Guess who now markets milk? After more than 20 years of producing yogurt, Stonyfield Farm, Londonderry, N.H., now offers consumers Organic Milk. With a little help from its Massachusetts neighbor HP Hood LLC, Chelsea, Mass., which co-packs the milk for Stonyfield, the new ultra-pasteurized organic milk line is making its way into refrigerators across the United States.

Stonyfield Farm Organic Milk comes in half-gallon gabletop cartons, in four varieties: Fat Free, Lowfat (1% milkfat), Reduced Fat (2% milkfat) and Whole Milk.

The company explains to its customers that its organic milk comes fresh from cows raised on organic farms. No antibiotics or artificial growth hormones are allowed. Instead, the farmers rely on good nutrition and minimal stress to keep the cows healthy, happy and productive. The cows eat only 100% organic feed, grown without toxic and persistent pesticides and fertilizers. The milk is homogenized to break up and disperse milkfat throughout the milk for a smooth, consistent texture and refreshing taste. Stonyfield says that ultra-pasteurization helps the milk stay fresh longer, unopened. Once opened, the milk should be consumed within seven days. There is no difference in the nutritive value or great taste of ultra-pasteurized milk, just greater convenience for everyone.

Northfield, Ill.-based Kraft Foods Inc., is twisting up flavor with color in its new line of Philadelphia® Swirls. The new cream cheese spreads come in three varieties: Brown Sugar ‘N Cinnamon Spice, Garlic ‘N Herb and Triple Berries ‘N Cream. Basically, each 8-oz tub contains plain Philadelphia cream cheese with swirls of the respective flavor. The line is in its initial launch, with national distribution expected by summer.

Armour®, a food brand marketed by personal care giant The Dial Corp., Scottsdale, Ariz., now offers cheese-based dips that come in microwaveable cups. Using processing and packaging that is similar to its popular Lunch Bucket line, the new dips come in 7.5-oz cups and are sold in the canned food aisle. Varieties are Bacon Cheddar Cheese Dip, Chili Cheese Dip and Jalapeño Cheddar Dip. Not only are the new products marketed as a hot dip, package labels suggest using them on potatoes or veggies.

Once again, Trader Joe's Co., Monrovia, Calif., shows consumers that private label foods do not need to be boring or non-innovative. In its freezers, the company recently debuted a three-variety line of imported gelato. Sold in clear, 30-oz oval containers, the Italian Gelato comes in three flavors: Chocolate, Tiramisu and Vanilla. Labels describe the product as "rich, creamy and densely delicious." Trader Joe's says it imports its Trader Giotto's Gelato directly from Italy and instructs consumers to leave the product out at room temperature for 10 minutes before serving. A half-cup serving contains 9g fat and 220 calories.

Noteworthy Introductions

Brigham's Inc., Arlington, Mass., has rolled out a new ice cream flavor that is just wicked! Wicked Chocolate is a triple decker of chocolate decadence. It features the company's famous rich chocolate ice cream with chewy brownie pieces and Brigham's signature fudge sauce.

Naperville, Ill.-based Quality Chekd Dairies Inc., an organization of dairy processors whose packaging carries the well-known "Blue Q. Red Chek" trademark, is offering its members the option to manufacture an Organic Soymilk line. Half-gallon cartons are available in original and vanilla flavors.

Quality Chekd Organic Soymilk was launched initially via four Quality Chekd dairies: Hiland Dairy Foods Co., Springfield, Mo; Umpqua Dairy Products Co., Roseburg, Ore; Rockview Dairies Inc., Downey, Calif; and Sinton Dairy Foods LLC., Colorado Springs, Colo.

INTERNATIONAL

Dairy products positioned towards children are not unusual, however, the form keeps getting more creative. For instance, Baojianran Foodstuff's recently debuted Milkana Cheese Snack. Introduced in China, the snack is cheese on a stick, mirroring a frozen novelty or lollipop. This is a great way to entice children into eating a healthy cheese snack, rather than snacking on sugary foods. The cheese sticks come in a plastic tub that features images from Disney Pixar cartoons.

Recently we have seen many new flavor developments in dairy products, as manufacturers are becoming a bit more daring and consumers are more willing to try new things. Muller, for example, launched Ecke des Monats typ Cherry Cola Yogurt in Germany, which is basically a cherry cola-flavored yogurt. This is a new spin on the tried and true fruit flavors usually seen in the yogurt segment.

Another variation on flavor comes from South Africa's Tiger Food Brands, which launched Ice Cap Bubblegum Flavoured Ice Cream Topping. The topping flavor is different than the more traditional chocolate and caramel flavors available in the States. Bubblegum is apparently a popular flavor for kids in South Africa, as they also have a bubblegum-flavored mayonnaise.

New Zealand-based Kiwi Ice Cream Co., has debuted an innovative package and flavor combination for ice cream. The company's new Awesome 4Some Choc ‘a' Block provides consumers with four ice cream flavors in one container. Each corner of the package contains a different flavor-Orange Choc Chip, Vanilla Choc Chip, Chewy Chocolate and Lime Choc Chip-yes, choc chip is short for chocolate chip.

Another interesting packaging development within dairy products is the introduction of Dairy Farmers' Mini Moove Shrek 2 Caramel Chatter Flavoured Milk in Australia. While the product is said to be high in calcium and low in fat, the most interesting quality is its push-pull cap closure, which is very unusual for a dairy product.