New Dairy Product Released

Westby Cooperative Creamery is proud to announce the addition of a new sour cream squeezable pouch to its retail line of dairy products. It will be available in select grocery stores this month.

“Consumer needs and preferences are ever changing, and this new product – sour cream in a pouch – addresses two key trends: convenience and cleanliness,” says Emily Bialkowski, sales and marketing manager.

She says dispensing sour cream in a pouch eliminates the need for utensils, such as a spoon, and that means less clean-up for consumers. Additionally, pouches are fully enclosed. This means less risk leaving an open container of sour cream out to collect bacteria.

“This project also provides another layer of security for our farmers, who need a consistent place to send their milk,” Bialkowski says. “When demand is high for the products we make, farmers can be assured 100 percent of their milk is used by the creamery.”

The project began in 2018 when the creamery sought new ways to increase its sour cream sales. The squeezable sour cream pouch checked all of the necessary boxes. Not only does it aim to drive sales, it also allows the creamery to compete with other well-known brands. The creamery expects to increase sour cream sales by 3 million pounds annually and, as a result, add four jobs.

Benefits of the pouch for the consumer include:

  • less product waste, as all the sour cream can be squeezed out of the pouch;
  • less mess and no need to use utensils to dispense the product;
  • portion control;
  • and easy, stand-up style saves space in refrigerators.

To bring the pouch to life, the creamery purchased a filler for packaging the pouches, and the plant had to undergo renovations to ensure production could run smoothly.

The process of putting sour cream in a pouch begins with milk, which is separated to create the main ingredient – cream – for sour cream. Next, the cream is mixed with other ingredients and goes through pasteurization and homogenization. The mixture is then put in a tank where cultures and bacteria are added to develop flavor and desired pH levels. When desired pH levels are reached, the product is cooled and sent to the filler where it is put into 14-ounce pouches.

Innovation is crucial to remain relevant in the food industry — especially for a small dairy cooperative like Westby Creamery, explains plant manager Ryan O’Donnell.

“We have to be willing to try new products and techniques,” he adds. “It’s what will keep us around for many years.”