The world's first fresh milk with DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) moved into Ontario supermarket dairy cases in mid-April, offering consumers a convenient new way to increase daily consumption of this very important omega-3 fatty acid. The new milk, marketed as Neilson® Dairy Oh!™, is being produced on Ontario dairy farms thanks to a groundbreaking, patented process developed at the University of Guelph with support of Dairy Farmers of Ontario. A specially formulated diet enables dairy cows to absorb DHA, and then release it naturally into their milk. Neilson Dairy Oh! is reported to taste the same as regular fresh milk and is available in both whole and 2% fat. The milk is marketed and distributed by Neilson Dairy, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

DHA is considered by scientists around the world to be physiologically essential for the development and maintenance of the brain, eye retina and nervous system throughout life, from the final trimester of pregnancy to old age. DHA is vital for normal functioning of neural tissue, cognitive performance and visual acuity.

General Mills Inc., Minneapolis, serves up new Yoplait® Ultra™, a creamy, fruity cultured dairy option with 70% fewer carbohydrates and sugar than regular low-fat yogurt. Available nationwide since early May, Yoplait Ultra comes in the same 6-oz recognizable cup as other Yoplait products, and has a suggested retail price of 89 cents. Ultra comes in four varieties: Strawberry Crème, Peach Crème, Blueberry Crème and Raspberry Crème. With only 90 calories per serving, low-fat Yoplait Ultra is an excellent source of calcium and a good source of protein.

"We know many consumers, especially women, are looking for products that are easy to enjoy without compromising on taste," says Kirsten Aune, marketing mgr. "Yoplait Ultra is a great-tasting, ready-to-eat option that's perfect at breakfast, lunch or anytime."

Noteworthy Introductions

Pennsauken, N.J.-based J&J Snack Foods is growing its Tio Pepe's® brand of churros with the company's first Hispanic-targeted frozen novelty: Tio Pepe's® Horchata Congelada. The novelty is a frozen version of the traditional Mexican horchata drink.

Tio Pepe's Horchata Congelada is available in two package sizes. The 3-fl-oz M-Paks target school a la carte or nutrient-based menu programs, as well as Mexican restaurant kids' meals. The 4-fl-oz squeeze tubes target convenience stores, theme parks, vending, ice cream distributors and Mexican-themed quick-serve restaurants.

Kraft Foods, Northfield, Ill., adds Baby Swiss to its Cracker Cuts line of 18-presliced pieces of cheese designed to conveniently fit the top of most snacking crackers.

Mayfield Dairy Farms, Athens, Tenn., a Dean Foods Co., Dallas, rolls outs four flavors (butter pecan, chocolate, Neapolitan and vanilla) of ice cream for people following low-carb diets. Called Mayfield Less Carbs™ Ice Cream, one half-cup serving contains 3 net carbs and the product has no added sugar.

"Millions of Americans have adopted a diet that restricts carbohydrates, and we want these people to continue enjoying the ice cream flavors they love to eat," says Scottie Mayfield, pres.

Additional flavors will join the four core flavors later in the year.

Indeed, foods for low-carb dieters are the trend, and many manufacturers and marketers know that dairy has to be part of the product mix, as consumers understand the importance of including dairy in their daily diet. Neptune, N.J.-based Keto Foods & Snacks rolled out at the beginning of the year a ready-to-drink milk product with only 1g of carbohydrates per serving. Keto™ Milk tastes like whole milk, the company says. Made with cream, milk protein isolate and other ingredients, the beverage contains 33% more protein and twice the calcium per serving of regular whole milk. Packaged aseptically in

1-quart shelf-stable boxes, a single cup serving contains 8g fat.

The company also sells 11-oz aseptic, eight-sided, single-serve cartons of ready-to-drink dairy-based shakes. The shakes come in four flavors-chocolate, orange crème, strawberry and vanilla-and are sold in four-packs.

International

The addition of extra ingredients to ice cream often gives it an indulgent feel or added texture/bite. Chocolate chips is a common mix-in, as are nuts, both of which we see in abundance around the world. More indulgence has been given with the addition of bakery items such as dough, biscuits/cookies or brownies, which is a trend we see much more in the United States rather than elsewhere. Now, another bakery ingredient joins the list. New in Austria from Eskimo-Iglo, a Unilever company, under its Cremissimo brand, is a take-home, limited edition chocolate ice cream with muffin pieces.



We continue to see products that blur category lines, such as confections that can be considered bakery products, sweet snacks that resemble salty ones, and meal products that double as snacks. One new blur is the drinkable dessert. Austrian dairy company Nöm, under its Dolve Vita brand, rolls out Dessert Drink. The new product comprises a bottled vanilla-flavored milk dessert. The packaging makes it look very similar to a yogurt drink, but the ingredients indicate more of a similarity to flavored milk. Although it is not positioned as an on-the-go product, that positioning would work well for a similar product in the United States. The product is also being positioned as a dessert sauce.



Very strong flavors

tend to appear more in confectionery products than in dairy products. However, Safeway in Canada has a new twist on sherbet, providing a lip puckering experience. Under its Safeway Select private label brand is new Lemon Crunch Sherbet, which is low-fat lemon-flavored sherbet with all-natural fruit flavors and tiny sour lemon candy pieces. The company says it is marketed toward serious fruit lovers.



Although most of the low-carb products appear in the United States, there are products from the United States that are exported to Canada, and Canadian brands that are embracing low-carb formulations. In Canada, one of the newer players is Nestlé Canada. It recently unveiled its Carb Trim line of Frozen Dairy Desserts that are sweetened with aspartame and acesulfame-potassium. The Extra Creamy Vanilla variety contains only 7g of net carbs and is purported to help consumers manage carbohydrate levels.

Contributed by Lynn Dornblaser, dir., Global New Products Database (GNPD) Consulting Services, a division of Mintel International, a global research company. For more information call 312/932-0400, or visit www.gnpd.com.