Dairy Redux

The popularity of traditional sodas is on the decline, and consumers want something fresh and tasty. The major players in the beverage market, namely Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and Cadbury Schweppes (7 Up, Dr Pepper), are churning out tons of alternative soda products in berry, fruit, and modified-cola flavors. Now comes an introduction from Coca-Cola that may turn the eyes of the industry in a new direction—to dairy. The company is introducing Nestlé Choglit, a chocolate dairy drink.

The product is a result of a Coca-Cola and Nestlé Beverage alliance. This is the first time Coca-Cola has produced a dairy-based beverage. Choglit contains skim milk (approximately 16%) and has 10% of the RDI for calcium, vitamins A and D per 8-fl. oz. serving. It is labeled as a “low-fat natural & artificial flavored chocolate drink” and is being heavily targeted to the tween and teen demographic, typically a time where milk consumption declines and soda consumption increases. It is available in the Northeast and Southeast in an 11-oz. can. A 15-oz. bottle will follow.

Sweet Sunrise

Appealing to consumers' sweet tooth, manufacturers are focusing on that craving for sugary sweets—even at breakfast. Pillsbury is featuring some goods that may appeal to kids and adding bright colors to catch their eyes.

Its Toaster Strudel brand has added flavors like Kiwi-Strawberry and Watermelon flavors (made with real fruit juice) to its line. The frosting packet that comes with them is a bright green. The Kiwi-Strawberry product has both a red and green filling component inside the pastry. A 6-ct. carton retails for $2.29. Also sweetening mornings are a variety of cereals. Extreme Crème Oreo O's cereal is newly formulated in Canada, and Count Chocula is now being made with Hershey's-brand Cocoa in the United States.

Name That Tuna

The average American ate 2.9 pounds of tuna in 2001, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Influenced by consumers who may expand their horizons beyond the simple tuna sandwich, Kraft Foods has introduced Tuna Salad Maker, a dressing that includes the fixings typically found in tuna salad.

An 18-oz. bottle contains a mayonnaise-like base, chopped pickles, pimentos, garlic, onions and more, making preparation “quick & easy,” according to the label. The product also is suggested for use with chicken and turkey. It retails for $1.73 in supermarkets. This convenience product joins a long list of time-saving products introduced lately, from Jimmy Dean's pre-cooked bacon strips to Campbell Soup's Soup at Hand, a ready-to-heat soup that comes in a microwaveable, contoured cup for sipping on the go.

For Discriminating Palates

Lately, new gourmet cookie products are appearing fast and furious. The sudden surge is providing cookies with high-quality ingredients and homemade tastes to consumers. A notable introduction of late includes Don Sue Mor Madeleines, preservative-free French tea cakes that are shaped like sea shells. Featured at Peet's Coffee and Tea shops, they soon will be available at traditional gourmet outlets.

These are a nice, small add-on purchase while relaxing with a cup of tea or coffee. Other good cookie ideas come from Najla's Catering, which features its Gone Chunky Bake at Home Cookies. Here the dough is hand-cut, and the cookies bake up large—about four inches in diameter. Several flavors, like Chocolate Walnut Espresso, are available in gourmet stores, where they are sold frozen.

Popping Up

ASAP Food Products' (Solon, Ohio) newest product is bursting onto the scene with some fun new ideas about microwave popcorn. New from the company is ASAP—A Super Amazing Popcorn, which comes in several packaging varieties. The popcorn bags, which are housed in a stand-up pouch instead of a box, pop into fun shapes like Halloween pumpkins and soccer balls, and the bag turns into a bowl for the fresh popped corn.

Some package varieties feature cartoon characters like Scooby-Doo, Powerpuff Girls, and Looney Toons. The corn is available in select states, including Ohio, Michigan, New York and Pennsylvania. An Orville Redenbacher-brand popcorn (ConAgra) in Canada also is turning the popping bag into a bowl and adds one more special feature—a packet of cheddar butter to pour onto the popped corn. The product sub-brand is called Pour Over and is described as having “real cheddar cheese and jumbo popcorn.”

Butter: popcorn, partially hydrogenated sunflower oil, salt, natural butter flavor, colored with beta carotene

Serving size 30g, servings per bag about 3, calories 170, calories from fat 90, total fat 10g, saturated fat 1g, cholesterol 0mg, sodium 230mg, total carbohydrate 18g, dietary fiber 4g, sugars 0g, protein 3g, vitamin A 100%, vitamin C 0%, calcium 0%, iron 4%

Sidebar: Global Trends

“Wellness” continues to be the buzzword that indicates goodness and health. The latest Wellness launch is found in Switzerland by Nestlé. Under the Maggi brand is a Wellness instant soup range that includes creamy tomato and basil variety.

The New Covent Garden Soup Company is diversifying. It has re-branded as New Covent Garden Food and the company is planning on launching other fresh foods—such as sauces and ready meals—beginning next year.

Pear, a flavor not commonly found in prepared food markets, has popped up in the Swedish impulse ice cream sector. New from GB Glace (Unilever) are Päron Splitt, pear-flavored ice lollipops with a pear-flavored ice cream center.

Green tea, a healthy ingredient popular for years, is appearing in some unusual products. Introduced recently in Asian yogurt markets, it now has been found in a European yogurt launch. New in Italy from Parmalat is Kyr Pineapple & Green Tea yogurt. Positioned as healthy, the product contains “bifidobacterium Bb12,” L acidophilus, fiber and vitamins. It is available in sleeved glass jars with foil seals. In Indonesia, the ingredient has been used in new Green Tea Pumpkin Seeds from Sheng Hsiang Jen Foods.

A real sense of innovation was added to the yogurt market following the emergence of dual compartment/split pots back in the 1980s. The development allowed consumers to become more involved with their yogurt and customize it to their tastes. A recent packaging development has been the emergence of yogurt in plastic squeezable tubes so the product can be sucked out without the need for a spoon. Now, these two packaging ideas have merged, as a novel U.K. launch from Müller shows. The company has introduced Corner Squeezers, described as a new yogurt snack for teenagers. The product comes in a dual-compartment plastic tube that contains separate servings of yogurt and sauce. The tube needs to be folded together so that both the yogurt and sauce can be squeezed into the mouth at the same time.

Launching a New Product?
If so, contact Allison Enright at Mintel International Group, 213 W. Institute Pl., Suite 208, Chicago, IL 60610. Call 312-932-0600, fax 312-932-0474 or e-mail aenright@mintel.com. Information in this column is from the Global New Products Database, the premier source of global product intelligence, published by Mintel International Group.