Why Can't Our Fromage be Frais?

Why can't Americans warm up to fromage frais? Dannon's attempt way back in 1987 went nowhere, but the name was great--Fruit Moos.

Apparently, they "get it" in Canada. Sunfresh, Toronto, Ontario, under the private label President's Choice name offers Mini Moo-Mou fromage frais cups. Just like the old U.S. Dannon product, this one is geared to kids, fruit flavored and in small cups. They come in the now-classic six-pack of 60 g cups. Each of the three 6-ct. packages contains two of the following varieties: Strawberry-Banana, Vanilla and Cherry; Fruit Punch, Grape and Peach; or Strawberry, Banana and Orange. They retail for C$1.99 throughout Ontario.

Staying Lean

Much of the innovation with flavoring, packaging, and forms in the meat case seems to be coming from the pork segment. "The other white meat" pioneered the flavored uncooked long-shelf-life branded meats now seen not only with pork but also with beef and lamb.

One of the newest pork products is from Hatfield, Hatfield, Pa. Unflavored and uncooked, Simply Tender Fresh Pork is injected with a solution to ensure tenderness. Also setting the product apart from competitors is the packaging--in a vacuum pack made from materials designed to eliminate leaks. A variety of cuts are offered; all are premium priced.

Now that the pork industry has decided to eliminate its check off program, pork product innovation may take a slide. Stay tuned.

SoBe or Not SoBe?

That is the question for Pepsico. As South Beach Beverage, Norwalk, Conn., becomes integrated with Pepsico, plenty of changes will no doubt emerge. What also will be interesting is whether the company keeps this product, now that it has just acquired Quaker Oats (and the Gatorade brand).

This new product from South Beach is a sports drink. What makes this just a bit different from the other Gatorade products is that it contains guarana. Available in four flavors: Orange, Lemon-Lime, Tropical and Fruit Punch, just the guarana (plus a cool name and packaging) differentiates it from Gatorade. Perhaps the SoBe brand may become just about herbal enhancements, with its Adrenaline Rush energy drink extending into a pseudo-sports drink as well. For those who may not know, Adrenaline is So Be's version of Red Bull (caffeine, ginseng, and guarana citrus-flavored drink).

Ah, the Powers of Soy

Dozens of companies have soy products, but only this one has the name that says it all. DrSoy.com, Irvine, Calif., has a broad line of cereals, snack bars, milk substitutes and soy nuts. This soy protein bar is the latest in that line.

What's a bit unique about this product line is that not only can they be purchased in health food stores, but the company also sells them over the Internet at www.drsoy.com.

Soy products, in general, continue to boom. They appear in just about every category, geared to all age groups--although women of a certain age do seem to be favored. As the benefits of soy continue to be uncovered, expect introductions to remain at their current strong pace.

A New Kind Of Combo Pak

Ready-to-eat cookies are usually in combination packages. These are probably the first dessert mixes in a combo pack. Continental Mills, Tukwila, Wash., is selling them in gourmet stores. The 55-ounce box contains: fudge & truffle mix, almond roca cookie bar mix and shortbread cookie mix. The Dessert Collection retails in supermarkets for about $3.69.

It's a terrific concept. Perhaps some of the biggest companies should follow suit. What about Duncan Hines cake mixes in combo packs, or Quaker Oats cookie mixes the same way?