Fun flavors abroad

Green tea is in new Mic's branded cookies from Ming Chi Food in Singapore. In the U.K., Fox's new biscuits, Sprinkle Crinkle Crunch, feature a honeycomb biscuit base. In the Netherlands, Mars countline brands (including M&M's and Twix) are being used in new biscuit snacks from Masterfoods.

The popularity of fruit-flavored beers continues to grow in Europe. In Spain, Damm has launched Damm Lemon, said to be the first lemon-flavored beer on the market. Also, the Spanish San Miguel brand has been extended into the alcohol-free sector.

In South Africa, Beacon Sweets & Chocolates has launched Lick & Learn Traffic Lollies, fruit lollipops in plastic wrappers decorated with road signs and quizzes about road safety. Perfetti in Italy has launched a chewing gum with micro-particles to help remove plaque from teeth and to provide a deep feeling of freshness and cleanliness. Marketed under the name Daygum Microtech, the gum is sugar-free.

The Tube Tops

At last year's New Products Conference, it was mentioned that Yoplait USA's R&D had to fight tooth and nail to get their little tube of yogurt, Go-Gurt, on the top of the company's to-do list. That value-added item idea not only ended up being one of the biggest new product success stories in the last few years, but it has spawned a multitude of copycats.

The same company expanded its consumer-targeted idea by offering Expresse, aimed at women, also a tube of yogurt but in more grown-up flavors like Harvest Peach and Raspberry. While the line is doing pretty well, the tube is truly a kid-friendly format, so some other companies have taken the idea and run with it.

Most recently Tree Top, Selah, Wash., has packaged its applesauce in three zany flavors—Zinnamon, Ztrawberry Kiwi, and Razzberry—in plastic tubes and is marketing them as Fruit Rocketz. Also, Conagra's Hunt's Snack Pack Gel snacks have turned up in 2.25-oz. sliders tubes.

The convenience of such packaging is a boon to school lunches, especially with products like the gel snacks and applesauce, which do not need refrigeration. If this format really takes off, expect to see vegetables in tubes too, a la NASA.

Not for Adults!

The wealth of unusual products developed just for kids is fascinating. The flavors are strange. The colors are weird, and the forms are nothing an adult would likely choose. Much in the news is the latest flavor of Heinz's EZ Squirt Ketchup—purple. What adult would want to put a purple condiment on his food? And what kid would not want to?

Most innovation in kids' products is in the confectionery sector. These fun and impulse items have always pushed the envelope. Amurol, a leader in this, has a new variety called Squeeze Pop. It looks a bit like a toothpaste tube but yields a very sour jelly-like substance that is, of course, lime green. That lime green color is actually Sour Apple flavor. A bright blue one is Blue Raspberry. They are the perfect sweet treat to squeeze into your mouth or into your friends' mouths (or clothing, or hair, or whatever). They are kid-priced at 89 cents.

Building on a Brand

It is always impressive when companies can take their mainstay brands and pull and stretch them in new and unusual ways. Nestle certainly is one that has done a good job of this, especially with the KitKat brand. Surprisingly, however, although a number of KitKat flavors are found throughout the world, the U.S. is blessed only with the classic, original variety (not counting new shapes like Big Kat).

However, in Canada, the company offers Coffee Café KitKat, which is just as it sounds—a chocolate-coffee combination. Some flavors available in other parts of the world include White Chocolate KitKat in Hong Kong, China, and India; Mint in Australia, South Africa and Germany; and Orange in the U.K. and Singapore.

Perhaps the company should consider some of those flavors in other parts of the world. The new Canadian flavor would seem to have quite a bit of potential in the U.S. and much of Europe; orange would certainly do well here. There is probably little danger in the consumers becoming confused—just take a look at the success of the different flavors of Twix bars from M&M/Mars.

For Mature Audiences Only

Candy for adults tends not to be oddly colored or flavored. Although the focus these days on confectionery for adults has been in indulgent products, some have bucked that trend. Atkins Nutritionals, known for Atkins Diet products, offers an “indulgent” chocolate bar under the brand name Endulge. It follows the low-carbohydrate Atkins plan. In addition, this candy bar has no added sugar. Instead, it contains maltitol. Eating healthy confectionery products is not necessarily a cost-savings endeavor. This 1.06-oz. bar retails for $1.49, significantly more than regular candy bars.

It will be interesting to see how this bar does. It appears best suited just for consumers committed to a low-carb diet, rather than those seeking an overall “healthy” sweet treat. For that, do not be surprised if consumers turn instead to products like Kellogg's Krave bars, which have plenty of protein and calcium (and carbs) but not nearly as much fat as a traditional candy bar.

A New Flavor, Mon

Procter & Gamble continues to find ways to expand its popular Sunny Delight brand. The latest flavor is Caribbean. In flavor terms, that means it has some passion fruit and grapefruit juices, in addition to the usual orange, tangerine, apple and lime.

The company is selling this flavor in several countries. In the U.S., Spain and the U.K., it is called Caribbean. Gauging by ingredient statements, it appears the new variety in France, Exotic, is the same as Caribbean in the United States. Like other Sunny Delight drinks, it is fortified with vitamins and contains 10% juice. An eight-pack of 6.75-fl. oz. bottles sells for $2.99. In other countries, Sunny Delight is also sold in larger, multi-serve bottles.

Launching a New Product?

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