Vitamin Fortification Can Cause Off Flavors in Dairy Milk

Adding value to food and drinks is a popular trend in the food manufacturing industry. Consumers are demanding food and beverage brands to find ways to improve the nutritional value of their products. In fact, you can see many nutrient fortified products from cereals to soda.


The Rise of Value-Added Beverages

This is the reason why there is an increase of probiotic-infused beverages in the market. Examples of probiotic-based drinks that are available to the public include kombucha, flavored yogurts, and even drinking vinegar. But aside from drinks filled with healthy bacteria, another trend is to fortify ordinary drinks with vitamins and minerals. This is the reason why coffee and tea fortified with vitamins have found themselves on many supermarket shelves.

Plant-based milk created from nuts and seeds is also on the rise. These plant-based counterparts are positioned as healthier alternatives to traditional dairy milk.  But for a long time, dairy milk has held on to fortifying milk with vitamins to make it a healthier beverage.

The Problem with Fortified Dairy Milk

The most common vitamins that are added to milk are A and D. In the United States, these vitamins have been added to dairy milk since 1930 to halt the possibility of children developing blindness, cancer, and other vitamin deficiencies. The practice of adding vitamins and minerals to milk has been the standard in making pasteurized milk.

While beverage manufacturers have good intentions in fortifying milk, some consumers are complaining. The vitamin fortification of milk often results to imparting a distinct flavor that consumers mistake for spoilage.

In a study conducted by researchers from the North Carolina State and Cornell University, they found out that water-soluble vitamin concentrates often used in fortifying milk can lead to off flavors. On the other hand, using oil-soluble fortifications often results in no taste difference from unaltered milk. In the same research, test subjects detected a slight difference regarding flavor between enhanced skim milk and unfortified skim milk.

The Implications of The Study

The study revealed that while fortifying milk is a great idea to improve its nutritional value, it is crucial for beverage manufacturers to use the right vitamin concentrates.  Having said this, food manufacturers need to improve their process and invest in solutions that can control the impact of vitamin concentrates on the flavor of the dairy product.  The researchers recommended using less water-soluble vitamins and rely more on oil-soluble vitamins to improve the quality of their milk products.

But this strategy can backfire when it comes to the organic milk niche. Consumers who value natural and unaltered dairy products might find the fortification against their volition, so they opt not to buy them instead. Milk brands need to be clear and transparent about whether their milk is fortified or unfortified. Companies should look for ways to add food based vitamins like GrandFusion. GrandFusion is a concentrated blend of vitamins from fruits and vegetables including vitamins A and D.

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Small Manufacturers Are Experiencing Large Growth

Although almost $3 billion in losses took place in U.S. retail during the first quarter because of a shift in the timing of Easter as well as changing consumer preferences, growth is not impossible. Contrary to what the numbers show, a few small food and beverage manufacturers are thriving during an unexpected time. Only five years ago, the largest food and bev manufacturers represented one-third of all dollar sales. However, to date, they account for only 31%, and smaller manufacturers (which exceed $100,000 in sales annually) have gained the two percentage points of market share, valuing at about $2 billion. Currently, nearly 16,000 companies, which make up the smallest manufacturers, are responsible for 19% of dollar sales and are also experiencing over half of the growth (53%).

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Transparency is Now Key to Consumer Approval

Research put into the shift of growth in the U.S. retail industry shows that transparency is winning. Small manufacturers place a significant portion of their focus on health as well as the need to provide a transparent environment for consumers. At the same time, they do well to maintain an exceptional price point that retailers love!

Clean Labels Gaining Popularity

A “clean label” refers to a product that does not contain any artificial sweeteners, preservatives, colors, and flavors, as well as antibiotics and hormones in beverage and food categories. These products also typically make marketing label claims on their packaging to entice consumers.

As shown in a worldwide ingredients survey conducted by Nielsen, consumers have a tendency to keep a close eye on the details of products―actually, nearly three-quarters of survey participants said they felt positively toward businesses dedicated to honesty regarding their product sourcing; 68% were willing to spend more money on beverages and food free of ill-favored ingredients; 64% of the diets of consumers forbid specific ingredients. The longing for clean labels stems from the growing desire for company transparency.


Clean label products are now responsible for 30% of sales in the market, which has grown by 5.6% over the last five years. Small manufacturers dominate large competitors regarding clean label sales and growth. This past year has shown that small manufacturers sold the most share of clean label products in comparison to their other sales. Small manufacturers led with 40% of their sales coming from clean labels, followed by middle-sized manufacturers at 38%, private-label manufacturers at 27%, and lastly, large manufacturers at 24% of their sales coming from clean label products.

Small manufacturers take the lead in premium price tiers as well. Recently, premium-priced sales made up 44% of small producers’ sales, a significant difference when compared to the premium price of the sale of large manufacturers, recorded at 39% and below.

During the last five years, both medium- and small-sized manufacturers have upped their distribution throughout regions, resulting in a greater amount of space inside stores. Out of the roughly 900 beverage and food items that have been stock on store shelves since 2013, 88% came from medium- and small-sized companies. Retailers are giving small manufacturers an opportunity to sell their products to customers more frequently than ever before.

Increasing Sales with Promotion

Due to a larger variety and connection to real consumer desires, smaller and private manufacturers are finding sales success while also spending less on the promotion of their offerings. Larger corporations, on the other hand, have spent much more money than average on trade promotions. As of April 2017, sales based on advertising are accredited to 40% of large manufacturers’ sales, compared to 27% of small manufacturers’ sales.


As the demand for clean label products increases, more and more people will be willing to buy them, whether or not there are promotions. To adapt to the smaller manufacturers taking advantage of this trend, retailers and marketplaces must provide more space in order to account for the consumer demand. The long term success of this trend is still undefined. We will see how large brands respond. The most consistent way to adapt for large companies is through the acquisition of small manufacturers.

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The World’s First Healthy Alcoholic Beverage

COCO Cocktail is a healthy alternative to the traditional alcoholic beverage. With many clear benefits, consumers debate whether or not this drink will become a first alcoholic beverage of choice in the market. As stated in a news release, COCO Cocktail contains a noticeably larger nutritional value when set side by side against a top competitor, Pinot Noir. In addition to being created with 70% coconut water, COCO Cocktail also contains SuperFruits (considered to be very beneficial to health and rich with antioxidants), as well as 5.6% ABV from OTS Orange Wine. COCO Cocktail holds minerals and vitamins, both of which derive from non-GMO and all-natural food sources, without containing enriched, artificial, or synthetic ingredients. COCO Cocktail can be purchased in several different retail locations within Ohio, Florida, Indiana, and Texas.

Healthy Alcoholic Beverages in the Market Today

For the longest time, many of the top-branded craft cocktails were created using significant amounts of processed sugars. In this day and age, consumers are not content with their products being highly infused with artificial sweeteners. The young adult sector of today is constantly in search of craft cocktails that are made using high-end ingredients, while at the same time, not packed with sugar. Also, now more than ever, wine and spirit consumption is rising exponentially. Companies are choosing to take advantage of this up and coming market. Healthy Beverages appeals to and attracts the attention of consumers in this market by offering two separate flavors of their vitamin-enhanced, healthy wine.

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Healthy Beverages, LLC Achieves FDA Guidelines to Claim COCO COCKTAIL(TM) #POWER as “The World’s 1st Nutritious Alcoholic Beverage” (PRNewsfoto/Healthy Beverages, LLC)

According to the CEO and co-founder of Healthy Beverages, Franz Tudor, many consumers are looking for clean and natural ingredients. Tudor believes that the removal of artificial and GMO-filled ingredients would certainly not “take the fun away [from the COCO Cocktail].” Tutor states that natural foods possessing benefits to the heart and muscles of the body while also reducing bloating “seems like fun” to him.

Alcoholic Beverage Market

It is predicted that sales for all categories of alcoholic beverages are going to rise as a result of the growing number of consumers experimenting with alcoholic beverages. Whether or not healthy alcoholic beverages are going to be consumed more than their traditional counterpart as time goes on is still up in the air; however, the fact remains that new consumers will be drawn in due to the price as well as the taste of the beverage. Despite this, Healthy Beverages is making a wise decision of appealing to the niche of health-conscious and wine-loving consumers by testing out their new beverage.

Benefits of Healthy Alcohol

Research has already determined that a moderate consumption of red wine is tied in with many advantages such as boosting life expectancy, combating diabetes, heart disease, and several other illnesses. Researchers are nearing the completion of a pill that mirrors the positive effects of alcoholic beverage. However, in the end, some consumers will find difficulty giving up their drink of choice for a healthy alcoholic alternative, regardless of how great the drink is.

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The Rise of Cauliflower Rice

The recent rise of “riced” vegetables has led to criticism amongst food connoisseurs. Betsy Ward, the president of USA Rice, has boldly declared that “Only rice is rice, and calling ‘riced vegetables,’ ‘rice,’ is confusing and misleading to consumers.” One of the most well-known of these controversial food products is cauliflower rice, the result of pulsing in a food processor. Although cauliflower rice soaks up sauces and spices like classic rice, plenty of seasoning is necessary to enrich the dull flavor. One cup of cauliflower contains two grams of net carbohydrates; on the other hand, white rice includes 51 grams of carbs and brown rice 42 grams.

Healthy Alternatives Reflected in Other Food Sectors

Cauliflower Rice vs. Traditional White Rice CarbsJust as the term milk has broadened to include non-dairy based products, such as almond and soy milk, rice has followed suit and done the same. Although the new cauliflower product is not the consumer’s first pick, it appeals to people looking for healthy food options.

Similarly, the pasta business has seen its share of the growth of alternative pasta products, with squash and zucchini pasta becoming a more attractive alternative to starchy, traditional pasta. People are ready to grab and utilize the vegetables they already have at home, threatening industries that incorporate and sell carbohydrate-rich food products.

The dairy industry’s unsuccessful attempts to eliminate competition such as the nut, soy, and other non-dairy based milk drinks is an affair that could potentially be seen in the rice business. If the rice industry raises this concern to the FDA, however, they might be able to avoid this. The definitions of terms such as “milk” and “healthy” have long been in limbo, and some are unsure whether or not the current presidential administration will provide a traditional definition, finally putting an end to the conflict between conventional and unconventional, alternative food and beverage manufacturers.

Wise Marketing Strategies Will Help the Rice Industry

Despite the growing popularity of non-traditional rice products, there are ways for the industry to weaken the acclaim for cauliflower rice. Ripple, a plant-based milk brand, has introduced a game that educates consumers on the advantages of milk in comparison to traditional dairy milk. Rice businesses could use similar strategies to teach users on the rewards of eating regular rice. Through purposeful advertisement and other marketing strategies, the rice industry could certainly achieve this goal.

It is still unclear to all, whether or not cauliflower rice will be above its traditional counterpart. A possibility remains that cauliflower rice may not achieve the same success as alternative dairy products in the dairy industry. In the end, regardless of how successful or trendy cauliflower rice may become in the future, the rice industry should remain on their toes and ready to face more competition.

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DanoneWave Quietly Reduces Fat and Sugar

The French multinational food manufacturing giant, DanonWave, is famous for making nutrient-dense foods with less fat and sugar. The company is known for its brands such as Danimals, Dannon, Activia yogurt, and newly acquired plant-based brands like Vega and Silk. While it is one of the main players in the health food industry, the company has recently announced that it will embark on improving its products by boosting their fiber, protein, Vitamin D, and decreasing the fat & sugar. This announcement was part of the company’s recent commitment to address childhood obesity.

According to Philippe Caradec, Vice President of Corporate Affairs, the company values its mission to bring healthy food to as many people as they can reach all over the world.

Why Are Companies Like DanoneWave Redeveloping Their Portfolio?

Most of the giant food and beverage manufacturers have been redeveloping their portfolio by creating new product formulations or acquiring healthy startups. But, what is the reason behind this? It is imperative for big food companies to meet the changing demands of their consumers.

It is important to take note that more consumers are opting for healthier foods, so changing the brand portfolio is a good strategy to draw in more future customers. Examples of food companies that have revamped their portfolio by releasing a healthy line of products include Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and Campbell Soup.

But what about DanoneWave? The company embarked on its robust portfolio when it acquired the great beverage-maker WhiteWave in a $10.4 billion deal. The company has been making snack bars, cookies, and more over the past few decades. While it has been treading on the health food path longer than other companies, DanoneWave lacks variety, so the company is betting on products like bottled waters, baby foods, and yogurts.

Millennials: The New Market


While some companies embark on revamping their portfolio as part of a bandwagon or fad, DanoneWave sees another potential. In fact, they are revamping their product line because they see the Millennials as the most promising of all target markets.

The biggest driver of the health food niche are millennials who are now becoming more aware of lifestyle diseases and healthy options. But while marketing to the millennials is needed by most health food companies, it is quite challenging to convince millennials to buy products by just claiming that they are sugar-free or fat-free. Marketing products as such can also lead to consumers to think that they are consuming products that are less appealing. Millennial consumers are becoming wiser every day, so companies like DanoneWave have to include clean labeling and transparency in their products by including honest nutritional labels on each of their products.

The future of health food companies like DanoneWave lies in the hands of meticulous consumers. This is the reason why it is so important to use different strategies such as reformulating their products, revamping their brand, acquiring healthy food start-ups, and also using transparent clean labels.

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How Brands Can Compete with Amazon’s CPG Subscriptions

With technology at our fingertips, consumers all over the globe have experienced many conveniences–one in the form of online shopping. In a study conducted a few years ago, it noted that the e-commerce of consumer packaged goods rose by 42%. In fact, Amazon accounted for more than 20% of all the CPG growth.

Scott Galloway from New York University said that Amazon is dominating the retail industry and is undoubtedly evolving. But what makes Amazon the epitome of the retail industry? Simply put, the company delivers its products fast and simple. The brown packaging contains exactly what the clients ordered – no frills and flair involved.

The preference of people to get consumer packaged goods from Amazon has caused fierce competition for the smaller retailers. Although this may spell impending doom to Amazon’s competitors, there are still ways to compete with Amazon, and the secret lies heavily on owning the contact information of their customers so they can build their database and analyze purchase behavior analysis. Creating a competitive subscription service is the key, but, how can this be done?

Create A Dedicated Subscriptions Channel

Dedicate a subscription channel that can handle and connect with consumers. Customer service is critical. For bigger companies, look for a younger yet promising employee who exhibits management skills and IT skills to man the subscription channel. By doing so, they will be in-charge of making real-time reactions to different market conditions and make decisions based on what the customer wants and needs.


Do A Trial Run

Before introducing a subscription, it is important to perform a trial run. The test size for the trial run should be sizable enough that it is statistically significant. It should be marketed on different digital channels and must be done in different variations so that management can determine the best product offering. This means that the trial should involve many (even hundreds) of subscription orders to be able to pinpoint which one justifies the cost per order and the scalability of the campaign. Once the specific subscription has been identified, it is important to do continuous testing as digital channels are always evolving, what works today might not work tomorrow.

Partner with A Subscription-Focused Vendor

Launching a subscriptions campaign requires constant research. Smaller companies can take advantage of hiring technology vendors to create programs for e-commerce, analytics, as well as customer service. While creating a program in-house is easy, the systems necessarily do not communicate with one another and they are not scalable. Partnering with a vendor can provide experienced people who can work on a fully integrated solution, resulting in a faster transaction, better customer experience, and accurate data. Smaller companies can benefit from subscription channels but having their own in-house team to manage can be difficult, so partnering with experienced vendors provides the best solution.

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Growing Demand for Organic Ingredients Leads to Supply Challenges

The need for fresh ingredients by consumers has led many farmers to go into organic farming. According to data provided by the USDA, the number of organic farmers in the US has increased by almost 300% since 2002. This growth is to meet the demands of consumers who prefer organic foods more than those grown in conventional methods.

Why Is It Difficult to Completely Go Organic?

Although there is a rapid increase of organic operators in the country, it is crucial to take note that only about 0.7% of the total operable farms within the country are classified as organic.  Many farmers pointed out that the main reason why converting their conventional farmland to organic is difficult because it is expensive as well as time-consuming. In general, farmers have to wait for at least three years to be able to convert their farms. Unfortunately, during the first year of turning their land using organic practices, the produce that they grow is not sold at organic prices. Meaning, they are still paid cheap even when they are spending more on organic practices. This is leading to the supply challenges in the market.

Solutions to The Supply Challenge

To solve the supply challenges, farmers are given several incentives to make the necessary switch. These include the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) that offers first-timer organic operators the right technical assistance to grow food the organic way. But, it is not only the government that provides support. Even food manufacturers, as well as retailers, have supported and implemented programs just to encourage farmers to boost their harvest. In fact, companies like Nature’s Path Foods, Whole Foods, Organic Valley, and Stonyfield Farms have provided grants to organic farmers to boost their production.

While organic farmers can supply the needs of food retailers and manufacturers, another problem is where to source specialty ingredients that are not grown in the United States. The solution proposed by the government was to get into digital platforms like Mercaris Auction Platform or to trade tons of organic products into the market.

All stakeholders are doing their best to provide the resources needed by the consumers. For instance, the Organic Trade Association was set up to provide suppliers and manufacturers the necessary information about their produce such as where to source their supplies, market data, and real-time pricing.

On the other hand, retailers like restaurants and grocery stores have also worked closely with organic farm operators to give them the idea of how much they will need to sustain their businesses. For instance, retail giant Walmart has worked with local organic farmers by giving them the outline of how much they need for the entire year so that the farmers can strategize on how they will be able to deliver the demands and needs of the end users.

The truth of the matter is that, while organic farming is prevalent, the number of organic operators is still not enough to be able to create a sustainable supply of products to the retailers and consumer product companies.

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Top 10 Food Trends to Watch at IFT 2017

In April, Food Technology magazine editor, Elizabeth Sloan, published an extensive article on the top 10 trends in the food industry. IFT 2017 in Las Vegas will be a great opportunity to see how ingredient companies are trying to meet the new priorities on healthy, natural, and nutritional focused offerings.

Here is a look at the top 10 trends to watch at IFT 2017 Las Vegas.

1. Prep It

Partially prepared foods are winning in-home supper preparation. According to FMI, 53% of shoppers used some semi-prepared foods versus on 35% that cooked from scratch. In 2016, sales of clean/preservative-free frozen meals reached $2.3 billion. Convenience continues to drive brands to develop quickly prepared foods and meals to meet the consumer’s lifestyle.

2. Lifestyle Foods

46% of the time Americans are eating alone with single adults making up 28% of all U.S. households. It’s no wonder that single-serve packaging and individual multi-packs are seeing increased demand. According to Accosta, 74% of people agree that frozen snacks are convenient at work which highlights that single-serve, on-the-go packaging could increase frozen snack sales substantially. People are now eating more early morning meals, and they are focused on nutrients and protein. Brands have to take a look at how lifestyles are changing to make effective decisions with new product development going forward.

3. Kid-Specific

Baby, toddler, and kid-focused products will grow rapidly as Millennials start to settle down over the next few years. According to Euromonitor, sales of infant formula are expected to grow to over $50 billion worldwide in 2017. Vitamin and mineral fortified, digestive health, eye health, organic, non-GMO, and all natural are top claims on leading formulas. In a report from IRI, they concluded that 40% of all snack sales are from households with kids. Packaged Facts found that 49% of all moms say that nutrition is the top food selection factor with 23% wanting to see more foods with hidden veggies. Bottom line, kid-focused products that appeal to the health conscious parents are winning.

4. Nationalism

A new pride in products made in America will drive increased sales for American cuisine, ingredients, and comfort food. Southerners and households with kids are most likely to buy and eat American made products. Another trend driving this new nationalism is local sourcing for grocery stores and restaurants. According to FMI, 66% of all U.S. shoppers are interested in meats raised in the United States with 60% believing that foods from China pose health risks. American pride is at a high again, and it’s a significant trend for natural products companies to look at carefully.

5. Nutrition

Consumer demand for a healthy lifestyle with simple application continues to gain steam. According to Nielsen, nutritional/supplement bars, drinks, and meal replacements with among the top 10 fastest growing food and beverage categories in the U.S. IFIC reported that 64% of adults tried to get more protein in their diet with 56% looking for more vitamins and minerals. CRN found that 75% of adults take a multi-vitamin daily. The protein gold mine has been most successful in the healthy snacks and frozen entrees categories according to Nielsen. The biggest missed opportunity according to IRI is in snack nutritionals with 60% of consumers looking for energy boosting snacks and 57% seeking snacks with more vitamins and minerals. Nutrition is easily the hottest trend to look out for at IFT 2017.

6. Dinner Redesigned

80% of all households prepare meals based on alternative proteins to meat/poultry at least once a week with the main reason being health according to FMI. Vegetable based “carb substitutes” are a fast growing trend at the dinner table with vegetable noodles and fries at the top of the list. New dinner trends will be important to look at as companies develop new entrees for this meal.

7. Ag Alternatives


Americans are currently experimenting with more plant-based meals. According to NRA, 40% of chefs still cite vegetarian and vegan cuisines as hot culinary trends in 2017. SPINS data showed sales of plant-based food and beverages increased to over $4.9 billion in 2016. Over past 4 years, claims around chia, quinoa, and kamut have been among fastest growing grain-based wellness claims. According to Nielsen, 62% of shoppers bought a food product because it contained fruits and/or vegetables. The new superfood on the block is the mushroom, especially for immune-boosting benefits. New plant alternatives are leading innovation in one of the fastest growing segments of the industry.

8. Upgrading

For the first time in 2016, men were more likely to buy specialty products than women. According to Anon, Sushi is outpacing bakery snacks and breakfast wraps. However, cheese remains the largest specialty category as usual. NPD found that more people are eating meals at another person’s home which is leading to explosive growth in home entertaining specialty foods. Gourmet foods are growing and will be a category to keep your eye on going forward.

9. Claim It

The best marketers and package designers are using claims and copy to convey benefits more quickly to consumers. According to Mintel, the number of “on-the-go” claims increased by 54% over the past six years. The fixation on a clean label has led to more free from, natural, and nutrient content claims. Nielsen found that 70% of all shelf-stable products will most likely be impacted by the new US FDA added sugar labeling requirements. Many sustainable claims around grass fed, free range, etc. are being perceived as healthy. Claims are crucial to attracting consumer attention and closing the deal at the shelf.

10. Natural Living

Consumers are intrigued by living a more natural, chemical-free, sustainable lifestyle. According to Nielsen, products with an organic claim saw a compound annual growth rate of 14.8% over the past 4 years. Natural claims drove growth in natural snacks like candy and cookies. Consumers want minimally processed foods with fewer ingredients, which is somewhat a headache for manufacturers.