Health and wellness, combined with carbohydrate consciousness, is what we have seen in 2004 in the dairy foods category. Take all these descriptors, mix in innovation in formula, package and marketing efforts and you have this year's top new dairy foods.

Health and wellness, combined with carbohydrate consciousness, is what we have seen in 2004 in the dairy foods category. Take all these descriptors, mix in innovation in formula, package and marketing efforts and you have this year's top new dairy foods.

Yes, it is that time of year when Dairy Foods magazine likes to recognize the top new products of the year, a.k.a., the cream of the crop. The Dairy Foods staff, along with various industry relations, identified seven product lines that represent some of the most promising new dairy and dairy-based formulations. 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 Good Humor-Breyers, Green Bay, Wis., as the Best New Products Company of the Year. Good Humor-Breyers continues to shape retailers' freezers year after year, and 2004 was no exception. In fact, this year the company helped retailers create a better-for-you section, with a healthful product for almost everyone's needs.

Dairy Foods magazine congratulates the 2004 winners, and encourages dairy processors to continue adding value to dairy products through innovation. Dairy Foods is here to help you innovate. Each month the magazine indulges readers with enlightening articles written by what the industry has told us, is the cream of the crop in dairy expertise. Let our editorial experts help you rise to the top.

Freezing Yogurt for a True On-the-go Breakfast Food

With research indicating that more and more consumers are choosing yogurt for breakfast, CoolBrands International Inc., headquartered in Toronto, Canada, with U.S. offices in Ronkonkoma, N.Y., identified an opportunity to freeze yogurt into convenient hand-held novelties for dashboard diners who do not want to fiddle with a spoon.

In May 2004, the company reported that its test market of Yoplait® Frozen Breakfast Bars™ in the Baltimore/ Washington D.C. area showed such early strong positive results that the company decided to accelerate its national rollout. Yoplait Frozen Breakfast Bars are a revolutionary new breakfast food combining all the goodness of yogurt, fruit and cereal in a form that is fun, easy and delicious. It's like eating ice cream for breakfast. Yet each bar is rich in calcium and 12 vitamins and minerals. The product line currently consists of three flavors of frozen yogurt covered with crunchy fortified cereal: Vanilla stick bar, Strawberry stick bar and Vanilla Orange Swirl sandwich. Yoplait Frozen Breakfast Bars have also been approved by USDA for inclusion in the Child Nutrition Program for all U.S. public schools.

"Yoplait Frozen Breakfast Bars solve the breakfast problem in a unique new way," says David Stein, pres. and co-CEO. "Consumers want breakfast to be fast, easy and great tasting and Yoplait Frozen Breakfast Bars provide all of these benefits, plus balanced nutrition. Our consumer research indicated very strongly that once consumers knew about this product they would try it."

Dairy Foods congratulates CoolBrands for inventing a whole new category in the frozen dairy sector.

Innovative Technology Simulates Full Fat

Investing five years of research and millions of dollars in a new proprietary slow-churned process of making ice cream, Dreyer's Grand Ice Cream Holdings Inc., Oakland, Calif., is able to manufacture a product that tastes and has the texture of full-fat ice cream in a light product.

In blind national taste tests, nearly eight of 10 consumers concluded the new Dreyer's/Edy's Grand Light was either a full-fat premium or superpremium ice cream, according to the company. (Product is branded Dreyer's west of the Rockies and Edy's east of the Rockies.)

While the new light ingredients match those in the original Dreyer's/Edy's Grand Light, slow churning the ice cream kneads fat molecules at a colder temperature, stretching and distributing them widely so the ice cream tastes like it contains more butterfat. Slow churning involves no fat substitutes or artificial sweeteners.

"By 2005, we will have invested a record $100 million in bringing this new and innovative method of making ice cream to American consumers," says T. Gary Rogers, chairman and CEO. "Our slow-churned technology will change dramatically the way ice cream is made in the future. This is the first major technological innovation in ice cream since the hand-cranked churn and milk pasteurization. The potential is huge."

Backed by the largest marketing campaign in Dreyer's history, new Dreyer's/Edy's Grand Light is supported by print, radio and national TV advertising. Consumer programming initiatives include national in-store point-of-sale programs, newspaper inserts, sampling and public relations. Dreyer's/Edy's Grand Light is identified by the word "New!" on the lid and a magenta banner across the carton proclaiming "Unbelievably Rich and Creamy" and "Slow Churned."

Besides classic favorites such as Vanilla and Chocolate, the line comes in Butter Pecan, Chocolate Chip, Cookie Dough, Cookies ‘N Cream, Eggnog (seasonal limited edition), French Vanilla, French Silk, Fudge Tracks, Mint Chocolate Chips, Mocha Almond Fudge, Neapolitan, Pumpkin (seasonal limited edition), Rocky Road and Strawberry.

"Consumers are thrilled that a light ice cream can finally deliver the same indulgent satisfaction as its full-fat counterpart, and they have responded by scooping up Dreyer's/Edy's Slow Churned Grand Light in record numbers," says Kim Goeller-Johnson, media relations mgr. "Our customers are pleased that they no longer have to sacrifice taste for eating healthier."

Dairy Foods congratulates Dreyer's on its commitment to R&D and it efforts in identifying the slow-churn process.

Vitamin D Now Available in Yogurt

There's been talk in the news that part of the calcium-osteoporosis crisis is due to lack of sufficient vitamin D. In fact, some highly criticized medical advice issued early this year called for regulated, unprotected exposure to sunlight, as vitamin D is manufactured in the skin by sunlight. Unfortunately, the use of sunscreen markedly diminishes the manufacture of vitamin D in the skin.

Indeed, vitamin D plays a major role in calcium absorption and bone health, but increased sun exposure is not necessarily the answer. A major dietary source of vitamin D is fluid milk, which is vitamin D-fortified. And now, so is Yoplait yogurt, thanks to Minneapolis-based General Mills Inc.'s vitamin D fortifying initiative.

Six-oz cups contain 20% of the Daily Value of vitamin D. Dairy Foods congratulates General Mills on its efforts to combat osteoporosis.

Two Winners Score Big at the Fancy Food Show

Two of Dairy Foods' best new products of the year also were top winners at the 32nd Annual NASFT (National Association for the Specialty Food Trade) Product Awards Competition, which took place in early June at the NASFT office in New York City. Six specialty food retailers analyzed and tasted more than 1,500 entries, consisting of nearly 3,500 specialty food products. The judging panel selected 98 finalists.

At the Summer Fancy Food Show in New York City, the finalist products were sampled and judged by more than 100 specialty food retailers from around the country. The votes were tallied and 20 winners were selected.

For outstanding cheese or dairy product, Dairy Foods magazine congratulates NASFT winner Vermont Butter & Cheese Co., Websterville, Vt., for its Vermont Cultured Butter Sea Salt Crystals. The butter is prepared according to the traditional French method, which starts with very high-fat cream that is fermented with cultures for nine to 16 hours before churning. The fermentation builds a unique rich flavor profile. The addition of Atlantic sea salt is what makes the butter so distinctive. The crunchy, granular salt enhances the flavor of the cultured butter, with the large crystals creating a marbled appearance that adds to the artisanal character.

Such a unique product requires exquisite packaging, which is just what the company offers. Wrapped in checked parchment paper and presented in a hand-made basket, there's nothing else like it in America today.

For outstanding dessert, Dairy Foods congratulates NASFT winner Ciao Bella Gelato Co., Irvington, N.J., for its Chocolate Sorbet. Ciao Bella has been producing chocolate sorbet in small batches by hand for foodservice for more than 15 years, but only recently introduced the product to retail. The process is extremely labor intensive and the ingredients expensive, according to Ciao Bella President Charlie Apt. To make the flavor, Apt says the company is practically in the candy business.

How is it made? The company melts blocks of imported chocolate and combines it with premium cocoa powder to create an intensely flavored chocolate base. The chocolate mixture is then tempered with a hint of rum extract to counteract the bitterness of the cocoa and blended with pure cane sugar and water. The result is a smooth, creamy frozen chocolate delight.

There's a New Baby Food in the Dairy Case

Stonyfield Farm, Londonderry, N.H., does it again... that is, listening to its customers and developing a food to meet their needs, even the needs of the littlest ones in the house.

New organic YoBaby® Plus Fruit & Cereal is the first yogurt to contain both fruit puree and a mixture of cereal grains, while also being fortified with iron. Originally introduced in 2000, YoBaby yogurt was the first whole milk

yogurt designed specifically to help meet the nutritional needs of babies and toddlers. Naturally high in calcium and protein, YoBaby yogurt provides important nutrients for growing bodies. The new YoBaby Plus goes one step further, featuring the only yogurt fortified with iron, an essential nutrient that over half of all toddlers do not get enough of in their diet. With a unique blend of organic apple puree and organic cereal grains like oats, flax, rice and bran on the bottom, YoBaby Plus Fruit & Cereal is an easily digestible protein source, and an ideal first food for infants.

"Like so many great ideas for new products, this one came from our customers," says Gary Hirshberg, pres. and CEO. "As their babies grew older, Moms started mixing YoBaby with cereals at home. They then started to ask when I would make a ‘first food' for their babies. YoBaby Plus Fruit & Cereal combines two great first foods in one convenient container. It's a natural solution for parents. Simply stir and serve."

Like all Stonyfield Farm products, the new product contains six live active cultures.

And, starting this month, consumers are able to enter the YoBaby Cover Baby Contest. Two winners will be chosen to receive a $5,000 savings bond, an all-expense paid trip to New York and the chance to appear on millions of packages of YoBaby products.

Dairy Foods congratulates Stonyfield for its continued efforts in innovation.

Flavored Milk to Help Combat Obesity

For all its innovative efforts in the single-serve, flavored milk arena, Dairy Foods says "hat's off" to Bravo! Foods International Corp., North Palm Beach, Fla. This is one company that does not stop when it comes to getting consumers to think of milk when they are thirsty.

Dairy Foods is particularly impressed by the new no-sugar-added Slim Slammers® line. It is the most recent entry by the company in its growing line of great-tasting, fortified milk products. Made from 1% milk, Slim Slammers contains half the carbohydrates, half the calories and one-third more calcium than regular milk.

Initially available in two flavors-Chocolate Fudge and French Vanilla-Slim Slammers come in 16-oz extended shelflife (ESL) bottles. Slim Slammers offers all the benefits of milk plus the addition of 20% to 45% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of 10 essential vitamins not normally found in milk.

"With the ever-growing, national epidemic of obesity and the associated medical risks, the Slim Slammers line is the ideal alternative to sugar-laden carbonated beverages and fruit drinks," says Roy Warren, CEO. "Perhaps one of the most alarming statistics comes from the Centers for Disease Control, which has reported that one of every three children born in the United States in the year 2000 will develop type-2 diabetes. What's particularly disturbing is that this can be prevented with diet and lifestyle changes. Drinking low-fat milk as part of a reduced-calorie diet provides calcium and protein that support healthy weight loss. Slim Slammers takes that a step further by adding great taste, increased calcium and 10 essential vitamins, which makes this milk a complete package."

To underscore its commitment to the fight against diabetes, Bravo! Foods has teamed up with one of the nation's leading centers for diabetes research, the Diabetes Research Institute Inc., Hollywood, Fla., which has its logo featured on Slim Slammers packaging.