Sweet Goods & Dairy Social Media Listening
Listening Dates: January 1, 2018 – March 31, 2018
Overview of Current Trends
When focusing on social media content generated by news articles, brands, and Sweet Goods & Dairy trendsetters, products that deliver alternative and healthier options or innovative twists on conventional products are on target.
Non-Dairy “Milks” Continue Expansion
Elmhurst Dairy used to make milk but when sales began to decline and competition began to increase, the company’s owner decided to pivot. In 2017, they started producing plant-based milks, and today they produce no milk from cows. In January, it released the first packaged peanut milk on the market. It also sells “milked” almonds, rice, oats, walnuts, hazelnuts, and cashews. Elmhurst Milked’s peanut milk occupies a distinct position in the plant-based milk space by delivering more protein, less sugar, a creamier mouthfeel and a noticeably shorter, cleaner, label owing to a proprietary cold milling process. The current flavors for peanut milk are regular and chocolate.
Goldman Sachs is part of a $65 million investment with Ripple Foods, a producer of pea-based milk products, according to Bloomberg. Last year, Ripple launched a vegan Greek yogurt and child-friendly vegan milk. To date, it has secured a total of $110 million in funding. The two-year old company uses its Ripptein pea protein to produce dairy-free milk, half-and-half and a Greek Yogurt alternative. Ripple’s founders told Bloomberg they’re also working on pea-based ice creams. It is likely that not only Ripple Foods, but the entire alternative milk category is on the rise with this type of attention from a venture capitalist firm.
Toasted Cream Trends
A hot trend that has been continuing is browning or toasting certain baking ingredients, in this case, cream. Cream is an extremely versatile dairy ingredient that, when cooked at 180°F for 24 hours, develops a rich, striking flavor perfect for any dish or beverage. Baking cream allows it to go through a process known as Maillard Reaction, in which proteins and sugars are broken down and built back up into hundreds of new, complex flavors and aromas. The result? A beautiful, fluffy textured cream with nutty aromas.
The Toasted Cream trend has picked up so much that Hershey’s hopped on board and introduced their Hershey’s Gold Bar during the 2018 Olympics. The new Hershey Gold Bar is the first of Hershey’s product line-up to contain no chocolate. It is made up of caramel, pretzels, and peanuts. Hershey says it turns the white creme gold by browning the sugar inside which gives Gold bars a “sweet, buttery taste” and then topped with a creamy finish.
New Candy Flavors and Concepts
Hershey’s isn’t the only major candy manufacturer releasing new flavors. As of April 1st, consumers were able to try out Mars’ new M&M’s flavors: Crunchy Espresso, Crunchy Raspberry, and Crunchy Mint. Most would think that’s a great April Fool’s day joke but it most certainly isn’t because, according to a release, the flavors were launched as a part of the brand’s second Flavor Vote campaign which will allow fans to cast their favorite flavor vote until May 25th. May the best flavor win!
With new flavors also comes stiff competition. While Nestle has a large product portfolio, they have incorporated innovation into their most recently released product: Milkybar Wowsomes. This candy bar is made with its new sugar reduction technology which uses no artificial sweeteners and are labeled as containing 30% less sugar. This newly developed sugar reduction technology is an aerated, porous sugar that dissolves more quickly in the mouth. Milkybar Wowsomes are currently available in the UK and in two flavors: White Chocolate with Crispy Oat Cereal and Milk & White Chocolate with Crispy Oat Cereal.
Low Calorie Ice Cream Additions
Euphoria is the feeling of intense excitement and we couldn’t agree more with Ben & Jerry’s new line called Moo-Phoria: a low-fat, low calorie ice cream available in 3 flavors (peanut butter dough, chocolate milk and cookies, and caramel cookie fix). This line is made with organic milk and cream, and will contain no artificial sugar substitutes. Let the somewhat guilt-free indulging begin, because this is definitely something to be excited over!
Talenti is riding the coattails of Ben & Jerry’s new line with a new line of their own – monk fruit-sweetened gelato (or is it the other way around?). Either way, monk fruit, an emerging sweetener in the US market and is 300 times sweeter than sugar – which allows Talenti to cut the sugar content in half compared to traditional ice cream. It’s available in 3 flavors: vanilla cinnamon, mint cookie crunch, and chocolate fudge swirl.
Non-Dairy Ice Cream Alternatives
Ben & Jerry’s seems to be offering versions for all types of ice cream goers because they also recently launched a vegan line. The new flavors are: Peanut Butter Half Baked and Cinnamon Buns. These additions comprise the 8th and 9th flavors offered in the vegan line.
Halo Top also introduced 2 new flavors in their vegan friendly line-up that was launched in February. The two new flavors are Toasted Coconut (contains flakes of toasted coconut and has creamy notes) and Vanilla Maple (features a hint of maple, elevating the taste of vanilla).
In December of 2017, we included an article outlining products created from consumer trends. Now we are actually starting to see some of these products on grocery store shelves. A company called Outshine released fruit based frozen “ice-cream” which is non-dairy. Outshine currently has 4 flavors: Berry Blend, Strawberry Banana, Sunrise Blend, and Tropical Blend.
International Items with a US Footprint
Bouza really “stretches” our traditional concept of dessert. Described as an ice cream equivalent treat, this concoction, made popular in the Middle East, was recently spotted in a California restaurant with a Syrian baker. The Arabic ice cream is thicker and more elastic, containing milk, cream, salep, mastic gum, and sugar. The result is a rich creamy taste and a gummy texture.
Another international treat that is increasing its footprint in the US is Japanese Kakigori. This tasty and aesthetically pleasing treat is simply shaved ice, but what makes it unique is how the Japanese elevate this dessert with the toppings. The featured picture is a four-tiered dessert with vanilla pastry cream and blood orange syrup on top of a candied blood orange wheel – but with this treat, the flavor variations are endless. We are seeing this fancy dessert in some of America’s most high-profile restaurants, predominantly on the East Coast.
Krispy Kreme Doughnuts at it Again
A nationwide Kripsy Kreme fan vote helped the company launch a new flavored doughnut. The Lemon Glazed Doughnut will be a take on the original glazed doughnut but with lemon-flavored glaze. Interestingly enough, Lemon beat out other flavors such as blueberry, caramel, and maple in the final vote count. It looks like consumers are ready for some new flavors! Krispy Kreme doesn’t shy away from trying new twists on their products. In addition to the Lemon Glazed Doughnut, they released Hershey’s Gold Doughnut, which incorporates Hershey’s Gold bar crumbled on their original glazed doughnut and a salted caramel icing.
New in Sweet Treats
Girl Scout Cookies have done an effective job in securing a spot in our culture and now Biena is getting in on the action. Biena will be exclusively releasing Thin Mint coated chick peas at Whole Foods in June (and then expand to more retailers in September). The new snack will join Biena’s range of chocolate-covered chickpea snacks, which includes flavors such as dark chocolate, milk chocolate and salted caramel.
Kellogg’s has exemplified how a large company responds to the voice of the customer. Two new flavors were created after combinations generated buzz on social media: Birthday Cake and Cookies ‘n’ Cream. The Birthday Cake flavor features colorful rainbow sprinkles and a crème drizzle. Cookies ‘n’ Cream contains chocolate cookie crumbles and a crème coating.