Two new milk and cultured dairy products – Cucumber Dill Cottage Cheese and Caramel Apple Flavored Milk -- were named the most innovative dairy products in the Most Innovative Dairy Products Competition.

The awards were presented at the International Dairy Foods Association's (IDFA) Milk and Cultured Dairy Conference, which took place May 20-21 in Indianapolis, Ind. The competition was sponsored by TIC Gums, a leader in advanced texture and stabilization solutions for food and beverage companies.

“The competition for new products and prototype flavors provide great insight into the creative approach that milk and cultured dairy companies and flavoring suppliers are using to create new flavors and products,” said John Allan, vice president of regulatory affairs for Washington, D.C.-based IDFA.

Most Innovative Milk or Cultured Dairy Product
HP Hood’s cucumber dill cottage cheese was named the most innovative cultured dairy product. “This flavor, cucumber and dill, provides an opportunity to continue that history of innovation while adding unique, savory flavors to the category," said Sarah Barrow, HP Hood spokesperson.

Most Innovative Milk or Cultured Dairy Prototype Product
A newly developed, yet-to-be-released caramel apple flavored milk, submitted by SensoryEffects Flavor Systems, was named Most Innovative Milk or Cultured Dairy Prototype Product. SensoryEffects is a flavor company serving the dairy industry.

The 2014 IDFA Milk and Cultured Dairy Conference explored cutting-edge innovations in the use of ingredients, culture selection, processing technology, packaging and product development for milk, dairy beverages and cultured products, such as yogurt, sour creams, buttermilk and cottage cheese. Expert speakers also provided insight into key regulatory issues on probiotics benefits and claims, changes to nutrition labels and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act.

IDFA launches career-building initiative for dairy industry professionals

The IDFA has launched the NextGEN Dairy Network, an initiative focused on helping up-and-coming dairy industry professionals build their careers. Through online forums, networking and targeted training sessions, the NextGEN Dairy Network will provide professionals who have less than 15 years of dairy experience with access to the information, tools and expertise necessary to be successful in the industry.

“The NextGEN Dairy Network enables industry professionals at all levels to grow, collaborate, network, solve problems and develop the skills necessary to hold leadership positions in their companies, as well as in IDFA and its constituent organizations,” said Clay Hough, IDFA senior group vice president and general counsel.

Backed by IDFA’s successful track record of providing dairy-specific educational programs and trainings, NextGEN Dairy Network will encourage members to:

  • Network with industry peers who are also building their careers;
  • Gain a better understanding of hot topics and emerging issues;
  • Participate in online career development forums, have specific access to articles and interviews with IDFA and dairy industry leaders;
  • Learn how industry peers solve challenges and advance their careers;
  • Receive special invitations to and discounts for IDFA trainings and events that will help develop the skills and knowledge necessary for career-building;
  • Participate in a range of special activities that will help participants build the skills necessary to prepare for leadership opportunities in their respective organizations; and
  • Connect in person at meetings sponsored by IDFA throughout the year.

“Dairy is a unique and exciting industry. There’s a certain camaraderie that you do not find in other industries,” said David Ahlem, chief operating officer of Hilmar Cheese Company. “NextGEN Dairy takes advantage of this camaraderie to help grow our next generation of plant managers, marketing executives, R&D professionals and other individuals who continue to make our industry great.”

Ahlem is a board member of the National Cheese Institute and serves as an advisor to the NextGEN Dairy Network. The network is open to all employees of IDFA member companies and business partners who have less than 15 years of experience in the dairy industry. There is no cost to join. Simply log on to and complete a brief registration form.

International Dairy Show earns high honors for exceptional growth

The IDFA announced that the 2013 International Dairy Show earned a coveted spot on Trade Show Executive’s 2014 Fastest 50, a list of the fastest-growing U.S. trade shows, for growth in number of attendees. In addition, the Dairy Show and its co-location partner, Process Expo, ranked second on EXPO Magazine’s list of Top 25 Fast-Growth Shows.

IDFA and the Food Processing Suppliers Association (FPSA) reported record attendance of 19,155 for their co-located shows in 2013. The 2015 shows will be held September 15-18 at McCormick Place in Chicago with an additional co-location partner, InterBev Process. Enhanced on-floor activities will include:

  • Increased on-floor education in iDairy Show theater and programming with larger set, more seats;
  • More on-floor food and beverage events, expanded closing reception and awards presentations;
  • Expanded pavilions for transportation and distribution, innovation and ingredients;
  • Continued partnership with Collegiate Dairy Products Evaluation Contest; and
  • More networking lounges.

For information regarding the International Dairy Show, visit To reserve exhibit space, contact International Dairy Show Sales Executive Katherine Madison at