Flavoring Cola

The beverage battle is in full swing this summer, and product introductions reflect the seriousness of this conflict, as well as the success PepsiCo, Purchase, N.Y., had with Mountain Dew Code Red last year. Vanilla Coke, Atlanta, has already made its debut, and Coke and Pepsi each have added a lemon twist to their signature products. However, these are far from the last innovations in the carbonated arena.

For the first time in 117 years, Dr Pepper, Plano, Texas, will augment its flavor lineup in mid-July. Sporting a reddish color, Red Fusion will add a variety of fruit flavors to the basic flavor profile of Dr Pepper.

Meanwhile, Pepsi will fuse berry and cola in Pepsi Blue, launching in August. The company believes the blue-hued cola can do for cola what Code Red did for Mountain Dew—grow the entire category.

In addition to its vanilla offering, Coke will expand in other areas. Promising to provide “a fruity taste with the fun of a carbonated beverage,” Minute Maid Fruit Sodas will contain 3% real fruit juice. Coke's other major summer move has been long-rumored but may finally be coming to pass. Choglit, a chocolate-flavored drink, will be the company's first foray into the dairy business.

Finding the Familiar

Frito-Lay Inc., Plano, Texas, has announced a line of snacks specifically targeting the growing Hispanic market. The snack food giant is working with a sister company to offer Hispanic consumers flavors and textures that are both appealing and familiar.

After extensive testing, Frito-Lay determined the snack flavors and textures with the strongest appeal among Hispanics. The company then turned to its Mexico-based sister company, Sabritas, to select snacks familiar to Mexican-American and Latino consumers.

Available in key urban markets, the line will include: Sabritas Adobadas tomato and chile potato chips; Churrumais fried corn strips with chile and lime seasonings; Crujitos queso and chile flavored puffed corn twists; and El Isleno Plantains.

Cola Flavoring

While carbonated beverages continue their move away from cola flavor profiles, one beverage maker has been working to incorporate such a taste. This product, however, is for an adult market, as Brown-Forman Beverages Worldwide, Louisville, Ky., and Miller Brewing Company, Milwaukee, have teamed to develop a cola-flavored Jack Daniel's malt beverage.

Jack Daniel's Original Hard Cola will be available in pubs and restaurants beginning in July, and the product will hit store shelves by September.

A number of clear, citrus-flavored “malternatives” are on the market, but this will be the first to feature a cola flavor. The companies believe the flavor will allow the brand more of a year-round appeal, as opposed to many of the seasonal flavors in the category.

Upside Down

From the “great minds think alike” files, two of the leaders in bottled ketchup announced virtually identical packaging concepts on the same day. ConAgra's, Omaha, Neb., Hunt's Tomato Products debuted Hunt's Perfect Squeeze Ketchup only hours before H.J. Heinz Company, Pittsburgh, unveiled Heinz Easy Squeeze.

Both of the products are notable mostly for their packaging—an upside-down squeezable container. Hunt's says its Perfect Squeeze System features an inverted, easy-grip bottle and vacuum-action cap that dispenses the ketchup easily and with no waiting.

Similarly, Heinz says its “No Wait . . . No Mess,”™ easy-dispensing bottle allows the ketchup to come out more quickly than ever thanks—in large part—to the ergonomically-designed bottle and a stay-clean cap featuring a patented silicone valve that “directs ketchup only where (consumers) want it to go.”

Both companies' upside-down packages will begin shipping in July.