Given an Alternative

A new entry into mainstream American supermarkets is Swedish Glace, from Perry's Ice Cream, Akron, N.Y. Suitable for vegetarians, this non-dairy, frozen dessert is made with organic soybeans. Chocolate, vanilla, strawberry and mocha flavors are retailing in Northeastern supermarkets for $3.99.

The last soybean glace entry in the U.S. was in 2000, from WholeSoy, San Francisco. Other notable alternative products of late include a roasted soy and gourmet coffee blend from Rocamojo, Los Angeles, available on the Internet. Certified organic, it contains 50% less caffeine than regular brewed coffee. In Canada, consumers can now enjoy a potato-based milk-type beverage called Tayo, “a refreshing non-dairy beverage.” Available in several flavors, the drink is easy to digest, is cholesterol-, lactose-, and fat-free, and is fortified with several vitamins and minerals. It is available from Tayo Foods and is shelf stable.

Popcorn Smarts

Smart Balance, a line of cholesterol-lowering, heart-healthful dairy products, is branching into snacks. Smart Balance, the manufacturer (GFA Brands, Cresskill, N.J., is the distributor), is now offering Smart Balance Popcorn. Available in Movie Palace Extra Butter and Light Butter varieties, the products have no hydrogenated oil or trans fatty acids and contain a patented oil blend that improves cholesterol.

Similar “functional” foods can be found on the shelf. Also new is Enova. This soy and canola oil blend cooking oil is designed to help people “maintain a healthy weight” because the body processes the oil blend differently than traditional cooking oils. However, it contains the same amount of fat and calories. Enova is the result of ADM Kao, Chicago, a joint venture between Archer Daniels Midland and Japan's KAO Corp.

Candied Cookies

The line between a cookie and a confection is getting blurred in an effort to appeal to the kid and teen market. More and more, traditional cookie brands debut in a confection-like format—such as Oreo Cookie Barz and the Cookies & line from Masterfoods USA, Hackettstown, N.J., which features a cookie bar blended with a variety of different candies—or as a cookie that has candy flavors and products.

Keebler, Elmhurst, Ill., for example, is revitalizing the E.L. Fudge cookie brand with several hip and tasty introductions, including one co-branded with Nestlé's, Glendale, Calif., Butterfinger brand. Butterfinger Blasted Sandwich Cookies mark the first time the brand has been co-branded. Also in the new line is a S'mores Blasted variety. The line features its usual line-up of elves, but also features “Blast Master” Elwood, a modern, kid-friendly elf on the package and imprinted on the cookie.

A Simple Dinner

Companies continue to make preparing dinner easier. The market's focus, however, is starting to wander from kits and to ready-made, easy-prep products. Simply Simmered is a line of seasoned and fully cooked refrigerated meats simmered in a variety of ethnic sauces and includes such varieties as Teriyaki Chicken and Chicken Salsa.

Tyson, Springdale, Ark., is reportedly going to launch a similar 14-item line of heat-and-eat meats later this spring. It will go outside of chicken and include beef and pork cuts in an effort to expand and strengthen its protein offerings. Side dishes are popping up in the refrigerated case as well. Wal-Mart's, Bentonville, Ark., private label Prima Della line includes chilled seasoned mashed potatoes and dirty rice; both are microwave or oven ready.

Mooving Milk

The milk sub-category used to be staid; there was whole, skim and 2% to choose. Now, however milk is fashionable, thanks to the numerous milk and dairy campaigns, as well as further innovations that make milk more accessible, portable and tasty. From the National Dairy Farmers of America comes National Chocolate Milk, the first real chocolate milk in cans. It is designed with retro graphics and is available in vending machines in select markets like hospitals and hotels. The milk is sterile, vitamin-fortified and shelf stable.

Another launch comes from Cadbury-Schweppes, Plano, Texas, in the form of Raging Cow, a milk-based beverage targeted to teens and young adults. The chilled drink retails in five raging flavors like Jamocha Frenzy, Pina Colada Chaos, and Chocolate Caramel Craze. Currently available in Midwestern markets, a national launch will occur in 2004.

In the alternative milk area, including the soy, rice, and even potato milks, there is a new introduction that promotes the healthful benefits of alternative beverages. From Hain-Celestial, Uniondale, N.Y., comes Soy Slender, a sugar-free, reduced-calorie soymilk sweetened with Splenda-brand sweetener. It is high in calcium and soy protein.

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 Information in this column is from the Global New Products Database, the premier source of global product intelligence, published by Mintel International Group.

Sidebar: GlobalTrends

The Snickers countline from Mars appears again in interesting varieties outside of the U.K. Last year, Snickers Almond launched in Singapore. Now, in Russia, the brand has extended further with Snickers Mad Mix, which boasts sunflower seeds and caramel.

More inventive ingredients are being used in dips in an attempt to give added consumer choice and rejuvenate the market. The latest is a lowfat Blue Vein & Asparagus line in New Zealand from Fonterra. Said to be a perfect match for vegetables, chips and crackers, it also can be used with pasta or poured over chicken.

A new tea under the Celestial Seasoning brand from Hain-Celestial Group features the signature maple flavor of Canada with vanilla. Canadian Vanilla Maple tea is naturally decaffeinated and sold in supermarkets.

Touted as a new way to eat healthy, Pure Source presents Veggie Royale Fillet Fish Sticks. This product is all-natural, certified kosher and low in saturated fat and cholesterol. It retails frozen in health food stores throughout Canada.

Canadian consumers now have access to a powerful beverage that not only enhances physical stamina, but also increases vitality and alertness. Molson Canada's Guru Non-Alcoholic Energy Drink also is claimed to improve concentration, which should make this beverage a hit amongst consumers of all genres.

Already available in the U.S. during 2002, Pepsi Blue carbonated soft drink has been spotted in Europe, though only in a limited edition. Pepsi Blue currently is available in the Netherlands, Hungary and Italy.

For the South African summer, Unilever company Ola has introduced Cornetto San'wich, a chocolate ice cream soft biscuit sandwich variant of the traditional Cornetto ice cream cones.

Those that think they have seen it all on pizza flavors better think again. Italians certainly would be astonished if they were served an Asian Pizza, a light-crust pizza topped with pieces of marinated duck meat, Peking sauce, onion and Mozzarella cheese. The product is manufactured by Tee Yih Jia Food Manufacturing under the Spring Home brand and is available in Singapore.