Suppliers join forces to offer manufacturers innovative frozen dessert formulations

Soft and chewy bakery products add visual appeal to create enjoyable eating experiences.
Photo Courtesy of Kerry Americas

From ice cream to sorbet and cones to sandwiches, freezers across the country had better get ready for some exciting new treats courtesy of a bunch of suppliers who have developed some really unique frozen sensations.

Recently at the Process Expo show in Chicago, Norse Dairy Systems (NDS), Columbus, Ohio, and Virginia Dare Extract Co., Brooklyn, N.Y., showcased their joint effort named “Winning Combinations.” These one-of-a-kind taste treats combine unique flavor profiles created by Virginia Dare’s R&D team, and some of the specially created cones, wafers and inclusions that have made NDS the leading source of products, systems and ideas for the ice cream novelty industry.

Example Winning Combinations include two premium ice cream sandwiches targeted to adult consumers. The superpremium vanilla sandwich is made using pure bourbon double-strength vanilla extract, while the peach cobbler sandwich has peach-flavored ice cream between wafers made with brown sugar flavor and cinnamon flavor.

“Today’s aging baby boomers are demanding high-quality, indulgent frozen novelties, as these products provide portion control, but still give them permission to have a treat,” says Paul Graffigna, v.p., marketing, Virginia Dare. “We know ice cream, and NDS knows baking, and together we have come up with some great ‘adult’ novelties. The way to get the best, most innovative ideas on new products is to get your flavor and ingredient partners together as soon as possible in the development process.”

In the cone category, the two companies created a specialty coffee treat where the ice cream is made with a premium coffee flavor and the cone has sweet subtle hints of cinnamon and cream from the inclusion of cinnamon bun flavor.

“Virginia Dare has done a great deal of consumer research, and we have been able to capitalize on their findings,” says Gunther Brinkman, v.p., marketing, NDS. “For example, their recent research on Hispanic flavors showed how dulce de leche has gone mainstream, so we created a superpremium cone novelty flavored with dulce de leche and caramel.”

Cup treats include layers of ice cream and flavored baked inclusions. One example is an ice cream made with a natural key lime emulsion that contains crunchy pieces flavored with brown sugar and graham cracker extracts. The result is frozen key lime pie in a single-serve cup.

A very different taste sensation is experienced in the pear anisette crunch cup, which is pear-flavored ice cream layered with anise-flavored baked crunchy pieces. “This is a treat only an adult palate can enjoy, and there are many of those adult palates in the marketplace asking for such products,” adds Graffigna.

Novelties provide consumers portion control, which gives them permission to indulge.
Photo Courtesy of Norse Dairy Systems

Sugar-free ice cream . . . it is now possible

Standards of identity prevent it from being called ice cream, but the technology is now available to make sugar-free frozen dairy dessert. The product combines novel formulation approaches with commercially available ingredients and can be produced using traditional ice cream manufacturing processes.

Key features of sugar-free frozen dairy dessert include: dairy-based frozen dessert, lactose-free, no added high-intensity sweeteners, trans-fat free, adaptable to other frozen dessert formats, secondary structure/function claims, low-glycemic index, vitamin/mineral fortification, compatible with sugar-free flavorings and inclusions, improved performance at the freezer, and superior resistance to heat shock.

“The concept of a true sugar-free frozen dairy dessert without the use of high-intensity sweeteners combines the novel use of unique functional, compositional and flavoring ingredients never before executed in any finished frozen dessert,” states co-developer Steven Young. The other developer, Bruce Tharp adds, “Accomplishment of superior-freezing performance and heat-shock resistance includes the careful management of freezing point. This is a major element in delivering the physical and sensory characteristics we seek both at the freezer and in the finished product.”

Tharp reports that the sugar-free frozen dairy dessert has a higher freezing point than convention ice cream, which represents substantial quality advantages, as the amount of water frozen in the freezer at a typical draw temperature is 27% greater than in conventional ice cream. “Since the factors that produce small ice crystals have their maximum influence in the freezer barrel, this means that substantially more growth can occur in the sugar-free dairy dessert without producing detectable ice crystals,” says Tharp. “It also indicates that the ice cream will be stiffer at any given exit temperature, an effect that increases the extrudability of the product.

The suppliers of the key ingredients for this sugar-free formulation were FMC BioPolymer, Philadelphia, (microcrystalline cellulose gel), Matsutani America, Decatur, Ill. (resistant maltodextrin), SPI Polyols, New Castle, Del. (maltitol syrup) and Protient Inc., St. Paul, Minn. (milk protein concentrate). The formula totals 37.9% solids, plus flavor from David Michael & Co., Philadelphia. With 130% overrun, the sugar-free frozen dairy dessert contains <0.5 g total “sugars” per serving; low-fat options available (<3.0 g fat per serving); <90 calories per serving; and it is possible to make “good” (2.5g) or “excellent” (5.0g) source of dietary fiber per serving claims. Formula basics are available on a license-free basis.

Assisting and supporting in the concept’s development were Zackler & Associates andDairy Foods.

If no is too low

Separately, David Michael and SPI have partnered to promote the use of Maltisweet maltitol syrup in no-sugar-added and reduced-sugar ice cream applications. With characteristics nearly identical to sucrose and corn syrup, Maltisweet IC can be used as a direct one-to-one replacement with or without the use of high-intensity sweeteners. It offers a pleasant-tasting, balanced sweetness and creamy texture with no ingredient aftertaste and fewer calories than sucrose.

In a study conducted at Penn State University, State College, Pa., consumers found no-sugar-added vanilla ice cream formulated with Maltisweet IC and David Michael’s vanilla to taste as good as Penn State’s University Creamery premium, full-sugar vanilla ice cream, with no significant differences in overall taste, texture or appearance.

If you want to dream . . . bigger

Dreaming bigger frozen desserts is what Kerry Americas, Beloit, Wis., is about when it creates formulations that demonstrate the capabilities of four of the company’s business units dedicated to the frozen and chilled dessert market. This includes bakery and confectionery inclusions, flavors and variegates, novelty coatings and one-of-a-kind layered technologies as well as functional, wellness and fortified ingredients.

Examples include omega-3-fortified walnut bark chip inclusions, which are carefully blended with bittersweet chocolate, imparting a premium combination of flavors and textures while providing the nutritional benefits of omega-3 enhancement. There are also origin-specific chocolate liquor coatings, featuring distinct flavor profiles brought forth from the finely ground cocoa beans cultivated from four separate geographic areas.

Indulgence remains synonymous with ice cream. This treat includes fried pralines and swirls of rich caramel ribbon in a nutty praline ice cream.
Photo Courtesy of Pecan Deluxe Candy Co.

Indulgence reigns in the freezer

Manufacturers must never forget that their frozen treat must taste great . . . and indulgence is always welcome. Dallas-based Pecan Deluxe Candy Co., is making indulgence its buzz word for 2007. Here’s a sampling of some of the innovations that the company’s culinary development team has dreamed up.

From grandma’s oven, oops, make that freezer, there’s Blackberry Crumble, which is sugar-rolled pie chips and praline pecans blended with swirls of blackberry ribbon in berry-flavored ice cream. Also, new Cherry Almond Streusel is baked almond streusel with swirls of cherry ribbon in cherry-flavored ice cream.

For chocolate lovers, Cherry Chocolate Double Fudge is dark chocolate cherry-filled hearts with swirls of chocolate cherry butterfudge in fudgie chocolate ice cream. Chocolate Truffle Cake contains the real thing. This milk chocolate-flavored ice cream contains chocolate truffle cake pieces and chocolate whipped cream frosting. Extreme Death by Chocolate contains chocolate truffles, fudge-filled chocolate cups and chocolate flakes in dark chocolate ice cream. Without a doubt, this is the flavor to end on!