Prairie Farms Milk snack bars
Prairie Farms Dairy's Milk Snack Bars are two-layer whole milk crème-filled chocolate cake bars dipped in chocolate.

Outside the box ideas

Not all dairy-based snacks fall into familiar, easy-to-define categories. Prairie Farms Dairy Inc., Carlinville, Ill., recently introduced Milk Snack Bars. The new refrigerated snack is a two-layer whole milk crème-filled chocolate cake bar dipped in chocolate. When compared to conventional shelf-stable chocolate snack cakes, the perishable bars have a short, simple ingredient list and do not contain artificial colors or preservatives. They are available as a single bar and in four-count boxes. Each 1-oz bar contains 140 calories.

“Prairie Farms is committed to innovation, and we’re excited to introduce Prairie Farms Milk Snack Chocolate Cake Bars into dairy cases and refrigerated grab-and-go sections in over 15,000 retail outlets throughout the U.S.,” said Rebecca Leinenbach, vice-president of marketing and communications. “Taste, convenience and nostalgia weigh in on purchase decisions for snack cakes, and these bars deliver on all three, along with permission to indulge.”

Another new concept is Jouzge, a line of dairy-based shelf-stable snack bars developed to promote healthy eating and a healthy self-image among young women. Created by University of Wisconsin — Madison alumnus and Oregon, Wis., resident Dana Wendt, with formulation assistance from the Center for Dairy Research (C.D.R.), Madison, Wis., Jouzge bars were born out of Ms. Wendt’s desire to create a dairy-based snack for young girls that would fuel their self-love, rather than undercut it.

Jouzge bars
Jouzge dairy-based shelf-stable snack bars were developed to promote healthy eating and a healthy self-image among young women.

“Years ago, I was eating a particular bar that had a weight management message attached to its name and marketing,” Ms. Wendt said. “My daughter saw me eating this bar and asked if she could take it to school as a snack. While the nutrition was acceptable, I began to worry about the message the bar was trying to send to my daughter. It basically said, ‘you’re not the right size, but if you eat this, you’ll be better.’”

Growing up in the dairy industry, Ms. Wendt was aware of the health benefits of milk and milk products, so she set out to create a dairy-based bar. Utilizing dairy proteins was an important part of the formulation process, which included the use of whey protein concentrate, whey protein isolate, milk protein isolate and whey protein crisps, which created a crunchy texture in some of the bars.

“Dairy proteins are high-quality complete proteins that contain all the essential amino acids,” said Susan Larson, associate researcher at the C.D.R. “Essential amino acids are ones that must be provided by your foods as your body cannot make them. Specifically, whey proteins have an especially high concentration of branched chain amino acids — leucine, isoleucine and valine — that are used for building and maintaining lean body muscle.”

The C.D.R. team helped Ms. Wendt create three flavors: chocolate peanut butter, chocolate mint and chocolate chip cookie dough. Each bar contains no more than 130 calories and 7 grams of sugar, along with 7 to 8 grams of dairy-based protein.