As consumers continue to eat more of their meals at home, dairy products sold through retail are reaping benefits. According to the International Dairy Foods Association’s Cultured Dairy Products and Ice Cream report, sour cream continues to experience strong growth in terms of retail sales volume. In fact, during the third quarter of 2009, retail sales volume increased 4.1% above quarterly year-ago levels. Such performance is motivating processor activity in this category, which has only a few national players and many very strong regional brands.

A new regional player in the Pacific Northwest is Tillamook County Creamery Association, Tillamook, Ore. The cooperative adds all-natural sour cream to its family of dairy products. The ingredient list is simple: Grade A cream and milk and enzyme. The cream and milk come from regional cows not treated with artificial growth hormone. According to the cooperative, this simple recipe yields a smooth and creamy product with a rich, pure taste and mouthfeel.

Hiland Dairy, Springfield, Mo., introduces Yophoria Probiotic Fruit and Yogurt Smoothies. Sold in 9-ounce single-serve plastic bottles, Yophoria comes in six varieties: Peach Passion, Piña Colada, Pomegranate Berry, Strawberries and Cream, Tropical Mango and Washington Apple.

“When consumed in sufficient amounts, probiotics can provide health benefits beyond basic nutrition. Dairy products containing probiotics also provide a number of essential nutrients, including calcium, magnesium and potassium. These are among the nutrients that have been identified as most lacking in the average American diet,” says Celia Harkey, a registered dietitian with the Midwest Dairy Council. And an added bonus, each serving of Yophoria is packed with 5 grams, or 20% of the Daily Value, of fiber. This comes from the real fruit used in the formula, as well as added stabilizers.

Sandusky, Ohio-based Toft Dairy expands its sherbet line with new flavors, at the same time the package gets a makeover. The newest varieties from Ohio’s oldest operating dairy are: a juicer, creamier Orange; a lime/orange/raspberry Rainbow; a black, red and blue Triple Raspberry and a mango/watermelon/pineapple Tropical. “The four new flavor profiles and carton designs tested well,” says Charlie Dalton, national accounts manager. “Of course everybody has his or her favorite flavor, but the biggest seller out of the gate has been Triple Raspberry.”

Toft Dairy is the only family-owned and operated dairy on Lake Erie between Cleveland and Toledo. The company purchases its milk - from cows not treated with synthetic growth hormones - from 22 local family dairy farms, all members of the Sandusky Cooperative Milk Producers Association.

Finally, there is an organic indulgence for those who are on a gluten-free diet. The Oregon Ice Cream Co., Vancouver, Wash., introduces Julie’s Gluten Free Ice Cream Sandwich. The frozen novelty is superpremium vanilla ice cream sandwiched between two rice-based chocolate cookies. They come in a cylinder package of four per container. Each sandwich contains 250 calories.

Dairyfood USA, Inc., Blue Mounds, Wis., introduces Sonoma Creamy Jack Sensible Gourmet Snacks. These individual kits contain a 56-gram container of spreadable cheese and four whole wheat sesame breadsticks. The cheeses come in three varieties: Garden Vegetable, Pepper Jack and Smoked Gouda.

The company takes snacking cheese seriously. Another recent introduction is Sonoma Snacks Cheese Cubes. Each 8-ounce recloseable bag contains bite-size cubes of Blue Jack, Garlic Jack, Habanero Jack, Hot Pepper Jack, Mediterranean Jack, Pesto Jack or Traditional Jack. 

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Noteworthy Introductions

Lifeway Foods, Morton Grove, Ill, introduced its first-ever seasonal kefir flavor this past November. Cranberry Crème Brûlée has a rich vanilla custard and caramelized sugar flavor infused with a tangy cranberry zing.  An 8-ounce serving only contains 160 calories and 2 grams of fat.

Wallington, N.J.-based Farmland Dairies LLC, adds a fat-free creamer to its lineup. New Special Request Skim Plus Fat Free Half & Half is a rich and creamy, fat-free alternative for coffee or any recipe that calls for cream.  “Our new fat-free half and half is made from simple, more natural ingredients such as milk, fat-free milk, and vitamins A and D3,” says Martin Margherio, chief executive officer. “It is the most natural fat-free half and half product available on the market.”


Greek yogurt introductions have skyrocketed over the last several years around the world. In Australia, Tamar Valley Dairy highlights interesting flavor possibilities with its new Greek-Style Yogurt Mixed 4 Pack. The yogurt flavors are:  Exotic Fruit Salad, Mango, Mixed Berry and Passionfruit. While U.S. dairy processors have experimented with flavored Greek yogurt, the variety pack concept has yet to appear on the market. With its sweet flavors, premium position and attractive packaging that emphasizes fresh, flavorful ingredients, Tamar Valley Dairy’s approach to Greek yogurt would likely work well in North America.

Japan’s Meiji Dairies grows its Sweets Cafe frozen novelty line with a Salt Caramel Éclair. This single-serve treat is comprised of caramel ice cream in a crispy puff that is coated with salted caramel chocolate.

Around the world, stick packs have emerged as one of today’s hottest packaging trends. These single-serve sachets typically contain dry beverage mixes that are added to water for on-the-go flavor and functional boosts. Not only are they widely available in beverage categories including energy drinks, tea and sports drinks, but they have even appeared in food categories such as stock and pudding. Now consumers can enjoy the on-the-go benefits of stick packs in the milk category. In the United Kingdom, Dairystix Ltd., introduces a range of extended shelf life stick packs of ultra-pasteurized milk and cream intended for coffee and tea. The product can be stored at ambient temperature. 

Contributed by Krista Faron, senior analyst, Mintel Custom Solutions,  Global New Products Database (GNPD). For more information call 312/932-0400 or visit

Focus on yogurt

The all-natural Brown Cow yogurt brand from Stonyfield Farm, Londonderry, N.H., now includes a line of yogurt parfaits in Cream Top and Low Fat varieties. The parfaits combine two great tastes in one indulgent treat. The top layer is flavored yogurt and below is a complementary flavor.

The Cream Top offerings are Maple/Brown Sugar, Pomegranate/Passion Fruit and Raspberry/Chocolate. In Low Fat, choose from Coffee/Chocolate, Lemon/Raspberry and Peach /Cherry.

Tillamook has been busy developing new products. In addition to entering the sour cream category, the co-operative adds four new flavors to its all-natural, low-fat yogurt line. The flavors are Baked Apple Pie, Passion Fruit Orange Guava, Strawberry Lemonade and Watermelon.

The company prides itself on the fact that its yogurts contain no artificial colors, no artificial flavors and no high-fructose corn syrup.

Omaha, Neb.-based Roberts Dairy is now in the yogurt business. The company has introduced a line of 6-ounce yogurt cups, with every variety providing 35% of the Daily Value of vitamin D, 20% of calcium and 15% of vitamin A, along with 6 grams of protein and live, active cultures. The low-fat flavors are: blueberry, cherry vanilla, peach, raspberry, strawberry, strawberry banana, vanilla and white chocolate raspberry. The 90-calorie fat-free varieties are blueberry, black cherry, Boston cream pie, peach, strawberry, strawberry banana, vanilla and very cherry.

Yogurt manufacturers overseas are much more likely to “push the envelope” when it comes to formulating innovative products. A new product from Poland’s Hipo Dairy is such an example. The company’s new drinking yogurt contains L-carnitine, an amino acid recognized as playing an important role in fat metabolism. Flavored with pineapple and green tea, this yogurt drink contains 90 milligrams of L-carnitine per serving and appeals to dieters and body builders looking for that extra punch to help them burn fat and increase muscle.