Dairy Farmers Want Grocery Shoppers To Get To Know Them
by Terrie Ellerbee/associate editor
What would dairy farmers like to say to grocery retailers?
Don’t overcharge for milk, but don’t devalue it by undercharging for it either, and please stop putting our product in the farthest back corner of the store.
But the more important request from dairy farmers is a simple one: Introduce us to your shoppers.
The Shelby Report visited two dairy farms in the north Georgia town of Clermont to see the operations and hear from the people whose cows produce milk sold in grocery stores.
Dairy farmers would like to see grocery retailers move more toward informing their shoppers about store offerings—whether products are local, who makes them and how they are produced.
What real dairy farmers look like
Dixie Truelove (pictured above) was born into the dairy business, and got her first calf when she was 6, maybe 7 years old. She remembers being a little older when her first one, named “Sweetie Pie,” died.
Few people consider the little girl Dixie Truelove was when they think of dairy farmers. In fact, few people think of a woman like her. It’s an image problem, and she’s tired of it.
“I want people to see what farmers really look like, because I think they have that idea in their head that they’re not intelligent, for one thing, that they’re all really old and in overalls,” she says. “As the years keep going by, it bugs me even more that there’s an idea of what a farmer should look like, and yet these people work hard, are intelligent, will try new things, new ways of doing things to try to stay in business.
“They really care about what they’re producing, which should be important for the consumer to know, because we are taking care of your food for you, so you don’t have to worry about it,” Truelove says.
Aimee Jones, industry relations communication account manager for the non-profit Southeast United Dairy Industry Association (SUDIA), shared that many dairy farmers have high-level college degrees.
She quotes another dairy farmer who says that in the course of their day, many have to be a horticulturist, veterinarian, nutritionist and scientist—and still milk the cows.
“I don’t think people always appreciate that,” Jones said.
The solution Truelove suggests is one that has been catching on in supermarkets, though not necessarily in the dairy department.
“I think the Krogers and all of the local stores here should really have the photos of your local dairy farmers in their stores promoting the fact that it is still a family business and the fact that we really do care about the product in the store, because we’re also a consumer and we’re shopping right there with them,” Truelove says. “I’ve always thought they should tap into the fact that they have farmers in their area. Sometimes some of the stores may have had a photo with the fruit and vegetables, but even that wasn’t a true local farmer. I just think they could always find local people and have their photo in the store.”
Jones says SUDIA is working on that, but with dairy farm families from Alabama to Virginia to serve, it is no small job.
“We’ve got some point-of-sale retail pieces that are going into Kroger and Publix in Georgia and North Carolina,” Jones says. “But for every retail market, to do that is difficult—but we’re trying.”
The association has taken the approach of going where consumers are: online.
SUDIA’s “Dedicated to Dairy” website features farm families as well as nutritional information, recipes and events—including June Dairy Month—and also highlights the organization’s work with schools and other organizations.
This year marks the 75th anniversary of June Dairy Month. It began as a way to stabilize demand during periods of peak production. Originally named “National Milk Month,” it actually was started by chain stores.
Truelove has another idea for grocery retailers, one that may be easier to implement. It’s something a local Kroger store already does.
“The consumer isn’t forced—if all they need is that gallon of milk, there it is right there on the shelves near the checkout,” she says. “You have your milk right there to grab and go, which I think is important from a consumer’s standpoint.”
They can come back and buy the rest of the groceries another time, she says, but when shoppers need just that one staple, it would be nice if it were available in a more convenient spot in the grocery store.
Truelove Dairy began in 1954, when Dixie Truelove’s father and an uncle started it. Their milk is currently picked up by the Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative Association every other day. While the ultimate destination may vary, recently Truelove Dairy’s milk has been packaged in Publix, Kroger and Ingles private label jugs.
The Glover family keeps cows comfortable
It’s not clear yet whether 10-year-old Eliza Jane Glover will be the next generation to run the family dairy farm. Her father Scott represents the fourth generation in the business. He and his wife Jennifer own and operate Glo-Crest Dairy.
Marrying into the dairy business was an eye opener for Jennifer Glover, a teacher. The constancy of it caught her a bit off-guard.
“Anything can tear up, break or happen on the farm, and no matter where you bought a plane ticket to or what you planned to do, that doesn’t matter,” she says. “That was a big adjustment for me as far as being so dedicated to something. I guess that’s something that I’ve learned to live with because there are so many other positive aspects of farming—the rewards that we see and the passion that Scott has for it.”
Cows are milked at least twice a day, every day, usually at 4:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. The co-op the Glovers belong to, Southeast Milk, sends a truck to pick up the milk every third day or so (sometimes more often as needed). From there the milk goes to be processed and then on to retail stores.
The journey from cow to the refrigerated case may not be terribly complicated, but the pricing structure certainly is, and that’s something dairy farmers have no control over. What they do control isn’t valued enough, they say. Hard work, sacrifice and caring go into the production of what often is a loss leader in the grocery store.
At Glo-Crest Dairy, each of the 60 or so cows is a registered Holstein and has a name. Their comfort is paramount. During Georgia’s hot summers, the dairy uses fans and misters to help keep the cows cool. They have sand and sawdust bedding to lie on and can roam from the freestyle barn out into the pasture on nice days.
Great care is taken to ensure their feed is just the right mix. Each cow eats 100 pounds of feed and drinks 50 to 60 gallons of water a day. They can weigh up to 1,600 pounds.
“I think one of the things that is a misconception is that farmers just use their cows, but what they don’t realize is if that cow’s not healthy and well taken care of, she’s not going to be profitable. Therefore, the dairyman is not going to be profitable,” Scott Glover says.
The nutritive and economic value of milk cannot be overstated, and while it should be priced low enough so that it is affordable, the price also should reflect the work that goes into it, he says.
“I think grocers use milk as a way of getting people into their stores,” Scott Glover says. But then when grocers sell milk for prices that he likens to “giving it away…it really almost makes milk look like, ‘It’s not important to us,’” he says. “But for what it takes to produce milk and get it to the grocery store, milk ought to be priced a lot higher than what it’s selling for.”
The Glovers have become retailers themselves. They opened Mountain Fresh Creamery in 2011 about six miles from their dairy farm. There they bottle and sell their all natural, non-homogenized whole milk, lowfat milk and buttermilk, as well as heavy cream, butter, about a dozen or so flavors of ice cream and ground beef from cows raised on the farm. The milk from Glo-Crest Dairy that eventually will be in grocery stores is what’s left over after the retail products are made.
The Glovers also invite other local producers to sell their honey, sausage, jams and jellies in the creamery’s retail store.
Blue Bell Brings Contest Winner Caramel Turtle Cheesecake To Freezer
Blue Bell fans overwhelmingly voted to bring back Caramel Turtle Cheesecake Ice Cream in last year’s Crankin’ Back the Clock Flavor Contest, and it will arrive in stores this month.
Caramel Turtle Cheesecake is a cheesecake ice cream filled with chocolate-coated caramel turtles, roasted pecans and cheesecake pieces with a chocolate cookie crust all surrounded by a smooth caramel swirl.
“You voted and we listened,” says Carl Breed, director of marketing for Blue Bell. “There were many great tasting flavors to choose from, but Caramel Turtle Cheesecake was the clear winner. We first introduced this ice cream in 2010 and we’re very excited to have it back in our line-up.”
Last year’s contest began with 24 flavors. Each week the six flavors receiving the least amount of votes were eliminated. During the final week of voting, the remaining flavors were Caramel Kettle Crunch, Caramel Turtle Cheesecake, Chocolate Decadence, German Chocolate Cake, Nutty Coconut and White Chocolate Almond. After all the votes were counted, Caramel Turtle Cheesecake received the most with 12 percent of the vote, followed by White Chocolate Almond and Nutty Coconut.
“The contest was a lot of fun because it brought back memories of great products we no longer produce,” Breed says. “People are passionate about their ice cream and they never forget a favorite Blue Bell flavor.”
Caramel Turtle Cheesecake is packaged in a specially designed half gallon featuring the Crankin’ Back the Clock Flavor Contest logo.
Also available from Blue Bell in April are favorites Peaches & Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream, Homemade in the Shade Ice Cream and Southern Hospitality Ice Cream.
For a complete list of flavors now available in stores, visit www.bluebell.com.
Magnum Partners With Designer Zac Posen For U.S. Launch Of ‘Gold?!’
Magnum Ice Cream has introduced its “Magnum Gold?!” golden ice cream bar in the U.S. Magnum Gold?! features vanilla bean ice cream swirled with sea salt caramel and dipped in a golden coating made with Belgian milk chocolate.
In celebration of the launch, American fashion designer Zac Posen created a one-of-a-kind, 24-karat gold dress inspired by Magnum Gold?!—valued at $1.5 million—to debut in a short film starring actor Joe Manganiello during the Tribeca Film Festival on Thursday, April 18.
“We are thrilled to celebrate the U.S. arrival of Magnum Gold?!,” says Nick Soukas, director of ice cream at Unilever. “Magnum is one of the world’s largest ice cream brands, and is recognized as a global icon of pleasure and indulgence. As the inspiration for Zac Posen’s 24-karat gold dress and ‘As Good As Gold ‘ film, the introduction of MAGNUM Gold?! is elevating the ice cream pleasure experience to a new level.”
Posen designed the one-of-a-kind couture gown in delicate fabric that features more than 10,000 hand embroidered 24K gold sequins in five sizes created from sheets of 24k gold.
The details of the dress along with the intricate details of its design will be shared immediately following its gold carpet debut during the Tribeca Film Festival. Additionally, a behind-the-scenes look at Posen’s design process will be available on the Magnum Facebook page leading up to its reveal.
A short film entitled “As Good As Gold,” by Emmy-award winning director Jon Cassar, stars Manganiello and Caroline Correa. In it, Manganiello plays a gold thief who falls for the beautiful but dangerous Correa as she wears Posen’s 24K gold dress.
In addition to its debut at Tribeca Film Festival, the film will be simultaneously released to viewers around the world on Magnum’s Facebook page, facebook.com/magnum.
Since its U.S. introduction in 2011, Magnum Ice Cream has expanded to include nine flavors.
MAGNUM Gold?! and MAGNUM Mini Gold?! Ice Cream bars are available at grocery retailers nationwide, including Walmart, Target, Safeway and Kroger. They are available in three-count multipacks for a suggested retail price of $3.99. MAGNUM Mini Ice Cream bars are available in six-count multipacks for a suggested retail price of $5.49.
For more information, visit www.unileverusa.com.
Dippin’ Dots Invests $3.1M In The Ice Cream Of The Future
by Heather Blount/staff writer
Dippin’ Dots LLC, the maker of novelty ice cream and frozen treats, announced plans for a $3.1 million modernization and renovation at its Paducah, Ky., manufacturing facility in mid-January. Company executives told The Shelby Report that this investment opens many new doors for Dippin’ Dots, including new products and new distribution.
The tiny, flash-frozen beads of ice cream were invented in 1988 when Curt Jones, founder and CEO, applied technology to homemade ice cream that had been developed originally to freeze lactobacillus cultures. He got the idea while making ice cream with a neighbor: “We were talking about homemade ice cream and how icy it tasted and wanted to try to freeze it faster. We decided to use this technology that I had developed…That’s how the first Dippin’ Dots were made,” Jones said.
Since its first retail location in Lexington, Ky., opened in 1988, the company has primarily dealt in foodservice, selling its products directly to consumers either at branded stores, franchise stands or at its 1,000 vending machines found in movie theaters, water parks and other venues.
The Paducah facility is one of two manufacturing plants; the other is in South Korea. The South Korea plant supplies South Korea as well as Japan, while Paducah sends Dippin’ Dots not only to all 50 states in the U.S. but also overseas to eight countries, from Canada and Mexico to Australia, Vietnam and The Netherlands.
The investment in the Paducah facility includes new technology, including the use of ammonia and carbon dioxide as natural refrigerants, Stan Jones, VP of operations, research and development and international sales, told The Shelby Report. “It’ll reduce our power consumption by over 15 percent, so from an operational standpoint alone, it’s great because it’s saving money,” he said. “It’s allowing us to increase our production and also allowing us to keep up with the trends and being environmentally proactive.”
The company also plans to pursue LEED—Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design—certification for the project.
The $3.1 million investment also will expand the 40-below-zero freezer, which at 17,000 s.f. altogether, is one of the largest in the U.S., according to Scott Fischer, president and owner of Dippin’ Dots. With an expanded freezer, the company will be free to make and store more of its beaded ice creams as well as other products in the development pipeline.
Dippin’ Dots sets sights on drug, convenience and grocery channels
According to Stan Jones, Dippin’ Dots expects 2013 to be a big year in terms of expanding its reach and implementing new products.
“We’ve been working a lot (on) healthier products,” he said. “Some of the products we’re working with are sorbet lines, which are made with pure fruit purees, and then we’re also developing a frozen yogurt line that’s nonfat with live probiotics.”
These “better-for-you” products “are healthy but still fun to eat and taste great,” he noted. These include YoDots, the company’s answer to the frozen yogurt craze that is slated to debut later this year. The company also is working to include “very clean ingredient declarations” for its products, he said.
Mark Liebel, VP of business development and new ventures, added that these new products should work well for school functions, including “school football games or basketball games,” pointing out that Dippin’ Dots franchisees do a lot of fundraising with schools.
With new products comes new channels for Dippin’ Dots; however, with a product that needs to be kept at 40 degrees below zero, retail has presented challenges and traditionally kept Dippin’ Dots ice cream out of the freezer aisle.
Curt Jones said the company has a few products that can be kept at a higher temperature, “and retail is something we’re very interested in,” he said.
The beaded ice cream won’t be seen in the freezer aisle anytime soon, but Michael Barrette, VP of marketing and sales, said, “We’re looking at primarily the drugstore channel and higher-end convenience store channel and looking at front-end real estate where we can have our freezer up there by the check lane.” He added that the company’s core Dippin’ Dots beaded ice cream has been tested for the past 12-15 months, primarily at Walgreens locations.
“We’re finding that that is proving to be a pretty successful, if not very successful, model for us.”
The company plans to implement a model currently used in South Korean locations. “We’ve taken the Korean model and just begun in the U.S. market,” Barrette said.
It’s currently in about 160 locations, but that is expected to multiply “by eight to 10 times its current distribution over the next 12-24 months,” he said.
In addition to the drug and convenience store channels, Barrette said the company is in negotiations with select mid-sized grocery retailers. Though he declined to name names until the talks are finalized, Barrette described the retailers as “regional chains that would be known by the consumers.”
Since the company uses its own freezers for retail operations, shelf space isn’t an issue, but front-end positioning is “very precious real estate for the retailers,” Barrette acknowledged.
For Dippin’ Dots, going into retail requires careful consideration to be sure that sales will “offset the cost of the equipment, the shipping and the setting up of that equipment,” Barrette said, in addition to the cost of that high-priced front-end real estate.
The company also is looking at co-branding and partnering opportunities with restaurant chains, Liebel said, including some quick-service restaurants as well as upscale venues.
“That’s another means for us to create those ‘points of presence’ and be able to get our product to people who have not enjoyed it,” Liebel said.
Irish Dairy Board Introduces Kerrygold Skellig Cheese
The Irish Dairy Board is introducing Kerrygold Skellig, a sweet Cheddar cheese, to supermarkets and specialty stores across the U.S. A popular Cheddar variety in the U.K., Kerrygold’s sweet Cheddar is a complex cheese with a firm yet creamy texture, a distinct nuttiness and sweet apple notes. The cheese is not “sweet” as sugar is sweet, but describes an intensely flavorful, high-umami quality, according to a news release.
“The first thing you notice is how creamy it is,” said Laura Werlin, a James Beard Foundation Cookbook Award winner and one of the country’s foremost authorities on cheese, in her tasting notes for Skellig. “This is followed by fruity, almost apple-like flavors with a decided sweetness. That’s then chased with light brown butter and nutty flavors and an ever-so-slight sharpness on the finish. Altogether, it’s an amazing experience.”
Kerrygold is introducing Skellig in anticipation of a European trend the company expects will catch on in the U.S.
“The trend in the U.K. and the rest of Europe is shifting towards a sweet Cheddar,” said Roisin Hennerty, president of the U.S. consumer foods business. “Brand research abroad shows consumers favor sweeter Cheddars over more traditional Cheddars and we expect a similar taste evolution to occur in the states. Skellig captures the flavor profile that is in demand in Europe.”
Like all Kerrygold cheeses and butters, Skellig is made in Ireland with milk from grass-fed cows that are free of artificial growth hormones. The cows are raised on small family farms, with an average herd size of 60.
Kerrygold Skellig will be available in 7-oz. parchment packages.
Wis. Milk Marketing Board Reveals New Edition Of Traveler’s Guide
The Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board (WMMB) has released its newest edition of “A Traveler’s Guide to America’s Dairyland.” The new map encourages visitors to enjoy spots throughout America’s Dairyland that celebrate Wisconsin’s signature industry, featuring 161 dairy farms, cheese plants and creameries that welcome visitors.
The number of highlighted stops has increased 30 percent over those in the previous edition. The map, a vital tool for Wisconsin’s tourism and dairy industries, attracts visitors from across the country. To date, more than one million copies of “A Traveler’s Guide to America’s Dairyland” have been distributed.
“We always say that the best way to learn about and fully appreciate all the Wisconsin dairy industry has to offer is to experience it first-hand,” said Heather Porter Engwall, director of national product communications for the WMMB. “This map is designed to bring tourists from near and far to America’s Dairyland and help guide visitors as they explore, tour, taste and shop their way through Wisconsin’s cheese and dairy industry.”
Matt Zumbo, an artist from Franklin, Wis., was commissioned to provide illustrations for the new map. The design evokes a look and feel similar to watercolor painting, showcasing the essence of Wisconsin’s dairy industry including green grass and summer scenes.
Since its inception in 2000, “A Traveler’s Guide to America’s Dairyland” has steadily increased the number of companies included on the map. In addition to cheese companies, the venues have grown to include a number of dairy creameries featuring ice cream, butter, milk, yogurt and other REAL dairy products. The Traveler’s Guide features site descriptions and contact information, as well as a Wisconsin dairy quiz, cow and dairy facts and unique dairy attractions.
Printed copies of the new “Traveler’s Guide to America’s Dairyland” are available for free by request, or the map can be downloaded here.
Ice Cream Gets A Health Halo
by Heather Blount/staff writer
Consumers looking for a frozen dessert at the supermarket have more choices than ever before. There’s still chocolate and vanilla ice cream, of course, but the category has expanded in recent years to include more and more frozen yogurts (including Greek frozen yogurt), sorbets and ices.
One company, Thrive Frozen Nutrition, has taken frozen dessert to the next level with its “ice cream-like product” that is touted as a healthy food.
“Thrive is specially formulated to provide a complete nutrition option that tastes great, making it the perfect addition to a rejuvenated healthy meal plan for the New Year,” said Franklin Everett, co-creator and EVP of sales and marketing for Thrive Frozen Nutrition in Orlando, Fla.
With enough nutrition to serve as a meal replacement, Thrive is available in four flavors, including Homemade Vanilla, Milk Chocolate, Chocolate Fudge and Strawberry.
Formulated to taste like traditional ice cream, Thrive has 9g of protein, 3g of fiber, 520mg of potassium, four strains of probiotics and 24 vitamins and minerals in every 250-calorie cup.
New frozen Greek yogurts are emerging rapidly, poised to stand in for ice cream for those looking for a cool dessert that is easier on the waistline and could provide additional benefits such as improving digestive health and lowering cholesterol.
Yoplait, which counts Greek yogurt among its product lines, introduced frozen Greek yogurt in a carton in October 2012. Other Greek yogurt brands, like Oikos, have released similar products.
Yasso pioneered Greek frozen yogurt bars for retail, and recently added three new flavors—Coconut, Mango and Vanilla Bean—to double the number of products in the line.
“Our decision to launch Coconut, Mango and Vanilla Bean was based on consumer conversations throughout our national sampling tour and surveys we conducted on Facebook,” said Yasso co-founder Drew Harrington. “We’re fortunate to have such wonderful fans and love including them in the creation of new flavors and product launches. Coconut, Mango and Vanilla Bean will add exciting flavor diversity to the current lineup of Raspberry, Strawberry and Blueberry.”
Each bar is 80 calories, has 6-7g of protein and contains little to no fat, according to a news release. All Yasso novelty bars are offered in 3.5-fl. oz. bars, made with all-natural real Greek yogurt and free of artificial sweeteners.
Ben & Jerry’s has gotten on the Greek frozen yogurt bandwagon with its “Liz Lemon” variety, which gets its name from one of the leading characters on the television show “30 Rock.” Initially available in Ben & Jerry’s shops, the carton will hit retail frozen sections this spring. Liz Lemon’s base is a lemon Greek frozen yogurt with a blueberry lavender swirl. In addition, Liz Lemon raises awareness of Jumpstart, a national early education organization supported by Tina Fey.
Shoppers Boost Dairy, Deli, Bakery Sales with Trendy Buys
by Ashley Bates/staff writer
The dairy, deli and bakery departments of the supermarket are seeing new life this year as shoppers head to these parts of the store for newer, fresher, trendier items.
Yogurt dollar sales rose 7.0 percent to $5.2 billion in the food/drug/mass channel last year, according to Nielsen. The research group Mintel also reported that in 2010, Americans ate yogurt 7.5 times per month on average, up from 7.0 times per month in 2006.
Since the yogurt boom, brands have continued to expand, especially in the popular Greek yogurt section.
Deli visits also have seen an uptick in sales with 82 percent of consumers visiting supermarket delis that feature newer and trendier items. Shoppers are looking for fresh, local, and organic salads and side dishes.
Ethnic entrees such as chorizo and carne asada, as well as Korean short ribs, Polish kielbasa, carnitas and Serrano ham are becoming popular meal choices for customers, according to the “What’s in Store 2012” report compiled by the International Dairy-Deli-Bakery Association (IDDBA).
Also according to IDDBA research, the trendy ethnic items in delis include: crepes (27.6 percent), chipotle flavors (24.0 percent), hummus (23.4 percent), Korean BBQ (22.7 percent) and empanadas (21.6 percent).
A new cultural mix is shaping the retail food market, the report points out.
The U.S. Hispanic population, in addition to single-person households, are steadfast forces in the supermarket. Active Baby Boomers and newly empowered Millennials also drive many purchases.
The U.S. Hispanic population was responsible for more than half of the increase in U.S. population from 2000 to 2010, the U.S. Census Bureau reported. That population growth will continue amid higher birth rates and steady immigration from this group. Hispanic buying power hit $1 trillion in 2010, and is set for a 25 percent climb to $1.5 trillion by 2015, according to The Multicultural Economy report from the Selig Center for Economic Growth at the Terry College of Business at the University of Georgia.
Hispanic households spend more on groceries than the general population and tend to have larger families with nearly twice as many children under the age of 18. Also, Hispanic consumers are more aware of in-store promotions and less affected by advertising and product placements, according to the IDDBA.
Another major demographic affecting the grocery industry today are singles as these households have tripled in the last 30 years to 27 percent of U.S. households, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Men are shopping more for their families as many men have been left jobless by the stagnant economy, and 51 percent of men said they are the primary shopper in the family, according to Advertising Age.
Catering to singles, male shoppers and other demographics are causing supermarkets to make convenience foods a top priority.
Ready-to-eat foods like chicken wings with homemade sauces and turkey wings continue to stay popular.
The bakery remains an important section of each grocery store since 16 percent of transactions include at least one bakery item, according to Perishables Group FreshFacts Shopper Insights.
Trends making a mark in the dairy, deli and bakery departments, according to IDDBA, include the “new normal,” meaning consumers are changing how they shop, and many shoppers are very concerned with value and transparency.
Also, cost- and calorie-conscious consumers are visiting in-store bakeries looking for mini-portion sizes—two to four bites—which also retail at a lower price point. Other examples of this trend are mini pies, cupcakes and cake pops, according to What’s In Store.
Shoppers want a wider array of sweet desserts, including gourmet (and sometimes unusual) doughnuts, crème puffs and sweet crepes. Some doughnuts are being topped with treats such as Fruit Loops and Rice Krispies treats; some are filled with fresh fruit preserves or gourmet chocolate.
Sales at in-store supermarket bakeries climbed through the first half of 2011, fueled by trends like smaller portion sizes, doughnuts and pies, according to What’s in Store.
The “free-from” trend is another idea becoming popular in in-store bakeries: foods free of gluten, nuts, allergens, and animal products are hot items, as are organic and non-GMO products.
Over in the dairy department, sophisticated cheese flavors and varieties continue to develop along with Americans’ collective palate, according to What’s in Store 2012. Cheese is one of the top culinary trends, along with local/farm/estate-branded ingredients, ethnic flavor interest, emphasis on children’s nutrition and simplicity.
“We’ve seen specialty cheese use in sandwiches, grilled cheese sandwiches and burgers growing,” said Alan Hiebert, information specialist with the IDDBA. “Cheese’s versatility, health attributes, association with cooking, snacking properties and local farmstead and artisan production will drive future consumption.
“IDDBA does not have data for cheese used as an ingredient at foodservice, but the fastest growing cheese varieties at retail include Hispanic varieties (queso quesadilla, Chihuahua, queso fresco, queso ranchero), gruyere, gouda, Havarti, and mascarpone,” he added.
Bolder flavors and artisan cheeses are two of the hottest cheese trends as consumers venture beyond younger-aged cheeses that are aged and more flavorful ingredient-filled cheeses.
Additions to cheeses in the deli case include truffle, chipotle, wasabi, horseradish, cocoa, saffron, apricot, pear and bacon, among others. Some retailers are even offering lower priced, private label cheeses, like Publix.
The three fastest growing cheeses at retail are Manchego, Gruyére and Gouda. According to Nielsen Perishables Group, almost 70 percent of U.S. households make service deli cheese purchases.
To offset financial hardship, consumers are eating at home more and 91 percent of households buy at least one in-store bakery item each year.
Over in the milk cooler, customers are grabbing enhanced milk more often. Aside from vitamin milk made with special blends that cater to kids, teens and women, there also are milk blends of cows’ milk and nut milks. Kids can get milk in flexible “squeezy pouches” with screw tops that make it fun to drink, as well as flavored varieties with less sugar and fewer calories.
More often consumers are looking to milk that is better-for-you and better-for-the environment with natural nutritional properties and sustainably produced, according to IDDBA reports.