Operator Spotlight: Saint Louis Zoo

Recognized as a leading zoo in animal management, research, conservation and education, the Saint Louis Zoo is a get-away destination that brings together more than 14,840 wild animals and 3,200,000 annual visitors. A discovery is around every corner, and that includes its outstanding food and beverage options. The Zoo has something for every taste and diet, so you can enjoy mouthwatering favorites as you wander the grounds. Take DOLE® Soft Serve for example.

Eric Delmez, a Food and Beverage Manager at the Zoo, helped unite DOLE Soft Serve and the Saint Louis Zoo in 2011. He first tried Pineapple DOLE Soft Serve during his honeymoon to Disney World a few years prior. Not only was it delicious, the shop serving it had a longer line than any of the rides. So, when the Zoo’s gift shop manager suggested bringing DOLE Soft Serve to the Zoo, Eric was immediately on board.

But it wasn’t just about the taste. Having a dessert option that was fat-free, lactose-free and gluten-free was a huge appeal to Eric. He also wanted to offer something that stood out—something other than ice cream. “I try to keep up on the trends in the industry and keep up with what customers are looking for,” he said. “More and more people have allergies or are vegetarian or vegan. They’re looking for alternative options.”

After trying all 6 DOLE flavors, Eric chose Pineapple (a staple flavor) and Raspberry to complement it. The Zoo worked with Midwest Equipment Company and Kent Precison Foods Group (the manufacturer of Dole Soft Serve) to find the right equipment to handle the large capacity crowds typical for summer days at the Zoo. And just like that, they were ready to serve soft serve.

“I’ve had nothing but positive experiences with KPFG,” said Eric. “I’ve never had a delay on product, and they helped get marketing materials to our team and were always helpful.”

Pineapple and Raspberry DOLE Soft Serve continue to draw huge crowds at the Zoo, so Eric has never switched out the flavors. Though, he does wish the Zoo had space for additional hoppers, and flavors. “DOLE Lemon is phenomenal,” he added. “It could almost replace our Lemon Chill, and it’s healthier too.”

When asked what he would tell someone considering adding DOLE soft serve to their location, Delmez again expressed how popular the product is. But he also emphasized its profitability. “We have about a 72% profit margin at the zoo, and we are still able to keep the price low,” he said. “It’s so affordable, and dry storage and a long shelf life make it easy to handle too.”

To follow the Saint Louis Zoo’s lead and increase your profits with DOLE Soft Serve Mix, visit dolesoftserve.com.

Frozen Treat Definitions: What’s the Scoop?

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., it’s 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 DOLE® Soft Serve. It’s creamier than sorbet and doesn’t have the tartness of frozen yogurt. The result is a truly unique soft serve that satisfies customer cravings with intense fruit flavor that’s sweet and refreshing. Operators love that it’s not only popular with patrons, but also easy to prep.

Because its shelf-stable, DOLE Soft Serve doesn’t tie up valuable space in the cooler or freezer. And unlike frozen yogurt, it requires no thawing prior to use. All six delicious fruit flavors come in a dry mix that’s machine-ready when combined with regular cool tap water.

Customers will be happy to know that DOLE Soft Serve is vegan, gluten-free, sugar-free, dairy-free, fat-free, soy-free, nut-free and egg-free, and low calorie. 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

A Case for Offering Dairy-Free Options

Did you know that the number of people who identify themselves as vegans has nearly tripled since 2009? There are approximately 1.8 million Americans who live vegan lifestyles¹. Also, did you know that between 30 and 50 million Americans have some degree of lactose intolerance²? Being dairy-free is not some passing fad or small specialty niche—it’s a market that’s expected to grow up to 15% to a value of $14 billion by 2018³.

People make dairy-free choices for many different reasons: lactose intolerance, milk allergies, and lifestyle. While reasons may differ, their need is the same – to find sources of dairy-free food options. Are you servicing your patrons’ needs? Are you providing a product that could satisfy the needs of a growing population? If not, we think you should!

Why Choose Dairy Free?

10 Healthy Reasons People Choose Dairy Free

DOLE® Soft Serve is the complete package. The soft serve product line offers unique, dairy-free mixes that deliver intense fruit flavors as well as lactose free traditional flavors to satisfy your customers’ cravings. Here’s a scenario for you to ponder.

Becky is lactose intolerant. She and her husband are out running errands with their four children. As they leave their last stop, the kids ask for ice cream. Becky cringes because she knows if she eats it, she will suffer for the next few hours. She has the choice of abstaining from a frozen treat for herself or she can choose a place that works for everyone. What do you think she will do if she knows of a place that serves a product that agrees with her diet?

You guessed it! She will most likely take her family of six to the place that serves a lactose-free product. The worst-case scenario for any food and beverage establishment is that she makes the decision to avoid eating out altogether and takes her family home for what’s in the pantry! Buying behavior, especially food purchases, are often made to accommodate the individual on a special diet. If this wasn’t the case, the person with the food allergy, dietary restriction or food lifestyle choice would be excluded from the meal.  Offering dairy-free options makes a restaurant or frozen dessert establishment appealing to larger groups or families.

10 Healthy Reasons People Choose Dairy Free

10 Healthy Reasons People Choose Dairy Free

An added expansion to the case for offering dairy-free options reaches into the healthful-eating segment. There are numerous possible health benefits of going dairy-free like decreased anxiety, reduced nausea, better sleep and reduced hyperactivity in children. Offering a product that is vegan or dairy-free attracts people who want to eat smart. There isn’t a day that goes by that we aren’t reminded that there is evidence to support the cliché, “you are what you eat”.

We believe that offering a dairy-free alternative will only help your business. Veganism and dairy-free are on people’s radar and their perception of healthy is too! For more detailed information on meeting the demands of the growing dairy-free market, please check out our website for our newly published “A Case for Offering Dairy Free Options”.

Resources

¹ Vegetarian Resource Group https://www.vrg.org/nutshell/market.htm#market

² National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, NIH, DHHS. Digestive Disease Statistics. Retrieved August 12, 2005, from http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/statistics/statistics.htm

³ MarketResearch.com. Dairy Alternative (Beverage) Market by Type (Soy, Almond, Rice), Formulation (Plain, Flavored, Sweetened, Unsweetened), Channel (Supermarket, Health Store, Pharmacy, Convenience Store) & Geography – Global Trends & Forecast to 2019. Accessed February, 2014. http://www.marketresearch.com/MarketsandMarkets-v3719/Dairy-Alternative-Beverage-Type-Soy-7904734/

Let’s Explore! We Can’t Wait to Get You to a Dry Climate!

Let's take you to a "dry" climate!

Play along and join us for a DOLE Soft Serve “Road Trip”!

Road trips are known for making memories, family bonding and exploring new territory! We think soft serve offers many of the same “road trip” benefits! How cool is it that your destination is on the route! For the next few minutes, let us take you for a “road trip” to explore the benefits of switching to dry soft serve mix. Hop in!

First, the cost benefits of using dry mix compared to RTU liquid mix are so impactful, we think you’ll never consider RTU again! For starters, shipping a dry product is much lighter than shipping a liquid product. As a result, you get more product which produces higher yields (2-3x more than liquid). Additionally, dry goods don’t require refrigerated transit. Another huge cost savings! Moreover, dry mix doesn’t need to be refrigerated until AFTER you add water. Our dry mixes have a 12-month shelf life and you only mix what you know you will use; one hopper-full at a time!

How about your bottom line? Shipping savings, higher yields, less waste and a longer shelf life equals lower food costs. DOLE Soft Serve dry mix can also increase your sales potential because it doesn’t contain the ingredients that often exclude consumers based on dietary or lifestyle food restrictions. Specifically, DOLE  Soft Serve fruit flavors are lactose, dairy, gluten and cholesterol free! Rising health concerns and special dietary restrictions push people away from snacks and desserts, however, soft serve has a smart snack reputation!

Still cautious? Possibly, mixing times are a concern. Dry mix becomes “hopper-ready” in just TWO minutes! When you purchase our mix, we send a complimentary mixing bucket with a lid for easy transfer and quick storage. You can mix the soft serve before shutting down for the night, stick it in the cooler and pour it into your machine when you’re opening the next morning!

Sometimes you need to see it to believe it! On your next “road-trip” make a point to visit our fans.

Give “DRY” a try!

Sometimes you need to see it to believe it! On your next “road-trip” make a point to visit our fans. DOLE Soft Serve is currently served at many destinations like zoos, theme parks and waterparks. We are also a favorite at soft serve and frozen yogurt shops. Below are some recommended “points of interest” for your next road trip. If you currently serve DOLE® and you aren’t on our list below, we want to hear from you! Please leave us a comment and we will add your business to our “Points of Interest”. Ready for dry? Contact us for a sample!

POINTS OF INTEREST

Orange Leaf (National)

Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt (National)

Hula Girls Shave Ice, California

Disney Parks, California & Florida

DeNucci’s Soft Serve, Florida

Wild Adventures, Georgia

Sea Life Park, Hawaii

DOLE® Plantation, Hawaii

Adventureland, Iowa

Grant’s Farm, Missouri

St. Louis Zoo, Missouri

Valley Fair, Minnesota

Bronx Zoo, New York

Blosser’s Dari Drive-Inn, Ohio

Oregon Zoo, Oregon

Punk’d Pineapple, Pennsylvania

Dutch Wonderland, Pennsylvania

San Antonio Zoo, Texas