Kitchen standards milk, butter, and cheese are being utilized in a bevy of new, creative ways, market research firm Package Facts concludes in its new report Dairy Innovation: Culinary Trend Tracking Series.
Heavily focused on foodservice restaurant trends, the report analyzes rising profiles or new spins. Trends identified include:
- Flavored butter
- Cheese in new places
- Dairy alternatives
- Celebrating dairy richness
- Inspired ice cream and soft serve
- Middle Eastern influences: feta, labné, and yogurt
- New ways for whey
“Don’t let the familiarity of dairy or the success of plant milks obscure the opportunities in this marketplace, given the culinary heritage, indulgence factor, usage rates, and consumer appeal that makes dairy the cream on top for many different applications, from elevated favorites to imported novelties,” says David Sprinkle, research director for Packaged Facts.
The very fact of dairy familiarity gives chefs and other foodmakers license to thrill with creative new recipes and products that take dairy to new realms, from haute French flavored butters and crème fraiche to Middle Eastern labné to Japanese ice cream treats—because indulgence never goes out of style, despite modulations in how often and how much. Kitchens nationwide are cooking up new and novel dairy innovations, including:
- Preserved eggplant poached in ricotta whey and roasted in brown butter
- Date and blue cheese ice cream
- Halloumi cheese with warm honey and dukkah
- Salted cheese with tea and fresh lemon
- Coconut soft serve mixed with activated charcoal
- Vegan-friendly cashew cheese
Dairy’s popularity makes it easy to swap out butter with flavored butter, sour cream with Greek yogurt, one cheese with another, and milk and sugar with condensed milk. In addition, the appetite for frozen dairy treats year-round has driven ice cream to new heights, and given rise to foodie, arty soft serve.
Global explorations also favor fermented dairy products such as yogurt and funky cheeses. And through it all, classic cheddar reigns supreme, present in everything from super-cheffy macaroni casseroles and breakfast biscuits to spicy-trendy pimento cheese.