aTurned Upside Down

Could upside-down packaging labels be among the next big trends? Dr Pepper/7Up (Plano, Texas) launched an upended version of mainstay 7Up last year, and in the wake of dnL's success, a sibling is taking the same course.

Now, Snapple Beverage Group (White Plains, N.Y.) has debuted its new Kiwi Teawi Iced Tea with an upside-down label. Dr Pepper/7Up and Snapple are both under the Cadbury Schweppes umbrella. The new launch is a further use of the Kiwi flavor at Snapple, whose Kiwi Strawberry juice drink has proven popular. Kiwi Teawi is a light, kiwi-flavored iced tea, the first of its kind, according to the company. All-natural and real-brewed, Snapple's new iced tea is available in convenience stores and supermarkets.

In other Snapple news, the company has introduced a line of meal replacement beverages. The Snapple a Day line includes peach, strawberry banana, and tropical blend flavors that are 99% fat free and enriched with 24 essential vitamins and minerals.

Look, Up in the Skyy

Skyy Spirits LLC (San Francisco), well known for its vodka, is looking to compete with other segments of the U.S. spirits market. A "pure alternative to spiced rum," Skyy Spiced is a blend of natural spice flavors including cinnamon, nutmeg and clove essence, and joins Skyy Berry and Skyy Vanilla as new super-premium vodkas from the company.

Skyy Berry blends all-natural raspberry, blueberry and blackberry flavors with a strong raspberry bouquet and berry taste. Skyy Vanilla is a blend of Madagascar vanilla bean with hints of amaretto, offering a strong vanilla bouquet with a smooth and creamy taste.

The new flavors will launch in Skyy's new ultra-premium packaging, now used for all Skyy vodkas. The entire line is found in cobalt blue bottles with a new cap and sleek neck design, as well as a silver Skyy logo for Skyy vodka and color-coded logos for each flavor.

Ape for Grape

Grape seed extract appears to be an ingredient to watch. A hot topic in recent years, the extract is rich in bioflavanoids and has been the subject of antioxidant research and media attention. The reason is apparent: grape seed extract is a known source of free radical-fighting antioxidants.

South Beach Beverage Company (SoBe) (Norwalk, Conn.), recognizing the "growing consumer interest in the benefits associated with grapes and grape juice products," has launched Long John Lizard's Grape Grog. The company's first grape beverage joins their 20-oz. line.

In addition to the grape seed extract, Long John Lizard's Grape Grog has other "better-for-you" ingredients, including zinc and vitamin C. According to Scott Moffitt, vice president of marketing with SoBe, "Grape Grog…is flavored with real grape juice. That's the product's key benefit…The fact that Grape Grog has been enhanced with grape seed extract, zinc and vitamin C to give it even more value is simply an added bonus."

War…of Words

France's reluctance to support military action in Iraq is not sitting well with much of America. The results have been entertaining, though not without the potential for lasting consequences.

Restaurants across the country, including the Capitol Hill dining room, have changed their menus to read "freedom fries." Of course, one question has to be asked: Does France care if it is no longer associated with fried strips of potatoes which are, actually, a Belgian cuisine?

Meanwhile, a mustard maker has informed consumers that there is more to its name. French's mustard, from Reckitt-Benckiser Inc. (Wayne, N.J.), was quick to note it debuted from the R.T. French Co. in New York in 1904.

Consumer trend analyst Philip Lempert says results of a recent poll show 71% of respondents believed that political disagreements should carry over to the free trade arena, and 73% believed U.S. consumers should boycott French-made products.