Innovative ice cream and cultured dairy products inspired by classic comfort food and international flavors shined this week at the International Dairy Foods Association's (IDFA) annual Innovative Ice Cream Flavor and Innovative Cultured Dairy Product competitions, co-sponsored by Dairy Foods magazine. The competitions took place in front of more than 200 dairy food professionals during IDFA’s annual Ice Cream Technology Conference and Yogurt & Cultured Innovation Conference in Bonita Springs, Fla.
Purple Daze by The Ice Cream Club Inc. took home top honors in the Most Innovative Ice Cream Flavor competition, while Strawberry Cheesecake Twist Cone by Wells Enterprises Inc. was awarded Most Innovative Ice Cream Novelty. Monkey Bread from Hudsonville Ice Cream was named Most Innovative Prototype Ice Cream Flavor — the award for flavors not yet found in the market.
In the Innovative Cultured Dairy Product competition, Peach Apricot in Whole Milk French Style yogurt by Fruitcrown Products Corp. was named Most Innovative Cultured Dairy Product, while Mango-Carrot Licuado from LALA US Inc. took home the distinction of Most Innovative Cultured Dairy Prototype Flavor.
“Consumption of ice cream and cultured dairy products is on the rise, and that’s because dairy companies continue to innovate and adapt quickly to meet consumer’s expectations and preferences,” said Joseph Scimeca, Ph.D., senior vice president of regulatory and scientific affairs for IDFA. “What we have seen over the past two years of the pandemic includes a marked shift back to comfort foods that bring us joy. The products featured in this year’s Most Innovative Product and Flavor contests demonstrate how quickly dairy companies can recognize and meet new preferences.”
This year’s Ice Cream Technology Conference hosted a record 178 ice cream industry professionals, who tasted, judged and selected the winners from a record total of 35 entries. IDFA also co-located the new Yogurt & Cultured Innovation Conference with this year’s Ice Cream Technology Conference to deliver all of the programming and contest opportunities to a broader spectrum of dairy professionals and suppliers.
“As always, processors and suppliers brought their A-games to the Innovative Ice Cream Flavor and Innovative Cultured Dairy Product contests,” said Amy Vodraska, publisher of Dairy Foods. “In the ice cream contest, we saw some entries with a nod to family occasions and comfort food featuring flavors like Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler, Brown Sugar Apple-Berry Hand Pie, Monkey Bread, Summer Berry Cream Cake and Buttered Cornbread. We also saw some innovation with botanicals, such as Blue Jasmine Tea and Lavender Blue with Lemon. Some contestants found inspiration in international flavors, such as Ube Coconut Swirl, Thai It All Together, and Peanut Butter Miso Cookie. The international influence also shone in the cultured contest, with Fresas Con Crema Dessert and Mango-Carrot Licuado. All in all, it was a very exciting contest, and Dairy Foods was honored to be involved. We’re looking forward to seeing even more exciting things in 2023!”
The awardees of the Innovative Flavor and Product contests are:
Most Innovative Ice Cream Flavor (currently offered for sale in the market):
- 1st Place: Purple Daze, The Ice Cream Club Inc.
- 2nd Place: Fluffernutter, Barry Callebaut
- 3rd Place: Honey Bun, Hudsonville Ice Cream
Most Innovative Ice Cream Novelty (currently offered for sale in the market):
- 1st Place: Strawberry Cheesecake Twist Cone, Wells Enterprises Inc.
- 2nd Place: Yellow Cake Sundae Crunch Ice Cream Bar, Perry's Ice Cream Company Inc.
- 3rd Place: Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler, DFA Dairy Brands
Most Innovative Prototype Ice Cream Flavor (not yet in the market):
- 1st Place: Monkey Bread, Hudsonville Ice Cream
- 2nd Place: Blackberry Pretzel Cheesecake, DFA Dairy Brands
- 3rd Place: Lavender Blue with Lemon, Fruitcrown Products Corp.
Most Innovative Cultured Dairy Product (currently offered for sale in the market):
- 1st Place: Peach Apricot in Whole Milk French Style yogurt | Fruitcrown Products Corp.
Most Innovative Cultured Dairy Prototype Flavor (not yet in the market):
- 1st Place: Mango-Carrot Licuado, LALA US Inc.