Breakfast on the Run

Eating on-the-go has seen the development of portable options in just about every product category, but a key area of focus has been breakfast products. One of the latest developments is from Kellogg (Battle Creek, Mich.), with its Drink 'n Crunch, a portable breakfast cereal in a cup encouraging consumers to “just add milk.” It fits in car cup holders.

In this case, the product is a cup-within-a-cup, containing 1.27oz. of Kellogg's cereal—varieties available include Crunchy Blends Low Fat Granola, Fruit Loops and Tony's Frosted Crunch sweetened corn cereal. The package includes an inner plastic cup containing the cereal, while milk can be added up to a fill line in the outer plastic cup. After adding the milk, the inner cup can be snap-fit back inside. The milk and cereal then can be consumed straight from the cup, through an aperture in the lid, with no need for spoons or bowls.

Self-heating Cans--Again

This month, the U.S. sees not one but two self-heating cans. There is a self-heating coffee under the Wolfgang Puck (Beverly Hills, Calif.) brand name. Just getting distribution in stores now, its staying power will be something to watch. The second is from a company called OnTech (San Diego) and is sold under the well-known Hillside Coffee brand. The packaging and functionality of the OnTech product is the same as the Wolfgang Puck product. This concept has been attempted by other companies in Europe, with very limited success, as typically the products sell at too great a premium to generate repeat purchases long-term.

When the button on the bottom of the can is pushed, the contents heat to over 140 degrees within six to eight minutes and remain warm for 30 minutes.

Stick It to Me

Peanut butter normally comes in a jar for spreading onto bread or crackers. When cooking with peanut butter, it often can be a mess to scoop and measure to get the right amount. Now, J.M. Smucker (Orrville, Ohio) has introduced Jif Peanut Butter in pre-measured sticks of one cup each. Just like wrappers for margarine, the peanut butter stick containers are conveniently marked so that only the needed portion can be removed. Each individual one-cup portion comes in a foil container with a plastic lid.

The packaging is a logical extension for the company, which also offers its Crisco shortening in similar sticks. Recipes on the wrapper give specific instructions for using both the Jif and the Crisco baking sticks. Not surprisingly, the product sells at a significant premium (in line with Jif peanut butter).

Package Changes Functionality

Sometimes, the simplest packaging changes can make a profound change in a product's positioning and functionality. That is what Kraft (Northfield, Ill.) has done with its Kraft Real Mayo in the U.S. The company switched its round jar from glass to plastic some time ago but now has changed the shape of the plastic. The plastic "jar" is now oval. While it now is easier to grip, more importantly, it is sized to fit in the door of a standard U.S. refrigerator.

Making the package stand out, however, is the lid and how it works. The lid is a fairly standard cap that flips up, with a foil seal. The seal comes off via a pull tab, and the lid snaps back on. The inside of the lid has a flat edge perfectly shaped to "swipe your knife" when finished spreading mayo on a sandwich. In addition, the wide opening is easy to spoon from.

In the North Woods

A Michigan company called Norwegian Jake's (Warren, Mich.) has entered the lunch kit market with a product that may have appeal beyond kids. For kids (and adults) who may find the flat packs of Lunchables (Kraft, Northfield, Ill.) not quite cool enough, this company offers Norwegian Jake's Backpack Lunch. This lunch comes in a sturdy canister that goes into a backpack or briefcase. Like many other lunch kits, it includes branded meat, cheese, beverage and dessert. These also come with flatbread for wraps (ham, turkey, pizza, or peanut butter & jelly). Surprisingly, although the company is called Norwegian Jake's, the flatbread does not contain potato, so it is not actually lefse, as would be expected.

The product stands out because of its positioning and canister packaging. The nutrition facts panel indicates the products are a normal lunch size for a teen or adult (about 320 calories for the 6oz. lunch), although it is not a low-fat meal. It is hard to know if this small brand can stand a chance against behemoth Lunchables, but this larger size and clearer teen focus may bode well for the line.


Activity continues in full force in the alcoholic beverages market. Just launched in France is Kronenbourg Punch, an amber-colored aromatic beer that looks like a flavored alcoholic beverage (FAB), with scented notes of rum, citrus fruits and exotic fruits. In the wine sector, Kim Crawford Wines has introduced a drink targeted at the gay community in Australia. The pink-colored wine is called Pansy and claims to symbolize friendship, kindness and generosity of the human spirit.

The Neuzelle Kloster Brewery, a 400-year-old company in eastern Germany, has announced its latest beer is enriched with ingredients that “maintain good health and slow down the aging process.” The drink, which carries an “anti-aging” claim on the label, has 4.8% alcohol by volume (ABV), and healthy ingredients such as spirulina, an algae rich in proteins, iron and vitamins. It also contains flavonoids, antioxidants typically found in tea, red wine and some fruits, which are believed by scientists to restore elasticity in the skin. It is currently available in Germany.

Swift & Moore has created the perfect workout log for lazy lumberjacks! It is a six-pack of pre-mixed Canadian Club whisky and cola in cans, packaged in an innovative log-shaped, foam-style bag that keeps the contents chilled for longer, with a handle to carry it across the shoulder. This multi-pack allows the consumer “to get a 6-pack instantly,” with no exercise required. It is new in Australia.

Now available in Australia is Benco Pacific's Freshshot Herb Chilli, eight single shots of chili paste that are ready to use, individually packed and sealed for convenience. More chilies come from Australia, where Normandie Foods has introduced a chili jam to accompany grilled meats, fish and baked chicken or for use in toasted sandwiches, with soft cheeses, as a dip or as a base ingredient in tarts.

Choice in the instant coffee market already is abundant, with indulgent flavors such as vanilla, chocolate, hazelnut and Irish cream. Now in Belgium is Momenti, a selection of sugar cubes with creamy flavors, which can turn every coffee into a specialty. Douwe Egberts' sugar cubes selection comprises assorted flavors such as: Irish cream, amaretto, praliné and chocolate.