Celebrate Back to School

Back to school time can be a challenge for everyone, as families transition from their relaxed summer routines to that of the busy new school year. Sure, it’s exhilarating at first. But the excitement of receiving class schedules and buying new school supplies is often short lived–diminishing soon after class is actually in session.

As a soft serve operation, there are many ways you can help ease the pain of this transition period, offering solutions that help everyone cool down after the school day. Here are just a few opportunities for you to embrace the back to school season and drive sales at your operation.

Host a Soft Serve Social
This twist on the typical party is an easy way to celebrate the back to school time period. Invite families out for a one-night-only soft serve soiree, or host a series of socials inviting a different local school on each evening. You’ve already got the soft serve essentials, so just add a few party elements like a balloon artist, family-friendly DJ, and some table games to launch your soft serve social in full swing.

Offer a happy hour
Back to school can be a particularly stressful time for parents, and they love soft serve just as much as their kiddos. To help the parent crowd cool down, offer a happy hour with discounted rates for all the hardworking parents out there. Have a liquor license? Take your soft serve to the next level and offer flavored liquors as add-ins. Because the only thing better than soft serve is boozy soft serve.

Host a School Supplies Drive
No matter where you are, there are families in your area that struggle to get access to the school supplies their children need. With it being back to school season, August is the perfect time to host a book and school supplies drive. And it’s a win-win, providing an opportunity to increase your customer base while giving back to your community. This year, host a drive at your operation, incentivizing participation with discounted soft serve. Not sure where to start? There are a number of organizations out there that can help you get it going.

If you’ve hosted any of these events at your operation, we’d love to hear from you! Please share your best practice advice with us in the comments!

Need to stock up on soft serve mix for any back to school shindigs you’re hosting this summer? Frostline® Chocolate & Vanilla Soft Serve mix is more cost efficient than dairy alternatives, allowing you to keep the parties going all season long. And because all of our products are lactose-free and gluten-free, you can serve more customers. Contact us for ordering information.

 

A Visual Treat: Frozen Treats Infographic

Several months ago, we created a blog post that defined a variety of different frozen treats. Since we are committed to offering the best information about the frozen treats industry to our customers (and we like to make pretty things) we decided to turn it into an infographic for your handy, dandy reference.

If you need a quick refresher, or an easy reference to the world of frozen delicacies, check out this visual guide. Feel free to print it out and hang it on your wall, too – just try not to lick it.

 

KPF1540 Frozen Treats Infographic (2)

Celebrate America’s Most Delicious Holiday

Summer is heating up, and that means National Soft Serve Day (August 19th) will be here before you know it. As the unofficial sponsor of the holiday, Frostline® wants to help you close out the summer with an epic celebration. It’s easier than you might think to bring the frozen fun to your soft serve operation, and there’s no better way to attract customers than with a party.

First, whether you’re already a Frostline customer or not, visit our website to learn how to order your complimentary Celebration Kit. All you have to do is contact us, and we’ll send you a kit – no strings attached – that will arrive at your doorstep in just a few business days.  Inside, you’ll find signage to hang up in your store and a step-by-step playbook on how to promote National Soft Serve Day.

Also on our website, you can download a set of unique images to use in your own social media to help bring customers to your store. In addition, you can learn more about our friends at PAICRA (People Against Ice Cream Related Accidents), whose sole mission is to bring awareness to the dangers of hard-packed ice cream. By serving soft serve, you’re making the safer choice and resting the wrists of your employees.

National Soft Serve Day is better with friends. So on August 19th, join us in raising a cone to America’s most delicious holiday. Be sure to share your photos and videos with us on Facebook and Twitter, tagging us and #NationalSoftServeDay.

And since the party begins and ends with soft serve, be sure to stock up on your Frostline Soft Serve Mix now.

 

Five Fascinating Facts About Vanilla

You know vanilla is oh-so-delicious, and you could probably guess that it’s the world’s most popular flavor and scent. From desserts to perfumes to bug repellents, its uses are far-reaching and not at all…vanilla.

No surprise here: sales of our Frostline® Vanilla Soft Serve Mix far exceed our second most popular flavor – Chocolate – so we feel a particular affinity for this fabulous flavor. Just like the Mesoamericans who originally cultivated vanilla, we searched the land (cough, the internet) to gather and share these lesser-known facts about this popular spice.

1. It’s Ancient

Just like chocolate, vanilla was first discovered in the region that is now Central America. It appears to have been discovered in the 15th century. However, 75% of today’s vanilla comes from Madagascar and the island of Réunion, where a vanilla vine was smuggled in the 1700s. On the island, the plant grew beautiful blossoms but infrequent and unpredictable pods (a.k.a. vanilla beans). The problem was that the region lacked the Melipone bee – found only in Mexico – to pollinate the flower. It took almost 50 years to develop a hand-pollination method for the plant.

 2. It’s Part of History

Thomas Jefferson introduced the U.S. to vanilla after tasting it in France, where he was serving as Ambassador to King Louis XVI. He wrote down the recipe for vanilla ice cream and was known to have served it alongside pastries during his term at the President’s House (now known as the White House). His hand-written note, dating back to the 1780s, is considered to be the first known recipe recorded by an American. It now lives in the Library of Congress.

3. It’s Expensive

After saffron, vanilla is the most expensive spice in the world because it is so time-consuming and labor-intensive to produce. The plant, surprisingly from the orchid family, grows as a vine that can take years to mature. The plant produces a flower that makes the vanilla bean, and it only blooms for 24 hours. It must be pollinated during that time, or it will die. Outside of Central America, the flowers must be pollinated by hand with teeny-tiny tools. And after the beans are harvested, they can take six to nine months to cure. Not to mention, vanilla only grows between 10 to 20 degrees north or south of the Equator. Talk about a stubborn spice.

4. It’s Useful

Beyond its uses as a flavor, vanilla has many other around-the-home applications, like freshening up your fridge (or microwave) and concealing the strong smell of paint. The next time you find yourself painting a bedroom, add a tablespoon of vanilla extract to the can to save your nostrils. In the kitchen, vanilla can be used (with water) to wipe down the fridge and microwave, eliminating any stale/stingy/sour odors that may be lingering. It can also be used to repel spiders and mosquitoes, neither of which can stand the vanilla scent we love! To create a safe DIY mosquito repellent, simply combine equal parts water and vanilla extract, spray it on your skin, and say sayonara to itchy bug bites. To repel spiders, place a bowl of vanilla beans (that have been preserved in vodka or vinegar) on any surface that you’d like to keep a spider-free zone.

5. It’s Popular

Internationally, vanilla continues to rank as the most popular flavor of ice cream. But what’s the scoop on all the different varieties? Generally, anything labeled straight-up vanilla is made with vanilla extract or a substitute.  Vanilla bean ice cream uses unprocessed beans from a vanilla pod, which appear as black specks. French vanilla does not use vanilla from France but a classic French method of making ice cream from an egg-custard base, accounting for its yellowish hue.

“Vanilla” may have become a synonym for boring, but it’s obviously anything but. And while it’s expensive and labor-intensive in its original form, vanilla can be affordable and convenient as a soft serve. Contact us for a starter kit, including Frostline Vanilla Soft Serve Mix, to carry on the tradition of this popular treat.

How To Engage Brokers to Drive Innovation

As you may know, Frostline® Frozen Treats is manufactured and marketed by Kent Precision Foods Group. We want to share an exciting company-wide initiative that furthers our commitment to serving the needs of not only our customers, but our customers’ customers.

At Kent Precision Foods Group, we regularly gather insights from leading foodservice research groups and organizations to stay ahead of flavor, consumer and industry trends. A focus on what’s coming next has helped us evolve our business with more innovative products and processes that benefit everyone who interacts with our company and brands.

That’s why we have formed the KPFG Insights Foodservice Broker Advisory Board. The board includes a regional cross section of industry leaders with extensive experience, drawn from the country’s top brokers, including:

  • Al McGarity – Gilbert Foods
  • Phil Schmidt – Floyd B. Case Inc.
  • Elizabeth Klingman – Acosta
  • Ed Brink – Herspring-Gibbs
  • Kyle Moen – Synergy Enterprises
  • Dori Bilbrey – Menu Marketing

By more directly engaging with the broker community, we hope to gather industry insights, learn more about competition, discover cross-merchandising opportunities, test promotion ideas, identify product gaps, ideate on new products, and collect operator feedback, including overall business insights and trend impact. KPFG will use this information to serve as a source of market intelligence for the entire foodservice industry and to create future product and marketing plans for our brands.

The KPFG Insighters Foodservice Broker Advisory Board meets every six weeks via conference calls and at least twice a year face to face. Input from the first meeting, held in November, is already being incorporated into the KPFG Foodservice plan for 2016.

For more information about the Broker Advisory Board or about KPFG, please visit precisionfoods.com.

Chocolate: From Inaccessible to Everywhere

When most of us hear the word “chocolate,” we think of candy, cookies, and other mouthwatering sweets. Of course, everyone loves a decadent dessert. But did you know that for 90% of chocolate’s existence, it was neither sweet nor easily accessible? As a modern treat defying that past, Frostline® Chocolate Soft Serve Mix brings you the history of its famed flavor.

The ancient Mesoamericans discovered chocolate, probably around 1900 B.C. If you thought your cup of cocoa was a modern phenomenon, groups like the Olmec, Maya and Aztec had you beat 4,000 years ago. They drank chocolate as a bitter, frothy beverage. It might not sound as good as your classic hot chocolate, but its ingredients, which included chili peppers and other spices, were certainly “original.”

Even in its unsweetened state, ancient chocolate was so popular that its availability was limited to society’s most elite. This begs the question: if the Mesoamericans weren’t in it for the sugar, what was the appeal? Watch out romantics, because history tells us they found chocolate to be a mood enhancer and aphrodisiac. They may have been on to something 3,500 years before Valentine’s Day was even invented.

Due to its…interesting effects, people used to think chocolate had spiritual and mystical powers. They reserved it for rulers, warriors, priests and nobles at sacred ceremonies. In fact, the Spanish explorers who brought chocolate back to Europe only had the privilege of trying the stuff because the Aztec king mistook their leader for an incarnated deity.

Europeans sweetened chocolate with cane sugar and cinnamon in the 1500s, but one thing remained unchanged: it was still only available to the rich and royal. Thank goodness for the invention of the steam engine in the 1700s, which made mass production possible.

Today, the word “chocolate” has expanded to include a range of sweet and accessible treats, like Frostline Chocolate Soft Serve Mix. Unlike ancient chocolate, it’s refreshingly delicious, surprisingly affordable, and even available to customers with dietary restrictions. Frostline Vanilla Soft Serve Mix is also available for customers who prefer the classic cone.

Sweet New Stamps

The U.S. Postal Service has announced a new set of ice cream-themed stamps[1] that look good enough to eat. Designed by Ethel Kessler with illustrations by Nancy Stahl, they feature five classic soda fountain treats that are sure to inspire appetites. You’re probably familiar with most of them, but here’s a run down:

Double-Scoop Ice Cream Cone:
You guessed it—this is a classic, cone-shaped pastry stacked with two scoops of ice cream.

Egg Cream:
Oddly enough, this contains neither eggs nor cream. It’s a classic beverage consisting of milk, carbonated water, and chocolate syrup.

Banana Split:
Variations of this classic dessert are a dime a dozen, but it’s traditionally made with a split banana, ice cream, chocolate sauce, whipped cream, nuts, and cherries.

Root Beer Float:
A simple but stand-alone treat consisting of ice cream in root beer.

Hot Fudge Sundae:
Again, variations of this treat are endless, but it’s typically made with vanilla ice cream, chocolate sauce, whipped cream, nuts, sprinkles, and a cherry on top.

Why the emphasis on soda fountain treats? According to USPS, soda fountains were important gathering places in U.S. history, especially when Prohibition banned alcohol sales[2]. During World War II, soda fountains popped up at military bases in the U.S. and abroad, because drinking a soda or indulging in a sundae reminded soldiers of simple pleasures at home[3]. Today soda fountain culture lives on in homes, restaurants, and frozen treat operations.

Did you know Frostline® can help create the classic favorites featured on USPS’s new stamps? Ones you can actually eat? We offer soft serve mixes, frozen yogurt mixes, and frozen beverage mixes that can be substituted for traditional, hard-scoop ice cream. Because Frostline is economical to ship, convenient to store and easy to prep, you can offer a fresher product and make more money. Plus, many of our products are free of lactose, cholesterol, gluten, and dairy, so you can bring back childhood treats with a better for you twist.

 

[1] https://about.usps.com/news/national-releases/2015/pr15_069.htm

[2] http://www.dairyfoods.com/articles/91535-heres-one-stamp-you-wont-mind-licking

[3] http://flicksandfood.com/postal-service-to-issue-weight-control-stamps-in-2016/

What’s Hot in Desserts

With the start of 2016, you may be wondering what dessert trends will emerge this year. One category gaining traction is unexpected pairings, like exotic or even spicy flavors in sweet desserts[1].

“Operators are going to put a bit more thought into how they are incorporating chilies, cayenne and roasted garlic into unconventional ways of baking,” said Corporate Chef for Dawn Food Products, Kami R. Smith. She noted that cookies, brownies and mousse are great menu items for chocolate and spice[2].

Unexpected flavors are also finding their way into ice cream and soft serve. Sweet and salty, heat paired with sweet, and exotic flavor combinations are just a few of the trends showing up in freezers and soft serve machines. Olive oil and sea salt were big in 2015, but another savory ingredient that may emerge on the scene in 2016 is ground black pepper[3].

As we shake off winter, it’s easy to heat up your offerings with unusual creations that will keep customers guessing. With dozens of recipes and flavor combination ideas, Frostline® makes it easy to spice up your soft serve.

 

 

[1] http://nrn.com/sweet-solutions/sweet-spicy-savory-horizon-2016-desserts

[2] http://nrn.com/sweet-solutions/sweet-spicy-savory-horizon-2016-desserts

[3] https://www.specialtyfood.com/news/article/ground-black-pepper-may-be-next-trendy-ice-cream-flavor/

The Scoop on Frozen Treats

The world of frozen treats can be a daunting place. With so many options, you could get a brain freeze trying to make sense of it all. Ice cream, gelato, custard, sherbet, sorbet, frozen yogurt, soft serve, the list goes on. So what’s the best option for your customers? And what are the differences anyway?

If you’re looking to open an ice cream or frozen yogurt shop, or want to add frozen treats to your restaurant, amusement park or convenience store, this quick reference guide is the key to your frozen treat education.

Ice Cream:
Like the name suggests, ice cream is a frozen product made from cream. Milk is often added to the mixture, as well as other flavorings and sweeteners. Ice cream contains at least 10 percent milk fat[1].

Gelato:
While gelato and ice cream generally contain the same ingredients, authentic gelato uses more milk and less cream than ice cream, reducing its milk fat content. Gelato is also churned very slowly, making it much denser than regular ice cream. Another factor that makes it taste creamier is the fact that it is served at warmer temperatures[2].

Custard:
The key ingredient to this delicious dish is egg yolk. All other ingredients are the same as regular ice cream, but the yolk creates a thicker product. It also contains a minimum of 10% milk fat, as well as at least 1.4% egg yolk solids[3].

Sherbet:
Unlike ice cream, which is based on cream, sherbet is based on fruit puree. It contains a maximum of 2% milk fat[4].

Sorbet:
This frozen dessert is also made from fruit purée, but it contains no dairy ingredients[5].

Frozen Yogurt:
In contrast to ice cream, frozen yogurt is made with cultured milk (yogurt) instead of cream. The freezing process does not kill any significant amount of the yogurt’s cultures. When frozen, the cultures go into a dormant state, but when returned to a warm temperature within the body, they become active again. There are three types of yogurt: regular, lowfat and nonfat. Regular yogurt is made from whole milk and contains at least 3.25% milk fat. Lowfat yogurt is made from lowfat milk or part skim milk and has between 2 and 0.5% milk fat. Nonfat yogurt is made from skim milk and contains less than 0.5% milk fat[6].

Soft Serve:
This sounds super obvious, but only because it is. Soft serve is a frozen treat that’s…well, soft. It can contain the same ingredients as any of the treats listed above, but comes from a machine that results in a smoother texture. The machine incorporates more air and doesn’t allow the mixture to harden as much[7].

There are pros and cons to each of these frozen treats. For example, while ice cream may be the most well-known frozen treat in the U.S., its often ruled out by health-conscious customers due to its fat content. And while gelato and custard are known for their richness and density, they’re off limits to customers who are vegan or lactose-intolerant. From among the many options, you have to decide which frozen treat is best for your operation.

If profitability, waste reduction and lower labor costs are important to you, consider Frostline® Soft Serve. Although low in fat, Frostline Soft Serve provides the same creamy texture and delicious taste as traditional dairy soft serve.

Because it’s shelf-stable, Frostline Soft Serve doesn’t tie up valuable space in the cooler or freezer. Compared to made-from-scratch and liquid soft serve, it also costs less to buy, ship and serve—helping you make more money.

Speaking of popular with patrons, customers will be happy to know that Frostline Soft Serve is Kosher and free of gluten, lactose, cholesterol, and trans fat. There’s something for everyone with this delicious treat, even the most dessert deprived.

 

[1] http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/cfrsearch.cfm?fr=135.110

[2] http://culinaryarts.about.com/od/glossary/g/Gelato.htm

[3] http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/cfrsearch.cfm?fr=135.110

[4] http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/cfrsearch.cfm?fr=135.140

[5] http://culinaryarts.about.com/od/glossary/g/Sorbet.htm

[6] http://aboutyogurt.com/index.asp?bid=27

[7] http://www.thefreedictionary.com/soft+serve

 

Egg Shortage Impacts Ice Cream and Custard Sales

Ice cream and custard sales are taking a hit due to egg shortages and higher prices.

The egg shortage is the result of the avian flu epidemic that has devastated flocks of egg-laying chickens across the country. Since December 2014, more than 48 million birds, mostly chickens and turkeys, have been impacted. Thus, many operators are reconsidering their homemade ice cream or custard strategies, pulling these egg-dependent treats off the menu or raising prices until the supply returns to normal.

Because of the egg crisis, the U.S. Department of Agriculture lowered its forecast for egg production this year to 6.9 billion dozen, a 5.3 percent drop from 2014. By late May, the price for a dozen Midwest large eggs had already soared to $2.62, a 120 percent increase from their mid-April, pre-bird flu prices, industry analyst group Urner Barry said.

Rita’s Italian Ice is in the process of phasing out frozen custard due to the shortage.

“We are not able to get our egg supplies anymore to supply our 600 stores,” said spokeswoman Ariel Vegotsky.

Rita’s customers will now find soft-serve ice cream in exchange for custard.

Officials say it could take up to two years for eggs to return to normal production. “The best-case scenario, we’re talking about a year before the availability is more robust,” said John Howeth, the American Egg Board’s senior vice president in charge of food service and egg product marketing.

If the egg shortage is affecting your revenue, it may be time to give Frostline® Soft Serve a shot. Since our dry mixes don’t require eggs, you no longer have to worry about the uncertain price of produce. Plus, Frostline Soft Serve is low fat and free of lactose, gluten, and trans fat. Fast and easy prep means you get fresh product when you want it, and with taste that’s consistently rich and creamy, your customers will never guess our soft serve is actually better for them.

“So far, the reaction from guests has been positive,” said Vegotsky. “Everyone is happy with the product we are serving.”