Dean Foods Co. , Dallas, recently began test marketing a 10-flavor line of Tampico® frozen desserts. Described as premium and inspired by Latin American fruits, the Tampico frozen dessert line includes ice cream and sherbet. Sherbet flavors are Citrus and Lime. The ice cream, or helado flavors include Banana Pineapple, Cantaloupe, Coconut, Guava, Horchata, Mango, Strawberry Banana and Vanilla. The vanilla variety is made with brown sugar, an ingredient commonly used in Hispanic countries. Packaged in 56-oz resealable, squround containers, labels are bilingual, all the way to the Nutrition Facts panel. The initial testing is throughout Texas and Florida, and the metro Chicago area, all geographic regions with large Hispanic populations. "The initial response has been very positive from both the consumer and the retailer," says Don McCormack, v.p., Midwest Ice Cream.

New Special Request™ Lactose Free Skim Plus® is formulated for the health-conscious and lactose-conscious consumer. Marketed by Farmland Dairies LLC, Wallington, N.J., this new ultra-pasteurized, fat-free milk is described as having all the same creamy taste and smooth texture of Skim Plus but without any lactose. That's right, it is 100% lactose free, making it a milk that is easy to digest for all the lactose intolerant consumers in the United States.

According to the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse, Bethesda, Md., almost 90% of the Asian population, 75% of the Hispanic population and 17% of the American population are lactose intolerant. Thus, Farmland Dairies believes there is a real need not only for lactose-free milk, but lactose-free milk that is fat free but doesn't taste fat free.

According to the company, Special Request Lactose Free Skim Plus contains 34% more calcium and 37% more protein than its leading competitor. It also has up to a 55-day shelflife, which retailers appreciate. In addition, like all of Farmland's milks, this one contains no added hormones or antibiotics.

Atlanta-based Cinnabon Inc. , maker of the world famous rolls, chilled out this summer with another sweet idea: hand-blended frozen beverages called Chillattas™. These refreshingly indulgent drinks come in six varieties: Cappuccino, Caramel, Chocolate Mocha, Strawberry, Strawberry Banana and Tropical Blast. All the drinks are handmade, combining traditional flavors with milk and ice, finished with a swirl of syrup, whipped topping and a drizzle of syrup. The drinks are available at all participating Cinnabon locations and are served in 16- and 24-oz plastic cups.

Unilever Ice Cream, headquartered in Green Bay, Wis., is the new name for the former Good Humor-Breyers. The new company includes well-known brands such as Breyers® Ice Cream, Popsicle®, Good Humor®, Klondike® and Ben & Jerry's®. The company also now markets what it says is its next generation of premium light ice cream-Double Churned.

"Our unique double-churned process makes it possible for us to make light ice cream that is so rich and creamy that consumers will never again have to sacrifice taste and texture to get the better-for-you benefits of light ice cream," says Dan Hammer, v.p. of marketing and development. "New Breyers Double Churned Light ice cream tastes just as rich and creamy as its full-fat counterparts and is just one more example of the emphasis we're putting on meeting consumers' lifestyle choices with great-tasting ice cream that also just happens to be lower in calories and fat. Not only are consumers watching calories and fat, there also is a growing interest in products made with all natural ingredients. We're the first to launch an all natural light premium ice cream that has the same creamy taste as regular premium ice cream."

Initially, new Breyers Light will be available in seven flavors: Butter Pecan, Creamy Chocolate, Creamy Vanilla, Mint Chocolate Chip, Rocky Road, Vanilla Bean and Vanilla/ Chocolate/Strawberry. A half-cup serving ranges from 100 to 140 calories and from 3.5 to 5g fat, which is half the fat and 25% fewer calories than regular ice cream. New packaging graphics-a white carton with black and red text and a double-churned icon in the lower left corner-makes it easy to spot the product in the freezer case. Available in grocery stores throughout the country, a 56-oz container has a suggested retail price of $5.09.

Noteworthy Introductions

McDonald's patrons in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware were among the first in the country to taste the fast-food giant's Fruit & Walnut Salad in April 2004. The salad tested so well that one year later, McDonald's introduced it as a regular menu item nationwide. The salad features apple slices, red seedless grapes and a side of low-fat yogurt with a choice of candied walnuts to sprinkle on top. The suggested price is $2.99.

Texas Pastures™ is the first organic milk to be produced and bottled in the state of Texas. It was introduced in April by Organic Valley Family of Farms, LaFarge, Wis. Texas Pastures is made by a dedicated pool of organic dairy farmers in the Sulphur Springs region of Texas. It is bottled locally as well, at Southwest Dairies in Tyler, Texas. The line includes whole, reduced-fat (2%), low-fat (1%) and nonfat. Its cheerful red and white plastic containers are easily recyclable.

INTERNATIONAL

In Russia, Food Milk introduced Tun Dargor Drink, a fat-free milk beverage said to decrease the effects of a hangover. While it is not uncommon to see beverages claiming to cure hangovers on the market, this is the first time such a product has shown up in the dairy category. Additionally, the beverage is fat free, which is most definitely an attractive attribute for a health-conscious consumer. (Drunken and health conscious?)

King's Creameries in Vietnam recently released King's Sweetcorn Ice Cream. The sweet corn-flavored treat may seem a bit odd for some consumers; however, it is a flavor that is widely used and observed in the Asia Pacific region. In fact, the sweet corn flavor can be seen throughout such categories as candy and snacks.

In Spain, two more interesting flavors were found from Danone under its Bio Herbal Yogurt brand: Mint & Apple and Lime & Green Tea.

Another company working with green tea in dairy products is Morinaga Milk Industry in Japan. The company now offers Creamy Green Tea Pudding, which is made with green tea powder and custard cream. Green tea flavoring is also very common in the Asia Pacific region, unlike in the United States, where it has only recently begun to emerge into the marketplace.

Back to Russia, Lianozovskii Milk Plant introduced Rizii Up Milk Cocktail, a milk drink with bubble gum flavor. It is described as a healthful drink for children and is claimed to increase the hemoglobin level in the blood. While the flavor is a bit unusual for milk, even overseas, it is a great way to get children to consume more bone-building dairy.