Glory, Glory

Glory Foods, a niche marketer in the Southern foods category, made no pretenses at its sampling session at the Charlotte Southern Women's Show in North Carolina. The company notes that such a sampling event gave Glory a chance to gauge response of busy moms to their meal planning options.

Glory has added a number of new items to its growing line, debuting 10 new family favorites with a Southern twist. Among the new products are honey carrots slow-simmered in a honey- and butter-flavored sauce; skillet corn slow-simmered with onions, black pepper and a hint of bacon; plus several other canned items that include a flavorful variety of vegetable, bean and potato dishes slow-simmered in rich gravies and sauces.

The tactics appear to be working. “The retail response to our new products has been very exciting and encouraging,” said Lisa Cliff, national director—sales. “We are providing exciting new choices for their customers, with uniquely seasoned products that promote our signature convenience in preparation and delicious Southern-style taste.”

Tagatose, You're It!

Kellogg Company, Battle Creek, Mich., has received a U.S. patent for the use of tagatose in ready-to-eat cereals and other functional and convenience foods. Spherix, the developer of tagatose, notes the patent claims are “based on the use of tagatose alone, as well as the synergistic effect of tagatose when combined with any of a wide variety of known nutritive sweeteners.”

Among the applications included under the patent award are ready-to-eat cereals, including flakes, puffs, rice and bran shreds. Promising “improved sucrose-free, non-cariogenic, reduced-calorie, insulin-independent sweetening composition,” the patent also listed details of tagatose's benefits: no rise in glycemic index (therefore safe for diabetic consumers) and a prebiotic effect.

A Spherix spokesperson did note that the patent award does not mean Kellogg will actually ever incorporate tagatose into any of its products. Tagatose is expected to hit the market in mid-2003.

A Twist of Apple

Smirnoff has devised a unique way to celebrate apple season, by debuting a green apple version of the popular spirit. It joins orange, citrus, raspberry and vanilla in the Smirnoff Twist family.

Flavored vodkas have enjoyed a 200% growth since the mid-1990s, according to Jeff Parrott, Smirnoff Twist national brand manager, who also notes that Smirnoff has looked to its consumers in launching new flavors of the spirit.

“Careful research” led to the debut of the new flavored 70-proof vodka, which Smirnoff expects to be a key ingredient in hot new cocktails, such as green apple martinis, green apple gingers, and green apple temptations—recipes available from Smirnoff. The company also notes that the green apple version can be used to create new versions of old favorites, such as the green apple codder or the green apple cosmo.

Feeling Flaky

In the frozen food case, competition is starting to heat up. Take, for instance, the frozen baked goods area. Freezer-to-oven biscuits, dinner rolls, sweet rolls and cookies introduced in the last year have driven consumer traffic to that area, and more such products are certain to appear in the coming months.

Arriving on the scene soon will be two new additions to the Pillsbury Home Baked Classics line of breads. Butterflake Dinner Rolls and Flaky Layers Biscuits use Pillsbury technology to bake layer upon layer of bread to be peeled apart and enjoyed one by one.

The key term in all of this is “flaky.” As Linda Kline, General Mills marketing director for Pillsbury Home Baked Classics, notes, “Our experience with other Pillsbury baked goods showed us that consumers love flaky breads.”

Indeed, the frozen baked goods category has grown dramatically, with sales up 18% in the past year, while the frozen biscuit segment alone grew 84%.