Alouette Dip
Alouette debuted new cheese dips based on pasteurized cultured milk and cream.

Adding inclusions elsewhere

Cheese spreads — both sweet and savory — increasingly rely on colorful and flavorful pieces to appeal to today’s consumers’ adventurous taste buds. In the past, many manufacturers limited their additions to herbs and spices. That is changing.

For example, the Président brand of spreadable cheese from Lactalis American Group Inc., New York, now is available in such varieties as Thai sweet chili and pineapple and ginger.

Rondele cheese dip
The Président brand of spreadable cheese is now available in such varieties as Thai sweet chili and pineapple and ginger.

Earlier this year, Alouette Cheese U.S.A., L.L.C., New Holland, Pa., debuted new cheese dips based on pasteurized cultured milk and cream. They come with identifiable pieces of vegetables. For example, the Mediterranean vegetable variety contains chunks of eggplant, onion, zucchini and red bell peppers.

Lakeview Farms L.L.C., Delphos, Ohio, recently introduced Kitchen Crafted Dips, which feature large inclusions. Its Mediterranean variety is a blend of artichokes, feta cheese, olives, peppers and more. There are also options like fire roasted red pepper, spinach Parmesan bacon, and sweet onion bacon.

What will they think of next?

Inclusion suppliers are working on the next wave of ingredients that will add flavor, color and fun.

“One of the hottest trends in 2017 is the technicolor explosion of sprinkles,” said Cindy Brewer, director of business development — sweet and cereals, Kerry, Beloit, Wis. “Traditionally present in cupcakes, you can now find these colorful additions in shakes, frozen desserts, coffee drinks and on menus across the nation as a way to deliver fun to countless foods and beverages.”

Edible sequins
Several suppliers produce edible glitter and sequins.

While consumers are attracted to colors in their foods, they also want them to be colors from natural sources. Responding to the trend, Kerry is launching a full line of sprinkles, nonpareils, sequins and decorettes with no artificial colors.

Parker Products, Fort Worth, Texas, is debuting a number of inclusion concepts with health and wellness in mind. They have application in frozen desserts, yogurt and even cheese spreads.

“Our new ancient grain clusters are a mixture of glazed, spiced and puffed ancient grains,” said Kyle Stuart, culinary scientist. “These forgotten grains have a texture similar to a rice crisp and can be clustered with anything from pumpkin seeds to oats for a unique granola. The cluster makes an excellent yogurt topper.”

Bourbon praline pecans
Nuts have long been used to add crunch and flavor to dairy products.

Fruit and yogurt have always been a perfect match. The subtle creamy tang of yogurt complements the sweet and sometimes tart flavor of fruit.

“We’ve created blueberry cashews, which are whole pieces of cashew nuts coated with real dried blueberry pieces,” Mr. Stuart said. “Also new are rosemary almonds.

Nuts, in general, have long been used to add crunch and flavor to dairy products. Their health halo includes functioning as a source of protein, fiber and better-for-you fatty acids, while the texture acts as a canvas for layering flavor.

Smoked almonds
Smoky sea salt almonds may add depth of flavor to dairy.

This is exemplified in Parker Products’ new praline bourbon pecans. These are hard-shell candy-coated pecans that deliver a crunch along with a familiar pecan pie flavor that resonates with consumers, Mr. Stuart said.

“This piece is best used in ice cream applications where it keeps its crunch and can add a great texture to frozen desserts,” he said.

There’s also smoky sea salt almonds.

Fruit cereal flakes
Inclusions such as fruity cornflakes add flair to dairy.

“Smoke adds depth of flavor to inclusions,” he said. “The trick is to find the perfect level to keep it from overpowering the product. This complex piece adds many layers of flavor with creamy, nutty notes from the almonds, a subtle essence of smoke and salt to heighten flavors on the palate.”

Inclusions are also meant to provide eye appeal and simply be fun. That is what you get with the company’s new praline fruity cornflakes.

“This is an homage to a childhood favorite,” Mr. Stuart said. “We find that praline fruity cornflakes play well in many different dairy applications, from milk shakes to yogurt.”

Strawberry fizzy clusters
Pecan Deluxe Candy Co. offers strawberry fizzy clusters.

Fun is the name of the game with a number of new concepts from Pecan Deluxe Candy Co., Dallas.

“We developed a strawberry fizzy cluster, which is crunchy rice crisps and popping candy covered with a creamy strawberry coating,” said Claudia Granda, vice-president of research and development. “There’s also caramel popcorn clusters. Here we combine crunchy rice crisps coated with a caramel popcorn-flavored coating. The clusters provide the familiarity of popcorn while maintaining the crunch integrity in ice cream. They play perfectly into the snack time is anytime trend.”