What happens when the country’s largest fluid milk processor lets a group of innovators live and work in high altitude? The answer is WhiteWave Foods Co.

What happens when the country’s largest fluid milk processor lets a group of innovators live and work in high altitude? The answer is WhiteWave Foods Co.

This Broomfield, Colo., subsidiary of Dean Foods Co., Dallas, formed when Dean Foods consolidated much of its branded business into one consumer packaged goods organization. Unlike Dean Foods, which markets products under the Dean’s brand, there is no WhiteWave brand.

Further, WhiteWave functions autonomously. In fact, the name Dean Foods does not appear on WhiteWave products and its financials are reported separately: $1.1 billion in annual sales.

With the Rocky Mountains as a back drop, WhiteWave’s product development team is living and breathing the high life. And in 2007, the company introduced numerous firsts to the U.S. marketplace. For this the company has formally been recognized by Dairy Foods magazine as the New Products Company of 2007.

“Innovation is integral to the success of any company, and it certainly plays a crucial role in WhiteWave Foods’ mission,” says Joe Scalzo, president and CEO. “Producing foods responsibly, in a way that aims to reduce our environmental footprint and gives back to the communities where we do business, is central to our mission. This requires constant innovation and making the better-even if harder-choices. That’s why we have a team at WhiteWave dedicated to identifying viable, on-trend new product opportunities that are not only good for the business but that can also be produced responsibly and will be welcome at everyone’s tables.”

A tidal year

The company’s most interesting rollout of the year comes under the Rachel’s yogurt brand. Rachel’s origins go back to the 1940’s to a small farm in Wales. Today, Rachel’s is a thriving U.K. brand built on decades of excellence in dairy craftsmanship. WhiteWave brought the brand here earlier this year with the roll out of Rachel’s Wickedly Delicious Yogurt. The 6-oz cup yogurt product comes in two uniquely formulated lines-Essence and Exotic-for a total of 10 flavors.

Packaged in distinguishing black cups with reverse-type print, the yogurt flavors are also captivating. All of the varieties include probiotics to support digestive health, as well as the omega-3 fatty acid docohexaenoic acid (DHA) and short-chain fructooligosaccharide. The five “essence” flavors are described as being “blissfully blended mood-inspiring.” They are: Calm (Plum Honey Lavender), Glow (Berry Jasmine with Zinc), Relax (Vanilla Chai), Revive (Peach Green Tea with Ginseng) and Vitality (Pomegranate and Açai). The five “exotic” flavors are: Cherry Black Currant, Kiwi Passion Fruit Lime, Mango Pineapple Passion Fruit, Orange Strawberry Mango and Pomegranate Blueberry.

“We felt that consumers were in need of a refreshing departure from their typical mainstream yogurt,” says Carolina Fryer, brand manager for Rachel’s. “Because consumers are already aware of, and seeking the benefits of these unique ingredients, we’re happy we can provide a great-tasting, healthy option to fulfill their needs.”

DHA fortification does not stop with yogurt. WhiteWave has started selling half-gallons of Horizon Organic milk with DHA. “Horizon Organic is the leading organic dairy brand with a proud history of pioneering in healthy, organic products and we look forward to the impact of this ingredient in enhancing our product offerings and once again pioneering our business into new arenas,” says Scalzo.

In the dairy-alternative category, WhiteWave extends Silk soymilk to now include Silk Plus For Bone Health. This new formulation combines all the vitamins, minerals and heart-healthy soy protein of Silk, plus added nutrients to support strong bones.

“As consumers continue to discover that functional foods offer an easy, convenient way to get their daily recommended dose of important vitamins and nutrients, we will continue to develop and offer products that deliver maximum benefits to meet those needs,” Scalzo says.

Providing consumer convenience is high on WhiteWave’s priorities. This is exemplified in the company’s introduction of STŌK, a new concept in the world of coffee enhancement. Unlike anything in the marketplace, each individual serving of the black coffee shot delivers a pop of pure, invigorating caffeine-the equivalent of adding an extra shot of espresso.

STŌK is available in two flavors. Regular STŌK makes coffee more potent with no effect on the flavor, while STŌK Sweet provides the same added caffeine, but with a sweeter edge. STŌK is available now at popular convenience stores nationwide right next to the creamers and sweeteners, making it that much easier for coffee-loving adults to add a caffeine kick to their cup of Joe.

As you have read, 2007 has been an amazing year for WhiteWave. “It’s important to note that across our entire brand portfolio, we’re focused on making choices that will help us continuously improve the way we do business, while positively impacting the environment and the local communities where we do business,” concludes Scalzo. “All of our brands, organic or not, play a key role in helping us achieve our true and fullest potential. We’re proud to be leaders in establishing a model for responsible, sustainable business in America and will remain committed to this course because it’s not only the right thing to do, but it also makes good business sense.”