Velvet Ice Cream has just opened the largest expansion capital improvement in the company’s storied 102-year history. Velvet broke ground on a new 23,000-square-foot expansion, with price tag of more than $3 million, last August. The expansion added a new state-of-the-art warehouse freezer distribution facility to Velvet Ice Cream’s central Ohio plant at Ye Olde Mill in Utica, more than doubling the company’s freezing and picking capacity. On the heels of significant expansion into the Kentucky and other markets, demand for Velvet Ice Cream has grown, taking the company from $25 million in revenue in 2009 to more than $30 million in 2014. As a result, last summer, Velvet was nearly at capacity with its former distribution facility.
“Our expansion allows us to improve sustainability, sharpen efficiencies and produce more delicious Velvet Ice Cream in order to meet increased demand,” said Velvet Ice Cream President Luconda Dager. “But it also positions us well for future growth and expansion.”
Dager helped the more than 100 attendees at the expansion ribbon cutting to better understand the project’s size, sharing the following details on the new facility:
Velvet Ice Cream worked with the Licking County, Ohio firm Robertson Construction as general contractor for the project, which took 14 months to complete. Currently employing a staff of 125, Velvet’s new distribution facility initially will require the addition of eight new employees in its picking and shipping operations. However, the development enables the company further to expand production as new accounts are acquired, which is expected to increase future employment. The project also uses the latest green technology, minimizing the company’s environmental footprint via environmentally friendly design, motion-controlled energy efficient lighting, state-of-the-art insulating panels and high-speed automated doors.
Dager added that thanks to the support of tax abatement from North Fork Local School District and Velvet’s partners at People’s Bank and Freije-RSC Engineered Solutions Company, the expansion makes it possible for the company to not only continue serving existing customers, but also enter new markets and forge new partnerships, like those Velvet already has with major retailers and other food service partners.
This year, Velvet Ice Cream celebrates 102 years of making ice cream in Ohio. Founded in 1914 by Joseph Dager, four generations of Dager family have since run the company. Still family-owned and operated, Velvet produces and distributes more than 5 million gallons of ice cream every year from its headquarters on the grounds of Ye Olde Mill. Ye Olde Mill also houses an ice cream and milling museum, a restaurant, playground, picnic area and catch-and-release fish pond.
Named by Frommer’s as one of America’s 10 Best Ice Cream Factory Tours, Velvet’s Ye Olde Mill welcomes 150,000 visitors each year for tours, tastings and events. The annual Ice Cream Festival, group tour experiences and school learning field trips are among the many draws to Ye Olde Mill, which is open to the public April 20-October 31. Complete information about Velvet Ice Cream and Ye Olde Mill is available www.VelvetIceCream.com on Twitter at @VelvetIceCream or Facebook.com/VelvetIceCream.
ARCTIC ZERO®, the pioneer of Fit Frozen Desserts™ without all the fat and calories, has unveiled seven craveable new additions to its family of creamy, sweet indulgences with zero compromise: Brownie Blast, Snickerdoodle Dandy and Banana Pudding Chunky Pints; Cake Batter and Poppin’ Pomegranate Creamy Pints; and Mint and Salted Caramel Chocolate-Dipped Bars. Crafted with premium ingredients to satisfy every sweet tooth, the new flavors celebrate crowd-pleasing flavor profiles reimagined with an ARCTIC ZERO twist to delight classic dessert lovers and health-conscious foodies alike. The new options, which won’t be publically available until March 2016, are debuting at the Winter Fancy Food Show 2016, where show attendees are invited to experience the new offerings in-person and learn more about the latest Fit Frozen Dessert innovations.
“From the beginning, our mission was to bring frozen dessert favorites to consumers in fresh and exciting ways that they could actually feel good about,” said ARCTIC ZERO founder, Greg Holtman. “We were inspired by the recent throwback to traditional desserts as well as culinary trends like salted caramel we witnessed in the marketplace and in direct feedback from our fans. This led us to reimagine time-honored favorites like brownies, banana pudding, and cake batter in our own unique “fit frozen” way that only ARCTIC ZERO can. The result is a fresh batch of clean, low calorie, yet indulgent desserts that hit on the satisfying flavor profiles consumers crave, but in ways they haven’t experienced before.”
Each new ARCTIC ZERO variety celebrates the delightful flavors of childhood classics reimagined in grown-up form. Like all other ARCTIC ZERO products, the new flavors are made with premium, GMO-free ingredients, including hormone-free whey protein, and antioxidant-rich monk fruit with zero artificial flavors, sweeteners or colors. New product details include:
ARCTIC ZERO Chunky Pints – packed with chunks of delicious treats for the perfect guiltless pleasure without all the fat and calories. 12 grams of protein, 12 grams of fiber and only 300 calories per pint (or 75 calories per serving).
o Brownie Blast:A chip off the ol’ brownie block. This triple chocolate threat is sure to hit the spot.
o Snickerdoodle Dandy: Snickerdoodle eat it up. Snickerdoodle Dandy. Find the cookies in the pint, and with the spoons be handy!
o Banana Pudding:We’re bananas for bananas. Our banana pudding is ripe with flavor and loaded with vanilla wafer crumble.
ARCTIC ZERO Creamy Pints – blended with premium ingredients for a tantalizing treat with zero compromise. 12 grams of protein, 8 grams of fiber, and only 150 calories per pint (or 35 calories per serving).
o Cake Batter: Crazy for cake? Our cake batter will remind you of lickin’ the spoon from your mama’s kitchen.
o Poppin’ Pomegranate:A little sweet, a little tart, our super fruit Poppin’ Pomegranate packs quite a punch.
ARCTIC ZERO Chocolate-Dipped Bars – The ARCTIC ZERO creamy base enrobed in a delicate layer of rich dark chocolate liqueur. These perfectly portioned, individually wrapped bars will become grab-and-go favorites! 3 grams of protein, 2 grams of fiber, and only 80 calories each.
o Mint:It’s hard to make chocolate blush, but this mint knows just how to compliment it.
o Salted Caramel: A foodie favorite. Smooth, sweet and salty. Enjoy the decadence of salted caramel in dark chocolate.
ARCTIC ZERO Fit Frozen Desserts are low in calories, low glycemic, lactose free, and gluten free for an ideal treat or post-workout snack that helps those watching their weight or following special diets taste the sweet life with zero guilt. Recent consumer research conducted by a third-party research firm in partnership with ARCTIC ZERO revealed that 65 percent of the brand’s social media followers report weight management as a constant effort and integral part of their daily lives. In addition, seven out of 10 who had eaten a frozen dessert in the last two to three months reported eating frozen desserts weekly, making the new flavors from ARCTIC ZERO a perfect better-for-you swap for traditional ice cream that supports spring and summer fitness plans.
ARCTIC ZERO is available for a suggested price of $4 to $5 at natural and traditional grocers nationwide, including Albertsons/Safeway, Kroger, Publix, Safeway, Sprouts Farmers Market, Walmart and Whole Foods Market, as well as online at Amazon.com and arcticzero.com.
Brio features a creamy, richness rivaling that of premium ice creams, with half the fat and 65 percent less saturated fat. For consumers wanting healthier fats in their diet, Brio is the only ice cream featuring balanced Omega 3-6-9s.
“We are serious about ingredient quality,” says Co-founder Ron Koss. “Brio is made with fresh, whole r-BST-free milk from Wisconsin…. Our flavors feature Madagascar vanilla, organic sea salt caramel, Alphonso mango, ripe strawberries, real coffee and dark cocoa.” Five flavors include Coffee Latte, Mellow Dark Chocolate, Spring Strawberry, Tropical Mango and Vanilla Caramel.
Brio is non-GMO, certified gluten free and low glycemic. There are no artificial flavors, colors or sweeteners. For all of its satisfying richness, Brio has only 165 calories in a 4-ounce serving and just 17 to 19 grams of sugar. With 6 grams of protein and a suggested retail price of $1.99 for a 4-ounce cup, Brio is on trend with consumers seeking protein-rich snacks.
Brio ice cream is a product of Nutricopia, Inc., a Vermont-based company owned by aio Group of Hawaii. Brio offers consumers a smart new way to upgrade their ice cream, to a product that is both richly delicious and surprisingly nutritious. It is currently available in supermarket chains including Foodland and KTA, at specialty market chains including Central Market and numerous specialty and natural stores.Brio is distributed by KeHE.
Talenti Gelato is bringing back three seasonal favorites:
The flavors are available nationwide for a limited time only starting mid-October at a suggested retail price of $4.99-$5.99, so consumers can enjoy and indulge while supplies last.
Sanders’ cream puff shells are now available in the freezer section at select Michigan Kroger stores, in Sanders Chocolate & Ice Cream Shoppes and online at www.sanderscandy.com in a newly designed resealable pouch.
The packaging update comes after Sanders’ recent launch of its new super premium ice cream cartons, giving shoppers the opportunity to enjoy a real hot fudge cream puff at home using the same ice cream, toppings and cream puffs as Sanders Shoppes.
“We wanted to design a more purposeful package for our cream puff shells that would really showcase the product inside,” said Walter Pilon, Director of Sales – Bakery & Frozen Goods at Sanders and Morley Candy Makers, Inc. “The crisp graphics and delicious recipe ideas on this pouch definitely make it stand out in any freezer section.”
Six cream puff shells were previously packed in simple clear bag with a label and twist tie in the past. While the contents are the same, the vessel has been completely updated to better fit in with the modern, yet nostalgic feel of other Sanders products. The resealable pouch is also self-standing, allowing shoppers to immediately notice the iconic Sanders Hot Fudge Cream Puff on the front, while the backside of the package provides various cream puff recipes.
By Richard Thompson
Jeni’s Ice Cream reopened with fanfare after a voluntary recall and temporary closure of its shops following the discovery of Listeria in a couple of pints of its ice cream. Then the company shut down again on June 12 after finding Listeria in its plant through routine monitoring. This time, the company is confident that the new contamination did not affect any of its ice cream. There is at this time no date for a resumption of production, and if you visited the Jeni’s Ice Cream booth during the Summer Fancy Food Show, you noticed that there wasn’t any ice cream there anywhere.
Jeni’s reopened in late May after a month of reorganizing after the federal Food and Drug Administration determined a pint of ice cream for sale in Lincoln, Nebraska was contaminated with Listeria, prompting further investigation into the company’s practices. Listeria monocytogenes is a bacterium usually found in soil or water, but can be found in unpasteurized milk and other dairy products, causing serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems. Healthy adults can experience symptoms such as fever, stiff neck, confusion, abdominal pain and diarrhea.
Jeni’s immediately voluntarily recalled over half a million pounds of ice cream – about $2.5 million dollars worth – and shuttered its 20 shops while the company cooperated with the FDA and outside experts. “After the finding of Listeria, the FDA and our team took a fresh look at everything we were doing,” said John Lowe, CEO of Jeni’s Ice Cream.
The FDA told Jeni’s that between April 20 and April 30, the agency observed protocol issues, sanitary violations and a lack of contamination prevention oversight by the company. The closure gave Jeni’s staff and outside experts time to reevaluate its practices and locate the source of the Listeria outbreak. Jeni’s broad testing found a second pint to be contaminated, and the company isolated the source to a single piece of equipment. “When we found the ‘smoking gun’ we were than able to institute a plan based on recommendations from outside experts,” Lowe said.
The company spent $200,000 to overhaul its facilities and modify everyday procedures. “We installed new walls, new operating procedures, and we introduced new testing protocols,” said Lowe, “We want to put ourselves in the best position possible to never have this happen again.”
Jeni’s now requires that all equipment must be cleaned overnight by a third party operator. “Every morning now, we protein test all of the equipment before putting it back together. If it comes back all green, it’s all good. If it comes up red, then the equipment needs to be cleaned again,” Lowe said.
The processing of fruits and vegetables was also modified. Prior to the inspection, fruits and vegetables were processed in the same kitchen as the ice cream. “We won’t bring in fresh fruit directly into the facility anymore. Now there is an intermediate step. Fruits will be cleaned and processed before being brought into the facility,” Lowe said.
From the voluntary recall through the reopening on May 22, Jeni’s used its website and social media to communicate with customers in an effort to maintain consumer confidence. “We have always been an open company. We want to be transparent with customers and consumers. We sought to keep the public informed about what we knew,” said Lowe.
Jeni’s says that the time during the closure was its darkest hour and that community support and the welcome reception made its comeback particularly special. The company attributes its renewed success from its transparency during the closure. “We feel the love from the people that stood with us. We are in communication with all retailers and don’t believe we’ll have lost a single shelf slot,” Lowe said.
Dairy producer Clover Stornetta Farms is launching a new line of premium ice cream made from fresh organic Clover milk and cream. These 12 new, decadent flavors will debut as a six-month exclusive placement in local independent grocers and Whole Foods Market®.
“Giving Whole Foods Market and our independent stores an exclusive, serves our mission to support businesses with like-minded philosophies,” says Clover President & CEO Marcus Benedetti. “Craft ice cream is booming. The farming principles behind our nutritious milk coupled with interesting ice cream flavors and partnerships will put Clover’s best dairy foot forward.”
Each quart is made with organic milk from happy, humane-certified Clover cows living on family-owned dairy farms. Every scoop is blended with the best quality local ingredients to create these new flavors: Chocolate Nirvana (made with fair trade Organic TCHO Chocolate in Berkeley), Straight Up Vanilla, Mint to Be, Hoppy Hour (using Bear Republic Brewing Company’s Racer 5 IPA® from Cloverdale), Cowlifornia Sweet Cream, French Press, Eat Your Milk & Cookies, Strawberry Shindig, Creamy PB&C, Pistachio Perfecto, Petaluma Pothole (in honor of our hometown’s roads) and Tempt Me Toffee (made with San Francisco’s Charles Chocolates English Toffee).
The reveal of Clover premium organic craft ice creams will kick off with in-store samples, signage and a strategic radio campaign with social media messaging, and PR that reflects Clover’s core values of farm-fresh, sustainability, family, animal welfare and superior quality.
Chloe’s Soft Serve Fruit, a frozen treat made from fruit, filtered water and organic cane sugar, has expanded product distribution for its Chloe’s Soft Serve Fruit Pops™ to almost 2,000 placements nationwide this summer. Noteworthy accounts include 25 Bay Area region Whole Foods stores, almost 500 Kroger’s stores, HEB’s, Ahold’s Giant Carlisle, Fresh & Easy Markets, Mrs. Green’s Natural Markets, New Season’s Markets, Gelson’s Markets, Rosauers Supermarkets, Mother’s Markets as well as leading boutique health food stores such as Erewhons and Lambs Markets. In addition, Chloe’s will be available at select Costco locations this summer.
Chloe’s Soft Serve Fruit Co. delivers direct to retailers as well as through its national distribution channels, with distributor partners including UNFI, DPI Specialty Foods, Jake’s Finer Foods, as well as regional kosher distributors throughout the country.
“Consumers can now find Chloe’s Soft Serve Fruit Pops throughout the country, just in time for summer,” said Michael Sloan, CEO and Co-Founder. “Our Soft Serve Fruit Pops taste incredible and are made with just fruit, water and a touch of organic cane sugar, making a refreshing snack or guilt-free treat. This is why we have seen exponential growth across all retail channels: big box, national grocery chains, specialty retailers and health food stores. We are extremely excited that with our expanded footprint with these new retailers, customers will easily be able to find Chloe’s!”
Chloe’s Soft Serve Fruit Pops are available in five varieties – Dark Chocolate, Mango, Pineapple, Raspberry and Strawberry. At only 60 calories and with just 13-15g of sugar, Chloe’s Soft Serve Fruit Pops are free of preservatives, additives, high fructose corn syrup and stabilizers. In addition, Chloe’s Soft Serve Fruit Pops are free of dairy, gluten, fat, and the eight major allergens and are certified kosher pareve and vegan. Chloe’s Soft Serve Fruit Pops are also Non-GMO Project Verified.
Consumers can find a single flavor four-pack box of Chloe’s Soft Serve Fruit Pops on shelf for a suggested retail price of $3.99 – $4.99. A 16 pack of Chloe’s Soft Serve Fruit Pops, which includes eight Mango and eight Strawberry Soft Serve Fruit Pops will be on shelf at select Costco locations this summer for an MSRP of $12.99.
In addition to retail, Chloe’s Soft Serve Fruit Pops are available through the wholesale food service channel, with distribution via Sysco, US Foods, UNFI, Cheney Brothers, specialty distributors such as Reliant Food Service, Southwest Traders, MRS Bakery Distribution Corp, Fortune Fish and Gourmet, and ice cream distributors across the U.S. Chloe’s Soft Serve Fruit Pops and Chloe’s Soft Serve Fruit mix are approved products into leading food service providers, including Compass Group USA, Sodexo and Aramark.
By David Bernard
When it comes to frozen desserts and toppings, a number of the overall trends in gourmet food continue to push the category, such as healthful, and unique and global flavor profiles; but the producers of pints, novelties and toppings have taken things a step further, turning out surprising products, and in some cases turning back the clock as well.
In the freezer case, as in the snack, cereal and most other aisles, healthful trends are front and center. “Starting with frozen yogurt’s resurgence 8-10 years ago, the more healthful frozen dessert trend hasn’t really gone away,” explained Jillian Hillard, Marketing Manager for PreGel AMERICA, a supplier of dessert ingredients.
With the frozen pint being the dessert world’s currency of choice, and lower fat on the minds of many Americans, sorbet is gaining traction, according to Hillard, both in traditional single, smooth fruit and other flavors such as chocolate. Adventurous sorbet mix-ins are also appearing, like sea salted caramels, passion fruit sauce with seeds and peanut sauce with crispy cereal.
For healthful options that include a little more cream, or rather, “cream,” think non-dairy, a fast-growing subcategory fueled by 50 million lactose intolerant Americans, two million dairy-allergic children and one million vegans, and those avoiding saturated fats. Cashew milk ice cream is the latest iteration, wowing samplers at March’s Natural Products Expo West. Almond and coconut milk ice cream are players as well; one leading dairy-free producer now offers 17 varieties of coconut.
While healthful is in, flavor has always been in, and today’s consumers want more and varied taste experiences. “We work a lot of trade show circuits, and vanilla is still one of the top things we see requested,” explained Hillard. “But more and more, the variety of flavors is expanding, and global, more remote tastes are coming through. So while strawberry has always been an idealistic flavor, for example, now we’re seeing things like mango and guava come into play.”
There’s no need to search globally for one of the hottest flavor trends – savory. Hillard reported that PreGel recently launched popcorn, and pancakes and maple syrup flavors for frozen desserts, and they are selling briskly. “Tastes are really evolving and changing,” she said. “Look at salted caramel; when that flavor first emerged, people said, ‘Who would put salt in a dessert?’ And now … many dessert companies are actually adapting the flavor as a core part of their lines.”
As consumers embrace the frozen new, they’re also reaching out for the old. Nostalgia is in, with childhood-reminiscent flavors such as cereal-infused ice creams and novelties. And Hillard points out that with advances in food technology, those peanut covered cereal crisps and other mix-ins stay crunchy in ice cream.
Frozen pops are back, now often made of ice cream dipped in a flavorful coating like coffee or chocolate, rather than fruit centric. Novelty trends include both decadent and healthful, as more bite-size and mini ice cream sandwiches and other confections emerge.
Topping trends include simple-and-healthful, a dash of the exotic, and another page of nostalgia. A simple, thick honey sauce; ginger sauce with bits of the root, and graham cracker sauce containing pieces of the nostalgic treat; these are a few of the newer toppings that are changing the way people eat frozen desserts.
Divino USA, Inc. has entered the U.S. frozen dessert market with its distinctive line of Italian handcrafted gelato-filled fruit. The company is poised
to continue on the current trajectory of rapid growth in this country, having already secured national distribution available through KeHE, Haddon House, Nature’s Best and UNFI. Unlike any other gelato on the market, Divino is made from fresh Southern Italian fruit that is hand-picked near the Divino factory on the Amalfi Coast. The fresh fruit pulp is blended with volcanic waters from neighboring Mount Vesuvius, sweetened with natural sugar and lemon juice, and then filled into the halved fruit shell and frozen to a delicious single serving.
Divino varieties include Amalfi Lemon, Roman Kiwi, Ciaculli Tangerine, Apulian Peach and Black Diamond Plum. Each single serve item contains about 100 calories, and all are gluten-free certified, fat free and Non-GMO Project Verified. Each unit is individually packaged in a colorful box and includes a serving tray and spoon, allowing for easy display and grab-and-go. The fruit shell containing the gelato is also completely edible. The product has a shelf life of approximately 12 months. Divino calls its frozen treats ‘gelato’ because in Italy, both ice cream and sorbet fall under the gelato category.
Divino is available in natural foods stores, as well as select grocery and specialty stores across the country, with rapidly growing national distribution, and retails for approximately $3.99-$4.49 per single serving. For more information, visit www.lovedivino.com.