A great deal has happened sinceDairy Foodslast published its Best New Products of the Year feature article one year ago. The low-carb movement slowed, and flavor fusion made its way into cheese. Yogurt-in all shapes and forms-refrigerated and frozen, with inclusions or with plant sterols, in dips or in beverages, has become the dairy food to keep any eye on. Frozen snacking became decadent, and a soft drink company now markets a great-tasting milk drink under an oatmeal brand.

A great deal has happened sinceDairy Foodslast published its Best New Products of the Year feature article one year ago. The low-carb movement slowed, and flavor fusion made its way into cheese. Yogurt-in all shapes and forms-refrigerated and frozen, with inclusions or with plant sterols, in dips or in beverages, has become the dairy food to keep any eye on. Frozen snacking became decadent, and a soft drink company now markets a great-tasting milk drink under an oatmeal brand.

Indeed, it's been an interesting year for dairy innovations, and Dairy Foods magazine commends all processors and marketers for their efforts. The Dairy Foods staff, along with various industry relations, identified eight product lines that represent some of the most promising new dairy and dairy-based formulations. And what fun, they are all less than one year old! As a result, it is too early to know their future; however, they deserve recognition for being innovative, for thinking outside of the Standards of Identity.

Some of these items you have read about before in Dairy Foods . For others, this is their first mention. What makes them all stand out is how different they are from any other products in the marketplace. Truly, they are one of a kind.

Also this year, Dairy Foods recognizes Crowley Foods, Binghamton, N.Y., as the New Products Company of 2005. Though part of Chelsea, Mass.-based H.P. Hood, Crowley Foods works as a separate business unit, with its own signature brands and senior management team. During the past year, the company has rolled out numerous new products under its namesake brand, as well as under the other business units and brands it owns. Throw in the fact that packaging has been redesigned, marketing efforts revamped . . . and, the company broke its own record at the 2005 Great New York State Fair, winning five gold medals and seven silver medals in the fair's prestigious Dairy Foods competition.

Dairy Foods magazine congratulates the 2005 winners, and encourages dairy processors to continue adding value to dairy products through innovation. Dairy Foods is here to help you innovate . . . to make all of you winners . . . to help get your product to the milestone of one year, and then a dozen or more after that.

New Quick-service Concept Includes Yogurt

Yovana™ is the most recent inspiration in quick-service food venues, and it just happens to focus on dairy, specifically yogurt. The concept is designed to meet consumers' increasing demand for fresh, healthy and convenient foods throughout the day . . . and, of course, provide ambiance.

The first prototype store debuted on July 16, in the Phoenix metro area, with many more to follow nationwide. Yovana's offerings center on premium yogurt, prepared fresh in-store every day. In a venue that's hip and relaxing, yogurt lovers can choose from a range of made-to-order meals and snacks, including fresh yogurt parfaits, drinkable yogurt smoothies and frozen yogurt treats featuring seasonally fresh fruit and organic wholegrain granolas.

"We're leading a ‘culture' change," says David Hall, v.p. of marketing for TCBY Systems. Yovana is a branch of TCBY Systems, a frozen treats chain that first opened in Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1981. "Yovana feeds consumers' growing hunger for yogurt and provides them with smart choices for eating healthy when they are away from home."

The combination of fresh, high-quality yogurt, fresh fruits and the shop's nirvana-like atmosphere are designed to transcend the typical quick-serve experience, explains Hall. "We're providing yogurt lovers with great tasting, smart choices for healthy eating in an environment that allows consumers to restore, relax and revive mind, body and spirit."

Yovana is the first and only shop of its kind and for this Dairy Foods recognizes the company and its products.

Ice Cream Becomes the Ultimate Snack Food

Competing for share of consumers' snacking dollar is tough business. And this summer, it became a chilly one, too, thanks to Dreyer's Grand Ice Cream Holdings Inc., Oakland, Calif.

"Dibs™ snacks will change the way people eat ice cream," says Suzanne Ginestro, marketing manager for new Dreyer's/Edy's Dibs.

You ask what are Dibs? Described as the next little thing in ice cream, Dibs are bite-sized, candy-coated ice cream treats. Dibs come in five varieties: vanilla ice cream with chocolate and Nestlé® Drumstick® cone coating; chocolate ice cream with chocolate coating; mint ice cream with chocolate coating; vanilla ice cream with chocolate coating; and vanilla ice cream with chocolate and Nestlé Crunch® candy coating.

Dibs are sold under the Dreyer's brand west of the Rockies, and under Edy's to the east. Dibs come in two package sizes. The family-size carton has 60 pieces and is available nationally in all five flavors at supermarkets for $3.99. The single-serve container holds 26 pieces and fits in a car cup holder. The on-the-go single-serve Dibs come in the Nestlé Crunch and vanilla flavors only and sell in convenience stores nationally for $1.75.

Dibs is a winner not only for product, but for marketing efforts. For example, in late summer the company rolled out the Dibs Across America photo scavenger hunt. "We want to capture the fun, quirky and convenient, family-friendly personality of these new poppable, munchable treats, and Dibs Across America gives us the perfect opportunity to inspire ice cream lovers everywhere," says Ginestro. Basically consumers submitted photos of someone eating Dibs. Prizes included . . . you guessed it, Dibs.

And how did Americans learn about Dibs and the photo contest? Through the World's Littlest Ice Cream Truck, which rolled into cities across the country.

Yogurt Officially Becomes Dessert

In March, The Dannon Co., White Plains, N.Y., introduced Dannon® la Crème® Rich and Creamy with Chocolate Pieces, which the company describes as the perfect dessert combining the wholesomeness of yogurt with the decadence of chocolate. Similar to a pint of ice cream, the new 15-oz plastic container contains luscious pieces of premium chocolate mixed together with the smooth and creamy texture of la Crème yogurt. With 48% less saturated fat than regular ice cream, la Crème Rich and Creamy with Chocolate Pieces is recognized as one of the most innovativeDairy Foodsof 2005.

"la Crème is already loved by our consumers. We took it to the next level

by adding luscious chocolate pieces and placing it in a unique and differentiated dessert-size container, which will appeal to families," says Jean Legros, senior brand manager.

la Crème Rich and Creamy with Chocolate Pieces combines the benefits of live and active yogurt cultures, with the health benefits associated with premium chocolate. It also happens to be a good source of calcium and protein. The 15-oz container comes in three flavors-cherry, strawberry and vanilla-and sells for about $2.19.

The company recently expanded the line to include four packs of 4-oz single-serve cups. Guess the temptation to finish the whole 15-oz carton is too great for some consumers. The individual portions come in strawberry and vanilla flavors.

Congrats to la Crème-the yogurt that is dessert.

Yogurt Makes a Heart Claim

Minneapolis-based General Mills Inc., is the first in the United States to provide consumers with refrigerated yogurt enhanced with plant sterols. Packages of new Yoplait® Healthy Heart™ cup yogurt read: Plant sterols, eaten twice a day with meals for 0.8g daily total, may reduce heart disease risk in a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol. Yoplait Healthy Heart has 0.4g per 6oz.

Plant sterols, which are extracts from vegetable oil, have been shown to inhibit cholesterol from being absorbed in the small intestine. Their cholesterol-lowering health benefit has been proven through numerous clinical trials. A "hearty" congratulations goes to General Mills for being proactive in this area, and using its great-tasting yogurt to deliver plant sterols to consumers.

Yoplait Healthy Heart is available nationally and is priced the same as other Yoplait yogurts. It comes in four flavors: Cherry Orchard, Harvest Peach, Strawberry and Strawberry Banana.

Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of American women. "Often when women set out to lower their cholesterol through the foods they eat, they think they need to remove their favorites from their diet. With Yoplait Healthy Heart, they can continue to enjoy Yoplait yogurt while getting the cholesterol-lowering benefits of plant sterols," says Jean Storlie, manager at General Mills' Bell Institute of Health and Nutrition.

got Milk Drink? Pepsi Now Does

Consumers may ask is it Oatmeal? Is it a soft drink? In the end it's a milk beverage from Pepsi. Therefore, it is the world's No. 2 soft drink marketer that receivesDairy Foods' accolades for the roll out of Quaker® Milk Chillers™. This new addition to PepsiCo's non-carbonated beverage portfolio is a line of flavored milk beverages that are made with 2% reduced-fat milk and fortified with calcium and seven essential vitamins. The products carry the REAL® seal, since they contain more than 50% milk. "Many people want the health benefits of milk but they don't like the taste of plain milk. Quaker Milk Chillers enable them to get many of milk's nutrients in the form of a great-tasting beverage without all of the calories and sugar found in most flavored milks," says Chad Dick, director of marketing innovation. "So when it's time for a snack, we hope people will reach for Quaker Milk Chillers rather than a cookie or a candy bar."

Quaker Milk Chillers are sweetened with a blend of natural and no-calorie sweeteners including sucrose, sucralose and acesulfame potassium. They have a similar nutritional profile to plain 2% reduced-fat milk and qualify for PepsiCo's Smart Spot™ symbol because they contain 45% to 50% less sugar than the leading flavored milks and are an excellent source of calcium.

The beverages are packaged in 14-oz aseptic containers with a shelflife of six months. And here's the best part for distributors-Quaker Milk Chillers do not require refrigeration until after they are opened. Pepsi is using its ambient-temperature distribution system to get the product out into every retail and foodservice sales venue possible.

As to why they carry the Quaker brand, it must be the wholesome and healthful halo associated with Quaker oatmeal. (It has a much better reputation than the cola brand.) Nevertheless, Dairy Foods hopes milk marketers take note and respond to the fact that soda marketers are now selling milk.

It's Real Milk, Minus a Few Things

For some reason, the first thing to go when many consumers start a weight-loss diet is milk, not their happy hour beer or Saturday morning croissant. In order to enable more consumers to reap the nutritional benefits of milk, even when dieting, H.E. Butt Grocery Co. (H-E-B), Houston, has developed the first low-carb, lactose-free milk.

Using an innovative, patented process, H-E-B now markets MooTopia™ in 11-, 32- and 64-oz plastic bottles. The company says that MooTopia is delicious real milk that has more of the good stuff and less of the stuff that turns some consumers away from milk.

Indeed, compared to traditional whole milk, MooTopia features 60% less sugar, 35% more calcium, 75% more protein and 4g carbohydrates, per serving. It is enhanced with vitamins A and D and is lactose free. MooTopia also is substantially creamier and more flavorful than traditional milk, according to H-E-B. Taste tests show that MooTopia skim milk is creamier than traditional 2% milk, while MooTopia 2% is creamier than traditional whole milk.

"MooTopia is real milk, only better," says Bob McCullough, group v.p. of manufacturing. "Through H-E-B's patented process developed by H-E-B partner, Select Milk Producers Inc. (Artesia, N.M.), we now can remove lactose, reduce the carbs and increase its nutritional value, while increasing milk's delicious flavor."

Way to go H-E-B! Thanks for making milk customized to meet today's consumers' needs.

Flavors Fuse in Shredded Cheese

Cooking enthusiasts looking for simple, exciting ways to infuse their favorite dishes with bold flavors without spending hours in the kitchen have come to appreciate the creativity offered by new Sargento® Bistro™ Blends shredded cheeses. Sargento Foods Inc., Plymouth, Wis., offers three Bistro Blends: Cheddar Salsa with Tomato and Jalapeño Peppers; Mozzarella & Asiago with Roasted Garlic; and Mozzarella with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Basil.

The savory aroma of fresh herbs and spices makes opening up every bag of Bistro Blends an irresistible invitation to add new flavor dimensions to any kind of cuisine. These one-of-a-kind shredded cheese blends come in 7-oz, resealable bags featuring the Slide-Rite® slider.

The company has further taken the Bistro Blends concept into its foodservice and ingredient cheese divisions, offering customized shredded cheese, herb and spice blends to all its customers.

Dairy Foods says kudos to Sargento for keeping the cooking cheese category alive and flavorful.

Yogurt Becomes a Savory Dip Base

Wells' Dairy Inc., LeMars, Iowa, the largest U.S. family-owned and managed dairy processor, has taken the goodness of yogurt and fused it with flavors that complement all types of finger foods. Blue Bunny® IncreDiples™ yogurt-based dips contain savory herbs and small bits of fresh chopped garden vegetables, which merge to create three flavors: Fajita Lime, Spicy Buffalo and Taco Fiesta.

According to the company, the new dips can be enjoyed every day with less guilt, as IncreDiples contain 50% less calories and 82% less fat than snack dips made from sour cream. Though a single serving contains a mere 30 calories and 1g fat, the dips have extremely bold, intense flavors. IncreDiples can also be used as a salad dressing, a sandwich condiment and in a variety of recipes.

Thank you Wells' Dairy for showing consumers the many wonderful sides of yogurt!