Hitting the Shelves
A Splash of FlavorJoining the myriad of flavored waters already on the market is PepsiCo's (Purchase, N.Y.) release of its new Aquafina FlavorSplash Flavored Water. Flavored with the likes of raspberry, wildberry and citrus, the water is intended as a complement to Gatorade's (Chicago) Propel Fitness Water, with FlavorSplash positioned for refreshment and Propel having a fitness positioning. FlavorSplash is touted as being naturally flavored and free of sodium, sugar, carbohydrates and calories.
This is not Aquafina's first attempt to release a non-carbonated flavored variety of its well-known water brand, as early 2002 saw the introduction of Aquafina Essentials, a vitamin-enhanced flavored water. This new product is different, as it is not fortified with vitamins.
Easy & CheesyGeneral Mills (Minneapolis) recently introduced its new Pop-Secret 1-Step Premium Popcorn--a new popcorn variety that “Pops Up Cheesy,” according to the company. This product is different from other flavored popcorn varieties in the sense that past introductions require two steps--the cooking of the popcorn and then the addition of the flavor (typically a separate pack of flavored powder).
With Pop-Secret 1-Step Premium Popcorn, all the consumer needs is a microwave. The product is available in White Cheddar and Cheddar flavor varieties.
An Upscale, Organic TreatNew from retailer Whole Foods Market (Plano, Texas) is the Whole Treat Lemon Raspberry Tart. Described by the company as an “elegant tart,” the product has a shortbread crust filled with organic lemon curd, covered with raspberry glaze and topped with a swirl of Belgian white chocolate.
Setting this dessert apart is its organic positioning, not something often found in this category. Additionally, it is an upscale product from Whole Foods and has a new secondary brand name--Whole Treat. It seems as though the retailer is attempting to offer more upscale, indulgent products to compete better against competitors such as Trader Joe's (Monrovia, Calif.).
Double DippingIn an attempt to keep up with the Joneses in the convenience and on-the-go arena, Kraft Foods North America (Northfield, Ill.) recently merged its Handi-Snacks and Oreo brands to create Handi-Snacks Oreo Cookie Sticks 'n Crème Snack Packs. The single-serve pack contains Oreo chocolate cookie sticks and a tub of vanilla creme. In the past, many varieties of Handi-Snacks have emerged, ranging from pretzels to crackers to breadsticks. However, never before has Oreo been brought to this brand.
This is another move on Kraft's part to extend its Oreo brand further. The on-the-go children's snack (or, in some cases, dessert) is ideal for lunchboxes, as well as for controlling portions. Each snack pack contains five servings.
Battling DinosaursAnother recent introduction of note from Kraft Foods North America (Northfield, Ill.) is its Nabisco Ritz Dinosaurs Crackers. This is just one more example of the company's attempt to stray from its traditional Ritz cracker shape, as seen in the introductions of Ritz Sticks and Ritz Chips in 2004. The most interesting aspect of this product, however, is not necessarily the new shape. The package's copy reads “25% Less Fat Than Goldfish,” suggesting the product is now in direct competition with Pepperidge Farm's (Norwalk, Conn.) Goldfish crackers.
GlobalTrendsIn Germany, Kuchenmeister has launched a range of ready-made dough for home baking, and the convenience of the product is its key selling point. The range is sold in convenient baking tins, so that all consumers have to do is remove the sleeve and place the ready-to-bake preparation in the oven. It is available in four varieties: Marmor-Kuchen (marble cake); Zitronen-Kuchen (lemon cake): Stracciatella-Kuchen (stracciatella cake); and Schoko-Kuchen (chocolate cake).
The battle to win consumers' taste buds can drive food and drink makers to create the most unusual products, ones that certainly do not go unnoticed on store shelves. This is the case for Orindo Alam Ayu's Mable orange drink in Indonesia. The unusual-looking drink with an orange taste features orange particles floating in a clear liquid. Also available is a variant with green particles, with a Fuji apple flavor and vitamin C.
In New Zealand, under its Moccona brand, Douwe Egberts introduced an indulgent ground coffee, said to be ideal for plunger, espresso and drip-filter coffees. This product is interesting for its unique packaging, which comprises a glass jar, sealed with a “freshness seal”--normally only seen in flexible coffee bags. The jar is topped with a resealable lid and contains level marks, so it can be used as a measuring cup.
Aloe vera is known widely for its skin-soothing properties and, when taken internally, it is said to soothe stomach irritation, aid in healing and help cure ulcers. Aloe vera as a food ingredient is becoming increasingly popular, mostly in dairy sub-categories such as yogurts and yogurt drinks, but also in other categories such as chocolate confectionery. Across Europe, Stieffenhofer introduced Jogurt Gebäck, biscuits with 20% yogurt aloe vera cream and 20% milk chocolate, for a fresh and healthy treat.
Consumers now are looking for different and even more extreme tastes. To satisfy this demand, Molkerei Alois Müller brings out a “flavor of the month” several times a year for its Müller corner yogurt. January's flavor of the month” (Eckes des Monats) was Cherry Cola cocktail, a cola-flavored, creamy yogurt with a separate helping of cherry fruit preparation in the corner.