Take a Look at What’s Healthy and New

People residing in the Midwest are the first in the United States to be offered the opportunity to try Original Foods a2 Milk™, a taste-test-winning milk with a unique protein profile that offers a delicious alternative to conventional milk brands. The A2 Milk Co., in partnership with The Original Foods Co. and Prairieland Dairy, have introduced premium quality a2 Milk at more than 100 Hy-Vee supermarkets in seven Midwestern states. The milk is available in three varieties: 2% Reduced Fat, Fat Free and 1% Chocolate.
All three varieties of the Original Foods a2 Milk sourced from Prairieland Dairy were tested among 80 milk drinkers at the North Carolina State University Sensory Service Center against leading, locally available brands. In this taste test, more milk drinkers preferred the taste of all three varieties of Original Foods a2 Milk to the other brands tested. Unlike many other milks that are sourced from a combination of locations, all Original Foods a2 Milk is Source Verified as coming exclusively from the a2 Certified herd at Prairieland Dairy, a farm in Firth, Neb., collaboratively run by five families.
Dan Rice, a managing member of Prairieland Dairy and chairman of the Nebraska Dairy Council, was not surprised by the taste-test results. Rice believes this preferred taste has something to do with Prairieland’s approach to the processing of Original Foods a2 Milk. “We separate the cream while the milk is cold, rather than hot. Separating the cream in this manner is more costly, but it’s worth it because we believe it leaves the milk with a fuller flavor,” he says.
As important as great taste is, Rice says, Original Foods a2 Milk is unique from other milks on the shelf because of its a2 Protein Certification. “Only this milk offers the premium quality difference of 2 grams of a2 beta-casein per serving — a2 beta-casein is a natural, high-quality milk protein and one of two predominant types of beta-casein that occur naturally in milk,” he says. Only about one-fourth of Holstein dairy cows, the most common type of dairy cow in the United States, have the trait to produce a2 Milk — milk that contains the a2 type of beta-casein protein, but does not contain the other predominant type of beta-casein commonly found in other milk.
“Only the A2 Milk Co. and its sublicensees can perform the non-invasive test on dairy cows using a hair sample from each cow that allows us to determine if the cow naturally carries traits for producing a2 Milk,” says Grant Prentice, president of the A2 Milk Co. “The test we conduct on the cows and quality assurance tests we perform on the milk enable us to certify that 99 percent of the beta-casein in our milk is the a2 type.”
As a result of a structural difference in the amino-acid chain that comprises the a2 beta-casein protein, it can breakdown differently during digestion than the other predominant type of beta-casein protein commonly found in other milks, resulting in the release of different bioactives. “For hundreds of years, we have known that natural cow’s milk is one of the most nutritious, essential foods we can consume,” says Andrew Clarke, A2 Milk Co.’s chief science officer. “Unfortunately, there are millions of Americans who have stopped drinking milk, or don’t drink enough milk. We think the fresh, full flavor and unique protein balance in a2 Milk offer a great tasting reason for consumers who have abandoned dairy to give milk one more chance.”
Original Foods a2 Milk is also a great option for those consumers who want to know the source of their food. “You can trace every glass of Original Foods a2 Milk back to the a2 herd at Prairieland Dairy,” says Rice. “Consumers can be confident that our a2 Milk is sourced from the highest quality dairy cows that have been fed a nutritious diet, provided ample fresh water to drink and have not been treated with artificial hormones or sub-therapeutic antibiotics.”
For more information, visit www.a2milk.com
Martek Biosciences Corp., a DHA omega-3 market leader, announced in August the introduction of General Mills’ Yoplait Kids® Yogurt Drink, featuring life’sDHA™, Martek’s patented, vegetarian form of DHA omega-3, a fatty acid important for brain, eye and nervous system development in infants and children. The new 3.1-ounce yogurt product is now available nationwide.
“We are thrilled by the success of General Mills’ first yogurt product with life’sDHA and pleased that it has launched a second yogurt product to provide children with more opportunities to get DHA in their diets through life’sDHA,” says Steve Dubin, Martek’s chief executive officer.
DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) omega-3 is a long-chain omega-3 fatty acid that serves as a primary building block for the brain and the eyes and supports brain, eye and cardiovascular health. There is a large and growing body of scientific evidence demonstrating that people of all ages, from infants to aging adults, benefit from an adequate supply of DHA omega-3 in their diets. Scientific reviews have noted the importance of DHA omega-3 in proper brain and eye function, and there are studies currently underway to investigate its role in decreasing the prevalence of certain neurological disorders.
Yet despite its importance, Americans have among the lowest dietary intakes of DHA omega-3 in the world, Martek reports. Life’sDHA is unique in the market because it is derived from a sustainable and vegetarian source, the company says. Made from microalgae under tightly controlled manufacturing conditions, life’sDHA is free of oceanic contaminants that may be present in certain fish or fish oils. Martek says microalgae are the only vegetarian source of DHA omega-3, the key omega-3 for brain and eye development and function.
For more information, visit www.martek.com
DCI Cheese Co., Richfield, Wis., has launched its first probiotic cheese line under DCI’s County Line brand of specialty cheeses. County Line’s probiotic cheeses are available in four 8-ounce varieties — Pepper Jack, Colby Jack, Monterey Jack and Mild Cheddar.
The new cheese products will contain probiotic cultures, which help to maintain a healthy digestive system and levels of internal bacteria, as well as aid in the activation of the natural immune system, the company says. DCI’s County Line probiotic cheeses are positioned to appeal to busy health conscious consumers who are seeking a convenient and consistent way to maintain physical health. With Americans’ growing awareness of healthy living, probiotic products saw a 190 percent increase in 2006, DCI says. County Line’s probiotic cheeses are now available for national distribution. “We are excited to be introducing our first probiotic brand offerings in an effort to bring increased health benefits in a functional product to our cheese consumers,” says Linda Hook, vice president of marketing for DCI. “County Line’s probiotic cheese products are a wholesome category alternative for people who are becoming more conscious about what they eat.”
Dairy is the ideal vehicle for delivering probiotic cultures due to basic category characteristics, such as refrigerated storage which helps maintain culture activity and cheese provides a protective effect during ingestion, DCI says. While many initial probiotic products have been in the yogurt category, DCI and other food industry leaders are expanding the probiotic reach by introducing new products outside of yogurt, such as the company’s new line of probiotic cheeses. County Line probiotic cheeses are made with active lactobacillus acidophilus cultures which provide a good source of “friendly” beneficial bacteria.
For more information, visit www.dcicheeseco.com
The Kroger Co., Cinncinnati, has launched a cholesterol reducing, fat-free milk.
The non-fat milk product will be sold under the expanding Active Lifestyle in-house brand. “The war against high cholesterol just got stronger and easier,” says Linda Severin, vice president of corporate brands for Kroger. “As part of a heart-healthy diet, people can enjoy the additional benefits of one of their favorite beverages and reduce their cholesterol.”
The new milk product contains CoroWise™ plant sterols, an all-natural ingredient sourced from plants and found naturally in foods such as vegetables, seeds and nuts. Plant sterols are recognized by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) for cholesterol lowering attributes. Clinical studies show they can help reduce “bad” cholesterol (LDL) and reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. “This new cholesterol reducing milk is a perfect example of Kroger providing customers the products they need and want to make their lives better and healthier,” Severin says. “More and more people, especially ‘baby boomers,’ are becoming conscientious and proactive about managing their health, particularly heart health. This makes it easy for them to do the right thing.”
Two 8-ounce servings of Active Lifestyle milk, when consumed with meals, provide the minimum daily amount recognized by the FDA as providing a heart-healthy benefit, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, Kroger says. Clinical studies have demonstrated that plant sterols can reduce cholesterol levels up to 15 percent. “For people with borderline-high blood cholesterol levels, this can potentially help them get to the normal range and potentially avoid medication,” Severin says. “For others, it is one way to help shave off points for better heart health — and we know every point counts.”
The nutritional value of milk is well established, Severin says, and “this provides another health reason to drink this time-tested beverage.” The new Active Lifestyle Fat-Free Milk with plant sterols is sold in a half-gallon size in Kroger’s family of stores nationwide.
For more information, visit www.thekrogerco.com