Getting into the Groove

Glucosamine, an amino acid that helps maintain joint mobility, is available in more than caplet supplement form. Reno, Nev.-based BioEssentials has launched Motion Potion Dietary Supplement, described as a lightly carbonated beverage touting health and wellness benefits. It is fortified with vitamins and minerals and 1,500mg of glucosamine and 1,000mg of taurine. Twisted-Orange Apricot, Twisted Berry, and Twisted Lemon flavors are available. The product is targeted to all age brackets including young athletes, to keep joints in good repair, as well as to adults who want their joints to feel like they used to, and to athletes to keep their bodies limber.

Glucosamine also is readily available in another food/supplement format, soft candy chews. Salt Lake City-based Life Smart added peanut butter-flavored and chocolate-flavored soft chews to its line, featuring joint helpers like MSM, chondroitan, and glucosamine.

Paging Dr. Phil

Given Dr. Phil McGraw's near cult following as daytime's personal counselor and friend, it was just a matter of time before the merchandising kicked in. Dr. Phil has launched a line of nutrition products aimed at consumers who want to “change your behavior and take control of your weight.”

The line, called Shape Up! With Dr. Phil McGraw, is available at drug stores and includes nutrition bars and nutrition shake mixes. Soon to follow is a weight management book by Dr. Phil called The Ultimate Weight Solution. The Shape Up products are produced by Irving, Texas-based CSA Nutritionals.

Dressing Up

Kraft Foods (Glenview, Ill.) is expanding its offerings by taking new looks at its existing brands and building on established recognition. Grey Poupon brings to mind mustard and those cheesy advertisements “…Excuse me, but do you happen to have any Grey Poupon…” Well, the two gentlemen may have more to discuss, as the brand now includes Honey Dijon Premium Dressing. It is retailing in a large 24-fl. oz. bottle for $3.99 in select markets.

Kraft's Planters nut line now includes Planters Nut Poppers, which bridge the gap between the premium nut segment and salty snacks. Priced down to the level of chips and pretzels ($2.19 per 6.5-oz. pouch), the product is a peanut coated in a crunchy, flavored shell coating and is available in flavors like cheddar and ranch. Another brand modification targets the adult market. Jell-O Smoothie Snacks feature real fruit, have only 100 calories and 2.5g of fat. The chilled snack comes in a Strawberry Banana flavor.

For a Younger Generation

Abbott Labs' (Abbott Park, Ill.) Ensure brand has undergone a facelift in an effort to attract a new generation of customers. Formerly sold in metal cans, the line is now available in 8-fl. oz. resealable plastic bottles for consumers on the go. The change was made in the hopes of drawing a younger customer base, which demands added convenience. The meal-replacement drink contains 24 essential vitamins and minerals and added lutein for eye health support.

For the Sweet

Nearly every major U.S. candy manufacturer has launched a low-sugar version of popular products in the last six months. Hershey's (Hershey, Pa.) added sugar-free versions of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, Hershey's Chocolate, Dark Chocolate, and Chocolate & Almonds, all using Splenda as the artificial sweetener. The line also sports the American Diabetic Association's logo.

Leading the charge in low-carbohydrate candies is the Russell Stover (Kansas City, Mo.) Low-Carb brand line, which includes most of the Russell Stover favorites: peanut butter cups, mint patties, and pecan delights. The peanut butter cups have 2.4g net carbohydrates per piece. Another entry of late comes from Nestle (Glendale, Calif.), which added a Sugar Free Nips Hard Candy. It claims to have 0 sugar carbs and 0 impact carbs, and is available in caramel and coffee varieties. Private label manufacturers are getting in on the market as well, as CVS Drugstores (Woonsocket, R.I.) recently added Sugar Free Strawberry Crème Chews to its CVS Gold Emblem label. Now that the low-sugar idea has firmly planted itself in the mainstream candy market, the shelfstable bakery market could be next. With such a mass focus on childhood obesity, portion size, and junk food consumption, a low-sugar bakery market that appeals to both kids and moms is necessary, as kids won't give up Twinkies and Ding Dongs in favor of carrot sticks overnight.

GlobalTrends

The Kraft-owned Vegemite yeast spread brand is attempting to expand its horizons. Recently introduced into Australia were Nabisco-branded (also Kraft-owned) In a Biskit savory snacks with a Vegemite flavor.

The trend of pouch packages continues unabated in both food and non-food markets, offering convenience and portability. Interesting pouched products have appeared in all kinds of categories, including sun care (e.g., Bilboba sun lotion in Italy in a flexible pouch with a spout) and even ice cream (Solero Smoover from Unilever). The latest such packaged introduction is a chilled creamy milk drink in Switzerland called Pocket Cream. Introduced by Nutrifrais, the vanilla-flavored milk beverage is packaged in a 150g plastic pouch with a resealable screw cap.

Mainstream players continue to introduce “energy-” positioned chocolate bars. Past examples have included Cadbury's Boost Guarana, Milka Energy from Kraft Jacobs Suchard and Ritter Sport Guarana Crunch from Alfred Ritter. Cadbury continues the trend with the South African introduction of the Tempo countline. It comprises a 57g shortcake biscuit bar with guarana and caramel, coated in Cadbury Dairy milk chocolate.

The “boil-in-the-bag” cooking process has done much to make cooking rice easier and facilitate portion control. Now, years later, the concept has moved into the dry pasta market with a number of boil-in-the-bag children's pasta products. For example, back in April 2003, Belgium saw the launch of boil-in-the-bag Soubry Kids Pasta, animal-shaped pasta enriched with vitamins, calcium and iron. Now, another pasta maker, Lustucru, has done the same in France with single-serve La Bande à Lustucru, boil-in-the-bag pasta for kids in assorted shape varieties (bears, alphabet letters, shells). The Lustucru line also has a healthy positioning, claiming to be a good source of calcium, as the pasta is made with milk.

German dairy company Müller is making more moves outside of its core yogurt industry. Already producing some smoothie-style and whey-and-fruit drinks, the company has extended further within the juices segment with its latest offering in the Netherlands. Juicer is a single-serve, bottled fruit drink range formulated with a blend of fruit juice and milk protein/lactoserum (whey). It is further enriched with vitamins A, C and E, and is available in Tropical, Apple-Guava-Strawberry, and Orange-Mango varieties.

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.