Diets and Candy?

Some unique candy products are hitting the market right now, designed especially for diet-conscious consumers. SoYummi (Montreal) Gummi Sours will appeal to the organic, health-market buyer. The confection is made with organic agave fruit juice and non-GMO soy ingredients and comes in three fruit flavors.

Kansas City-based Russell Stover Candies is appealing to low-carbohydrate dieters with its Russell Stover Low Carb brand of options, including mint patties and toffee squares, which contain zero sugar carbohydrates. Lastly, Innovative Candy Concepts adds Sinfully Delicious Candy Bites to its lineup. Tagged as “guilt free,” the line is described as “real desserts without all the calories.” The soft candies contain only 2 calories each and are fat- and sugar-free. Flavors include key lime pie, mocha butterscotch sundae, and Southern peach cobbler.

No Kitting

Making a convenient dinner is moving in a tangential direction from meal kits, as witnessed by some recent introductions. Some components of a typical meal kit—pasta, rice, gravy, seasoning packet—already reside in most consumers' pantries. So, all that's needed is the toppings. A new line from Tony Chachere's (Opelousas, La.) is called Rice & Pasta Toppers and includes varieties like Red Beans Seasoned with Sliced Smoked Sausage, and Chicken and Smoked Sausage Jambalaya. Heat the jarred sauces/gravies on the stovetop and pour it over rice or pasta.

Another new line is from ConAgra (Omaha, Neb.) called Banquet Meal Toppers. These “meat in sauce” varieties are poured over rice, noodles or potatoes and come in Chicken, Turkey and Beef varieties. The product is microwaveable, and an 18-oz. pouch (serving four) retails for about $3.

A Healthy Advantage

Most major supermarket chains are providing a private label brand with healthful connotations. Safeway (Pleasanton, Calif.) has revived the Safeway Select Healthy Advantage brand and added palate-pleasing tastes. All products are listed in some way as low-fat, low-calorie or low-cholesterol, and offer shoppers a healthful option. New on the line are Oatmeal & Raisin Low Fat Cookies, Muesli Low Fat Cereal, and Blueberry Low Fat Waffles.

Other “health” lines available include Hy-Vee Health Market (West Des Moines, Iowa), Harris Teeter Naturals (Matthews, N.C.) and several Trader Joe's (Monrovia, Calif.) labels. The emergence of such targeted private labels offers consumers the opportunity to try organic or all-natural products without having to travel to a specialty market, as often there is not a comparable branded product available at a competitive price.

The Replacements

New in Canada is a line of meal replacement bars and shakes under the Adrien Gagnon Nutriforme brand (LaPrairie, Quebec, Canada). Each product in the line is supposed to help the user lose weight by providing the right amounts of energy while on a calorie-reduced diet plan. The meal replacement bars come in Crunchy Peanuts, Chocolate Brownie, and Fruit varieties. The shakes, interestingly enough, come both in ready-to-drink forms (in cans) and in a powder format, where the package also includes a convenient plastic shaker in which to mix the product.

Meal replacement bars are growing more popular due to their convenience and fixed nutritional content. Avon (New York) has added them to their Avon Slimwell line, available in a Chocolate Toffee Crisp flavor. Under the Meso-Tech brand—from Muscletech Research and Development (Mississauga, Ontario)—comes a meal replacement bar designed for body builders. It is packed with whey protein and vitamins and minerals, available in Triple Layer Wild Berry Crisp flavor.