Beverage Boost

Fortified carbonated beverages may not be brand-new to American consumers, but they are still something of a novelty—with the primary introductions coming from PepsiCo and Cola-Cola. Around the world, the idea seems relatively novel, as well, with only a dozen entries appearing in the past year, and the prior year saw only 11 bear a functional claim, according to the Mintel GNPD.

Yafora Ltd. is bringing the notion to a new Schweppes line in Israel. Lightly Sparkling Schweppes will include three flavors (berries, apple-lime and peach) and will be fortified with vitamin B complex. Udi Alroy, vice president of Global Marketing with the supplier of the vitamin B complex, notes the difficulty of working with the carbonated beverage: “It was much more challenging for us to add nutrients to carbonated beverages, which have a different solubility (than juices, milk and other beverages).”

No Change—For the Better

Mars Snackfood U.S. introduced 16 new products at this year’s All Candy Expo, but the true news from the company may well have been a change it refuses to make.

Among the new products out now or coming soon are 3 Musketeers Mint, Dove Beautiful (milk chocolate with skin-nourishing vitamins and cocoa flavonols, to be launched in early 2008), Dove Origins (a line of single-origin chocolate products, likewise to debut in early 2008) and Twix Java (featuring coffee-flavored caramel paired with a cookie and covered in chocolate, to be launched in December 2007), as well as a number of other products.

However, Mars’ big news came in its announcement supporting the current Standards of Identity for chocolate: that is, chocolate made with 100% cocoa butter. A current industry petition proposes to revise the standards to allow manufacturers to call a product “chocolate” even if it uses vegetable oil as a substitute for cocoa butter.

Nice Pair

The popularity of coffee continues unabated, and tea consumption has been on a steady up-tick of late, as well. In fact, studies suggest tea drinking is growing faster than coffee consumption, as tea sales have quadrupled over the past three years, and 127 million Americans regard tea as their favorite beverage, according to the website Now, prepare for what may be a wave of tea accompaniments.

The San Francisco Chocolate Factory has introduced a range of chocolates designed for pairing with green, black and chai teas. Shaped into bite-sized drops, the chocolates have recommended pairings:

  • 31% white chocolate for the delicate, nuanced flavor of green teas.

  • 38% milk chocolate for the smooth, rich flavor of chai teas.

  • 55% dark chocolate for the strong, robust flavor of black teas.

    The Tea Lover’s Chocolates join the company’s Coffee Lover’s Chocolates and Wine Lover’s Chocolates.

    'Light' Banter

    Federal health officials meeting in Washington are considering whether to add symbols with nutrition information to food labels, similar to a color-coded “traffic light” system British companies use. The hope is this would help American shoppers make healthier food purchases.

    The two-day meeting collected comments from food companies, trade groups and a variety of others, reports the Associated Press. It notes any action is likely “years away.”

    The British “traffic light” system features green, yellow and red lights to denote whether a food is low, medium or high in fat, salt and sugars. According to the country’s Food Standards Agency, green- and yellow-flagged foods have seen sales increase, suggesting a real transformation of consumer behavior.