On Ice

Nestle Canada (North York, Ontario) is making the creation of an iced coffee drink easy with its introduction of Nescafe Ice Java Coffee Syrup, available now in both the U.S. and Canada. The shelf-stable syrups (until opening) require only the addition of milk and ice for a cool treat.

Café Mocha, French Vanilla, and Coffee Cooler flavors are available in 22-oz. squeeze bottles. Until now, a mass-market coffee syrup option has not been available. With consumers tightening their Starbucks expense belts, this may provide a good, homebound option. Could a lot of imitators soon make their way to market?

Salad Toppers

With all the commotion about obesity and bad eating habits, more products targeted to healthy eating should come as no surprise. Salads, for one, look to be on the move with new flavorful add-ons being created, apart from croutons and dressing.

In Canada comes Trophy Foods' (Mississauga, Ontario) Salad Sensations line of sliced, flavored almonds. The almonds are available in Teriyaki, Garlic Caesar, Tomato & Basil, and Bacon & Cheddar. A toasted almond salad topper also is available from Planters in Canada (Toronto). From Waymouth Farms (New Hope, Minn.) come some nutty gourmet toppers as well under the Good Sense Salad Pizzaz brand. Tomato Pinenut Tuscano; Tomato, Bacon and Parmesano; Orange Cranberry Almondine; and Cherry Cranberry Pecano are all available in resealable pouches. The products will add crunch and a touch of flavor to everyday salads.

Dipping Delight

Those who sold their old fondue pot at last year's garage sale thinking the fad would never come back can rest easy. The next time they wish to enjoy a warm dipping chocolate for fruit or other treats, Baker's Dipping Chocolate from Kraft Foods Canada (Don Mills, Ontario) is available in both milk and dark chocolate varieties.

To make it even better, the product comes in a microwaveable pot, eliminating the need to scrub the normal warmer. A 7-oz. tub can be kept up to two weeks after opening in the fridge. In addition to dipping, the product can also help create chocolate shells on desserts, and heats in 90 seconds. It retails for about $2.39. When finished with the product, just toss it out, without the guilt of poorly used cabinet space.

Grain-y Picture

Kellogg's (Battle Creek, Mich.) Nutri-Grain brand has undergone significant changes in recent months in the U.S. and Canada, expanding to appeal to more palates with new flavors and textures, as well as to the convenience market. New in Canada are two limited-edition flavors, blueberry and strawberry, under the Fruit Smoothie sub-brand. The snack bar is filled with a creamy filling, as opposed to the fruit jelly of the regular bars.

Earlier this year, the brand also presented its Minis sub-brand, bite-sized cereal bars with a small bit of yogurt icing, which presents the product more as a snack option instead of a breakfast item. Minis are available in the U.S., as are another extension of the line, Nutri-Grain Muffin Bars. The baked snack cakes are said to have a soft and moist texture and were originally created for the U.K. market, under the Elevenses sub-brand.

Flavor Adventures

Flavor Adventures is the newest sub-brand under the Healthy Choice label from ConAgra (Omaha, Neb.) in the United States. The jazzed-up frozen meals with a healthy bent include select and unique ingredients not often found in prepared meals. Varieties of the 12-SKU line include Beef Merlot, Chicken Margherita, Princess Chicken, Chicken Tuscany, Grilled Steak with Roasted Garlic Sauce, and Roasted Chicken Chardonnay. Line-priced at $2.99 each, the brand will premiere in August.

Another unique line of prepared meals comes from the Dorval, Quebec-based Hunter Marine Foods. Currently available at select stores in the upper Midwest, the line of seafood-based entreés imported from Italy sells under the Sailor Marine brand. Risotto with Seafood, Spaghetti with Seafood, and Spaghetti Vongole retail frozen and can be prepared on the stovetop or microwave in under 10 minutes. Also available in the line are seafood-based sauces like Marinara with Mussels and Vongolata Sauce with Clams. The seafood elements of the products are still in their shells. The retail price is about $6.99.

Sidebar: GlobalTrends

With savory snack flavors, global companies and brands are thinking locally and catering for regional tastes. For example, the Pringles brand from Procter & Gamble has appeared in a number of local flavors such as curry in the U.K. (a favorite dish there), and Funky Soy Sauce in Japan. Pepsico's snack brands also have appeared in flavors catering for local tastes. These include seaweed-flavored Lay's potato crisps in Thailand and China, and seaweed-flavored Doritos corn snacks in China. Now, the Doritos brand is continuing its “think local” theme with the Turkish introduction of A la Turca corn chips, specially designed for Turkish tastes. They contain poppy seeds and have a dried tomato flavor.

Popcorn-coated meat continues to make appearances within the processed fish, meat & egg products category. The latest convenient, popcorn-style launch is Hot Pops in the U.K. from turkey producer Bernard Matthews. The microwaveable, frozen turkey balls/nuggets feature a crispy popcorn batter and are available in varieties such as Southern Fried and Nice 'n Spicy Turkey.

Danone first entered the non-dairy soya “yogurt” market back in the late 1990s with the French introduction of Sevea, a 100% vegetable soya- and oat-based yogurt alternative, free from cholesterol and gluten. However, the product was soon withdrawn following concerns with GM foods and its links with soya. Now, Danone is having another stab at launching non-dairy products. In Spain, Danone Bio Soja is a functional range with Essensis active bifidus in regular, peach and red fruit varieties. Another interesting functional launch has appeared in Italy. Introduced under the Zen Linea Salute brand by Techno-Foods is a creamy, strawberry-flavored yogurt claimed to be naturally rich in conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) and omega-3.

The addition of alcohol in take-home ice cream has done much to give a premium touch. This is particularly true when the addition is champagne and spirits and liqueurs such as Grand Marnier and tequila (e.g., Lychee Cactus Tequila in France from Picard). However, the latest alcoholic addition has a somewhat more masculine and everyday appeal. The product in question has been introduced in the U.K. and is an ice cream flavored with Newcastle Brown Ale from brewer Scottish & Newcastle. It is made in Doddington near Wooler in Northumberland, using fresh cream and milk, ale and fudge. Due to the cooking process, it contains less than 1% alcohol by volume (ABV). It is only available for a limited six-month period.

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.