On being a leader in ice cream

On being a leader in ice cream

Top-10 Formulating TRENDS

Formulating ice cream products that complement current, as well as forecasted trends, positions a company for market success. To help you be a winner in the freezer, Dairy Foods magazine interviewed numerous ice cream industry experts and analysts and compiled this list of the top-10 ice cream formulating trends.

With luck, your company is either already actively pursuing these innovations, or has such products in the marketplace. If not, what are you waiting for? Consumers are waiting to scoop up such goodies, and Star Kay White is available to assist in formulating these creations.


With new “low-carb” products rolling out daily, covering almost all food categories, from snack foods to breakfast cereals, and candy bars to yogurt, ice cream products described as being low in “net carbs” are hot, hot, hot. Consumers of all ages, weights and races are adopting a low-carbohydrate dietary lifestyle to either lose weight or maintain a healthy weight.


Industry experts predict that lower-carbohydrate products are here to stay, as they appeal to many segments of the population. This includes diabetics, the group that typically purchased no-sugar-added ice cream, as diabetics must moderate their high-glycemic carbohydrate intake, which includes sugar. Lower-carb products are formulated to be even lower in those carbohydrates that diabetics must avoid; therefore, it is likely that no-sugar-added ice creams will disappear from freezer shelves, permanently replaced by low-carb frozen desserts.


With pure vanilla extract prices at record highs, many ice cream marketers are avoiding the use of all-natural vanilla as a base flavor for inclusion-laden desserts. All-natural, vanilla-type flavors are available as cost-effective alternatives to round out ice cream flavors such as cookies ‘n cream and strawberry cheesecake.


Blending unrelated flavors together is no longer limited to appetizers and main entrees. Desserts are active players in this fusion of flavors trend. Take for example, bitter chocolate pieces in a rich raspberry rose gelato. We are also seeing the use of herbs, spices and flower top-notes to liven up ice cream products.


The success of dulce de leche paved the road for other ethnic desserts to be translated into ice cream flavors. Popular favorites such as baklava, cannoli, tiramisu, tres leche and tropical fruit salad with coconut, guava and mango are sure winners.


Many consumers want cake with their ice cream, and today’s manufacturers can deliver an all-in-one creation. It’s two desserts in one! Brownie pieces continue to be one of the most popular baked ice cream inclusions, but brownies alone no longer will do. Brownie chunks with graham variegate are the perfect complement to white chocolate ice cream and pumpkin pie-flavored ice cream tastes even better with a swirl of butterscotch.


Rich, indulgent ice cream does not necessarily translate to more milkfat, often times it is just less air, or overrun, as it is referred to in the frozen desserts industry. The superpremium trend continues to grow and often is found under the aliases of frozen custard and gelato.


Not only do fruits and nuts provide color, flavor and, in the case of nuts, crunch, there also is a healthy halo associated with foods containing these ingredients. This is because fruits and nuts are loaded with antioxidants and other good-for-you constituents. So blend in some berries and mix in some nuts for a frozen treat that not only tastes great, but also is loaded with healthy inclusions.


Since the first chocolate chips were mixed into ice cream, candies have been a natural for ice cream. Today, candy inclusions run the gamut of peppermint pieces to peanut brittle to chocolate-covered nuts. The candy aisle, or even better, a candy store, is the perfect place to brainstorm for that next frozen confection creation.


The hottest trend on the ice cream shop side of the business is hand blending semi-frozen mix with inclusions on a cold slab of marble or similar material. Customers have complete control of what and how much goes into their frozen concoction. Is there an opportunity for a similar interactive retail ice cream?

Interested in offering a product that complements these trends? Call Star Kay White at (845) 268-2600.


In 2004, Star Kay White Inc., Congers, N.Y., a family-owned company, celebrates 114 years of innovation and leadership in creating and manufacturing ice cream flavoring ingredients. Many of these ingredients helped shape and define the U.S. ice cream industry, positioning the United States as a leader in the global marketplace. Star Kay White uses its ancestry, which today spans four generations, along with its proximity to trend-setting New York City, to provide ice cream manufacturers with the flavors that capture the essence of what consumers want in frozen desserts.

“Our goal is to serve customers with new and innovative products while continually striving to maintain and improve upon the quality of our products and service,” says Ben Katzenstein, executive vice president, trained chef and 4th generation family member. “Star Kay White is big enough to serve the largest ice cream manufacturer, but small enough to respond to the detailed personal needs of all of our customers.”

In New York City there is a saying that if you hold onto a fashion long enough, it will come back into fashion. The analogy here is that Star Extract Works, the original name of what today is Star Kay White, started making extracts for ice cream back in the 1890’s. “Those extracts are back in style and actually, they never went out of style,” says Katzenstein. “These are tried and true flavors. We’ve never stopped making some of our original extracts. They’ve never been removed from our product list, and they continue to leading sellers. This is because manufacturers love the ease of use and low cost, and consumers love the flavor. Experience has shown us that when it comes to ice cream, simple is often better.”

Star Kay White’s heritage is an important part of its business today. For example, the figure inside of the company’s star-shaped logo is Scotch Bob, a character commemorating the company’s butterscotch variegate, which was the first such ingredient for commercial ice cream. Scotch Bob Butterscotch variegate debuted in 1919 and was supported with an ad featuring Scotch Bob dressed in plaid to accentuate the “Scotch.”

“85 years later and butterscotch-caramel is still a great seller–on its own or as part of new ethnic ice cream flavors such as dulce de leche,” says Katzenstein. “Consumers might think dulce de leche is new, but to Star Kay White it’s just Scotch Bob sporting a sombrero.”

Tried and true, with a spin of innovation … these attributes are part of Star Kay White’s recipe for success. “Excellent execution is key.” Katzenstein says. “Our years of experience and dedication are a great value and reassurance to our customers.”

Star Kay White offers an imitation vanilla product called Broadway Blend, which is named after the company’s 19th century factory at 8 West Broadway in New York City, the future home to what was the World Trade Center. “We’ve made this product for more than 100 years, and it continues to gain in popularity,” Katzenstein says. “For an ice cream manufacturer to be able to produce an excellent, well-rounded vanilla flavor with an ingredient priced at $17.50 a gallon in today’s market, it should be of interest to those who run cost-conscious operations. Ice cream has traditionally been an inexpensive treat that everyone can afford. The real key to selling ice cream is making it taste good.”

Even Star Kay White’s new Graham Cracker Variegate is a new twist on an old flavor. “Pretty much, people like what they have always liked,” Katzenstein concludes. “We often make new renditions of old flavors. It helps having formulas that go back 114 years.”

Developing a Winning FLAVOR COMBINATION.

The key to success is always having a great team. Star Kay White, like other successful organizations, has built exactly that–a great team. “We have a mission to hire for life and want our people to be dedicated to the company,” says Ben Katzenstein. “We’ve attracted talent from some of the greats, including PepsiCo, General Mills, M&M/Mars and Kraft Foods. And we have employees who have relocated to the United States from England, Vietnam, the Philippines, Columbia, Poland and the Dominican Republic. This gives us a competitive edge in developing products with many different cultural biases.”

The product development team at Star Kay White includes staff with bachelor, master and doctorate degrees in food science, as well as a certified senior flavor chemist, a Culinary Institute of America graduate, a third-generation chocolatier, a gourmet baker and a confectioner. “Star Kay White has strong and broad-based talent to call upon … not to mention the 114 years of ice cream flavoring experience,” he adds.

As a testimony to its leadership in flavoring frozen desserts, Star Kay White won “The Best Ice Cream Flavor” at the 2003 Ice Cream Technology Conference with the creation Blueberry Granola Blast. This flavor is a creamy custard-flavored ice cream with a fabulous blueberry swirl and honey almond granola piece. The product is a creative way to introduce both fruit and decadence into ice cream.

In 2004, Star Kay White is formulating ice cream flavor combinations using its very successful line of graham ingredients. The line includes a highly innovative graham cracker variegate that is swirled into ice cream in liquid form. Upon setting, the variegate resembles a graham cracker pie crust. There’s nothing else like it in the industry!

“At Star Kay White, we encourage creativity, team building and communication,” says Steve Platt, v.p. new business development. “One of the ways we accomplish this is by using what we believe to be the greatest innovation tool for the company: New York City. We encourage our customers and potential customers to join us on a trip into the City to identify flavor trends, and discuss how these trends can be transferred into future ice cream success stories.”

If you are interested in developing a winning flavor, call Star Kay White at (845) 268-2600.

COPYRIGHT 2004 Business News Publishing Co.

COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group