Decorating Made Easy

New from Betty Crocker (General Mills, Minneapolis) are Drizzlers, pourable pouches of a white chocolate flavor confection, suitable for topping desserts. Making this particular product notable is the packaging--a microwaveable stand-up pouch with a tip for decorating.

The consumer places the entire package in the microwave for 30 seconds, kneads the pouch, and then continues to microwave in 15-second intervals until the contents are melted completely. Drizzlers are an example of continuous product development in the area of convenience, as they are simple to use and eliminate much of the prep work that goes into decorating desserts.

Easy-prep Rice Snack

New from Tiger Tiger Marketing (Fair Lawn, N.J.) is Easy Snax Jasmine Rice. Another example of innovative packaging and convenience, the rice is housed in a double-fold, leak-proof carton containing rice and sauce packaged in sachets. These can be emptied into the carton and heated in the microwave in two minutes.

Nothing additional is needed, and preparation is practically non-existent. A fork also is included in the package. This product is perfect for time-strained consumers who need something quick for lunch or a snack.

Tongue Twisters

New from Frito-Lay (Plano, Texas) is its limited-edition Star Wars (a galaxy far, far away) Episode III Cheetos Twisted Cheese Snacks. At first glance, the snack looks like ordinary Cheetos but, when eaten, they are said to temporarily turn the tongue “Yoda green” or “Darth Vader dark” (a mystery until consumed).

This is another example of interactivity in snacks for kids, similar to what was seen in Pringles Prints (launched in the summer of 2004 by Procter & Gamble, Cincinnati), where words and images were printed directly on the chip. The difference between the two products, however, is that Frito-Lay has managed to target both children and adults with a common interest in Star Wars films.

Green Tea to Go

Lipton (Unilever, Englewood Cliffs, N.J.), following Kraft's (Northfield, Ill.) launch of Crystal Light On the Go Soft Drink Mix, has introduced a convenient, on-the-go beverage of its own. The company's Green Tea To Go Iced Tea Mix works identically to Crystal Light On the Go, where the consumer needs only to pour the contents of the single-serve stick pack straight into a bottle of water, shake well, and voila!--instant iced tea anywhere a bottle of water can be taken.

The products are different in only a few ways. Lipton's contains 80mg of protective flavonoid antioxidants, which claim to protect the body against free radicals. Additionally, Lipton's tea is sugar- and calorie-free and naturally flavored with Honey & Lemon and Mandarin & Mango.

Shake It Up

New from Oscar Mayer Foods (Madison, Wis.) is Lunchables Chicken Shake-Ups Meal. Each package contains five pre-cooked, breaded, nugget-shaped chicken patties, a nacho cheese seasoning packet, an Oreo-flavored Jell-O pudding stick, and a Kool-Aid Jammers 10 tropical punch juice drink.

The Shake-Ups concept allows children to tear open the package of chicken nuggets, pour the nacho cheese seasoning into the package, seal it and shake it to coat the chicken nuggets with flavoring. This is a perfect example of interactivity designed especially for the younger consumer. Not only does this provide an element of fun in meal preparation, it allows the child to prepare it completely without help from an adult. Additionally, it is convenient and does not need to be heated, so the child could eat it in the car, the lunchroom or on the playground.


Fruits and vegetables comprise a market segment with a limited scope for innovation in terms of formulation and recipes; hence, a new package or format often makes these products stand out. Vergers d'Anjou's Zapple in France is the latest example of innovation within a very dormant sector. The product concept is very simple: an apple cut in slices and conveniently packaged in a “freshness” sachet. It can be taken anywhere and consumed at any time (in packed lunches, for instance).

In the tradition of such Latin American grain varieties as cereales (grains) and fibras (fiber), Mexican consumers have served witness to a significant rise in bakery and snack products with linaza (linseed) and amaranto (amaranth) grains as primary flavors and ingredients. The grains are touted for the numerous health benefits they provide, including disease prevention, facilitation of everyday bodily function and vitamin enrichment.

In Germany, Bergader launched a range of “snack-bars” with a difference. They comprise a slice of dark whole-meal bread and a slice of Bergader cheese. The individually wrapped snack bar is free from preservatives and is available in two flavors: plain and chili-paprika.

Although not a completely new idea, it is nonetheless interesting to see savory snack flavors continuing to become more dish-specific, rather than focusing on broad regional flavors such as Italian, Mexican or Greek. Pizza-, Bolognese- and even shish kebab-flavored potato snacks can be found. However, new in Germany from Lorenz Bahlsen Snack-World, under its Bahlsen savory snack brand, is an enchilada potato snack variety. As with the Mexican enchilada meal, the new snacks are said to have a tomato and kidney bean flavor with a chili kick.

Summer has arrived and, with it, barbecue season and outdoor eating time. It used to be that the only option for a vegetarian would be the same old veggie burgers and veggie sausages. However, in Germany, Emmi launched a range of soft marinated cheese chunks, ready for the pan or the barbecue, offering vegetarian consumers an alternative. Pfännli-Chäs' marinated cheeses are manufactured with no additives, flavor enhancers or batter and are available in two varieties: barbecue and Provençale.