A Matter of Taste

With children firmly taking to the multi-hued ketchup concept, Heinz North America, Pittsburgh, Pa., has turned its attention to more grown-up concerns. Ketchup KICK'R™ is Heinz' effort to woo adults with a passion for bolder flavors and mealtime excitement.

The new products, on the heels of the wildly successful green and purple EZ-Squirt ketchups, come in three varieties, all with a unique slant:

* Zesty Garlic-provides savory garlic flavoring and a touch of herbs and spices to Heinz traditional ketchup.

* Hot & Spicy-Tabasco® brand pepper sauce livens up Heinz ketchup.

* Smokey Mesquite-Heinz ketchup with mesquite-smoked flavoring and zesty seasonings.

A spokesman for Heinz North America, says the KICK'R choices offer adults flavors that “feed off of today's hottest culinary trends . . . (and) appeal to today's consumers' insatiable appetite for the unexpected.”

Not High on the Sog

A concern that has plagued modern man for years finally may be one step closer to resolution. That's right, cornflakes that remain crispy in milk may, at long last, find their way to breakfast tables.

In all seriousness, Monsanto, Cambridge, England, is working to develop a strain of moisture-resistant maize that will produce cereals with higher levels of natural wax that absorb milk more slowly. According to Colin Merritt, Monsanto's biotechnology development manager, cereal crispness in milk could be achieved “by breeding cereal varieties with the higher levels of the natural plant waxes they contain.

“The aim of this research program is to use standard plant breeding methods, along with genetic marker techniques, to produce improved cereal varieties which contain higher levels of these natural plant waxes, so that they absorb milk more slowly.”

No Shred of Doubt

Macaroni and cheese—or cheese and macaroni, depending on the order of preference—is a staple in many homes across the country, a fact borne out by its $1 billion (and growing) annual sales. The mac and cheese boxes are common sights in pantries and grocery shelves, but a new item seeks to expand its availability to the dairy case.

American Dairy Brands, Columbus, Ohio, is taking its newest product line, Borden Shredded Cheese & Macaroni Dinners, to select markets. The two varieties, original and four-cheese, feature a “special cheese blend for a perfectly smooth and creamy melt,” says Borden, and can be found in the shredded cheese section of the refrigerated dairy case.

A freshness label highlighting the best and freshest time for eating will be but one of the surprises on the Shredded Cheese & Macaroni packaging. The new line also boasts Borden's recently redesigned look—a red background, an updated logo and an Elsie the Cow icon.

Confection Election

Where else but in America could people have a say in the color of their favorite confections? Well, according to plans announced by Masterfoods USA, Hackettstown, N.J., everywhere around the globe.

Masterfoods USA, the new name of Mars, Inc., will conduct a worldwide vote to allow candy consumers to decide the newest color to grace M&M's. The Global Color Vote™, M&M's largest promotion in its 61-year history, began March 6 by offering voters a selection of purple, pink and aqua. Candy lovers and presumably non-candy lovers, too, can cast their selection by logging on to www.mms.com, which features ballots in more than 15 different languages.

Debuting in June, the winner will join M&M's other members of hue hierarchy—blue, red, yellow, green, brown and orange. This is not the first colorful election for M&M's. In 1995, voters across the U.S. selected blue to replace tan, which itself had replaced violet in 1949— eight years after the original lineup debuted on candy shelves.