True to their commitment to bring health through food to as many people as possible, The Dannon Company has improved the nutrition profile of its bestselling children’s product, Danimals Smoothies. Using an innovative process, Dannon reformulated Danimals Smoothies to reduce the sugar content by 25 percent without sacrificing nutrients, taste, texture or convenience.
Over a period of two years, the research and development team at Dannon deconstructed then reconstructed its Danimals Smoothies to make it easier for parents to provide their children with the nutritional benefits of low-fat dairy. The people at Dannon believe eating yogurt every day is an important first step toward creating a more balanced diet, a healthier lifestyle and improving public health.
“As America’s largest maker of yogurt, we are committed to bring health through food to as many people as possible, and to encourage Americans to eat yogurt every day,” says Sergio Fuster, senior vice president of marketing. “We make snack options that kids want to eat and that parents feel good about when feeding their children. We hear concerns from parents about the amount of sugar in their kids’ diets, and we worked for a long time to find a way to improve the total nutritional value of Danimals Smoothies while still making them taste great, which is what made them our bestselling kids’ product in the first place. We didn’t reveal this change until the new Danimals Smoothies had already replaced the previous version in stores because we wanted to make sure kids still love it, which they do.”
“Just like in cooking, every time you change an ingredient, you need to add something else to balance out the flavor,” says Thierry Saint-Denis, director of research and development at The Dannon Company. “In our case, we had to balance the natural acidity with sugar. The more acidic a yogurt or smoothie is, the more sugar you need to add in order to make it taste better. Through experimenting with different yogurt cultures, we were able to reduce the acidity and, in turn, reduce the need for sugar to mask the tartness.”
Beginning in 2010, researchers at Dannon began experimenting with different yogurt cultures to reduce the acidity and therefore reduce the need for sugar to improve taste. After many trials and tasting sessions, the research and development team found the right combination of cultures. From there, the team changed the recipe of natural flavors, leading to an opportunity to further reduce sugar. Other characteristics of the smoothies like texture and the specific flavor profiles for each smoothie flavor were then carefully refined to ensure that the new reduced-sugar smoothies didn’t taste different. After months of refinement, the new smoothies were ready for the most discerning customers—kids. And based on Dannon’s taste tests, kids haven’t noticed the change and still love Danimals Smoothies.
As part of Dannon’s mission to provide healthy and great-tasting food choices, the new Danimals Smoothies gives parents an easy and fun choice to offer their kids as part of a balanced diet.