Cookie Crunch

The past few months have seen an increase in the number of cookies released to the market. Cookies are experiencing a few changes and have become genre-specific, as healthier options and others appeal to certain age brackets.

One attention-grabbing entry is from Nature's Health, Chicago, Ill. Its Life Rising Herbal Health Cookies are each specifically formulated to perform a functional duty. The varieties include a Diet Herbal Cookie, to help maintain normal weight; Skin Beauty Cookie, to promote healthy and clear skin; and Happy Stomach Cookie, to support the stomach and spleen, and to improve immune function. Kids see more cookie products targeted towards them on supermarket shelves.

Bar None

Several recent introductions focus on the bar format as their “catch.” Commercials for Oreo Cookie Barz feature kids in awe of a possible improvement on a classic Oreo cookie. Cookie Barz are the classic cookie, elongated into a candy bar shape and coated in fudge.

Also newly repackaged and with a larger distribution are Kellogg's Pop-Tarts Snak-Stix, toaster pastries that come wrapped like regular Pop-Tarts. However, the pastry is segmented off into three sections. Toast it whole, break off a piece (as with a Kit-Kat candy bar) and eat. The product is available in several varieties, including Frosted Double Chocolate and Frosted Caramel Chocolate. By looking at the flavors of the Snak-Stix, the appeal for these types of products is clear. It makes kids think they are consuming a candy bar, and not a thing, suggests it is a healthy breakfast.

Fat Fattens Up

For several years, calorie counters rejoiced! They did not have to look entirely at calorie counts anymore; counting fat grams was so much easier. As the appeal spread, the number of products marketed as “low calorie” dropped sharply in favor of “low fat” claims. Now that is changing—this time, in favor of organic or natural labeling. What is back on the market? Products with fat.

In Canada (where the low calorie, low fat trend didn't catch on as well as it did in the U.S.), Quaker Oats of Canada introduced Oatmeal to Go, oatmeal bars that claim to have as much nutrition as a bowl of Quaker oatmeal. Available in Cinnamon Roll and Oats & Honey varieties, it has a ton of fiber, but a 47g bar also has 6.2g of fat. That sounds high for fat content, but really is not. Nature Valley, a General Mills brand, also recently launched a chewy, tasty bar that has 6g of fat per 35g bar.

Fruity Goodness

Fruit is popping up in cereals in a surprising way. Real dehydrated fruit is packed in with Honey Bunches of Oats. It all started about a year and half ago with Kellogg's Special K's introduction of Red Berries, which originally was released in some European countries in 1999. Based on that success, introductions have included the aforementioned Honey Bunches and other cereals.

Until recently, all the introductions involved strawberry additions. Now, from Quaker comes Baked Apple Life Cereal, which contains real, dehydrated apple slices. It is the brand's first line extension in 25 years, since Cinnamon Life was introduced in 1978.

Bold Branding

Many ice cream tubs, frozen novelties and ice cream cakes bear a brand (other than the manufacturer's) specifying what type of chocolate chunks are in the dessert, or what brand of cookie dough is featured.

Good Humor-Breyers does this with several of its products. Just about every item in its Ice Cream Parlor line bears the name of a candy or cookie. Now the company launches Breyers Ice Cream Cake, made with Hershey's Cocoa. Another variety is made with Oreo.

Ingredients
Hershey's: Ice cream: nonfat milk, cream, sugar, egg yolks, cocoa, natural vanilla flavor, guar gum, carob bean gum; chocolate crunchies: enriched wheat flour (wheat flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), sugar, vegetable shortening (partially hydrogenated soybean and cottonseed oils), corn syrup, cocoa (processed with alkali), palm kernel oil, nonfat dry milk solids, cocoa powder, caramel color, baking soda, salt, soy lecithin, natural flavors; sprinkles: sugar, corn starch, confectioner's glaze, red 3 % 40, blue 1, yellow 5 & 6, carnauba wax; chocolate flavored coating: coconut oil, sugar, cocoa, soy lecithin, vanilla

Nutrition
Serving size 1 slice (68g), servings per container about 13, calories 170, calories from fat 80, total fat 9g, saturated fat 6g, cholesterol 35mg, sodium 75mg, total carbohydrate 19g, dietary fiber 0g, sugars 16g, protein 3g, vitamin A 4%, vitamin C 0%, calcium 10%, iron 2%

Sidebar: Global Trends

Bugs in the straw! The LifeTop straw, developed by BioGaia and marketed by Tetra Pak, has made its U.K. debut. Orchard Maid organic fruit yogurt drinks are packaged in a regular single-serve carton, but the interest lies in the straw attached to the side of the pack. This provides a novel, yet effective, way for the body to obtain probiotic cultures, as Lactobacillus Reuteri is contained in the straw, and released only as liquid passes through it.

The cultures are claimed to aid the body's natural defenses and balance the digestive system. The LifeTop concept means it is possible to avoid problems associated with heating and processing, and allows manufacturers to add a health positioning to their product—without the need for a complete reformulation.

Although the beverage industry's attention is focused most recently on flavored alcoholic beverages (FABs), some companies are exploring other ways of targeting drinkers. Several FAB-style products are based on beer, including Holsten Cooler in Germany, Holsten Fusion in the U.K., and fruit-flavored Grolsch in bottles in the Netherlands. Now, Carlsberg is joining the new segment with the Swedish launch of Cube. This is a bottled, beer-based, mixed drink with a sour lemon flavor and 5% alcohol by volume (ABV).

For kids, the Artiach brand of cookies, from United Biscuits, is entering the functional foods sector with the Spanish launch of Chiquilin Energy. These chocolate chip cookies are formulated with micronutrients claimed to give “intelligent energy,” including physical energy (through carbohydrates, proteins, and fats), and mental energy (through vitamins B1, B2, B6, B12, D, and E, and minerals).

Launching a New Product?
If so, contact Lynn Dornblaser at Mintel/GNPD, 213 W. Institute Pl., Suite 208, Chicago, IL 60610. Call 312-932-0600, fax 312-932-0474, or email ldornbla@mintel-iis.com. Information in this column is from the Global New Products Database, the premier source of global product intelligence, published by Mintel International Group.