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.
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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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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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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"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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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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