(Washington, D.C. – March 20, 2017) Sweet Me Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler Ice Cream, Honey Roasted Peanut Butter Ice Cream and Cool Mint Sandwiches were named the most innovative ice cream products at the International Dairy Foods Association's annual Ice Cream Technology Conference this month in Henderson, Nev. The Innovative Ice Cream Flavor Competition, which showcases the creativity of U.S. ice cream makers and flavorings suppliers, captured several upcoming flavor trends in the ice cream and frozen dessert industry.

“Contrasting flavors of warm cobblers, cakes and cookies in cool creations were clear favorites in this year’s competition, followed by frozen treats inspired by dessert butters and honey spreads,” said Cary Frye, IDFA vice president of regulatory and scientific affairs and the conference lead. “Unusual smoky and spicy flavors also made a popular emergence, as well other creative takes on caffeinated drink favorites like coffee and tea.”

The contest, sponsored by Dairy Foods magazine, drew 29 total entries. The nearly 140 ice cream industry professionals attending the conference tasted, judged and selected the winners. IDFA and Dairy Foods magazine presented first-, second- and third-place awards in three categories.

Most Innovative Ice Cream Flavors

Sweet Me Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler is a vanilla-flavored ice cream with vanilla bean specks swirled with a strawberry-rhubarb variegate and cobbler topping pieces. Entered by Kemps LLC, it earned first place in the most innovative ice cream flavor category. Second place honors went to Dulce De Leche Cheesecake, a sweet caramel cheesecake ice cream swirled with a caramel ribbon and chunks of creamy cheesecake, submitted by The Ice Cream Club. Windmill Cookie Butter Ice Cream, a cookie-butter flavored ice cream with crunchy cookie pieces spiced with nutmeg, cinnamon, clove and ginger, earned third place in the competition. It was submitted by Hudsonville Creamery and Ice Cream Co., LLC.  

Most Innovative Prototype Flavors

Honey Roasted Peanut Butter Ice Cream was named the most innovative prototype flavor. This flavor, submitted by Denali Ingredients LLC, is a honey peanut butter ice cream with milk chocolate-flavored flakes and a honey-roasted peanut butter swirl. Raspberry Amaretti, a blend of raspberry and amaretto cookie swirls in a delicious velvety cream cheese ice cream, earned second place. It was submitted by Star Kay White, Inc., a supplier of flavor ingredients to the ice cream and dairy industry. Natural Sweet & Sour Cherry Berry Lemon Blast, which features sweet cream ice cream with tart, lemon-textured flakes and twin ribbons of textured variegates of sweet and sour cherry and blue raspberry, took third place. It was submitted by SensoryEffects Flavor Systems, which manufactures and supplies custom flavor-delivery systems.

Most Innovative Novelties

Cool Mint Sandwiches, a novelty with mint ice cream sandwiched between two chocolate cookie wafers, took top honors in the most innovative novelty category. It was submitted by Perry's Ice Cream Company, Inc. Birthday Cake Cone, a flavor that tastes like a slice of frosted birthday cake in a cone with confetti sprinkles on top, took second place. It was submitted by Rich Ice Cream Company.

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First place winners (seated, L to R): Kim Premo, Denali Ingredients LLC; Robin Waite, Perry's Ice Cream Company, Inc.; Duane Wittlief, Kemps LLC. (Standing L to R): Cary Frye, IDFA; Stephen Platt, Star Kay White, Inc.; Steve McGowan, SensoryEffects; Rich Whittaker, Rich Ice Cream Company; Morgan Craig, Hudsonville Creamery and Ice Cream Co., LLC; Heather Draper, The Ice Cream Club, Inc.; Jim Carper, Dairy Foods magazine. 

All winners will be featured in an upcoming edition of Dairy Foods magazine. A list of all entrants is available on the IDFA website.

In addition to tasting and judging new products, attendees learned more about the forces changing ice cream labeling, as well as how to meet consumer demands for clean labels and market to the millennial generation. Experts discussed procedures for maintaining strong food safety programs and explored formulations for alternative sweetener options for reduced-sugar and vanilla ice creams.

New this year was a networking lunch with roundtable conversations, where attendees discussed experiences and insights on food safety, clean labeling trends, research needs and ways to reduce waste.

The Ice Cream Technology Conference is the only meeting that focuses specifically on ice cream and frozen dessert research, technology, new market trends, food safety, labeling and marketing opportunities. The 2018 Conference will be held April 10-11 at the Sanibel Harbour Marriott Resort in Fort Meyers, Fla.

IDFA would like to thank the sponsors of the 2017 Ice Cream Technology Conference for their generous support. They are Barry Callebaut; bioMérieux Industry; CDF Corporation; ClorDiSys Solutions, Inc.; CQC Clasen Quality Coatings, Inc.; Dairy Foods magazine; Denali Ingredients LLC; DDW The Color House; Forbes Chocolate; Fruitcrown Products Corporation; Gertrude Hawk Chocolates; Ingredion Incorporated; Kerry; KROHNE, Inc.; Pecan Deluxe Candy Company; Synergy Flavors, Inc.; and Tree Top, Inc.

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The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), Washington, D.C., represents the nation's dairy manufacturing and marketing industries and their suppliers with a membership of nearly 525 companies within a $125-billion a year industry. IDFA is composed of three constituent organizations: the Milk Industry Foundation (MIF), the National Cheese Institute (NCI) and the International Ice Cream Association (IICA). IDFA's nearly 200 dairy processing members operate more than 600 manufacturing facilities and range from large multi-national organizations to single-plant companies. Together they represent more than 85 percent of the milk, cultured products, cheese, ice cream and frozen desserts produced and marketed in the United States. Visit IDFA at www.idfa.org.