In early August, Straus Family Creamery, Petaluma, Calif., introduced a slow-cultured, locally made organic sour cream to San Francisco Bay-area grocery stores. The artisanal sour cream comes in two varieties - full fat and light - and is packaged in 16-ounce containers. And 16 is the magic number for this product because that’s how many hours it is cultured in small batches without any additives. The result is a naturally thick-textured sour cream with a clean, rich flavor.
“I wanted to create a pure, simple sour cream that tastes great,” says Albert Straus, president. “It all starts with the milk. Although making sour cream without gums or stabilizers takes time, it’s worth the effort. It’s more art than science to let the unique flavor of our milk come through with just the right balance of sweet and tangy.”
Until recently, locally made cottage cheese from Traders Point Creamery, Zionsville, Ind., was only sold through the company store and nearby retailers. It is now available through select Midwest-area Whole Foods Markets thanks to an extended shelf life that the company has been able to achieve after converting from plastic to glass packaging. The company was awarded a 2011 Clear Choice Award from the Glass Packaging Institute, Alexandria, Va., for this packaging conversion.
Made with organic milk from strictly grass-fed cows, the process is a slow and vigilant one, which produces delicate cheese curds with a light tartness nestled in the natural creaminess of carefully handled milk. The glass jars maintain the cottage cheese’s integrity, meaning none of the leaching that occurs with plastic containers happens in the new glass jar and the shelf life of the cheese is extended, especially compared to plastic packaging, according to the company. The transparent glass container, along with eye-catching graphics and the Traders Point Creamery signature cow adorning the lid help the product sell itself.
Promised Land Dairy, Floresville, Texas, is known for its Jersey cows milk products, in particular Midnight Chocolate Milk and Old Fashioned Egg Nog. So the company combined the two for a special holiday treat: limited-edition Promised Land Chocolate Egg Nog.
“We just could not pass up the opportunity to blend our two top-selling items to see if we could make a new treat for the holidays,” says Gordon Kuenemann, general sales manager. “Some people that find eggnog flavors overwhelming or premium, rich chocolate to be too intense will find this to be an absolutely perfect blend of these two all-natural flavors.”
In September, Carlinville, Ill.-based Prairie Farms Dairy sent students back to school with new fat-free, lower-sugar milk varieties in four kid-friendly flavors: Chocolate, Cookies’N Cream, Strawberry and Vanilla. The proprietary recipes do not include high-fructose corn syrup or artificial sweeteners and are based on fat-free milk that does not contain any artificial growth hormones. The school milk line also includes fat-free and 1% milkfat white varieties.
Since the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act was signed into law in December, Prairie Farms has worked aggressively to improve the formulations used for flavored milk sold in schools. “Our customers asked and we delivered,” says Rebecca Leinenbach, sales program director. “The new formulation is a direct result of ongoing conversations with school foodservice professionals about the stricter standards for school meals that will take effect in the 2012-2013 school year.”
Available a year ahead of schedule, the new fat-free chocolate milk contains 130 calories per 8-ounce serving and 11 grams of added sugar, compared to the previous 1% milkfat variety with 170 calories and 16 grams of added sugar.
Packaging for fruit- and yogurt-based smoothies continues to evolve as manufacturers try to deliver the freshest product to consumers, yet with a shelf life that allows for efficient distribution. That’s what Dole Packaged Foods LLC, Westlake Village, Calif., hopes it achieved with the new Dole Fruit Smoothie Shaker product, where the packaging is integral to the consumption of the product.
The user-friendly, functional and attractive high-end single-serve container solves a convenience hurdle that limited home consumption of hand-blended smoothie-type products. The product contains both frozen fruit and yogurt. A special proprietary process eliminates the need for a blender, which is one of the biggest complaints consumers have about making smoothies at home, according to the company. Simply unscrew the cap, add juice to the fill line, re-apply the cap and shake for about 30-45 seconds. The result is a perfectly blended smoothie, just like from the local smoothie shop. Each low-fat smoothie contains real yogurt with live and active cultures, including probiotics, as well as prebiotic fiber. Read more about this packaging on page 82.
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From cocktails to dessert, the bacon trend is making consumers go hog wild. In response, Future Food Brands, Carrollton, Texas, is rolling out Salads of the Sea Smokey Bacon Crab Dip. Cream cheese is the base for this unique version of surf-and-turf.
Land O’Lakes, Minneapolis, introduces Land O Lakes Cinnamon Sugar Butter Spread. This new spreadable butter combines the kick of cinnamon with the sweetness of sugar and no artificial ingredients.
Yogurt has long been associated with healthful eating and weight management. In Mexico, that image has been reinforced by the launch of Svelty Figura Yogurt Gelatin. This low-fat, low-calorie product from Nestlé S.A., Vevey, Switzerland, is a hybrid of yogurt and gelatin with a satiety position. Sweetened with sucralose, each 95-gram cup contains 50 calories, making it a smart choice for consumers watching their waistlines. The inclusion of yogurt provides substance, while the lightness of gelatin removes the guilt.
Mediterranean cuisine continues to drive innovation in all food categories, in all corners of the world. Polish dairy Polmlek Olsztyn Sp. z o.o. introduces Warmia Capresi Tzatziki Cream Cheese. Unlike the traditional spread or dip, this version comes in slice form and is designed for use in sandwiches or as a bagel topper.
Edelweiss, a German dairy located in the Bavarian region and a subsidiary of France-based Bongrain S.A., is rolling out a limited-edition yogurt spread under its Brunch brand. New Mona Lisa Spread with Blossom Honey relies on a unique honey variety that lends a sweet, delicate flavor to a normally tart bread spread.
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 ice cream
Ice cream marketers are showing us that yes, we love ice cream in the summer…but the right flavor complements winter quite well, too. It also makes for a great late-night snack, regardless of what the temperature is outside.
Oklahoma City-based Sonic, America’s Drive-In, celebrated summer with a line of Sundae Shakes. Available in three 100% sippable flavor adventures - Strawberry Dream, Turtle and Classic Hot Fudge - the shakes resemble the classic spoonable desserts. They all start with vanilla ice cream. Strawberry Dream contains real strawberries - not red syrup - and is finished with whipped topping, more real strawberries and a cherry. Turtle is adorned with chocolate syrup and nuts and finished with whipped topping, caramel, more nuts and a cherry. Finally, Classic Hot Fudge is loaded with hot fudge, whipped topping and more hot fudge.
As the temperatures drop, Smith Dairy Products Co., Orrville, Ohio, expects consumers to warm up to new Ruggles Hot Chocolate Premium Ice Cream. Described as creamy chocolate ice cream swirled with marshmallow and chocolate chunks, the company will be marketing this innovation as a winter flavor rather than a holiday flavor, with shipments beginning mid-November and ending sometime in February.
Ice cream marketer Ben & Jerry’s, Waterbury, Vt., a wholly owned subsidiary of Unilever, Englewood Cliffs, N.J., once again shows Americans that anything goes with ice cream, including adult-only liquor flavors. During the summer, the company rolled out Bonnaroo Buzz. Named after the legendary Bonnaroo music festival in Tennessee, and developed with a nod to that locale featuring a whisky-caramel swirl (the whiskey is cooked out), this coffee and malt ice cream includes English toffee pieces.
The flavor from these New England innovators that has raised some eyebrows and has made Saturday Night Live (SNL) fans laugh, just hit freezer cases last month. New limited-batch Schweddy Balls is an ode to a classic SNL sketch from 1998. The ice cream flavor features Fair Trade vanilla ice cream with a hint of rum and is loaded with fudge-covered rum balls and milk chocolate malt balls. (Go to www.benjerry.com and click on the Schweddy icon.)
Ben & Jerry’s formulators further show their admiration of late night comedy with Late Night Snack: a salty-sweet combination where vanilla ice cream carries a salted caramel swirl and fudge-covered potato chip clusters. Inspired by “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon,” the flavor is a tasty triumph to Jimmy’s satisfying wit. It also gives back by using two Fair Trade ingredients: cocoa and vanilla.
Speaking of giving back, our furry friends who give us unconditional love deserve a frozen treat, too. Nestlé Dreyer’s Ice Cream Co., Oakland, Calif., a part of Nestlé USA, Glendale, Calif., introduces Frosty Paws Bites, a bite-sized version of the similarly named single-serve cups of doggie ice cream. Made with high-quality protein, vitamins and minerals and no sugar, dogs can fetch either an original (vanilla) or peanut butter-flavored bit that is enrobed in a vanilla yogurt coating.
For more on ice cream, visit www.dairyfoods.com and type “ice cream” into the search box.