Landing on Dagoba

Value-added products, known for utilizing special production processes or showcasing additional benefits that set them apart from the competition, are consuming the packaged goods industry. One example is Dagoba’s line of Organic Single Origin Chocolate Bars. The line now includes a Milagros variety, featuring a mild flavor with upfront hints of warm spice (nutmeg, clove and mace), notes of bananas, orchid and papaya and a complex ending of increased sweetness with hints of pineapple.

This Peruvian Amazonia blend is Peruvian Fair Trade Certified, and Dagoba prides itself on working directly with producers to source high-quality ingredients that maintain organic methods and equitable prices.

Land of the Rising Sunflower Seeds

Zotes Products’ Sunflower Seeds are adding additional flavor and spice to the snack nuts category. The range includes a unique selection of flavored sunflower seeds, including Salt & Pepper, Hot Wings, Tequila Lime, Spicy Nacho, Beer Baked, Dill Pickle and Original Salted.

Each entry has an associated comedic tagline, further adding to the product’s individuality. The Salt & Pepper variety claims that it is “good on steak, good on potatoes, good on eggs and hash browns…really good on sunflower seeds. Go figure.” Also earning notoriety is the seeds’ mobile dispensing unit. This plastic 5oz jar features a plastic cap with a flip-top for optimized portability.

Shooting Up

According to this product’s packaging, the party starts now with the use of Big Shott's Edible Shooters Chocolate Lined Wafer Cups. Shaped like mini ice cream cones, these chocolate-lined 1oz cups are designed for adults and children alike. They can either be filled with an alcoholic beverage for a fun cocktail or loaded with ice cream for a dessert or treat. Low in saturated fats, the cholesterol-free product contains no tropical oils and is made with 100% vegetable oil.

As an added bonus, the underside of the carton has eight perforated tabs to double as a special serving tray. Each pack holds 16 wafer cups and offers two recipes—however, the company encourages users to be creative and invent their own special treats.

'Kashing' In

With health improvements and maintenance remaining the top priority for many consumers, functional food innovation continues to prosper. Kashi (which was acquired by Kellogg in 2000) recently unveiled its Vive Breakfast Cereal, claiming to be the first non-perishable probiotic food on the U.S. market. Probiotics are referred to as the “good” bacteria and usually are found in cheeses and yogurt. Kashi has managed to incorporate Lactobacillus probiotics and active probiotic cultures into a breakfast cereal.

In addition to the probiotic aspect, Vive cereal combines ginger, graham twigs, lightly toasted flakes (complete with the Kashi’s Seven Whole Grains & Sesame blend) and vanilla-dipped rice crisps. Each bowl contains 46% of the daily value of fiber and natural broccoli extracts. The all-natural fusion was

created to help promote overall digestive wellness and ultimately improves the balance of good and bad bacteria in the digestive system.

Probing Probiotics

Probiotic is a general term for a substance that contains microorganisms or bacteria that are beneficial to the host organism. Relative to functional foods and beverages, the substance often is referred to as “good bacteria” for its beneficial health properties, including the ability to convert sugars and other carbohydrates into lactic acid. It is a common ingredient in dairy products (as noted in the accompanying chart) such as yogurt, as probiotics can act as a preservative by lessening the growth occurrence of spoilage organisms. The dairy category alone accounted for over 90% of all U.S. probiotic launches from 2001-2006.* This ingredient is used in very few food sectors throughout the U.S. However, its presence is being noted in new outlets. For example, in breakfast cereals, Kashi’s new Vive Probiotic Digestive Wellness Cereal claims to promote digestive balance. The beverage category also has experienced growth, although activity in beverages was minimal in comparison to dairy foods.

Although vitamins and minerals are often the most popular ingredients used to produce functional foods and beverages, a review of new functional products has produced a long list of ingredients. Natural foods and other health advocates encourage the consumption of probiotic products to further support the life of beneficial bacteria in the body.

From a global aspect, between 2001 and 2006,* Europe accounted for over 70% of probiotic food and beverage introductions, followed by Asia Pacific (20%), Latin America (5%) and the Middle East/ Africa region (4%). Overall, probiotic introductions have experienced a steady increase. According to recent Mintel research, North American consumers generally are more interested in diet trends directly related to specific health conditions (i.e., cancer or heart disease) than in trends more closely aligned with wellness and health (i.e., probiotic foods).


Vitasoy International Holdings in Hong Kong just made a healthy food even healthier with its Red Bean variant in the Vitasoy range of soymilks. In Chinese, “red bean” refers to azuki beans (sometimes also spelled adzuki or aduki), popular in Chinese and Japanese cuisine and used for a wide range of food products. The small, reddish beans boast excellent nutritional values—high in protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals—and also help lower cholesterol. Plus, their phytoestrogens may have a role in preventing breast cancer. In traditional Chinese medicine, red beans are believed to benefit the bladder, kidneys and reproductive functions, as well as promote courage. This milk is not made entirely from red beans. The soymilk is produced from water and whole soybeans, and the red beans are infused into the mix. Therefore, it also should appeal to consumers of soymilk looking for an extra health benefit or interesting flavor.

Environmentalism continues to a big issue and is proving to be a good opportunity for some companies. In the U.K., Belu Mineral Water launched Belu, a product that has taken great steps to combat global warming. It is packaged in the U.K.’s first biodegradable corn starch bottle, a container that claims to turn back to soil in 12 weeks. The bottle biodegrades more than one million years faster than normal plastic water bottles. In addition, the company uses British water to keep food miles down and, in cooperation with WaterAid, donates 100% of its net profits to clean-water projects. Every purchased bottle provides someone in India or Africa with clean water for one month.

In Japan, products in the ready-to-drink (RTD) iced coffee market fight to stand out on grocery shelves. Understanding that unique aesthetics can make all the difference, a number of companies are trying to distinguish themselves with striking designs to improve on-shelf impact. The most recent example of this is JT Foods’ ROOTS Inspiration. The milky RTD coffee is packaged in a can coated in a “prism-layer film” that changes color, depending on the angle of the light. This iridescent effect is guaranteed to attract attention, and the product is aptly named as well.