Dairy Products Deliver Added Flavor, Function, Texture on Menus
Milks, cheeses, cultured products and frozen desserts provide a basis for foodservice menus
Before home refrigerators were widely available and affordable in ‘40s and ‘50s, it was the local dairy’s milkman who arrived daily with fresh milk and other dairy perishables. Although those days are long gone, you could still say dairies are in the delivery business. When it comes to foodservice menus, it’s clear that milks, cheeses, cultured products and frozen desserts carry function, flavor, texture and on-trend tastes.
Here’s a review of new offerings and benefits—by product category.
For starters, there are yogurts that are just yogurts. And then there are yogurts that serve more functional, versatile roles on menus. For example, General Mills Convenience & Foodservice, Minneapolis, has rolled some of its most popular retail items—including Yoplait Mix-Ins and Oui by Yoplait—into foodservice.
What’s a little more interesting is how the company uses Yoplait ParfaitPro in a new product offering called YoGo Coffee Coolers (pictured). This non-caffeinated product uses the company’s low-fat vanilla yogurt, which is mixed with milk and flavoring (either Mocha or Caramel). School foodservice operators also may choose to mix in powdered regular or decaf coffee.
“More middle and high schools are adding coffee shops on campus or serving coffee drinks to offer a similar experience and the menu items that teens enjoy outside of school,” says Kari Teigen, marketing communications planner for General Mills Convenience & Foodservice. “We developed YoGo Coffee Coolers (in Mocha and Caramel flavors) and recipes developed with inspiration by Yoplait ParfaitPro, to give schools a coffee shop-inspired menu item that would be easy to prep and serve, appeal to kids and offer a source of dairy. The coolers, which can be another option for kids who don’t like milk, credit as 1 cup milk and 1 meat alternate.”
Another versatile yogurt product won a 2018 Food and Beverage Award (FABI) from the National Restaurant Association. Officially, it is a Garlic Sauce from Grecian Delight Foods, Elk Grove Village, Ill.
This Middle Eastern sauce and dip is one of the official accompaniments to Shawarma. Made with labna (strained Lebanese yogurt), its rich texture and robust garlic flavor offer endless versatility, whether as a topping for meats, a sandwich spread, a craveable dip for fries or vegetables or something of chef’s own invention.
Milk / Milk Beverages
Danone North America, White Plains, N.Y., greeted this summer with a new promotion, titled, “All kinds of better,” for foodservice operators. The promotion effectively consolidates the foodservice offerings of both Dannon and the former WhiteWave, Broomfield, Colo., under one business.
“Better means different things to different people—and even to the same person in different situations,” said MJ Tavella, vice president of marketing and innovation at Danone North America. “That’s why we’re on a mission to help operators offer a range of health-focused and indulgent brands made with delicious, wholesome ingredients. So, whatever ‘better’ means to their patrons —plant-based, creamy, wholesome, delicious, vegan, non-GMO Project Verified, organic or responsibly sourced—we’ve got it. That’s ‘All kinds of better.’”
Thus, a larger Dannon Foodservice business now offers Horizon Organic Milk alongside Silk and Vega plant-based dairy alternatives. The company also offers International Delight away-from-home coffee creamers, which complement its SToK cold brew coffee and concentrates.
How about a cross between yogurt and milk—combined with cold brew appeal and functional benefits? Among this year’s NRA exhibitors was JoeFroyo, an Upland, Calif., firm offering three varieties of JoeFroyo Functional Cold Brew. Each of three flavor varieties (Mocha, Espresso, Latte) delivers caffeine, probiotics and protein. On retail labels, JoeFroyo describes its beverage base as a “drinkable yogurt.” Alternatively, it describes it as lactose-free, pasteurized cultured milk.
One interesting new offering for schools is Yay!, a four-item line of shelf-stable, ultra high temperature (UHT) milks from Yay! Beverages, a division of The Revelry Group, Portland, Ore. Delivered in aseptic 32oz Tetra Pak cartons, Yay! milks offer cost savings (no refrigeration needed), less bulk, less waste (fresh for up to 10 months), less labor and more convenience via national, distributed wholesale direct, non-DSD shipments. The rBST-free, Grade A milks have no added sugars, stabilizers or flavorings and no preservatives. They’re also enhanced with vitamins to meet USDA Daily recommendations. Varieties include Skim, 1% Lowfat, 2% Reduced Fat and Whole Milk with Vitamin D.
Foodservice cheese is one of the largest overall markets—with the least amount of new product discussion. That’s because so much volume is dedicated to the ingredient cheeses that provide the texture, bite and flavor in toppings and fillings for entrées, pizzas and side dishes. Even so, there are some new products to highlight.
JTM Foods, Harrison, Ohio, used NRA to promote new liquid cheese offerings that offer back-of-house versatility. They included a Craft Ale Blue Cheese Dip, Beer Cheese Base and a Three-Cheese White Sauce. Another NRA exhibitor, Ellsworth Creamery, Ellsworth, Wis., took the snacking route. Among its newest offering are three frozen, fryer-ready cheese curds: Breaded Buttermilk White Cheddar, a Breaded Hot Buffalo White Cheddar and Beer Battered White Cheddar Cheese Curds.
Emmi Roth USA, Fitchburg, Wis., used this summer’s International Deli-Dairy-Bakery convention to promote new pre-packaged snack cheeses for the in-store deli department. Available in three varieties—Creamy Cheddar, Creamy Gouda, and Creamy Whole Milk Mozzarella—Roth Snack Cheese is made with exclusive recipes and boasts bright packaging that is made to stand out in the deli case.
According to IRI data, deli snack cheese is leading overall category growth for cheese snacks.
“We’ve spent a lot of time discussing cheese and snacking trends with customers and consumers,” says Heather Engwall, director of marketing at Emmi Roth. “Premium branded deli snacks have been stealing share from traditional dairy snacks for the past few years and the trend is continuing as consumers seek specialty items. Roth Snack Cheese is that product for grocers looking to drive sales in their deli area.”
Available in six- and 10-count bags, each .75oz round portion is crafted from fresh, rBST-free milk, free of preservatives, only 70 calories, naturally gluten-free, and has 5g of protein.
In other news, Emmi Roth took to premium, artisan flavor for another new foodservice offering. The company says its new Roth Green Goddess Gouda (available in 7.5lb. loaf) delivers “Gouda flavor, infused with a savory blend of tarragon, chives, parsley and garlic.”
Like cheese, frozen desserts can be a dynamic, flavorful category. It’s an area where foodservice operators can grow sales and capture consumers’ taste buds.
Perhaps nobody knows that as well as High Road Craft Ice Cream, a Marietta, Ga., firm that got its 2010 start with chefs wanting to create and sell ice creams—to other chefs. Today, the company says it has more than 10 full-time chefs on staff and its 2018 flavor line-up spans nearly 50 ice creams, custards and sorbets. Its products come in pre-portioned scoops, bag-in-box mixes, five-liter pans and three-gallon tubs. Varieties include Vanilla Fleur de Sel, Hummingbird Cake, Matcha Latte, Pear & Peppercorn sorbet and Fig & Balsamic.
GS Gelato, Fort Walton Beach, Fla., used NRA to talk about six new sorbets with a “fruit gem” inclusion. Officials say the “gems” inside are real, sugar-coated fruit pieces imported from Italy. Flavors come in Mango, Blood Orange, Blueberry Pomegranate, Mixed Berry, Strawberry and Lemon. They’re made with no artificial ingredients, are dairy and gluten free and first ingredient listed (in an ingredient and/or menu statement) is fruit.
Here’s where the frozen foodservice desserts become even more flavorful and intriguing. Another NRA exhibitor was Arctic Buzz Ice Cream. This Baltimore company produces what it describes as a “home-made, hand churned, smooth vodka frozen dairy dessert” with offerings delivering 8.6% alcohol by volume per serving. Varieties include Key Lime Pie, Cookies & Cream, Raspberry, Vanilla, Coconut and Chocolate.
Originally appeared in the August, 2018 issue of Prepared Foods as Dairy Delivers.