New Food Products (Database) / New Food Products / R&D / Dairy, Cheese, Eggs

Product Focus: Ice Cream

Both food processors and consumers can enjoy celebrating National Ice Cream Month in July.

In 1984, President Ronald Reagan designated July as National Ice Cream Month and the third Sunday of the month as National Ice Cream Day. He recognized ice cream as a fun and nutritious food that is enjoyed by an overwhelming majority of the nation’s population. In fact, nine out of 10 U.S. households have some type of ice cream in their freezer at all times. This includes multi-serve units, such as half gallons, quarts and pints, as well as the increasingly popular single-serve novelty. The fact is, ice cream is one of a few “sweet treats” to actually provide nutritional value, as the milk ice cream is made from is a source of calcium, protein and other nutrients.

Slightly more than 10 percent of all U.S.-produced milk is used to manufacture ice cream. Ice cream production follows a clear seasonal pattern. Summer is the unchallenged season, with production ramping up in March and April to fill retail and foodservice pipelines in the late spring and early summer, according to the International Dairy Foods Assn. June is the highest production month of the year, but production remains strong through August to satisfy summer demand. Production declines through the end of the year. However, savvy marketers now offer seasonal products that complement the flavors of winter holidays, such as pumpkin pie in November and candy cane in December.

Still, vanilla continues to be America’s flavor of choice in ice cream and novelties, in both supermarket and foodservice sales. This flavor is the most versatile, mixing well with toppings, drinks and bakery desserts. America’s top-five favorite individual flavors are vanilla, chocolate, cookies ’n cream, strawberry and chocolate chip mint. However, ice cream flavors are only limited by the imagination.

“Nestlé Dreyer’s Ice Cream understands consumers want to know what’s in their food, where those ingredients come from and how the food products they purchase are made. Using simpler ingredients that our consumers can recognize, and removing those that don’t belong, is a natural next step for our brands,” says Robert Kilmer, president, Nestlé Dreyer’s Ice Cream, which announced earlier this year that it will be making key ingredient improvements to many of its brands.

Smoothie on a Stick

Described as being a smoothie on a stick, new JonnyPops are frozen fruit and cream pops made with simple, natural ingredients. Real fruit is the main ingredient, with only five or six all-natural ingredients in every pop. Varieties are: Banana Cinnamon & Cream, Coffee Chocolate & Cream, Mango & Cream, Pineapple Coconut & Cream, Raspberries Blueberries & Cream, Strawberries & Cream and Strawberry Banana & Cream. Each 78g pop contains 130-160 calories and 7-13g of fat, depending on variety.

Functional Ice Cream

Thrive Ice Cream markets a namesake nutrition-packed premium ice cream containing probiotics, natural soluble fiber and high-quality milk protein isolate. It is also loaded with 24 vitamins and minerals. According to the company, Thrive contains all the nutrition and benefits of the typical liquid nutrition shake in a form proven to be more enjoyable to eat. Available in pints and portion-control 6-oz. cups, Thrive can be consumed as a meal replacement, snack or dessert, with healthcare and sports nutrition two key channels for distribution. Varieties are Butter Pecan, Chocolate, Salted Caramel and Vanilla.

Portion Control for Weight Management,

Wells Enterprises Inc., the licensed manufacturer of Weight Watchers frozen novelties, grows its adult-focused line of ice cream products with Dark Chocolate Mint, Snack-Size Salted Caramel and Snack-Size Mocha Latte ice cream bars. Some existing bars — such as Peanut Butter Caramel, Divine Triple Chocolate and Cookies & Cream — are now available in snack-sized portions. The products range between 45-90 calories per treat, have low saturated fat and no artificial sweeteners. The novelties account for two to four SmartPoints value per treat.