Roseburg, Ore.-based Umpqua Dairy sells Natural Sour Cream, which is simply made with cream, milk and enzymes, while its Natural Low Fat Cottage Cheese contains cream, milk, salt, gums and citric acid.

Marty Weaver, director of sales and marketing at Umpqua, agrees that more and more consumers are looking for dairy products with fewer additives.

“They are becoming increasingly aware of what they consume and are paying closer attention to the ingredients that make up their food,” he says. “They want a ‘cleaner’ ingredient statement on the dairy products they purchase for their families.”

Downey, Calif.,-based Hermosa Farms, a family-owned and operated California dairy farm and one of the last dairies in Southern California to own its own cows and to process, package and distribute its own products, also promotes its new line of European-style sour creams as being “simply dairy.”

“Rather than focusing on low fat, consumers are now looking for a short ingredients list, and the shorter the better,” says Joe Lunzer, Hermosa Farms’ general manager and maker of Lilly Sour Cream.

Lilly is 100% all natural, and has only one ingredient: milk. The front of the container states there are no thickeners, gums or preservatives. Made using a patent-pending European-style process, all Lilly Sour Creams contain more protein and calcium than the competition, and at the same time have less saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium. Lilly Sour Cream comes in three varieties: fat free, light and regular.


Artisanal and local

The concepts of artisanal and local have made their way to the cultured dairy products category. In Petaluma, Calif., Straus Family Creamery developed organic sour cream in full fat and light varieties. The product is only available in the San Francisco Bay Area.

The sour creams are slow cultured using a traditional 16-hour process and made in small batches without additives, according to the company. The result is a product with a naturally thick texture and a pure, rich flavor with the perfect balance of sweet and tangy on the palate.

“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.”

In the Midwest, Traders Point Creamery, Zionsville, Ind., has taken cottage cheese to a whole new level. Made with organic milk from grass-fed cows, the hand-crafted batch 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 product is packaged in glass jars — a first for U.S. cottage cheese — to help maintain the cottage cheese’s integrity. According to the company, 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. The transparent glass container, along with eye-catching graphics and the Traders Point Creamery signature cow adorning the lid, help the product sell itself.