On the Juice, Too

The July issue of Prepared Foods mentioned the efforts major cola companies Coca-Cola (Atlanta) and PepsiCo (Purchase, N.Y.) are making into the juice category. This month comes word that another beverage maker will join the juice brigade.

This time, however, it is not a cola maker expanding its presence; it is a brand better known for its line of teas. Celestial Seasonings (a division of Hain Celestial Group, Melville, N.Y.) has a wide range of herb, black, green and chai teas, but Zingerade will be its first foray into the juice market.

Zingerade is not merely a juice; however, it is a juice blend, combining the flavors of herb tea, real fruit juices and lemonade. Each of the three varieties--Wild Berry, Sweet Peach Delight and Tropical Ruby Red--provides 100% of the RDI of vitamin C in every glass.

GM Cuts Sugar, Gains Momentum

In efforts to allow chocolate lovers to reduce their carbohydrate consumption, General Mills (Minneapolis) has introduced Momentum Bars. The three varieties--chocolate peanut butter, double chocolate and chocolate caramel nut--have 3g of net carbs, while also providing 15 essential vitamins and minerals and serving as a source of calcium.

Perhaps the biggest news from General Mills, though, has been the announcement that three of its most popular kids' cereals would be offered in a reduced-sugar form. The reduced-sugar versions of Trix, Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Cocoa Puffs have been reformulated using a blend of sugar and sucralose.

According to the company, kids' and adults' liking scores for the cereals were “at parity with the original product for all three cereals” in blind taste tests. The reduced-sugar cereals offer at least 10 essential vitamins and minerals, the same as the original versions, but they also boast only 2g or 3g of sugar per serving.

Acting Sweet

Artificial sweeteners have been one of those ingredients used in wide-scale applications that have increasingly made their way into the consumer pantry. In fact, several branded forms of aspartame can be found in the grocery aisles, but a retail version of sucralose is attempting to take consumer acceptance of artificial sweeteners a step further.

With its retail launch of Splenda[r] Sugar Blend for Baking, McNeil Nutritionals (Fort Washington, Pa.) hopes consumers will accept artificial sweeteners for baking. The product does not dispel sugar completely; it is a blend of sugar and sucralose that cuts the total sugar content in half. A McNeil spokesperson notes the product can be used to replace sugar in all applications, including for browning baked goods.

McNeil advises consumers to substitute a half cup of Splenda Sugar Blend for Baking for every full cup of sugar in a recipe. The 2lb. resealable bags will retail for $6.29-$6.49, which is approximately three times the price of sugar, but still cheaper than the original Splenda.


Heralded by some as the perfect fruit, the banana could be ripe for a change, if Chiquita Brands International (Cincinnati) has its way, reports Associated Press (AP).

Citing competitive reasons, the company is reluctant to specify the flavors under research and will not reveal how the different sorts of bananas will be created, but it did note the fruit will not be genetically modified. However, the true hope of company president and CEO Fernando Aguirre is to make the fruit more appealing to consumers and persuade them to pay more.

Aguirre has seen eight of the new bananas and tasted several of the offerings, and notes, “Now, we need to find out from consumers if this is relevant and whether it is something they would be willing to pay for.”

Testing of the new products could begin in the U.S. or Europe within a year. However, the AP article has been cast into doubt by a Progressive Grocer report, which quotes a Chiquita spokesperson as saying the company has no intention of injecting other flavors into the fruit.