Dairy Foods helps you plan next season's ice cream flavors selection

With all the many flavors of ice cream available in today’s marketplace, vanilla continues to be the No. 1 seller.


Editor's Note: This summer, the market research department of Business News Publishing (Dairy Foods' parent company) examined the decision process and level of research and development activities at manufacturing locations producing ice cream, frozen yogurt, sherbet, sorbet, water ice, novelties, soft-serve mixes, sundaes and other frozen dessert products. Findings from this study, along with similar studies on other product categories, will be shared with readers during the course of the next six months.

Excitingly, 83% of the respondents (n=143) to the frozen desserts study indicated that their greatest source of new product ideas is trade magazines. That's right, trade magazines, like yours truly. Because respondents were able to check as many answers as applicable, trade shows received the second highest vote of 77%. Coming in at third place was supplier's sales people, with 62% of respondents identifying them as a source of new product ideas.

With that said, having this article run in the October issue of Dairy Foods-the show issue for Worldwide Food Expo-and October being Worldwide Food Expo month, the Dairy Foods' staff is confident that during the summer of 2004, manufacturers will roll out some real winning frozen dessert flavor combinations.

New Breyers Premium Edition ice creams include lots of the “good stuff.” For example, Deep Chocolate Fudge is chocolate ice cream with fudge swirl, chocolate chips and brownies.
Dairy Foods magazine went right to the experts to find out what customers are requesting in terms of new flavor ideas for ice cream. If you would like someone to follow up with you regarding additional information, please write in the appropriate number on the reader response card and drop it in the mail today. Your new frozen dessert hit is just a mail- box away.

Here's what the experts had to say:

"We continue to work on developing flavors that are consistent with the growth in the premium and superpremium categories," says Stephen Platt, v.p., new business development. "An example of one such flavor is key lime pie. This is a perfect blend of key lime-flavored ice cream, whipped marshmallow and graham cracker crust variegate. In this particular flavor you have the wonderful contrast of the soft, silky marshmallow and the texture of the crunchy graham cracker variegate.

"Another area of focus this past year has been in the area of health and nutrition," Platt says. "We have been feverishly working on low-carbohydrate products, and no-sugar-added variegates and inclusions. These products are being introduced into the market at a frenetic pace. Under the umbrella of the products we have developed we have a line of no-sugar-added candy inclusions that do not need to be coated in coconut oil to remain brittle in the ice cream through storage and distribution. These are excellent products for developers concerned about the fat content of an inclusion."

Also, "We have all experienced the issues associated with escalating vanilla pricing," he concludes. "As a result, we have developed a line of all-natural, vanilla-type flavors, which can be used to accent products such as caramel ice cream or can be used as a rounding flavor in such products as chocolate or coffee ice cream."

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According to Jessica Jones-Dille, market insights coordinator, "Dessert-type indulgent flavors such as bananas foster, crème brulee and raspberry cheesecake continue to be very hot for adults. When it comes to flavors for kids, brightly colored combinations tend to be high-impact fruit and fantasy flavors."

When it comes to generational trends, "Intense flavors are not only for kids, as aging baby boomers want more of a kick in their foods," Jones-Dille says. And when it comes to organic, "It depends on the market. Natural or organic offerings are generally not important when developing products for kids and teens. However, all-natural, high-quality products become more important to Generation X consumers."

To come up with new flavor trends for frozen desserts, "We look at flavor trends in other products that might correlate well to ice cream, such as current popular desserts and successful winning candies."

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Moon Pie, Mayfield Dairy Farms’ newest feature ice cream flavor, is rich and creamy vanilla ice cream with a French silk ribbon and loaded with chocolate-covered graham cracker marshmallow pieces.
Gretchen Schleck, a marketing communications coordinator, says, "Consumers are becoming increasingly drawn to indulgent flavor profiles. With the low-fat craze no longer on the radar screen, the indulgent trend speeds forward. The indulgent trend comes from the consumer trend toward nostalgia and comfort foods. Nostalgia being evocative of perceived simpler times, and comfort being expressed as small but indulgent everyday rewards. Both nostalgia and comfort are powerful emotional triggers that have grown even stronger after the events of September 11, as well as given today's turbulent state of the economy."

Also very popular, "Tropical fruit flavors are becoming more mainstream, as consumers have more direct interaction with them as fresh fruit in the produce aisle," Schleck says. "Not to mention tropical fruits exude an essence of fun, sun and island fantasy. Take mango for example. This tropical fruit has taken the American marketplace by storm, appearing everywhere from juice drinks to yogurts to alcoholic beverages.

"Ethnic foods continue to make a major impact on the American marketplace, especially Latin American flavors," Schleck concludes. "This trend is two pronged. There are the consumers who are specifically seeking these flavor profiles and those that are willing to try them for the first time. Today's consumers are becoming more familiar with ethnic cuisine by way of traveling or dining at ethnic restaurants. For example, crème brulee ice cream could bring back memories of a recent trip to Paris and the next thing you know, that ice cream is in the grocery cart." Market examples of ethnic dessert profiles in ice cream include tres leches ice cream (three milks cake, a Latin American dessert), dulce de leche, another Latin American favorite and spumoni (a frozen Italian dessert).

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Make no bones about it; getting enough daily calcium can be a challenge, which is why Dean Foods has boosted the calcium levels in its new Calcium Enriched Vanilla ice cream.
"In a nutshell, indulgent, exotic and dessert flavors rule," says Paulette Kerner, dir., marketing communications. "With indulgent, we are seeing double this and triple that, such as double cream or triple chocolate. It appears that one cream or one chocolate is not enough.

"We're also seeing the addition of indulgent ingredients such as double cream and soft cheeses, as well as the addition of chunks and swirls and even alcohol," Kerner adds. "Mascarpone is one of the newer cheese flavors and champagne is one of the newer alcohol flavors in this category.

"Exotic flavors include blood orange, lychee and pear. Key lime continues to show interest," Kerner says. "Tea and spices are growing in the frozen dessert category, too, especially ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg."

"Concepts from desserts and baked goods continue to find their way into ice creams and frozen desserts," Kerner concludes. "We've already seen this happen with cheesecake and tiramisu. Watch out for crème brulee, apple crisp, pumpkin pie, s'mores, and of course, gingerbread." Gingerbread-flavored ice cream qualifies as both a comfort food and a nostalgia food.

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With an increasing number of Americans looking for tasty and creative ways to limit the amount of sugar in their diets, Dean Foods rolls out No Sugar Added Moose Tracks, with one serving containing only 5g of refined sugar, compared to 17g per serving in regular Moose Tracks ice cream.
"Inclusions are hot in ice creams, sorbets and sherbets. And the flavors for inclusions are chocolate flavor, vanilla, spice and candy," says Nancy Farace, technical marketing mgr. "The frozen dessert sector is following other categories by becoming more complex. Manufacturers are moving beyond the top-selling flavors of vanilla, chocolate, strawberry and butter pecan, into the exciting flavors of exotic fruits for sherbets and sorbets. Mango blends with peach, pineapple, guava and passion fruit."

When it comes to fruit and spice, "pear ginger, strawberry anise and chocolate cinnamon, as well as spiced desserts such as gingerbread, carrot cake and oatmeal cookie are hot," says Farace. "Indulgent flavors ranging from familiar alcoholic beverages to specialty desserts are really increasing in popularity for the frozen dessert sector. We are getting more requests for Irish cream and pina colada, along with fruit cobbler, triple chocolate cake and cheesecake with fruit. Dairy desserts such as flan, crème brulee and tres leches are trickling down into frozen desserts, as are gourmet coffee house-inspired favorites like mocha cappuccino, espresso, chai tea and caramel latte. Specifically, coffee flavors by origin (i.e., Kona, etc.) are becoming the ‘in thing' for ice cream.

"Melon is starting to make an appearance in Hispanic dairy products," Farace adds. "Honeydew and cantaloupe are popular."

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Frozen dessert product developers currently use a variety of flavorful and functional ingredients. Future development efforts will include more good-for-you nutrients such as calcium, fiber and low-calorie sweeteners.

Trends in Ingredient Usage

Source: Dairy Foods' Frozen Desserts R&D Ingredients Trend Study, September 2003