Brown flavor evolution
Back to the brown flavor trend, which was set in motion with salty caramel about five years ago, maple and coffee are gaining traction in milk beverages. The Farmer’s Cow, Lebanon, Conn., is introducing its first seasonal Naturally New England flavored milk. The new limited-edition maple milk is sweetened and flavored with maple syrup, with a 32-oz bottle containing approximately one-quarter cup.
Shamrock Foods Co., Phoenix, is one of many dairies that jumped on the cold brew coffee trend.
“Refrigerated, ready-to-drink coffee is one of the fastest growing beverage categories,” said Ann Ocaña, chief marketing officer for Shamrock Foods. “Our research revealed the opportunity to pair the smooth taste of cold brew coffee with our farm fresh milk, creating a taste profile that is spot on for both the cold brew fan and those just discovering the trend. We always have something new brewing for our milk, and this time that can be taken literally. Coffee and milk has long been the perfect match, but we’re making it easier and tastier to enjoy them together.”
With millennials driving the growth of cold brew coffee, as they appreciate the smoother, less acidic taste of cold brew to its iced coffee counterpart, expect to see more cold brew dairy products. Seattle-based Starbucks Corp. recognizes the flavor trend and has started selling ice cream in select Starbucks stores to allow for creations such as cold brew floats and cold brew malted shakes.
Chocolate remains popular, but it’s being presented in new ways and with new pairings. Nestle USA, Glendale, Calif., is rolling out Häagen-Dazs Trio. Layers of three flavors come together in each variety. Two of the layers are Häagen-Dazs ice cream that gets woven with layers of Belgian chocolate.
“We have found more diverse flavor profiles and textures create a more indulgent experience,” said Kerry Hopkins, brand manager. “Trio takes a classic indulgence to the next level by offering layers of texture that are completely new to the ice cream category.”
The four varieties are coffee vanilla chocolate, salted caramel chocolate, triple chocolate and vanilla blackberry chocolate.
Heat and savory sensation
The sweet heat trend that emerged about a year ago in yogurt has been slow to take off, but that has not stopped innovative brands from continuing to roll out concepts. This past summer Noosa, one of the first to experiment with the melding of sweet and spicy flavors, added blackberry serrano, mango sweet chili, Mexican chocolate (cinnamon and a pinch of chili spice), pineapple jalapeño and raspberry habanero to its lineup.
General Mills included one savory concept in its new Yoplait Dippers snack line, as well as a number of brown, burnt and toasted flavors. The dome-style container includes sweet or savory nonfat Greek yogurt in one part and crunchy dippers in the other. Offerings include chipotle ranch yogurt with tortilla chips, coffee chocolate chunk yogurt with cinnamon crisps, and toasted coconut yogurt with honey oat crisps.
Dips are where the action is when it comes to savory flavors, with many recent innovations taking ethnic and sweet heat twists. Right before the winter holidays, Prairie Farms Dairy Inc., Carlinville, Ill., introduced a specialty dip line that is on-trend with evolving food cultures. The spicy dips are made with simple ingredients and come in culinary-inspired flavors. The Chef’s Splendor Dips come in roasted red pepper, spicy ranch and tzatziki flavors.
“The foodie movement is all about creativity in the kitchen, and our specialty line of products provides options for our customers to experience incredible new taste sensations,” said Rebecca Leinenbach, vice-president of marketing and communications at Prairie Farms. “They are not just for dipping.”
Right after the New Year, Lakeview Farms L.L.C., Delphos, Ohio, introduced Kitchen Crafted Dips. The new line comes in 12 varieties, including Mediterranean, which is sour cream blended with artichokes, feta cheese, olives and peppers. There’s also sweet heat mango peach salsa sour cream dip.