Dannon Danimals Smoothies now with 25% Less Sugar

This week I was invited to the Dannon Research & Development Center (DRDC) to learn more about a recent "reformulation" to the Danimals Smoothies. This special nutritional change resulted in the Danimal Smoothies having 25% less sugar without affecting the taste kids (and their families) have grown to enjoy.

Dannon Research Developent Center

After arriving at the DRDC, I joined a group of parenting writers in "class" to learn about the science and method behind the reformulation.

Dannon Danimals Smoothie

We heard from a variety of Dannon representatives and a nutrition expert, who shared about the history of Dannon and why more families should add yogurt to their lives.

“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,” said Sergio Fuster, Senior Vice President of Marketing at The Dannon Company.

It was also shared that 1 out of 2 children don't get the recommend Calcium and Vitamin D. For those children Danimals Smoothies are an easy way for them to get both. Danimals Smoothie also contain no high fructose corn syrup or artificial flavors or colors.

Dannon was inspired to reformulate their Danimals Smoothies after listening to concerns from parents about the amount of sugar in their kids’ diets. But how did Dannon take the sugar out without affecting the taste?

Dannon Danimals Smoothie

To find out I took part in a fun experiment. I was give 2 samples of yogurt to taste test. During the taste test I learn that making yogurt isn't a simple process. Lots of work goes into matching the right amount of cultures and natural flavor ingredients before the final products is available in supermarkets for purchase.

Once I understood how and why yogurt gets it's sweet or tart taste, then it was time to adjust the sugar levels. I receive a syringe with a sugary substance that I used to adjust the flavor of my test samples. I learned a lot about how sugar affects not only the taste but the nutrition of a product. But what happens when you want to reduce the sugar without affecting the taste of a product?

Dannon Danimals Smoothie

Finding the answer to this question took Dannon 2 years of research & adjustments. 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.

“Just like in cooking, every time you change an ingredient, you need to add something else to balance out the flavor,” said 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.”

After that, the Dannon team changed the recipe of natural flavors and other characteristics of the smoothies like texture and the specific flavor to make sure the new reduced-sugar smoothies didn’t taste different.

Dannon Danimals Smoothie

Dannon shared that without any big announcements or promotions, they introduced the new less sugar version to consumers in Feb/March of this year with an interesting reaction. Kids didn’t noticed the change and still love the smoothies.

I was able to taste test some of the Danimals Smoothies during the event and agree you can't really tell the difference. They do taste the same.

When asked if Dannon will start to make more "less sugar" changes to their other line of products, the Dannon representative only said they are always seeking ways to "improve the quality and nutrition of their products".

I'd say they are making a good start and look forward to seeing what other surprises they'll come up with.

Danimals Smoothies are Available in 3.1 fl.oz. 6 pk, and 12 for MSRP: $2.89 (6pk); $4.99 (12pk) Flavors include: Rockin’ Raspberry, Strawberry Explosion, Strikin’ Strawberry-Kiwi, Swingin’ Strawberry-Banana, Banana Split, Wild Watermelon, and Mixed Berry Jelly Bean

For information about Danimals Smoothies, visit the Danimals Facebook Page or www.Danimals.com

Note: I was invited as media to this event and received a gift bag. No other compensation was received. Any personal views expressed are always 100% my own.

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