Not many people can turn down a corned beef and Swiss sandwich on St. Patrick’s Day. And thanks to Finlandia, Parsippany, N.J., the Swiss on that sandwich can be lower in fat and sodium and still taste great.



Not many people can turn down a corned beef and Swiss sandwich on St. Patrick’s Day. And thanks to Finlandia, Parsippany, N.J., the Swiss on that sandwich can be lower in fat and sodium and still taste great.

Just in time for the March 17 holiday, the company rolled out Finlandia Lacey Swiss, an imported, all-natural, reduced-fat cheese in 5-pound loaves. This service-deli product contains no added hormones, and is naturally lactose free and a great source of calcium. 

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), Dallas, adults should eat two to three servings of fat-free or low-fat dairy per day. Additionally, AHA advises children to eat two or more servings and teenagers and older adults, four servings per day. This gets easier and tastier with innovative options such as Finlandia Lacey Swiss. From the first bite, one can taste full Swiss flavor. This is due to the fact that it is aged 60 days, more than most other low-fat cheeses on the market. 

La Farge, Wis.-based Organic Valley, the nation’s oldest organic farmer-owned cooperative, now offers New York Fresh milk, a locally produced milk for its consumers in the New York metropolitan region. The milk is produced on the cooperative’s family farms in the Empire State and bottled, distributed and sold in the region, ensuring fewer miles from farm to table.

New York Fresh milk is available in skim, low-fat, reduced-fat and whole varieties in quart, half-gallon, gallon and a new 96-ounce size. True to the iconic Organic Valley wood-cut design, the New York Fresh cartons feature farmer-owners who produce the milk on their pastures and an introduction to their farm stories. The packaging also displays the Pride of New York logo. The milk comes from 121 local farms and is bottled at Mountainside Dairy, Roxbury, N.Y.

Inspired by the success of frozen kefir made for Starfruit Cafes, the foodservice venture of Lifeway Foods Inc., Morton Grove, Ill.,  the company is entering the retail frozen category with a packaged frozen kefir. New Lifeway Frozen Kefir is a 90-calories-per-serving frozen yogurt alternative packed with better-for-you bacteria. This tart, yet tangy frozen treat comes in one-pint containers in four flavors - mango, original, pomegranate and strawberry. The original flavor is also available in a 3.6-ounce single-serve size packaged with a spoon.

“Frozen yogurt is still a strong growth segment, and our Starfruit Cafe business is riding the same wave. Our same-store sales grew nearly 50% last year, our average store ticket rose 20% and we’ve seen demand expanding from an afternoon dessert to both a breakfast and lunch meal replacement,” says Julie Smolyansky, CEO. “Taking the product to grocery stores around the country with the introduction of Lifeway Frozen Kefir is the next logical step. Now fro-yo fans can get their fix with the nutritional benefits of kefir wherever they live and whenever they want - even when they’re at home.”

Good things come in small packages. Make that small cups! The Skinny Cow brand’s new 5.8-ounce single-serve, low-fat ice cream cup line contains only 150 to 170 calories and 2 to 3 grams fat, depending on flavor, of which there are five. Caramel Cone is vanilla ice cream with chocolate-covered chunks of crunchy cone and swirls of caramel. Chocolate Fudge Brownie starts with chocolate ice cream to which fudgy brownie chunks are added. Cookies ‘N Cream and Strawberry Cheesecake taste like the classic American desserts, while Dulce de Leche appeals to Hispanic taste buds. It is caramel-flavored ice cream loaded with layers of rich caramel. The suggested retail price is $1.49 per cup, but can often be found on sale for a dollar. The Skinny Cow line is produced by Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream Inc., Oakland, Calif., a division of Nestlé USA, Glendale, Calif., which is owned by Nestlé S.A. of Vevey, Switzerland.

The Icelandic Milk & Skyr Corp., New York, expands its siggi’s brand with small and simple drinkable yogurts that are a concentrated source of the oldest and best-known probiotic culture: Lactobacillus acidophilus.

“Since 2005, siggi’s has been committed to making skyr, an Icelandic-style, all-natural yogurt with a short and simple ingredient list containing five strains of live active cultures,” says Siggi Hilmarsson, CEO. The drinkable yogurt comes in blueberry, plain and strawberry flavors. Available in four-packs of 3.7 fluid-ounce bottles, the product debuts nationwide this month and has a suggested retail price of $4.99. 

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Noteworthy Introductions

Velvet Ice Cream, Utica, Ohio, adds Peanut Butter Overload and French Vanilla to its Supreme ice cream line. This peanut butter-based ice cream includes peanut butter swirls and peanut butter cups. French Vanilla is similar to Velvet’s Olde Tyme Vanilla and includes pasteurized egg for rich flavor.

St. Paul, Minn.-based Old Home Foods Inc., is reducing the sodium in its cottage cheese by one third. Taste does not change thanks to the power of the minerals in sea salt, which is what the company now uses.

International

In the United States, fiber claims have increased within the dairy category, but for the most part have been limited to cultured products, primarily yogurt. In other parts of the world, fiber has made its way into fluid milk. In Italy, Parmalat sells Fibresse Milk as part of its “Well Being Milk” line. This fiber variant is designed to help with intestinal function - a benefit that is described in detail on the package.

Poland’s Bakoma Milkus chose the increasingly popular flexible stand-up pouch for its new drinkable launch: Chocolate Milky Dessert. Though this chilled drink is nothing more than simple chocolate milk, the product name and packaging extend the usage occasion from hydration to dessert. The 80-gram pouch offers key benefits to parents - portability because of the single-serve format and reusability because of the screw cap - but the “squishable” nature of the package makes it appealing to children.

Bright Dairy in China recently launched a kid-oriented cheese product. This chilled treat appears to be a hybrid dairy product, bringing together attributes of traditional cheese, cream cheese and yogurt in a unique tub format, complete with a spoon. Flavored like fruit punch, the product can be consumed as a snack,  as a spread or mixed with fruits or vegetables. 

Contributed by Krista Faron, director of innovation and insights, Mintel Research Consultancy, Global New Products Database (GNPD). For more information call 312-932-0400 or visit www.gnpd.com.

Focus on Tea

Marketing communications firm JWT, New York, identified green tea as one of the Top 10 trends in its Food and Beverage Trends for 2011 report. According to JWT, green tea has become a functional ingredient - high in both antioxidants and caffeine - and will increasingly be seen in beverages (from lattes to cocktails) and desserts (ice cream, pastries and more).

On the beverage side, a number of innovative ready-to-drink (RTD) green tea beverages are making their way into the retail channel, and more are expected to roll out for the summer months.