Outside the box ideas
Not all dairy-based snacks fall into familiar, easy-to-define categories. Prairie Farms Dairy Inc., Carlinville, Ill., recently introduced Milk Snack Bars. The new refrigerated snack is a two-layer whole milk crème-filled chocolate cake bar dipped in chocolate. When compared to conventional shelf-stable chocolate snack cakes, the perishable bars have a short, simple ingredient list and do not contain artificial colors or preservatives. They are available as a single bar and in four-count boxes. Each 1-oz bar contains 140 calories.
“Prairie Farms is committed to innovation, and we’re excited to introduce Prairie Farms Milk Snack Chocolate Cake Bars into dairy cases and refrigerated grab-and-go sections in over 15,000 retail outlets throughout the U.S.,” said Rebecca Leinenbach, vice-president of marketing and communications. “Taste, convenience and nostalgia weigh in on purchase decisions for snack cakes, and these bars deliver on all three, along with permission to indulge.”
Another new concept is Jouzge, a line of dairy-based shelf-stable snack bars developed to promote healthy eating and a healthy self-image among young women. Created by University of Wisconsin — Madison alumnus and Oregon, Wis., resident Dana Wendt, with formulation assistance from the Center for Dairy Research (C.D.R.), Madison, Wis., Jouzge bars were born out of Ms. Wendt’s desire to create a dairy-based snack for young girls that would fuel their self-love, rather than undercut it.
“Years ago, I was eating a particular bar that had a weight management message attached to its name and marketing,” Ms. Wendt said. “My daughter saw me eating this bar and asked if she could take it to school as a snack. While the nutrition was acceptable, I began to worry about the message the bar was trying to send to my daughter. It basically said, ‘you’re not the right size, but if you eat this, you’ll be better.’”
Growing up in the dairy industry, Ms. Wendt was aware of the health benefits of milk and milk products, so she set out to create a dairy-based bar. Utilizing dairy proteins was an important part of the formulation process, which included the use of whey protein concentrate, whey protein isolate, milk protein isolate and whey protein crisps, which created a crunchy texture in some of the bars.
“Dairy proteins are high-quality complete proteins that contain all the essential amino acids,” said Susan Larson, associate researcher at the C.D.R. “Essential amino acids are ones that must be provided by your foods as your body cannot make them. Specifically, whey proteins have an especially high concentration of branched chain amino acids — leucine, isoleucine and valine — that are used for building and maintaining lean body muscle.”
The C.D.R. team helped Ms. Wendt create three flavors: chocolate peanut butter, chocolate mint and chocolate chip cookie dough. Each bar contains no more than 130 calories and 7 grams of sugar, along with 7 to 8 grams of dairy-based protein.
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Understanding consumer need states
The bars meet several of the drivers for snacking, as identified by The Future of Snacking survey from The Hartman Group. Fifty-six per cent of the survey respondents said they snack for needs related to nourishment. Specific qualities sought include hunger abatement, hydration management, health and diet conditions, as well as snacking for energy sustenance. Other motivators include seeking satisfaction and performance optimization.
“Forty-nine per cent of respondents said they snack for needs relating to pleasure, which fulfills emotional desires for enjoyment, craving, variety and comfort,” said Laurie Demeritt, chief executive officer at The Hartman Group. “Snacking for pleasure also includes satisfaction of needs for discovery when consumers want to explore food types, tastes, provenances, preparation methods, food purveyors and new products.”
One-third of the respondents indicated they snack for needs relating to optimization in order to satisfy physical and mental performance demands.
It is important to note that snacking drivers change throughout the day, as do snack formats, flavors and even nutrition profiles. Morning snacks may be consumed to for satiation and nourishment to get through a hectic start. An afternoon snack might be for energy or to satisfy a sweet craving. For the evening snack, maybe it’s about relaxation and pleasure.
Thus, to attract shoppers, dairy processors are exploring better-for-you formulations, bold flavors and convenience in order to grab share of the snacking dollar. Products are designed to meet the varied needs throughout the day.
Orrville, Ohio-based SmithFoods is finding success with Artisa high-protein dairy snacks, which feature fine-curd, smooth and creamy cottage cheese with real fruit. Varieties are apple cinnamon, peach, pineapple, strawberry and wild berry.
Kraft Heinz’s Breakstone’s and Knudsen brands of Cottage Doubles recently added honey vanilla and mango habanero to the lineup, along with 20% more product, increasing the pack size from 3.9 oz to 4.7 oz. The new pack delivers 9 grams of protein with fewer than 130 calories.