Oh, Natural

In its first venture into snacks made with organic ingredients, Frito-Lay (Plano, Texas) has launched Tostitos Tortilla Chips made with organic blue corn, Tostitos Tortilla Chips made with organic yellow corn and Tostitos Organic Salsa. The company notes it is following the U.S. Department of Agriculture's standardization on labeling organic products.

In addition, the company has debuted its new Natural line of snacks. The line is made up of Cheetos Natural White Cheddar Puffs, Natural Reduced Fat Ruffles Chips and Lay's Natural Country BBQ Potato Chips. The all-natural products are also made with organic ingredients.

The organic ingredients used in the Frito-Lay line have been certified by the USDA-accredited certifying agency Oregon Tilth. These products will display the Oregon Tilth logo and USDA "Organic" labels.

Frito-Lay also announced it has eliminated all transfats from its core brands and debuted Lay's Reduced Fat Potato Chips (7g of fat per serving) and Cheetos Reduced Fat Snacks (7g of fat per serving).

The Chips are Down

Believing consumers no longer were satisfied with just chips of chocolate, Pepperidge Farm (Norwalk, Conn.) responded with its popular Chocolate Chunk cookies. Now, even chunks of chocolate are giving way to a new version of the cookie classic.

Chocolate Chunk Sanibel will add sweet, crunchy almonds to milk chocolate. Named for Sanibel Island, Fla., the new product adds to Pepperidge Farm's line of location-inspired cookies, which include Nantucket, Sausalito and Carmel. Furthermore, when cookies right out of the bag are not enough, Pepperidge Farm has numerous recipes to incorporate the Sanibel cookies.

Among the suggestions are Sanibel shortcakes, which feature sliced strawberries or another in-season fruit over the cookies. Cookie sandwiches are frozen with ice cream between two of the cookies.

Sprucing Up Sprite

Coca-Cola Co. (Atlanta) finally has introduced its long-rumored Sprite Tropical Remix. Promising a “tropical version” of the popular Sprite brand, the caffeine-free soft drink adds “tropical”elements—in this case, a boost of strawberry and pineapple.

In the wake of the new Sprite, yet another version of the popular lemon-lime soft drink is hitting select shelves. Available only in Canada and Belgium, Sprite Ice has added a new flavor sensation—mint.

According to Joanne DeVisser, brand manager of Sprite with Coca-Cola, “When we explored ways to provide an even deeper sense of refreshment, the crisp and cool attributes of mint made it a logical addition to Sprite's winning formula.”

Coke also notes mint is making headway out of just chewing gum, chocolate and candy applications and quickly becoming the “flavor of the moment.” Sprite Ice is packaged in clear blue plastic bottles with blue and silver graphics, and also is available in 12-can packages.

Tea Does a Body Good

According to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a component in tea primes the immune system to attack invading bacteria, viruses and fungi. A second experiment, using human volunteers, showed that immune system blood cells from tea drinkers responded five times faster to germs than did the blood cells of coffee drinkers.

“We worked out the molecular aspects of this tea component in the test tube and then tested it on a small number of people to see if it actually worked in human beings,” said Dr. Jack Bukowski, a researcher at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, both in located Boston. The results, he said, gave clear proof that five cups of tea a day sharpened the body's disease defenses.

In other tea tidbits, Japan's Kao Corp. will start marketing a bottled green tea product containing a large quantity of catechin, a type of tannin capable of reducing body fat, says the company. The 350ml bottled green tea, to be called Healthya, will contain three to four times the amount of catechin normally found in green tea.