In the Mix

Long gone are the days when simple chocolate chip or sugar cookies were the only choices for those looking for a simple, warm-from-the-oven cookie treat. Pre-portioned, extra-big and multiple inclusions are now the words of the day in the refrigerated cookie area, and General Mills (Minneapolis) is taking the latter approach to cookie mixes.

The company believes consumers might want an extra nut in with their chocolate chip cookies and has added walnuts to the Betty Crocker lineup. At the very least, it adds to the growing variety of comfort foods making their way to grocery aisles.

According to the company, the Betty Crocker Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix is the first walnut chocolate chip flavor in the cookie mix category. Considering that walnut chocolate chip has "always been a classic cookie flavor for scratch bakers," according to a company spokesperson, the new variety seems like a natural extension. The mix requires an egg, plus butter or oil, and will produce about three dozen cookies.

To the Top

Realizing the popularity of butter and honey as toppings for biscuits, General Mills (Minneapolis) is looking to save consumers a bit of time and effort by pre-topping the flavors on its new biscuit mix.

According to General Mills, butter is the topping most often added to biscuits, with honey fourth on the list of consumer preferences. Bisquick Complete Honey-Butter Biscuit Mix requires the consumer to add water, stir and bake—a process requiring less than 15 minutes, the company promises.

The honey-butter variety joins a growing line of Bisquick Complete varieties, including cheese-garlic, buttermilk, cinnamon swirl, and three-cheese biscuits. A General Mills spokesperson says the honey-butter variety is more than just a breakfast treat or an accompaniment for a meal, suggesting the biscuits can serve as a snack on their own.

From Health

Dean Foods (Dallas) believes consumers' desire for more healthful products is stretching into the dessert aisles and will experiment with adding a nutritious boost to a couple of its most popular ice creams.

“A growing number of consumers are looking for healthier meal and snack options,” says Dave Rotunno, director of marketing for Dean Foods Company. “Ice cream is no exception. We've taken two of our most popular rich and creamy flavors and added a healthy punch.”

A vanilla ice cream features added calcium, the company noting the dual purpose behind this move. It increases calcium for growing teens, while also helping Boomers maintain bone density. Each serving of Dean's Calcium Enriched Vanilla has 30% of the daily calcium requirements per serving, triple the amount of the company's regular vanilla.

The no-sugar added Moose Tracks flavor of Dean's ice cream benefits consumers looking for less sugar. One serving has 5g of refined sugar, quite a drop from the 17g of the company's regular Moose Tracks.

Energy from Mars

Determining that the energy bar category could use a boost in taste, Masterfoods USA (Hackettstown, N.J.) is looking to bring a familiar flavor to the segment.

The Snickers Marathon bar promises to taste similar to Masterfoods' top-selling candy bar. Though the company covers a variety of categories, such as side dishes and pet foods, the move into energy bars reflects a recent attitude of exploration. As a company spokesperson notes, “We feel like we can do so much more.”

Its latest focus is a category that has seen its sales jump more than 14% in the last year, according to Information Resources Inc. (Chicago), to nearly $600 million, excluding Wal-Mart sales.

Snickers Marathons will be 2-ounce bars with either a chewy chocolate peanut or multi-grain crunch, each promising the Snickers' taste trio of chocolate, peanuts and caramel. Each is fortified with 16 vitamins and minerals, and promises about 10g of a “special protein blend,” all designed to provide a long-lasting energy boost.