A Double Shot of What You Love

It is hard to tell, by looking at this product, whether it is designed to compete with energy drinks (the can is roughly the same shape, although smaller), or if it is intended to capture coffee drinkers who find Starbucks' bottled Frappuccinos too sweet or too milky.

Like the Frappuccinos, this new Starbucks offering is a product of the partnership between Pepsi, Purchase, N.Y., and Starbucks, Seattle, called North American Coffee Partnership. The product itself is just what it says—two shots of espresso plus cream and milk (and a little sugar). Designed to be served chilled or over ice, expect to see it in convenience store chilled cases. The 6.5-fl. oz. metal can is a bit different than others, just because the size is unusual. Currently only available on the West Coast, it will, no doubt, make its way east.

In the “Zone”

For consumers dedicated to specific diet plans, there seems to be something for everyone. Although plenty of ZonePerfect energy bars are predicated on the popular zone diet, meals have not yet been seen. Now, ZonePerfect, Beverly, Mass., has extended from bars and drinks into soup, stew and chili.

The products are made with tofu and contain hefty quantities of beans and carbohydrates. A bit unexpectedly, the entrees are sold in 13.5-oz. shelf-stable microwaveable flat trays, similar to Dinty Moore beef stew and other such products on the market.

Co-branding Making a Comeback?

More co-branded products are making their way to market, though not to the extent of the early 1990s.

One is from Frito-Lay, Plano, Texas. The latest variety of Rold Gold pretzels is called Checkers, because the products resemble a checkerboard. They are butter-flavored. Although Frito has had butter-flavored pretzels in the past, this also bears the Land O'Lakes, St. Paul, Minn., brand name.

Land O'Lakes, by the way, has spruced up its logo and launched a new marketing campaign focused on the simple goodness of its products. This, apparently, is one step toward that new initiative.

Although co-branding can be confusing to consumers (which product is it, really?), when done properly, it is a win for all parties. The host brand (Rold Gold) maintains its primary position through appropriate labeling, and the “guest” brand (Land O'Lakes) extends its reach by appearing on products outside its categories.

When is a Snack a Reward?

Effem, Bolton, Ontario, Canada, the Canadian division of Masterfoods USA, Hackettstown, N.J., is offering Canadians a real reward: snack-sized, individually wrapped Mars, Snickers, and Twix bars, all in the same pack. It is sold in Ontario.

The concept of this treat and the Mars/Effem Reward line is not new, but it is a bit different to see a variety pack like this.

Surprisingly, variety packs such as this are rare. True, marketers run the risk of introducing a package that includes varieties consumers would not choose, but with these three very popular candy bars, it is almost a sure thing. What about more variety pack appetizers (potato skins, buffalo wings, and jalapeno bites, for example), or more salty snacks in variety pack boxes (we do see some of these already)?

A Completely Different Kind of Shot

Here's a completely different ice cream novelty experience. Good Humor-Breyers Ice Cream, Green Bay, Wis., offers its Popsicle Shots, which come in a tube. However, the resemblance to a tube or stick novelty ends there. This is not a solid frozen novelty. Instead, it consists of a ton of small frozen spheres (the company calls them micro-sized ice beads) of lemon lime ice, in a tube. Consumers pour this novelty into their mouths.

The delivery method of this frozen treat mirrors a trend in salty snacks—products that pour from the container into your mouth—no hands required. Perhaps products like this allow consumers to have a snack and not stop tapping away at their computers, or text-messaging on their cell phones. Although clearly aimed at younger consumers (especially teens), this concept would work well for adults, too, in adult flavors and upscale packaging.

Water, high fructose corn syrup, coconut oil, carrageenan, mono & diglycerides, pectin, sucrose, milk protein, malic acid, citric acid, polysorbate 80, natural & artificial flavors, yellow 5, salt, blue 1, acesulfame potassium, aspartame; phenylketonurics: contains phenylalanine

Serving size 1 piece (43g), servings per container 6, calories 10, calories from fat 5, total fat 0.5g, sodium 15mg, total carbohydrate 2g, sugars 1g, protein 0g; not a significant source of saturated fat, cholesterol, fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, iron

Global Trends

Food products of note from around the world. Recently, there has been much new product development activity for the Nestle-owned Milkybar brand, with attempts to attract older consumers. For example, Milkybar Chunky and Milkybar Munchies have launched in the United Kingdom. Now, in Australia, is a new Milkybar Creamy tablet bar for adults, in creamy white, creamy caramel, and milk & cookies varieties.

Already in biscuit form and more recently in “little” formats, the Rolo chocolate brand from Nestle is being extended again. New in the U.K. is a Rolo chocolate sponge cake with a soft toffee filling.

The popularity of fruity & creamy hard sweets—such as Campino from Storck, and Polo Smoothies from Nestle—continues with new entrants to the market. In France, Fruit-Tella fruit & cream sweets from Perfetti Van Melle are made with 6.8% creme fraiche and 3% fruit juice.

Though better known for premium and “sophisticated” lines, Lindt & Sprüngli has taken a novelty route with its latest launch—carrot-shaped chocolates on sticks for Easter in Australia.

The savory snacks market continues to see interesting flavor and format developments. In the Netherlands, a premium touch is being added to the Lay's brand with the use of a named cheese variety. Smiths Food Group (PepsiCo) now offers Mediterraneas—Greek feta cheese-flavored crisps that also feature olive oil. In Asia, unusual fruity flavors are being added to savory snacks. For example, from Regent Foods in the Philippines, mini ball-shaped corn snacks have a melon flavor and also are flavored with yogurt.

Launching a New Product?

If so, contact Lynn Dornblaser at Mintel/GNPD, 213 W. Institute Pl., Suite 208, Chicago, IL 60610. Call 312-932-0600, fax 312-932-0474, or emailldornbla@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.