Origin Food Group is focused on manufacturing value-added dairy products for private-label and contract manufacturing accounts. The dairy processor also makes its own branded cultured dairy foods and beverages.

Based in Statesville, N.C. (just outside of Charlotte), Origin manufactures drinkable yogurts, cup yogurts, gelatins, bulk yogurt and ice cream mixes. Later this year it will add shelf-stable flavored dairy beverage capabilities.

“This will allow us to produce shelf-stable flavored milks including chocolate, strawberry, etc., and iced coffees,” said Chief Operating Officer Glenn Patcha. “Most of these categories are large and growing and Origin sees opportunities for more innovation to continue to fuel growth. The category fills a key need in that these products have long shelf life and are very convenient because they can be enjoyed on the go.”

The dairy processor opened its 20,000-square-foot state-of-the-art production facility in January 2012. The SQF Level 3-certified $7 million facility has both refrigerated and dry storage, capabilities to blow mold bottles and in-house R&D and product development.

The company is a partnership between the Alarcón family of Ecuador and the Stamey family of Iredell County, N.C. The former has almost 40 years of experience in yogurt and beverages while the latter has spent more than six decades in the dairy farming and cattle business.

Origin sees opportunities to serve the tastes of Hispanic consumers. Sour creams and dulce de leche products are in the works for 2014.

“We can produce Hispanic drinkable yogurt, cup yogurt that is tailored to Hispanic flavor preferences, Mexican crema (sour cream Mexican-style), dulce de leche and other potential Hispanic products,” he said. “This is an area that we are actively pursuing. Products can be produced for private label/contract customers and we may launch them under our own label as well.”

Patcha added that the dedicated private label and co-pack team works closely with customers to provide exceptional customer service.

“We pride ourselves on being very flexible and nimble based on the customer’s needs. Origin has in-house R&D and product formulation resources and we can also assist with the development of packaging and graphic design,” he explained.

He said that Origin can work with customers in a number of different ways, including developing new concepts and formulas or producing an existing formula. Additionally, the dairy processor provides consumer insights and custom research. Its research capabilities include a range of options such as concept, product and packaging testing, Patcha said.

With a company focus on championing a healthier lifestyle and providing convenient and nutritious dairy products, Origin’s own brands tap into the consumer trends of exotic fruit flavors and added nutritional benefits.

“A couple of very strong trends right now are around probiotics and of course more protein,” Patcha said, adding that when it comes to flavor trends in cultured dairy, he sees mango, passion fruit, pomegranate, acai berry, blends such as mango pineapple, and honey continuing to be popular.

Origin’s drinkable yogurt, called Vida, launched early this year and is available in three 32-ounce varieties: Invigor, Awaken and Rejuvenate. Invigor is mango and guanabana fruit blended with probiotic-rich yogurt and plant-based phtyosterols.

“It helps lower the risk of heart disease in combination with a low-fat diet,” he said. Awaken – positioned as providing balanced breakfast nutrition – is made with bananas and strawberries blended with probiotic-rich yogurt and essential vitamins. Rejuvenate is made with acai, blueberries and pomegranate blended with probiotic-rich yogurt, CoQ10 and Vitamin E.

“CoQ10 is a powerful antioxidant that helps cells produce energy needed for cell growth,” Patcha added. Vida is currently available at Fresh Market stores throughout the eastern United States.

Früsh is the company’s line of premium fruit and yogurt smoothies launched in 2012 and can be found throughout the Southeast at Walmart, Ingles, Lowes and elsewhere. Available in 7-ounce and 32-ounce sizes, flavors are strawberry, strawberry banana, blueberry and peach. Früsh contains 7 grams of protein and the company says each bottle has more calcium than a glass of milk. With a call to “go spoonless,” Origin has used sampling at events and store tours to build brand awareness.

 “Vida is targeted to those health-conscious consumers looking to enhance their diets with a more nutritious yogurt beverage,” Patcha said. “Früsh is targeted at the on-the-go consumer looking for a convenient and nutritious way to enjoy yogurt.”