Global Trends

Flavors take a twist. This month turns up some interesting flavor combinations from Latin America, Europe and Asia. In Brazil, Aymore has given a sweet & savory twist to Replay sandwich cookies with a combination filling of cheese and guava. In Japan, Ezaki Glico has launched a cookie range, including such ingredients as green tea and sweet potato. The moist, bite-sized cookies contain 30% sweet potato and cream, or powdered green tea and chocolate chips.

Three interesting products have appeared in Finland. An under-used fruit flavor, pineapple, appears in a new Jaffa chocolate-coated cookie from Fazer. Valmistaja has introduced an organic honey flavored with peppermint oil, while nettle is now found in a new Finnish rye bread from Linkosuon Leipomo, containing 12% fiber.

In the U.K., Kellogg has added a new limited edition toffee- flavored variety to its Frosties line of frosted cornflakes cereal for kids. Frosties Spice, with cinnamon, are new in Germany. Straying from flavors into formats, Kellogg has introduced Breakfast Biscuit in India. This sweet cookie is enriched with liquid glucose, five essential vitamins and calcium. In confectionery, Kraft Jacobs Suchard has added a limited edition cola variety to the Dime chocolate bar line in the U.K.

Mr. Potato Head in Candy Form

Kids have always played with fruit snacks. Now, Nabisco Brands, Parsippany, N.J., offers even more ways. Fun Fruits fruit snacks come in a Wacky Faces variety, are made with real fruit juice and are a high source of vitamins C and E.

The assorted flavors are naturally and artificially flavored in the shapes of eyes, ears, noses, mouths and lips. That way, kids can make a variety of crazy faces. Think Mr. Potato Head without the head. A 10-ct. 9-oz. paperboard box retails for $2.63 in supermarkets nationwide.

PB&J Sandwich Squares

One of this month's more unique products comes from P.J. Squares, Glen Ellyn, Ill. The product looks just like individually wrapped cheese slices but is something completely different. The individually wrapped 1.2-oz. slices of peanut butter layered with jelly are designed to eliminate the mess of making sandwiches and provide a quick and easy snack on crackers, bagels or toast. Available in strawberry and grape flavors, they contain no artificial colors or flavors and no preservatives. They are made from fresh-roasted peanuts and natural fruit juice. The 10-slice 12-oz. packages retail in the sliced cheese section of grocery stores throughout the Midwest.

You have to wonder about this one. Are moms really so busy that they can not manage to slap some peanut butter and jelly on a couple pieces of bread? Maybe the product is more designed for kids to do on their own.

Do the Dew—Anew

There is a new variety of Mountain Dew, first introduced by PepsiCo, Purchase, N.Y., in 1988. In 1988, the first extension was Diet Mountain Dew, which was still the classic yellow-green Dew color and flavor.

This new variety, however, is red and tastes like cherry. Code Red Mountain Dew has a strong cherry flavor, plus all the calories and caffeine typical of Mountain Dew. It is available initially in coolers, vending machines and other retail outlets in 20-oz. and one liter plastic bottles. The 20-oz. bottle retails for $1.19.

Grown Up Girl Power

The latest line of products geared to women comes from a joint venture between Quaker Oats and Novartis. Formed last summer, the company, Altus Foods, was created to develop functional foods for the U.S. market. Its new line, W.I.N. (Women's Individual Nutrition) includes breakfast cereal, snack bars, smoothies and juice drinks. All products in the line contain calcium (a proprietary blend from Novartis called NovaCalcium), soy protein, folic acid, iron and vitamins C, E and D. All those ingredients are designed to aid women's health. The calcium (plus vitamin D) helps strengthen bones. Vitamin E and folic acid help maintain a healthy cardiovascular system, and the B vitamins help “balance your metabolism” and “help convert the complex carbohydrates into energy your body can use.”

Long-term, it is unclear how this line will fare. Luckily, Altus doesn't insist that women consume a certain number of servings per day to get the best benefit. That was one of the requirements that did in other functional food lines like Kellogg's Ensemble. Now, with Quaker Oats part of the Pepsi stable, we very likely could see more snack bars, sports drinks and perhaps even salty snacks with added health benefits, geared just to women.

Getting Jazzed

Coffee or caffeine continue to be used in unique ways. Caffeine shows up in mints and increasingly in candy—most recently in the Jazz collection from Green Mountain Chocolates, Waterbury, Vt.

Sold in gourmet stores, the line has three varieties. French Roast (silver foil) is French roasted coffee trapped in bubbles of dark chocolate. Chai Truffle (copper foil) is a relaxing creation of black tea, milk, cinnamon and many exotic flavors. Last, Mochaccino Truffle (gold foil) carries the theme of chocolate, coffee, cream and cinnamon. Like so many gourmet chocolates, they are individually wrapped and sold in a variety of package sizes, including as changemakers.