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.

DOLE Whip™ vs. DOLE® Soft Serve

What is DOLE® Soft Serve? And What is DOLE Whip™?

As the manufacturer of DOLE Soft Serve, this is one of the most common questions we get. Allow us to clear up the confusion.

One of our strongest emotional connections with consumers is the iconic DOLE Whip treat, sold at Disney® parks, commonly in the form of a delicious float. Anyone who’s enjoyed DOLE Whip will instantly recognize the delicious taste and tropical flavors of DOLE Soft Serve – because they are, in fact, the same product! We just call them by different names, and here’s why.

Originally, the Dole Food Company made the DOLE Whip soft serve mix themselves. As demand grew, DOLE strategically licensed the brand to Kent Precision Foods Group, the leader in dry mix foods, who now exclusively produces the magical mix that makes DOLE Whip.

Outside of Disney Parks, the mix is sold and marketed as DOLE Soft Serve. Around the country, independent frozen yogurt shops (like Menchie’s) and tourist attractions (like Dodgers Stadium) serve DOLE Soft Serve. And since the name “DOLE Whip” is so familiar among consumers, we encourage the use of this alternate name on store signage, on menus or even for advertising.

However, “Disney” is a trademarked brand, and all its properties are protected by copyright. So when using the DOLE Whip or DOLE Soft Serve name, operators must avoid referring to or implying a connection to Disney to avoid pesky trademark infringement.

To sum up, the names “DOLE Soft Serve” and “DOLE Whip” can be used interchangeably. The pineapple flavor is most popular at Disney Parks, but a total of 6 bold, refreshing fruit flavors are available for purchase—Pineapple, Orange, Strawberry, Raspberry, Mango and Lemon. And since it’s dairy-free, fat-free and vegan, DOLE Soft Serve appeals to more customers than ever.

If you want to get a sense for just how popular this treat is, just search “DOLE Whip” on Twitter or Instagram – then contact us when you’re ready to purchase.

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

Should Your Soft Serve Be Vegan Friendly?

We tell you that DOLE Soft Serve fruit flavors are vegan, but what does that mean and who really cares? First, you might be surprised but veganism, the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products including eggs and dairy, is growing in popularity. Former president Bill Clinton has taken up the lifestyle as well as celebs like Usher, Ellen, Mike Tyson and Alanis Morissette among others.

Vegan bloggers that help other vegans find places to eat at Disney Parks.

Vegan Disney World helps other vegans find places to eat at Disney Parks.

We thought we would reach out and get an expert’s opinion on what’s happening in the “vegan” community…and who better to help us but our friends at Vegan Disney World. Our DOLE Whip at Disney Parks is enjoyed by millions of people, including those that choose it because it is dairy-free. Below is a quick Q&A:

  1. Tell us a little about “Vegan Disney World”. Vegan Disney World is a blog created by two vegans who found it difficult to know what was vegan in Disney World. We thought that other people were probably in the same situation as us…not knowing what foods are vegan throughout the parks. We decided to create a blog to function as a database for other vegans to find where they can eat. We also feature reviews and tips about our experiences in the parks.
  2. Why do you think it is important for people to eat vegan? We believe all lives are equal, we don’t feel that we need to eat animal products to sustain a healthy life. If more people showed compassion to animals the world would be a better place. We also feel that being vegan benefits the environment because of the waste that factory farming creates.
  3. How difficult is it to follow a vegan diet? What are its biggest challenges? We personally don’t find it hard to follow a vegan diet, with that said we know being vegan isn’t for everyone. If we can just make people aware of the amount of vegan foods that are available to us then maybe people will adopt a low meat diet or even switch to veganism. We both loved cheese before we went vegan, but luckily there are so many substitutes for ‘non vegan’ items that it is incredibly easy to eat vegan. You can even get a vegan cheese pizza from Pizza Planet in Hollywood Studios!
  4. Do you feel vegans are concerned about packaging as well as the food? How easy is it to find out whether or not a product’s packaging is considered vegan? We think that vegans are more concerned with the contents of their food rather than the packaging. It is pretty hard to find out if a product uses vegan packaging unless stated on the package itself. (Sidenote: DOLE Soft Serve packaging is 100% vegan friendly. We go the extra mile!)
  5. Are you optimistic about the future of veganism in foodservice? What changes have you seen in the last few years and what do you anticipate over the next five? Yes, in the years we have been vegan, we have seen a rise in vegan items at the grocery store and in Disney World. When we first went to Disney together in 2012 we basically lived off of veggie burgers and french fries. Now we can enjoy Dole Whip Floats, samosas, pizzas, Gardein based meals and many other items just on Disney property. I can only imagine what kind of vegan options I will see in the future, vegan substitutes have come a long way and I think people are becoming more aware of their food and where it comes from. The more we demand of good healthy options, the better options we’ll see.
  6. Any advice for a new vegan? Don’t give up, try eating some the vegan substitutes of your old favorite foods. Don’t eat those all the time but they can do a huge help in your transition to veganism. Do it for the right reasons, if you choose to eat vegan because of compassion for animals you will find it very easy to cut out animal based products.

As a whole, veganism might not be reason enough to change your menu but when you break it down, you’ll see it isn’t something to ignore. The most recent data we found came from a Gallup poll in 2012 and reported 5% of Americans identify themselves as vegetarians and 2% vegans. This potentially translates to 6 million vegans and 15 million vegetarians that visit restaurants and frozen yogurt shops across the USA on a regular basis.

Aside from this group not wanting to harm animals, many vegans and vegetarians adopt a plant-based diet because they believe it will help them live longer and prevent diseases like heart disease and cancer. Another benefit to this restricted diet is the component of healthy weight maintenance. Meats and dairy are higher in calories and fat; eliminating these foods allow people to eat with less calorie counting and worry.

Just add water to DOLE Soft Serve dry mix

Five yummy vegan fruit flavors

One catch…Although our mango, strawberry, raspberry, pineapple, orange and NEW lemon flavors are classified vegan; the actual “swirl” is up to the operator and their preparation. Our mixing instructions suggest using water, however, some operators may add additional ingredients. In order to keep DOLE Soft Serve vegan and dairy-free, all that is needed is water. If any other ingredients are added (ex. soda, milk, live or active cultures, alcohol), we cannot guarantee the finished product is classified “vegan”. Be sure to ask the operator about prep methods if you are concerned.

We’re optimistic that you’ve found our blog searching for vegan soft serve. If we’re right, please leave us a comment and we’ll ship you samples. Only requirement is a soft serve machine!

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/