more grams of protein.

Sonoma Creamery is taking this baked/dehydrated cheese concept into a bar format. The new Cheese Crisp Bar is a crispy, savory snack bar baked from real cheese and simple ingredients. Varieties are: Bacon Cheddar, Everything Cheddar, Parmesan, Pepper Jack and Savory Seed. High in protein and low in carbs, there’s 0 grams of sugar and only 110 to 120 calories per two-bar pack.

Here are two prototype concepts to consider from BENEO. The first is Pro Carb Yogurt, which is an all-natural cultured dairy product loaded with protein while being packed with balanced carbohydrate energy. The product is designed to meet the current “sportification” trend, as well as serving as a nutritious breakfast or satisfying snack between meals. It is packed with dairy proteins and Palatinose for a balanced energy supply, so it keeps you going longer without a sugar rush and dip.

There’s also a concept for dairy-free almond lattes.

Over the next few weeks I will be featuring the many new dairy products making their debut at Expo West. The concepts range from extra-high-fat cream-on-top milk to no-curd cottage cheese snacks.

On a closing note, it’s great to see Gary Hirshberg, co-founder of Stonyfield Farm, actively back in the industry. Stonyfield is a company that grew from humble beginnings as a small organic farming school in New Hampshire 35 years ago into a leader in organic dairy. At Expo West, the company started a new chapter in its storied history with Gary’s return in the newly created role of Chief Organic Optimist. He will help accelerate Stonyfield’s long-standing mission of healthy people and a healthy planet through new products, partnerships and initiatives that embody Stonyfield’s, and Gary’s, innate activist spirit.

On a closing note, it’s great to see Gary Hirshberg, co-founder of Stonyfield Farm, actively back in the industry. Stonyfield is a company that grew from humble beginnings as a small organic farming school in New Hampshire 35 years ago into a leader in organic dairy. At Expo West, the company started a new chapter in its storied history with Gary’s return in the newly created role of Chief Organic Optimist. He will help accelerate Stonyfield’s long-standing mission of healthy people and a healthy planet through new products, partnerships and initiatives that embody Stonyfield’s, and Gary’s, innate activist spirit.

“Although we’ve never stopped working for healthy people and a healthy planet, everyone at Stonyfield agrees that the planet needs stronger voices now more than ever,” says Hirshberg. “Of course, just the daily act of supporting over 1,400 organic family farmers stewarding millions of chemical-free acres and helping tens of millions to enjoy delicious organic foods is meaningful, but in today’s policy and political landscape, all of that is not enough. It doesn’t matter to our children how much organic yogurt we produce, if their air, soil and water are seeing increased chemical contamination and climate change is causing massive damage to our communities and to agriculture.”

At Expo West, Stonyfield is arming attendees with tools and resources to get out to vote for this year’s mid-term elections, with the goal of encouraging consumers to vote for candidates who will help protect the environment. Expo attendees can visit one of five onsite Stonyfield “voting” booths, where they can select a postage paid postcard to mail to friends and family across the country that will connect them to online educational resources about the environmental issues at stake--and where the candidates stand on them--this November. Stonyfield is also encouraging attendees to pledge onsite to vote for candidates who will protect the environment and challenge recent EPA decisions such as the announcement this week to dissolve the Unit that tests the effects of chemicals exposure on children.

Hope to see you on the show floor the next couple of days!

Friday, March 2, 2018

Expo West 2018: Protein Preview

In less than a week I hope to see many of you in Anaheim at Expo West 2018, which promises to be the biggest and most diverse natural products exposition ever. This is due to the mainstreaming of organic and natural foods. What once was a venue for a group of tree huggers who embraced foods direct from Mother Nature, maybe produced with a little help from artisan craftsmen, now includes industrial manufactured products such as organic jelly beans and all-natural cola.

As the world’s largest natural, organic and healthy products event, the expo continues to serve as a reunion for many of the industry’s original players. I was not there in the beginning, but I do remember the early days…like the one “clothing optional, fig leave acceptable” year.

Not sure what year was my first, but I do remember there were only three dairies with booths larger than a tabletop. They were Stonyfield Farm, where Gary worked the booth in jeans and Birkenstocks; Organic Valley, which was then still referred to as CROPP, where George, in his predictable jeans and flannel shirt was advocating for national organic standards, and Horizon, still owned by its founding fathers, Mark and Paul, was the newbie in the trio, and had grand plans in place to make organic milk available nationally. Back then, the world was a much simpler place. How I miss those days.

But here we are, 2018! All indications are that protein will dominate the Expo West 2018 conversation, with animal protein and plant protein companies equally represented.

I’ve been writing a lot about plant proteins, as they are impossible to ignore. And they are not just for vegans and vegetarians.

“Vegetarians and vegans together account for less than 15% of all consumers and their numbers do not grow very rapidly, but a growing number of consumers identify themselves as flexitarian or lessitarian, meaning that they’ve cut back on their consumption of animal-based foods and beverages,” says David Sprinkle, research director for Packaged Facts. “It is this group that is most responsible for the significant and ongoing shift from dairy milk to plant-based milk.

“The point of non-dairy is to be non-dairy,” says Sprinkle. “Our research shows that among non-dairy milk alternative buyers in the U.S., only 5% are watching their diet for lactose intolerance, and only 11% are vegetarian/vegetarian leaning. In contrast, 82% of these non-dairy milk buyers also buy dairy milk or half-and-half.”

So I pose the question: can the point of dairy be protein…high-quality, nutritionally superior, complete protein?

Here’s one of my pre-expo observations to consider. Last year there’s was a great deal of anticipation for Bolthouse’s Plant Protein Milk. This year, unless they are sneaking one by me, their new dairy protein products are all the talk.

Bolthouse Farms, which is a part of C-Fresh, a division of the Campbell Soup Company, will be introducing the Bolthouse Farms B line of products, a new platform of lower-sugar, superpremium refrigerated beverages. The better-for-you Bolthouse Farms B Strong protein beverages contain 16 grams of protein (from whey) per 15.2-ounce bottle with 70% less sugar (16 grams total) than the leading refrigerated protein drink, according to the company. Monkfruit juice extract helps keep sugar content down. The protein drink comes in Chocolate, Coffee, Vanilla and Vanilla Chai flavors.

There’s also two new yogurt dressings: Avocado Green Goddess and Sweet Heat Sriracha. A two-tablespoon serving of any of the dressings in the yogurt range contains 1 to 2 grams of protein, from the yogurt, whey protein concentrate and often some cheese.

“We’re committed to creating more great-tasting and nutritious options to support consumers’ evolving lifestyles and nutritional needs,” says Todd Putman, general manager of C-Fresh. “Our new Bolthouse Farms dressing innovations and ‘B’ line of beverages offer consumers a greater variety of healthier options as they explore their wellness journey.”

“Great tasting” and “nutritional needs.” This is what you get with dairy proteins!

Stonyfield knows that. One of the new products the company will be showcasing at Expo West is Stonyfield Organic Kids Choco-Mooo low-fat yogurt pouches and tubes. This is the first chocolate-flavored yogurt designed to appeal to the taste preferences of children’s palates, as the product tastes like chocolate milk while containing 25% less sugar than most kids’ yogurts, as well as less sugar than most chocolate milks. One pouch contains 5 grams of protein.

There will be a number of newer innovative high-protein dairy products at Expo West that have had a makeover in order to better get their protein message out to the consumer. One of these lines comes from Wünder Creamery, which will be introducing Superdairy Quark.

The founders of Misha LLC are now releasing a new line of nutrient-rich super-dairy quark products under the name Wünder Creamery. The new name Wünder pays homage to quark’s international origins and emphasizes the product’s super (natural) dairy qualities. A beloved dairy staple in more than 20 countries across Europe and Central Asia, quark is currently a dairy anomaly in the U.S. Think non-tart yogurt meets rich crème fraiche.

In its home countries, quark is known for its high-protein content and creamy texture. Wünder Creamery’s quark stays true to its origins with added benefits. It is made using grass-fed whole milk, a special blend of cheese cultures from France and is powered by probiotics. The result is a good-for-your-gut snack that is packed with protein yet low in sugar.

“We feel that whole milk Wünder Creamery quark captures everything there is to love about this nutrient-rich super-dairy food,” says co-founder Kamilya Abilova. “High protein, low sugar and probiotics make quark a great option for a balanced diet. A tad of healthy fats adds to the mouthfeel and the flavor. It’s just one of those uncompromising snacks.”

Wünder Creamery’s quark cups will be available at select retailers beginning spring 2018. Flavors include Matcha, Coffee, Vanilla Bean Coconut, Raspberry and Blueberry in 5.3 ounce cups, as well as a Plain option (great for recipes) in a 24-ounce container.
Here’s another. After conducting an in-depth consumer study, ProYo learned two things were keeping it from connecting to frequent frozen dessert/ice cream shoppers. One was the ProYo name and the other was the packaging. Some consumers were confused by the name ProYo, wondering if it was ice cream, frozen yogurt or a novelty. Others felt that the bold, black packaging, and oversized protein callout on the front of the package resonated predominantly with men.

Frequent shoppers of the better-for-you ice cream category are looking for the best-tasting, premium option that also delivers on clean ingredients, and lower levels of calories, sugar and fat. As ProYo’s mission has long been to inspire its customers with the best-tasting, better-for-you ice cream that delivers bang-for-your-bite nutrition, there was a clear opportunity to better communicate the product’s leading points of difference.

The new package features a clean, premium oceanic blue package that will pop on shelf next to the competition with key points of differentiation like high protein, lower sugar and 120-calories per serving noted on front of pack displayed in a way that will resonate with both female and male buyers, according to the company’s research. Additionally, to meet demands for indulgent flavors with inclusions, each flavor is communicated with a photographed, single delectable scoop and color-blocked, front-of-pack flavor names and lids.

The ingredients and formulations of the ice creams have not changed. New Swell Ice Cream is not only low-fat (2.5 grams or less per half-cup serving), it also delivers a market-leading, excellent source of 10 grams of protein per 120-calorie serving (35 grams of protein per 14-ounce container), which comes from the milk and whey protein concentrate.With the rebrand, the company is launching two new inclusion-laded flavors: Chocolate Chip Cookie Batter and Cookies ‘n Cream.

Let’s reclaim the protein story! See you in Anaheim!

Friday, February 23, 2018

Yogurt in the U.S. in 2018. Three Concepts for Innovation Inspiration.

Many U.S. refrigerated yogurt retail departments are a disaster. There are too many options, too many flavors, too many package sizes. Yep, I write this blog on innovation and I’m going to be as direct possible, the refrigerated yogurt case does not need any more copycats.

Spring is in the air. How about cleaning up and paring down your mainstay SKUs. The refrigerated yogurt case does not need a blended low-fat cherry yogurt sold under seven different brands. That’s what I counted in a store the other day.

According to The Yogurt Market and Yogurt Innovation, 3rd Edition, from Packaged Facts, estimated total retail dollar sales of the U.S. yogurt market were $8.8 billion in 2017. Sales increased at a compound annual growth rate of 2% between 2012 and 2017. Volume sales were basically flat in the period. Greek yogurt was the primary driver of upward sales growth over most of the past 10 years.

“The novelty and popularity of this product resulted in Greek yogurt soaring from 1% of the market in 2007 to about half of all sales currently,” says David Sprinkle, publisher for Packaged Facts. “Over the last couple of years, however, growth of Greek yogurt slowed as the segment matured. The overall market has suffered since the underlying declines for traditional yogurt haven’t been offset as they previously were by the significant growth in the Greek segment.”

This report identifies a number of opportunities for growing the category. I am going to build on two of them and present you with three concepts for innovation inspiration.

The first opportunity is dairy alternatives. I discussed this last week. You can read more HERE.

“The U.S. yogurt market enjoyed a revival when Greek yogurt hit the shelves. But with Greek yogurt becoming mainstream, the market is ripe for a new disruptor,” says Sprinkle. “Dairy-free products, especially beyond soy, may be the longer-term solution to revive what has become a relatively flat market.”

The challenge with many of these alternatives in their nutritional inferiority, namely, they lack the powerful protein one gets in cows milk yogurt. So why not combine the two? Adding whey proteins to a cultured coconut base prevents a vegan claim, but it’s still vegetarian, and likely still appealing to that growing segment of the population described as Flexitarian or Lessitarian. It’s the allure of plant protein fueled by the power of whey.

I see this product as more of a drinkable, quite possibly with a smoothie descriptor. Merchandising in the produce department beverage sector would be ideal, but if not there, the value-added milk department makes more sense than that very confusing and congested yogurt case.

That brings me to the second opportunity—international influence--identified in the report. I will break this down into two innovation inspirations.

“There’s a new wave of international influences: skyrs by Icelandic Provisions and Siggi’s, now under Lactalis,” says Sprinkle. “There’s Australian versions such as Danone’s Wallaby Organic and French-accented versions such as General Mills’ indulgence-oriented Oui, in distinctive glass pots, and Liberté, with premium, on-trend flavors such as French Lavender. Innovation in flavor, texture and portability remains key to the market.”

Here’s an international influence that has gone largely ignored in the U.S. It’s pourable yogurt. This is not to be confused with drinkable yogurt, which is meant to be drunk. Pourable yogurt, as its name suggests, is meant to be poured on…to cereal, fruit, salad, etc. Quarts of kefir are the closest thing, and many consumers do use kefir in this manner.

Hopefully more consumers will explore how you can cook with kefir once The Kefir Cookbook, by Julie Smolyansky, CEO of Lifeway Foods, rolls out March 6. This first-of-its-kind cookbook features more than 100 globally inspired recipes using this popular probiotic and nutritious superfood.

Knowing Julie and her energy and commitment, I am confident this book will receive a lot of publicity. This is turn will encourage consumers to get more creative in the kitchen with kefir and other cultured dairy products. The time is right for pourable yogurt. 

One might argue that all a consumer needs to do is scoop a few spoons from a multi-serve tub of yogurt. It’s just not the same. And, for many, there’s the syneresis issue that compounds after every scoop.

Pourable yogurt is meant to be shaken and poured. It should flow easily. It can be enhanced with vitamins, minerals, probiotics, prebiotics and protein for extra nutrition. But even more importantly, the product can be merchandised in the valued-added milk case. That’s where you find cultured buttermilk.

Now here’s that international influence. It’s called Filmjölk, or simply fil. This is a traditional fermented milk product from Sweden, and a common dairy product within the Nordic countries. It tends to have a mild and slightly acidic taste and is designed to be poured.

Here’s the second spin to the international innovation opportunity. David Sprinkle says that innovation in flavor, texture and portability remains key to the market.

That’s what you get with Alove from Morinaga Nutritional Foods Inc., the U.S. arm of Japanese dairy giant Morinaga, which has been successfully selling aloe yogurt in Japan for years. The brand debuted at Expo West 2017 and has not stopped growing. Alove is a kosher-certified yogurt snack that contains aloe, which is made via Morinaga’s proprietary process of removing fresh aloe from aloe plant leaves, the best and tastiest parts. This then gets mixed into creamy yogurt. The product is made in the U.S. using locally sourced California milk. The product does not contain high-fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors or gluten. It made its original debut in Blueberry, Original Aloe and Strawberry flavors and just last month Peach, Kiwi and Vanilla joined the lineup. The brand also has big news for Expo West 2018, which is less than two weeks away. But it’s embargoed, so you will need be patient for the details.

Alove cups are described as a thinner yogurt compared to conventional and Greek. The product gets a protein boost from whey protein isolate. The aloe contributes a unique texture to the product and is associated with internal healing, cleansing and repair. Some studies show an association with boosting immunity and heart health.

“Yogurt fans have eagerly expressed enthusiasm for international styles of yogurt, such as Greek and Icelandic, over the past few years. We strongly believe that aloe vera yogurt is poised to be the next category craze,” says Hiroyuki Imanishi, president and CEO of Morinaga Nutritional Foods. “The in-depth research we conducted before launching in the U.S. indicated consumers have great interest in our Japanese-style aloe vera yogurt, which is a silkier, smoother style of yogurt mixed with succulent cubes of aloe vera.”

In conclusion, Packaged Facts analysists have high hopes for the yogurt category. So do I!
The report projects that retail dollar sales of the yogurt market will reach $9.8 billion in 2022. Yogurt drinks will continue to grow in popularity, with sales increasing to drive overall market gains. Declines in the spoonable segment will abate, and sales will stabilize as major marketers respond to opportunities in growth niches, particularly in plant-based alternatives. For more information on the report, link HERE.

Hopefully these three concepts provide innovation inspiration.