Formulating the Perfect Dairy Seasoning Blend for Healthy Snacks
10 years ago, consumers willingly sacrificed great flavor for nutritional attributes in their snack foods. Today, they demand both, and food manufacturers have turned to flavor innovation to make healthy snacks taste great, even if they’re made from lentils, salmon and mushrooms.
Dairy seasonings using real ingredients are one key flavor innovation used by snack food manufacturers to impart a comforting and familiar flavor note to healthy snacks made with non-traditional ingredients. For example, Three Farmers’ line of roasted fava beans comes in a Zesty Cheddar variety that delivers 13 grams of plant protein. For most consumers, roasted fava beans don’t come to mind as a craveable snack. But pair the food with a cheddar seasoning and you have the perfect healthy snack.
And, dairy seasonings don’t just add flavor, they also enhance texture, aroma and profitability. Even better, dairy seasonings can be blended together to develop complex flavor profiles ranging from savory to salty to tangy. Our Agile Kitchen™ works closely with healthy snack food brands to develop custom dairy seasoning blends that make their products irresistible. We use state-of-the-art spray drying and blending processes to create blends using an array of conventional and plant-based dairy seasonings.
What’s Trending in Dairy Seasoning Blends
Working with our partner, Innova Marketing Insights, Bluegrass Ingredients’ Agile Kitchen™ team is at the forefront of trending dairy flavor blends. We understand what’s popular now and how to capitalize on what consumers will want in the future. If we look at the top dairy blends with a cheese flavor, there are four clear leaders:
Cheddar cheese and sour cream
Butter and cheese
Cheddar cheese, sour cream and onion
Cheese and yogurt
If we look at products with a cream flavor, again, cheddar cheese and sour cream is the clear market leader, standing head and shoulders above other dairy flavor blends. However, we do see growth in the cream cheese and whipped cream combination.
For dairy blends that feature a butter flavor, butter and cheese is the clear leader, but growth is happening from the following combinations:
Butter, caramel and cheese
Butter, cheese and chili
Butter, cheese and garlic
What’s fascinating about this data is not necessarily the market leaders, but the amount of dairy seasoning blends consumers are eager to explore. With powdered dairy ingredients, it’s easier than ever to create blends that are innovative and can hit any flavor note, from tangy to salty to butter to sweet to creamy to spicey.
Dairy Powder Seasoning Flavor Profiles
The first step in formulating healthy snacks with dairy seasonings is to understand the available options and their flavor profiles. Bluegrass Ingredients offers a complete line of dairy powder seasonings, including:
Blue cheese is known for its tangy, salty and pungent taste.
Swiss cheese has a mild and nutty flavor with a slightly sweet undertone.
Monterey Jack cheese has a mild and buttery flavor with a slightly tangy undertone.
Asiago cheese has a nutty and tangy flavor that is typically characterized as savory.
Provolone cheese has a mild and slightly tangy flavor with a hint of sweetness.
American cheese is known for its mild and creamy taste.
Mozzarella cheese has a mild and slightly sweet flavor.
Sweet cream powder has a rich and smooth flavor with a delicate sweetness and a subtle hint of vanilla.
Sour cream powder is tangy and slightly acidic, with a creaminess that helps balance the flavor.
Butter powder is rich, creamy and savory, as well as slightly salty.
Brown Butter powder is more nutty and rich than its traditional counterpart, and adds a savory sweetness to products.
Buttermilk has a distinctive tanginess, and also carries acidic and subtle sour notes.
Cultured buttermilk is tangy, slightly sour and creamy.
High acid buttermilk has added acid, which gives it a strong tangy, sour and acidic flavor.
Yogurt powder is tangy, slightly sour and naturally sweet.
Greek yogurt powder is similar to conventional yogurt, but the sourness is more intense.
Once the flavor profiles of each dairy seasoning is understood, innovation can start with the development of blended seasonings that adds complexity to snacks positioned for consumers focused on healthy eating.
Dairy Seasoning Blend Flavor Profiles
Bluegrass Ingredients has expertly crafted a variety of trending dairy seasoning blends. Each offers healthy snack manufacturers consistency, easy scaling and cost savings. Our line includes:
Buffalo Cheddar has a similar flavor profile to traditional cheddar cheese with some subtle differences, including a tangy kick.
Cheddar Jack is a blend of cheddar cheese and Monterey Jack cheese, which delivers the sharpness and tanginess of cheddar cheese with the creamy and mild flavors of Monterey Jack.
Cheddar Jalapeno is a cheese blend infused with a spicy heat and tangy notes.
Cheddar Sour Cream blends tangy and creamy notes with a hint of sourness.
Nacho Cheese has a bold and tangy flavor profile and can be used in applications that require salty, tangy and savory flavor with a hint of spiciness.
Ranch seasoning is a popular flavor blend that carries tangy, slightly salty and herbaceous flavor notes with a creamy undertone.
Creamy dill can be described as slightly tangy, slightly sweet and slightly bitter.
Cheddar sour cream seasoning blends the savory and tangy taste of cheddar cheese with the tangy and creamy taste of sour cream.
In addition to these dairy seasoning blends, we also work with food manufacturers to craft custom blends using any of our available powders. Want a blue cheese and brown butter seasoning blend? We can do that. What about a non-traditional four-cheese blend that uses asiago, American, monterey jack and swiss? Again, we can work with you to produce that blend.