Clover Sonoma’s four brand-new 50,000-gallon stainless steel milk silos hover over the landscape in Petaluma, Calif. Before entering the dairy plant, one can get a window – literally – into the operation.
From the appearance to the flavor profile, enjoying cheese is a wonderful sensory experience. As such, manufacturers work hard to meet the flavor, texture and visual expectations of customers, but visual defects can detract from the premium image of cheese.
Several trends are growing within the cultured dairy market, specifically with yogurt. Manufacturers are capitalizing on the clean eating movement as cultured products that are functional, whole milk, grass fed and lower in sugar are becoming more popular. Flavor mash-ups (including sweet heat, inclusions or pairings), snacking options and yogurt drinks are also helping to expand the consumer base.
As we have often noted, ice cream is the only food intended to be consumed frozen. Thus, dairy processors need to protect that which fails first, i.e., body and texture (which can be described as bite, chew, smoothness and creaminess.)
Clover Sonoma started processing Non-GMO Project Verified conventional milk this year. President and CEO Marcus Benedetti calls it a financial gamble yet says ‘it’s the right thing to do for a whole host of reasons.’
Sales indicate that consumers continue to prefer natural over processed cheese, with slices, shreds and cubes sales getting a boost. In the processed cheese category, cheese spreads/balls was the only segment with positive sales numbers.