IDFA Ice Cream Tech Conference

Publix Dairy was back in the winners circle at this year’s IDFA Ice Cream Technology Conference, taking top prize in the most innovative flavor category. Meanwhile, Wells’ Dairy’s Blue Bunny took first place for the “most delicious chocolate ice cream” flavor.

The conference, held Feb. 27-29 at the Hilton Squaw Peak Resort and Spa, received 105 attendees.

 “We had a session on how consumers were buzzing about a healthier frozen desert in 2007 and some ideas that some companies are coming up with,” says Cary Frye, IDFA’s v.p. of regulatory affairs.

“We also have to thank our numerous sponsors for making this conference so successful.  Symrise, Inc. sponsored the breakfasts both days. Ellison Bakery sponsored the opening reception, Danisco sponsored the day one lunch, Star Kay White sponsored the day two lunch, Dairy Foods sponsored the Ice Cream Contest, and WCB Ice Cream sponsored the breaks.”

The competition drew 12 entries for the innovative flavor category and five for the chocolate category. Laura Johnson, product development mgr., Publix Dairy Processing, attended and walked away with the prize after all attendees voted on the best flavors.

“We are honored to be once again recognized in the  most innovative category,” Johnson said. “Our winning flavor is called Light Creamy Churned Style Lemon Sugar Cookie.  It’s a lemon sugar cookie light ice cream with crunchy lemon cookie crumbs and swirls of vanilla icing.”

The flavor is part of the year-round line of Publix ice cream flavors that is sold in more than 900 stores in the southeast.

Wells’ grabbed the top chocolate award with a flavor from its foodservice line, Blue Bunny Premium Chocolate Ice Cream.

Blue Bunny’s R&D team is proud to be recognized by IDFA as having the most delicious ice cream. “There is a lot of competition in the Foodservice ice cream category,” said Troy Hokenson, marketing manager of Blue Bunny’s Foodservice Division. “Being recognized with an award from IDFA and our peers proves Blue Bunny is a leader in this category.”

The Le Mars Iowa company describes the product as a high-quality, premium chocolate ice cream with  high quality dairy ingredients, a smooth chocolate profile and rich, dark color.

“Research tells us that foodservice consumers buy with their eyes, so we applied that learning to this product,” Hokenson said. “The premium flavor remained the same but we improved the ice cream’s overall appearance with richer and more decadent color and texture.”

Johnson added that the award is a nice honor for Publix.

Great programs

“Many of the speakers this year brought in samples of the products they were presenting,” Frye says. “Jamie Cutler and Matthew Marcus of Pecan Deluxe Candy Co. presented on new opportunities in food service and provided samples of some creative culinary frozen desserts to the attendees during the session.” 

The healthier frozen dessert session included Dan Kim, CEO of Red Mango, Inc., John Hanna, CEO, YoCream International, and Jon Hopkinson, of Danisco USA. Kim provided samples of Red Mango’s  Green Tea flavored Frozen Yogurt, and John Hanna provided samples of Mango Frozen Yogurt.

“Two frozen yogurt machines were donated for the conference and samples were distributed after the session, during a coffee break,” Frey said. “Another session that had samples distributed was the panel on the latest in freezing technology for lowfat ice cream.  The moderator was  Bruce Poulterer, mgr., FMC BioPolymer. The three panelists were:  David Kuenzler, WCB Ice Cream, Gustav Korsholm, Tetra Pak Hoyer, and Herb Fish, Gram Equipment of America, Inc.”

Kuenzler organized a six- sample blind  tasting to see if attendees liked lowfat ice cream.  Another session with samples was Fast Track Fast Trends.  Skip Rosskam,pres./COO, David Michael & Co. provided two samples of frozen dessert product during his session.