Friday, May 18, 2018

Dairy Goodness: Be Transparent in Product Development

“Science says we can. Society questions if we should.”

Charlie Arnot, CEO of The Center for Food Integrity said this at the 2018 Food & Agribusiness National Conference on May 17, 2018, in Minneapolis. Organized and hosted by the law firm Faegre Baker Daniels, Arnot and I spoke on the topic of transparency in today’s food industry.

That statement says a great deal regarding where we are in today’s food culture. Just because something is scientifically feasible does not mean consumers will accept it. And if we want them to accept it, we better explain it to them. That’s the foundation of transparency in food manufacturing and marketing; however, there are many degrees to which one can be transparent.

Please take a moment to view this VIDEO on Colin the chicken to see just how far transparency can go with food.

There’s no denying that transparency is paramount in today’s food culture.

Transparency is the currency of trust, according to Deborah Arcoleo, director of product transparency at The Hershey Company. In April 2015, Hershey published a complete ingredient glossary on its website. You can view it HERE.

With this disclosure, Hershey owns its story. To preserve dairy’s goodness, processors must own their story, too. The absence of information allows someone else to “make up” a story, which in this day and age takes seconds to share via social media.  utm_source=berry_on_dairy&utm_medium=enewsletter&utm_term=728x90&utm_campaign=uscan_  dairy&utm_term=texture

Hopefully you found humor with the Colin video, which came out about seven years ago. But here’s a company that is almost at that level of transparency.

Fishpeople Seafood was founded in 2012 to “re-imagine North America’s relationship to the sea.” The company’s passion for sustainability is helping restore habitats and peace-of-mind to fish lovers nationwide. All of Fishpeople’s seafood is responsibly sourced and sustainably caught in the Pacific Northwest by independent American fishermen, according to Ken Plasse, CEO. Packages provide the story of the place where the fish was raised. For more information, consumers can use the tracking code on the package to learn about where the fish came from, how it was caught and the full journey from waters to package.

“That’s right, we’re talking ridiculous transparency,” said Plasse at the Association for Corporate Growth conference in Chicago on April 19, 2018.

This is the future of food and the dairy industry is well poised to tell more of its story. Check out this VIDEO on “The best of dairy made better.” Learn how ingredients can work for your product. Communicate the role of various ingredients to consumers. Shoppers want to know it.

The 13th Annual Food and Health Survey from the International Food Information Council (IFIC) Foundation published this week. Data supports why transparency will become more important in food marketing. It should encourage dairy processors to be louder with their story.

Eight in 10 consumers said there is a lot of conflicting information about what foods to eat or avoid, a number similar to 2017. Of those people, 59% say that conflicting information makes them doubt their food choices.

“This dietary disconnect—the inability to connect specific foods and nutrients to desired health outcomes—illustrates the need for stronger, clearer, nutrition education based on the best available evidence,” says Joseph Clayton, CEO of the IFIC Foundation.

“Food values” continue their growth as a factor in consumers’ decision making, with organics increasingly popular in purchasing choices. When shopping for foods and beverages, 29% buy those labeled “organic,” up from 25% in 2017. Thirty-seven percent of shoppers bought foods and beverages billed as “natural,” up from 31% in 2017.

The importance of sustainability in food production also loomed larger in 2018, with 59% of consumers saying it’s important that the foods they purchase and consume be produced in a sustainable way, jumping up from 50% in 2017.

But in the end, the key drivers behind consumers’ food and beverage purchases are largely unchanged in 2018. “Taste” still reigns supreme (as it has every year the Food and Health Survey has been conducted), with 81% saying it has at least some impact in their buying decisions, followed by familiarity (a new addition in this year’s survey, at 65%), price (64%), healthfulness (61%), convenience (54%) and sustainability (39%).

Perhaps unsurprisingly in the current communications environment, consumers are averse to artificial ingredients, at least compared to the alternatives. When asked to choose between two versions of the same product—an older one that includes artificial ingredients and a newer version that does not—seven in 10 (69%) chose the product with no artificial ingredients, while one-third (32%) chose the one containing artificial ingredients.

The survey also asked those who preferred a product with no artificial ingredients how much they would be willing to pay versus a similar product with artificial ingredients that cost $1.00. An impressive 62% said they would pay up to 10% more ($1.10) for the product without artificial ingredients; 42% would pay up to 50% more ($1.50) and 22% would pay double the price ($2).

Communicating price increases is part of the transparency story.

Context is also key in how consumers perceive the healthfulness of two products with otherwise identical nutritional content. When asked to identify the healthier of two products with the same Nutrition Facts, 40% perceived one labeled “non-GMO” as healthier vs. 15% for one with genetically engineered ingredients, and 33% believed a product with a shorter ingredient list was healthier than one with more ingredients (15%).

Again, this is why transparency is so important. Explain the purpose of ingredients. It might be for color, to preserve flavor, to keep it safe, etc. Tell the story. Shoppers are reading the Nutrition Facts and the ingredient legend. They want to know more. The IFIC survey showed that more than half of consumers look at the Nutrition Facts panel or ingredient list often or always when making a purchasing decision.

Shoppers expect food manufacturers to be transparent with product ingredients, manufacturing processes and sourcing practice, according to data compiled by McKinsey & Company.

Research from The Hartman Group confirms that consumers want more information about a company’s economic, social and environmental practices. The more the better. While information about practices directly connected to the product or service is most essential, consumers are also interested in broader corporate practices.

It is not about the quantity of the information. It’s about the quality of the information. It is also the content of the information and the manner in which it is given. Consumers evaluate a company’s transparency in terms of access to its values, policies and practices, and the openness of communication between a company and its customers.

“Transparency is more than enabling a moral evaluation of trustworthiness for brands; it is a way for companies to reveal details about production and sourcing that enable consumers to find higher-quality distinctions otherwise concealed in conventionally marketed branded commodities,” says Laurie Demeritt, CEO of The Hartman Group.

While it’s rarely a primary driver of purchase, transparency attributes on a product can potentially settle a competitive draw in otherwise identical products where what is being communicated makes sense. The strongest transparency attribute today made on packaging in terms of relevance to consumers is “how it was made.”

This is huge for dairy’s goodness. Let’s get louder and tell our story. 

Separately, interested in learning more about formulating high-quality dairy and non-dairy frozen desserts? Plan to attend Session 26 “It’s a New Day in Frozen Desserts: Decode the Latest Healthy Snack Channel Through Robust, Value Added Formulation” at IFT18, the annual scientific meeting and exhibition of the Institute of Food Technologists, which will take place July 15 to 18 in Chicago. Link HERE for more information.

The session takes place Monday, July 16, from 3:30pm to 5:00pm (room N427D). Speakers will focus on formulating value- and nutrition-added frozen desserts, including new sensory evaluation research for these on-trend innovations. A variety of functional ingredients will also be discussed, from stabilization to new technologies in reducing added sugars to protein and fruit and vegetable sources. Manufacturing experts will also discuss formulation and processing challenges.  utm_source=berry_on_dairy&utm_medium=enewsletter&utm_term=728x90&utm_campaign=uscan_  dairy&utm_term=texture

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Next Generation Coffee-Dairy Products

Photo source: Starbucks

Now that spring has finally arrived in Chicago, I find myself taking afternoon walks to Starbucks for a little pick-me-up beverage. I most recently enjoyed the Cold Foam Cascara Nitro Cold Brew, which uses velvety Nitro Cold Brew without ice (but I had a few cubes added, as I was walking, and the sun was warm). It was topped with subtly sweet cascara cold foam and cascara topping.

Wow! Talk about a smooth coffee drink. This is the quality consumers are starting to expect in the ready-to-drink sector. From the coffee to the froth, this beverage satisfied, and a grande was a mere 80 calories!

While rich, steamed milk foam has been a hallmark of Starbucks coffee, cold foam is a modern twist designed to be the perfect finish to cold beverages. Frothed cold instead of hot by blending nonfat milk until it is smooth, the foam provides layers of creamy texture and flavor without the milkfat.

Oh, and if you are wondering what cascara is, it happens to be one of the hottest ingredients being added to coffee beverages.  utm_source=BerryonDairy&utm_medium=728x90&utm_campaign=SynergyPureColdBrewCoffee&utm  _content=AnimatedBanner

Stumptown Coffee Roasters provides this description for cascara:

Coffee beans are the seed of a fruit, commonly referred to as a coffee cherry. This small, fleshy fruit can vary in color based on its variety, but is most often yellow or red when ripe. The cherry itself contains caffeine (that’s how coffee gets its caffeine) and is high in antioxidants. The fruit protects its seeds as they grow and develop by deterring insects and other wildlife that could prevent the development of the seed.

The process of pulping removes the seed from its cherry. When the seeds are roasted, you get coffee. But what happens to the cherries that worked so hard to protect those coffee beans? Typically, the cherry is discarded once it is separated from the seed. In some cases, coffee cherries can be turned into compost and used on the farm as fertilizer.

Now it’s being used in coffee beverages for extra caffeine and a layer of flavor. It is often described as having a sweet, fruity taste with notes of rose hip, hibiscus, cherry, red current, mango or even tobacco. It’s delicious.

There have been a number of premium innovations in the ready-to-drink coffee-milk category around the world. Many provide added value in terms of nutrition. 

Some include cascara, such as SlimFast’s new SlimCafé, which comes in Mocha Macchiato and Caramel Cappuccino flavors. Crafted from real brewed coffee and milk, these rich and creamy iced beverages are a true indulgence. SlimCafé offers consumers a smarter creamy coffee choice, with a boost of natural energy. It has zero added sugar and 82% less sugar than many other coffeehouse beverages. And with 10 grams of protein (from reduced fat milk and milk protein concentrate) and only 120 calories, SlimCafé is a smart snack that can be enjoyed while following the clinically proven SlimFast Plan…or not.

“Whether you’re simply watching your calories or trying to lose weight, one thing we know for sure is people never want to give up their coffee,” says SlimFast CEO Chris Tisi. “We set out to find a way to give people that delicious, decadent flavor they expect from a latte, without all of the sugar and calories.”

A decadent innovation comes from Coca-Cola South Pacific, which has launched a new dessert-inspired flavored coffee-milk range to the Australian market. Sold under the Barista Bros banner, new Café Creations line comes in Butterscotch Brownie, Dark Chocolate Fudge and Toffee Almond Panna Cotta flavors.

Coca-Cola says it launched Café Creations to attract new male and female consumers to the flavored milk category. The rollout comes after the successful introduction of Barista Bros Mocha chocolate-flavored coffee in 2017.

Earlier this week I featured JoeFroyo as a Daily Dose of Dairy. JoeFroyo Functional Cold Brew combines the kick of caffeine from cold brew coffee with probiotics and protein from drinkable yogurt. Free from artificial colors and sweeteners, and containing no lactose, gluten or preservatives, the drink is fortified with milk protein isolate and whey in order to deliver 15 grams of dairy proteins per 12-ounce bottle. The refrigerated drink uses high-pressure processing to extend shelf-life without relying on chemical preservatives.

“The functional beverage market is seeing exponential growth right now, but wherever we looked, we could see drinks that sacrificed taste for benefits or benefits for taste,” says Zach Miller, president and CEO. “With JoeFroyo, we tried to create a functional beverage that checked all the boxes. It’s full of long-lasting energy, natural health benefits and we never compromise on great taste.”

A 12-ounce ready-to-drink bottle contains 270 to 290 calories, 3 to 4 grams of fat, 27 to 28 grams of sugar, and 15 to 16 grams of protein, depending on variety, of which there are three. They are: Espresso, Latte and Mocha flavors.

And though this next beverage innovation does not contain dairy, it shows you the sophistication of ready-to-drink cold-brew coffee.

7-Eleven is rolling out Fizzics Sparkling Cold Brew Coffee in the first self-chilling cans available to the public in the U.S. The innovative Chill-Can technology filled with the Fizzics coffee drink is being tested at 15 Los Angeles-area 7-Eleven stores. The beverage comes in Regular, French Vanilla and Caramel flavors. It is made with 100% Arabica beans and all natural flavors, with each 8.4-ounce can of the fizzy brew containing only 50 calories, 10 grams of sugar and about 80 milligrams of caffeine.

The Chill-Can containers are purchased at ambient temperature and chilled when ready to consume. When activated, the patented technology utilizes reclaimed carbon dioxide and the process automatically chills the can and the sparkling coffee beverage inside.

“Because the self-chilling can technology is so groundbreaking, we wanted to introduce it with a super innovative beverage,” says Tim Cogil, 7-Eleven director of private brands. “Sparkling coffee sodas met all the criteria. Previously available in some coffee shops, a handful of exclusive canned carbonated brews began showing up last summer. Fizzics will be the first that can be chilled on demand, bringing a new level of convenience to customers who want to enjoy a chilled drink whenever and wherever they are.”

Remember, cold-brew coffee is not limited to beverages. Tillamook recently teamed up with Stumptown to offer Tillamook Stumptown Cold Brew Coffee Whole Milk Farmstyle Greek Yogurt. The new variety is one of four new Greek yogurt flavors that Tillamook is introducing this year. The collaboration with Stumptown is the second from the two powerhouse brands. The partners also introduced a cold brew coffee ice cream in 2016.

Happy Mother’s Day weekend to all the moms out there. I hope you are served a delicious coffee-milk beverage in bed!  utm_source=BerryonDairy&utm_medium=728x90&utm_campaign=SynergyPureColdBrewCoffee&utm  _content=AnimatedBanner

Friday, May 4, 2018

Second Breakfast: An opportunity for dairy foods to be part of the mid-morning mini-meal.

The second breakfast, as the name suggests, is a meal consumed after breakfast and before lunch. Some might call it a mid-morning snack, but in the past month I’ve heard the term “second breakfast” used more than a dozen times, as it suggests a heartier snack, something more than simply a stand-alone bar or a smoothie. It’s more of a multi-component mini-meal with some interactivity.

The second breakfast is not new. It’s a traditional meal served in Germany, Hungary and Poland. It’s a coffee break, often with pastry, soft pretzel or toast, and cold cuts or sausage, sometimes with cheese or a hard-cooked egg. Sounds a lot like some of the protein snack packs rolling out in today’s marketplace.

For those of you who are fans of hobbit-based novels, you may be aware that these fictional creatures of small size with hairy feet like to eat six to seven mini-meals a day, including the second breakfast.

It’s time to get creative with this daypart meal and make sure dairy is part of the mix. It’s an excellent opportunity to offer consumers flavor adventure.

Take note, most consumers’ eating routines are still defined by breakfast, lunch and dinner. Consumers adapt their mealtime priorities to fit their needs, which vary by individual, household and even by the day, according to the “Transformation of the American Meal 2017” report from The Hartman Group.

The report explores how traditional notions of the mealtime and meals have evolved and what remains the same. It pinpoints new occasions and opportunities emerging from consumers’ changing habits and needs, and shows what traditions or assumptions about mealtimes no longer hold true.

“Long-term shifts in American culture have reshaped the way we live and eat today,” says Laurie Demeritt, chief executive officer at The Hartman Group.“People are snacking throughout the day, eating alone in greater numbers. Shopping for food, dining out and planning what to eat have all changed dramatically in the past few decades as American food culture has shifted to prioritize, on the one hand, greater customization to personal tastes and needs—especially through healthier, fresher, less processed food—and on the other hand, our continuing and undiminished desire for convenience, variety and good value.”

What does this mean for your business?

“The gap between the ideal meal and most consumers’ reality is largely the result of the deprioritization of meals and cooking,” says Demeritt. “Rather than schedule our days around mealtimes, we schedule our meals around everything else that might be going on in our days.”

She explains that breakfast is highly functional, driven by habit and the need for morning energy. Lunch often falls victim to snacking. Most are simply eating to get through the afternoon until dinner.
Hence, the opportunity for the second breakfast. The time is right to make sure dairy is part of this mini-meal.

The term second breakfast appeals to those consumers who might get stressed out about choosing a healthful snack. It gives them permission to eat when they are hungry from around 10:30am to 11:00am.

“Often at the crux of consumers’ snacking tensions is the (im)balance between intentionality and aimlessness,” says Demeritt. “Aimless snacking is a snacking occasion with feeling either ‘I was just eating out of habit’ or ‘I had no particular emotional feeling at all.’”

Technomic’s recently released “2018 Snacking Occasion Consumer Trend Report” reveals that not only are views on snacking broadening, but consumers are also more likely now than in 2016 to replace one or two meals per day with snacks. While most consumers eat three meals a day with a few snacks throughout, the gap between eating three meals per day and replacing meals with snacks is narrowing.

“As busy consumers continue to seek convenience and increasingly replace meals with snacks, look for grab-and-go boxes and heartier snacks…to fill the hunger gap,” says Kelly Weikel, director of consumer insights for Technomic.

Key takeaways from the report include:
  • 80% of consumers say they snack at least once a day
  • Consumers who replace meals with snacks are most likely to replace lunch
  • 37% of consumers say that any food can be a snack if the portion size is small

Here are some of my ideas:
  • Think beyond cheese cubes in refrigerated snack packs. Why not cottage cheese, maybe in a blended dip or spread format with a side of whole grain crackers or jerky chips?
  • How about spreadable cheese or protein-enriched yogurt or sour cream-based dip?
  • Or dairy-filled, chocolate-covered snacking squares, with a side of almonds?
  • Even ice cream can become compartmentalized with healthful inclusions such as nuts, seeds and whole grains for mixing in.

With all of these innovations, protein should be a focal point, as protein satiates, thus curbing appetite until lunchtime rolls around. Protein is also associated with increasing strength, building muscle, enhancing recovery, slowing age-related muscle loss and more. Dairy proteins also contain all the essential and nonessential amino acids, thus they are a complete protein.

While writing this on Thursday morning, I was enjoying my second breakfast of grape tomatoes, quinoa crackers and pimento cheddar cheese spread that I blended with whey protein. Fortunately for me, I work from home and was able to make this myself. A snack pack of something similar would be great for office folks.

That’s what The Chaat Company now offers. The company is reinventing itself with mini-meals that can function as a second breakfast, or as a heartier portable snack for other dayparts. About two years ago, the company rolled out Savory Yogurt Snack, a line of dome-style single-serve cups of whole milk probiotic savory yogurt with lentil puff topping. It was designed to resemble the “street food” of India, which is the translation of chaat.

The product immediately got the attention of Whole Foods. And for about a year the company spent time sampling the product, but always in the yogurt department. This was just not working out, because as we all know, the dairy department is crowded, confusing and also geared towards breakfast or as a sweet snack.

The company regrouped. After researching the retail landscape, they decided their chaat needed to be in the prepared foods/grab-and-go-aisle.

“This is where consumers are exploring,” said Anshu Dua, co-founder, at the American Food Innovate Summit held in Chicago February 4-5, 2018. “They are less price sensitive and it’s an area where many retailers are investing. Grocers are already successful with ethnic offerings in this space, which is geared towards lunch, dinner and snacking.

“Chaat fills our target (millennials and Gen Z) audience’s desire for flavor adventure,” he said.

One of the products is New Delhi Nachos, which is known as Papri Chaat in the streets. This build-your-own snack box comes with crunchy chickpea chips you top with fresh chopped fruits and veggies and a spiced tamarind yogurt.

There’s also Punjabi Puffs. Known as Dahi Puri in India, this mini-meal comes with puffed crackers you pop open and fill with garam masala spiced chickpeas, yogurt and chutneys.

“Open wide and eat in one bite,” says Shiraz Noor, co-founder. “You’ll never reach for those potato chips again.”

BREAKING NEWS…During my second breakfast, news broke regarding FDA’s planned delay for implementation of an updated Nutrition Facts. Compliance dates for manufacturers with $10 million or more in annual food sales are now being pushed from July 26, 2018, to Jan. 1, 2020, while compliance dates for manufacturers with less than $10 million in annual food sales will move from July 26, 2019, to Jan. 1, 2021.

Photo source: ESHA Research

“This extension on the Nutrition Facts label regulation will help ensure that we provide the food industry with guidance to help them modernize their Nutrition Facts labels and that industry has sufficient time to complete and print updated Nutrition Facts labels,” according to FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb in an issued statement. “It’s crucial that we provide clear expectations so that industry can meet them.”

Among the changes under the rule, manufacturers are required to revise the nutrition label format to make the calories more prominent, list the amount of “added sugars” in grams and update the list of vitamins and minerals.

There are also changes to serving sizes. Manufacturers must label containers of food that can be consumed in one sitting as a “single-serving container” and include dual columns on certain foods that can be consumed in one or multiple sittings that list both “per serving” and “per package” calorie and nutrition information.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Sports Nutrition: A Growth Opportunity for Dairy Processors

The U.S. sports nutrition market was valued at $28.4 billion in 2016 and is expected to reach $45.3 billion by 2022, reflective of a compound annual growth rate of about 8%, according to Zion Market Research. The company recently issued a report titled Sports Nutrition Market (Sports Food, Sports Drink & Sports Supplements): Global Industry Perspective, Comprehensive Analysis, and Forecast, 2016 – 2022.

Sports nutrition is all about improving athletic performance. The target audience includes everyone from professional and academic athletes to workout aficionados and eight-hour day employees who want to take out their bureaucratic frustration on a punching bag. Sports nutrition products include foods, beverages and supplements specially formulated with macro and micronutrients that assist with overall health, performance and muscle development. Protein is the focus of many of these products, with whey proteins often the star attraction.

“With a growing focus on a healthy lifestyle, consumers are choosing products that promise additional benefits,” says Manjunath Reddy, a lead analyst at Technavio market research. “This has significantly propelled the global sports nutrition market among health-conscious consumers.”

The sports nutrition market has changed in recent years from being a niche sector of specialty products to being a mass-market lifestyle. While bars dominate the sector, followed by beverages, shoppers are seeking out other food formats to get the nutrients they need to perform at their best.

Technavio researchers agree that there will be significant growth in the U.S. sports nutrition market due to an inclination toward healthy eating and a growing number of health clubs and fitness centers. This trend is more prevalent among the younger population.

This presents a growth opportunity for dairy processors. It’s time to innovate for the sports nutrition aisle – and specialty stores and the cafes inside gyms -- and not just the dairy case.

It was not that long ago that supplements – pills, powders, gels, etc. – were the go-to for many seeking out athletic improvement, health and wellness. This has changed dramatically over the past couple of years, as was apparent at the 38th annual Natural Products Expo West that took place March 8 to 11, 2018, in Anaheim, California. Noticeably on the expo floor, less space was dedicated to supplements than in years past. This is likely attributed to the fact that today’s consumers are increasingly seeking out natural, organic and functional foods for short- and long-term health and wellness. And, manufacturers are delivering. Dairy processors, this is a HUGE opportunity.

Recognizing that protein is a crucial part of a high-performance diet, especially for athletes who are aiming for best-in-class status, and that National Collegiate Athletic Association rules ban many dietary supplements, companies are getting creative with their marketing of sports nutrition foods and beverages on university campuses.

Here’s one that stands out. The University of Wisconsin-Madison Athletic Department is home to the new state-of-the-art Jack Links Protein Performance Center. This first-of-its-kind facility opened in January 2018 and is designed to meet the specific nutrition needs of student athletes. It is located inside Wisconsin’s Stephen M. Bennett Student-Athlete Performance Center. There will also be two Jack Link’s grab-and-go refueling stations at Camp Randall Stadium and the Kohl Center, allowing student-athletes to power up 24-7, whether they are on the way to class, recovering from a workout or just needing a pick-me-up between meals.

Link HERE to view a video about the Center.

Of course, Jack Link’s, a family-owned Wisconsin-based meat snack company makes sure its products are fully stocked in all locations.

“Today, we’re more than a jerky company, we’re a global leader in protein,” says Troy Link, CEO. “This growth comes from our efforts to bring our protein-packed products to new consumers, including student athletes.”

Dairy processors are wise to think the same way.

The Center offers many Wisconsin-made dairy products, too. This includes Land O’Lakes cheese sticks, Odyssey Greek yogurt, Organic Valley Fuel and regular chocolate milk, Rapid Whey, and UW Babcock Hall high-protein ice cream, along with custom fresh-made smoothies.

Organic Valley Organic Fuel is said to help you make the most of your workout. Available in chocolate and vanilla flavors, the high-protein milk shake is packed with an ideal ratio of protein and carbohydrates. An 11-ounce bottle provide 26 grams of whey and casein.

The combination of fast-digesting whey proteins with slow-acting casein proteins is essential for athletic recovery. This is because the combination provides a constant flow of amino acids and the essential nutrients needed to replenish a body and maximize post workout recovery while building and repairing lean muscles.

A select number of dairy processors are involved in the sports nutrition market, but there’s a great deal of room for innovation and growth. I challenge formulators to explore the inclusion of functional ingredients intended for this space.

Potassium and magnesium, for example, are important for hydration. Lack of these minerals may lead to cramps or muscle spasms. The B-vitamins, which are water soluble and thus lost from the body during sweating, are critical for the conversion of proteins and carbohydrates into energy. They are also used for cell repair and production. Vitamin B-6, in particular, is useful in sports nutrition products. It has been shown to be uniquely important for cardiovascular, digestive, immune, muscular and nervous system function.

Isomaltulose is a low-glycemic sweetener made from beet sugar and occurs naturally in honey. It is fully digestible; thus, it provides full carbohydrate energy in a balanced and sustained way, eliminating the undesired “boost and crash effect” generally associated with other sugars, making it ideal for sports nutrition products.

Even natural caffeine makes sense as a source of energy. Studies show an average improvement in performance of about 12%, with more benefits noticed during endurance exercise than with shorter exercise. This non-calorie stimulant, however, may exert a diuretic effect. Too much is never a good idea.

fairlife LLC, is onto the caffeine angle. Less than two months ago, the company brought back the coffee flavor to its Core Power protein shakes line, joining banana, chocolate, strawberry banana and strawberry. While its predecessor was a part of the “light” series with 20 grams of protein per serving, the new product delivers 26 grams per 11.5-ounce bottle. With 85 milligrams of caffeine in each bottle, the variety delivers an energized caffeine kick to help revitalize while refueling the body with casein and whey proteins.

Core Power Coffee is the latest addition to the company’s ever-growing line of high-protein recovery shakes and with its relaunch in spring 2018, the entire Core Power collection will sport a refreshed look with sleek, modern packaging when it hits stores nationwide.

“The cult following for Core Power is strong among health-conscious athletes – from yogis and runners to weekend warriors and elite athletes – who want to build lean muscle and support healthy recovery. So much so that, after we discontinued the coffee flavor, we were inundated with passionate messages and inquiries from fans requesting that we bring back our oh-so-tasty caffeinated sports nutrition recovery drink,” says Sue McCloskey, dairy farmer and co-founder of fairlife, LLC. “We credit our very vocal and committed fans with the return of the coffee flavor. The many pleas we received made it clear that the coffee culture is a very important one to our consumers and, because we are committed to meeting their needs, we are excited to launch Core Power Coffee.”

Arizona-based Shamrock Farms is the dairy industry’s forerunner in sports nutrition. The company markets an array of 12-ounce bottles of Rockin’ Protein (formerly Rockin’ Refuel) to meet varied nutritional needs.

Recovery provides 20 grams of protein in a 2:1 carbohydrate-to-protein ratio to help repair and replenish muscles. Builder is lactose free and contains 30 grams of protein and only 6 grams of sugar to help build muscle mass. There’s also a Builder Max (20 ounces) version with 50 grams of protein. Rockin’ Protein Lean products offer lower-calorie and lower-sugar versions of the muscle recovery and muscle-building products.

“Shamrock Farms continues to elevate milk, making it relevant for today’s consumers with innovative, delicious products,” says Ann Ocana, chief marketing officer. “Our promise is that we are real. Shamrock Farms products are made with real milk, with real protein and real, great taste.”

Gatorade offers recovery protein shakes, too. The shelf-stable 11.16-ounce bottles come in chocolate cookies and cream, peanut butter and chocolate, and vanilla flavors. Each bottle contains 20 grams of casein and whey proteins and is supplemented with potassium.

Powerful, a four-year-old brand credited with launching the brogurt category (manly yogurt), is growing its business with new Greek yogurt-based high-protein 20 grams) smoothie pouches. The refrigerated pouch product has a resealable cap and is designed to help fuel active lifestyles.

In Germany, Elsdorfer Molkerei continues to grow its MeinQ + Protein brand, which the dairy describes as a “powerful range” for the “fitness dimension for high-protein nutrition.”

The line includes MyQ Fitness Drink. Sold in four-packs of shot-style 100-milliliter drinks, each bottle contains 10 gram of protein. Initial flavors are strawberry and vanilla. There is also new MyQ Fitness Pudding in chocolate and vanilla flavors. The puddings are low-carb, low-fat and high in protein, with a 100-gram serving providing 10-grams of protein.

Dutch dairy FrieslandCampina is introducing its own protein-rich sports nutrition range under the Vifit Sport brand, which includes a range of drinks, shakes and

“Our product developers have developed products that respond to the needs of a growing group of active sportspersons by making use of our knowledge about the nutritional value of dairy for the build-up and recovery of the muscles,” says Roelof Joosten, CEO of Royal FrieslandCampina. “With this sports nutrition, we aim at all sportspersons. Therefore the products are available on-line as well as at a large pharmacy chain. We explicitly aim at all sportspersons with a goal, from amateurs to top athletes. With this, we break the idea that sports nutrition is only relevant to bodybuilders and top athletes.”

Friday, April 20, 2018

Dairy Foods Trends: Contemporizing Curd

Cheese, cheese and more cheese. That’s what many of us experienced this past week in Milwaukee at the International Cheese Technology Exposition. With that, we also experienced snow, snow and more snow. Does Mother Nature not know it is spring?

It was great to visit with so many of you, especially at the cheese auction on Wednesday evening, where many of this year’s best-of-the-best cheeses, per the World Championship Cheese Contest held in early March, were sold for hundreds of dollars per pound. While we raved and craved about aged cheddars, smoked goudas and ash-ripened bries, there were winners in other categories that did not get the recognition they deserved. One of those is cottage cheese, a category that processors continue to contemporize with new flavors and forms.

Accolades go to Best-in-Class Muuna Mango, which received a 99.05 score. Muuna is one of the newer brands in the evolving cottage cheese category. The brand launched in 2016 in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions, and is expanding its footprint in 2018. Currently it can found in more than 5,000 grocery stores throughout the U.S.  utm_source=berry_on_dairy&utm_medium=enewsletter&utm_term=728x90&utm_campaign=uscan_  dairy

Muuna now comes in eight flavored varieties that contain 120 to 130 calories, 15 grams of protein and 9 grams of sugar per 5.3-ounce cup. The fruit-on-the-bottom line made its debut in Blueberry, Mango, Peach, Pineapple and Strawberry. Earlier this year Black Cherry, Raspberry and Vanilla joined the lineup. There’s also Low-fat Plain Muuna in 5.3- and 16-ounce containers and Classic Plain in 16-ounce multi-serving containers only. All Muuna products contain no artificial flavors, colors and sweeteners. Muuna is also gluten-free and certified kosher.

“Backed by extensive research, including a deep-dive into consumer flavor demand in the yogurt category, our in-house R&D team created these new flavors,” says Gerard Meyer, CEO. “The debut of Black Cherry and Vanilla mark a first in the cottage cheese category, as consumers previously have only seen these flavors available in yogurt. Cottage cheese continues to gain popularity; plus, the on-the-go portability of our single-serve cups meets consumer demand for delicious, nutritious snack foods.”

The company continues to improve the recipe and package. Earlier this month, Muuna began adding the probiotic Bifidobacterium lactis to its formulation to further set itself apart in what is starting to be a very busy cottage cheese case.

“Consumers are becoming increasingly interested in snack and meal options that contain a variety of healthy ingredients to meet their dietary needs,” says Meyer. “By adding probiotics to Muuna’s already craveable recipe, we can offer a single product that is not only enriched with probiotics, but also high in protein, low in sugar, a good source of calcium and containing potassium.”

Congratulations to Muuna for receiving the Best in Class in Cottage Cheese. To see the other winners and entries in the category, link HERE.

There’s no doubt that cottage cheese has made a comeback. Contemporary packaging and creative flavors is turning the original high-protein cultured dairy product into a trending convenience food.

Hood is in. The company offers savory, sweet and plain cottage cheese in 5.3-ounce containers. On the savory side there’s Chive and Cucumber & Dill. Sweet offerings include Peaches and Pineapple. Protein content ranges from 13 to 18 grams, depending on variety.

Dean’s is in, too. New DairyPure Mix-Ins cottage cheese comes in four varieties. Two are simply fruit—Blueberry or Pineapple—blended with the cottage cheese. The other two are fruit with cottage cheese, along with a dome of a crunchy inclusion. The varieties are: Peaches with Pecans and Strawberries with Almonds. A single-serve 5.3-ounce cup contains 15 to 17 grams of protein.

Even retailers recognize the opportunity in cottage cheese, and many are now offering private-label options. For example, Meijer has 5-ounce containers of 2% milkfat small curd cottage cheese. The plain variety provides 15 grams of protein per container. The fruit flavors—Pineapple and Strawberry—contains 12 grams of protein.

Kraft Heinz, the forerunner in the single-serve cottage cheese category with its Breakstone’s and Knudsen Cottage Doubles lines, continues to evolve the brand. In late 2017, Honey Vanilla and Mango Habanero joined Blueberry, Peach, Pineapple and Raspberry in this dual-compartment format with cottage cheese on one side and topping on the other. With the new flavors came a pack size increase, from the former 3.9 ounces to now “20% more,” or 4.7 ounces. A single serving now delivers 9 grams of protein. Calories range from 110 to 130.

SmithFoods Inc., introduced Americans to artisan cottage cheese with the debut of Artisa in 2015. The product features a slow-cooked, delicate-curd cottage cheese made with fresh milk from locally owned and operated dairies.

The brand has evolved over the years in response to consumer feedback. The goal has always been to make cottage cheese relevant again, and the brand is succeeding. Artisa currently comes in 5.3-ounce containers in six whole milk varieties. They are: Apple Cinnamon, Classic, Peach, Pineapple, Strawberry and Wild Berry. A single-serve cup of Artisa contains 15 to 19 grams of protein and 7 to 15 grams of sugar, depending on variety. The product is all natural, with no preservatives or additives, free of artificial growth hormones and high fructose corn syrup, and is gluten-free.

Good Culture Cottage Cheese also continues to evolve and recently went through a packaging rebrand and added new varieties. Made with grass-fed milk from cows that graze freely on small sustainable family farms in Wisconsin, Good Culture Cottage Cheese contains 16 to 19 grams of naturally occurring protein per 5.3-ounce cup. New Organic Mango and Natural Peach join an array of other organic or natural-positioned flavored varieties such as Blueberry Acai Chia, Kalamata Olive, Peach, Pineapple and Strawberry. There’s also whole milk and low-fat classic.

“We wanted to create a more modern design that clearly communicated what’s inside the cup, while building a stronger emotional connection with our consumer,” says Jesse Merrill, CEO and co-founder. “Our new packaging breaks through the clutter on shelf, drives greater taste appeal, clearly communicates product benefits, and amplifies our brand personality.”

The “good” in the brand name doesn’t just refer to the cottage cheese. The company has partnered with 1% for the Planet. Each time a consumer purchases a cup of good culture, 1% of the sale goes to a global network of nonprofit organizations dedicated to protecting the environment.

On top of mind for cottage cheese formulators is texture and mouthfeel, as the curdiness of cottage cheese is a turnoff for some consumers. One way to overcome this is to ensure the curd is soft and the dressing is super creamy and smooth. Another approach is to blend the curd.

That’s what you get with Alpina’s new No Curd Cottage Cheese. This high-protein dairy snack is made with blended 2% milkfat cottage cheese, which yields a spoonable cultured dairy product with a unique texture, one without distinguishable curds. Made with all-natural ingredients and probiotic cultures, the 5.3-ounce single-serve cup includes a spoon in the lid. The plain variety contains 25 grams of protein. It’s also available in a 16-ounce multi-serve container. There’s four blended fruit options, all delivering 21 grams of protein, 130 calories and only 4 grams of added sugars. The fruit varieties are: Blueberry, Peach, Pineapple and Strawberry.
New RifRaf Ricotta Cups are a first-of-its-kind cheese snack that fits somewhere between cottage cheese and yogurt. The product combines spoonable, lightly cultured whole milk ricotta with a sidecar of adventurously flavored jams and honeys. RifRaf Ricotta Cups is launching in five flavors. They are: Meyer Lemon, Serrano Pepper Honey, Strawberry Balsamic, Sun-Dried Tomato and Wildflower Honey. The ricotta is made from milk from grass-fed cows, with each 4.6-ounce dual compartment cup providing 10 grams of protein.

Keep up the great work making cottage cheese relevant to today’s consumers. Keep contemporizing the curd!  utm_source=berry_on_dairy&utm_medium=enewsletter&utm_term=728x90&utm_campaign=uscan_  dairy

Friday, April 13, 2018

Next-Generation Cheese Innovations

Photo source: Boar’s Head

Welcome to a week of everything cheese. It all started yesterday (April 12), which was National Grilled Cheese Day and will continue this upcoming week in Milwaukee at the International Cheese Tech Expo. (For more information on the expo, link HERE. Hope to see you there.)

To commemorate National Grilled Cheese Day, Sarasota, Fla.-based deli meat and cheese specialist Boar’s Head commissioned an online survey (n=1,001 U.S. adults) to find out how much Americans really love cheese. Findings showed that nearly nine out of 10 (87%) Americans would give up coffee, chocolate or alcohol before giving up cheese. Americans don’t just love cheese, they know it as well, with 60% of respondents able to name more than five cheese varieties.

(After these results published, there were a number of knock-off surveys on Facebook. I enjoyed reading people’s comments, and it confirmed the Boar’s Head survey, folks were not giving up their cheese. Chocolate was the most to go.){7279EF7C-C92C-4BB7-9153-6D3578965EF4}&pid={772BEDAE-50B9-46F8-  861D-E13763FDE010}

Other findings from the Boar’s Head survey included:
  • If possible, nine out of 10 respondents would eat multiple servings of cheese every day.
  • When asked about favorite foods, almost half of respondents (46%) rank cheese as their first or second favorite, among a selection of food group options, with those aged 25-34 being most likely to rank cheese first (27%).
  • American cheese is the top choice for sandwiches (68%), with cheddar topping the list for salads at (59%).
  • When it comes to grilled cheese, half of respondents prefer a blend of two or more cheeses be in their sandwich.
  • And, when asked if cheese were banned where they live, two-thirds of respondents (66%) stated they would definitely move, strongly consider it or possibly move. 

“Cheese is an iconic food not just in America, but around the globe,” says Carlos Giraldo, senior vice president of marketing and innovation for Boar’s Head Brand. “We wanted to help showcase just how much people here in America love their cheese. At Boar’s Head, we are committed to providing the highest quality delicatessen products, nothing less. From premium, age-imported specialties, to America’s favorites like American and cheddar…”

Traditional cheeses reign; however, consumers are very welcoming of new cheese forms and flavors. One of the hottest new cheese formats is baked or dehydrated 100% cheese snacks. These shelf-stable snacks appeal to low-carb and keto dieters who must forego traditional salty, crunchy, starchy carbohydrate-based chips, crackers and curls.

To read more on this booming cheese sector, including a slide show of new products, link HERE to an article I recently wrote for Food Business News titled “New cheese snacks provide the crunch carb-avoiders crave.”

One such new concept comes from That’s How We Roll LLC, a leader in the baked cheese snack category with ParmCrisps, a line of artisan-crafted, crunchy crisps made from 100% aged Parmesan cheese, with or without herbs and seasonings. The company is now rolling out ParmCrisps Trios, a shelf-stable, protein-rich blend of sweet dried fruit, crunchy nuts and seeds, and crispy ParmCrisps.

All three varieties contain almond and pumpkin seeds. It’s the fruit that varies. Original includes apricots and craisins. Mediterranean contains apricots and figs, while Tropical includes mangoes and pineapple pieces. Each pack provides 240 to 260 calories, 14 grams of fat and 13 grams of protein. Each 1.8 ounce pack has a suggested retail price of $3.99.
Schuman Cheese is growing its 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.

In the U.K., Laurels Farm continues to grow its eatlean Protein Cheese brand. The eatlean cheese is made just like any other regular cheddar using natural ingredients by real cheesemakers on a real dairy farm, according to the company. It is, however, lactose-free, with a 100-gram serving containing 169 calories, 3 grams of fat and 37 grams of protein. Regular cheddar only contains about 25 grams of protein. Based on this composition, the cheese is likely made using ultra-filtered milk.

The eatlean Protein Cheese comes in many formats, including snack bars, and most recently, Protein Cheese Shaker. It’s dried and grated eatlean cheese and marketed as a way to add flavor and protein to prepared foods. In this format, it is 66% protein. The shaker product comes in original and smoked varieties. 

Another premium-positioned product is Cello Grab & Go, also from Schuman Cheese. The company is making its most revered Cello cheese flavors in individual snack-size portion packs sold in packages of four. Varieties are shaved Aged Parmesan, sliced Dutch Gouda, cubed Creamy Fontina, and sliced and cubed Sharp Cheddar. (Read more about this product Monday as a Daily Dose of Dairy).

Another one of my favorite out-of-the-chunk cheese innovations comes from Lotito Foods. It’s Cheese Folios, a product that debuted less than two years ago and is now being relaunched with a new look and new serving ideas.

The Cheese Folios product line is par-baked sheets of cheese that are made from Cheddar, Jarlsberg or Parmesan all-natural cheeses. This innovative breakthrough offers chefs creative ways to use cheese to be molded as a topper, shell, wrap and in numerous recipes. The patent-pending lightly baked (1.5 ounce) sheets come five to a pack and are separated by parchment paper. Lactose- and gluten-free Cheese Folios provide 13 grams of protein per serving and a mere 1 gram of carbs.

With all of these new cheese innovations, high-quality, consistent and economically produced cheese is paramount to success.
Congratulations are in order to all of the winners of the World Championship Cheese Contest, which took place in early March in Madison, Wis. Read more about the winners HERE.

You can taste and purchase many of the winning and runner-up cheeses at the International Cheese Tech Expo on Wednesday evening, which is hosted by Chr. Hansen Inc.

Hope to see you in Milwaukee next week.{7279EF7C-C92C-4BB7-9153-6D3578965EF4}&pid={772BEDAE-50B9-46F8-  861D-E13763FDE010}