The Last Straws

Many people say taking the time for a healthy breakfast is getting harder to do. With fewer people sitting down for the morning meal, consumers are looking for more convenient ways to eat a healthy breakfast. Kellogg may be offering a solution for parents looking for a way to ensure that their children get the breakfast they need to fuel them for a long day of school and play, with the introduction of its Kellogg’s Froot Loops Cereal Straws.

Kellogg actually launched this product concept in Europe in 2005. Now, after two years, it is moving the product stateside. So what is it? The cereal straws are edible, fruity tubes for sipping milk. Each six-inch straw has a crunchy outer shell and a fruity inner lining, and can be eaten for breakfast, after school or on the go.

This product also differentiates itself from the Sipahh milk-flavoring straws available in some countries because it can serve as a full meal alternative.

Organic is Everywhere

Organic is everywhere, and mainstream manufacturers are trying to find ways to capitalize on this fast-growing trend. Regardless of category, there has been an incredible influx of traditional and well-established U.S. brands going organic. The tea category actually has a significant amount of organic activity already.

More than 100 new organic products were launched in the U.S. in the last year. However, many of these products were among smaller, less-known brands. Many of the smaller brand launches come from non-traditional channels, such as natural food stores and gourmet retailers. Unilever Bestfoods is taking this trend into the mainstream tea category with the launch of its Lipton Organic Natural Tea, available in a 1.2oz pack containing 18 tea bags. The product is certified tea that is 100% natural and contains no additives, preservatives or artificial coloring

From the Top

Some people say that the best part of the muffin is the top, but how does someone satisfy that craving for a fresh-baked muffin top without making a trip to the local bakery when they want a quick snack on the go? Malt-o-Meal, traditionally known for its hot and cold cereal products, has tried to solve that question with the introduction of its Blueberry Muffin Tops Cereal Snack’ers 100 Calorie Packets.

The launch takes a successful cereal product, Malt-O-Meal Originals Blueberry Muffin Tops Cereal, and offers it as a convenient and healthy snack alternative. Each package contains six 100-calorie, single-serve units of blueberry muffin-flavored crisps made with whole-grain cereal and natural and artificial flavors. It also contains eight vitamins and minerals and is free of trans fat. The launch could

be the beginning of a new trend for ready-to-eat cereal manufacturers.

Slipping a Mickey

Nothing is more traditional on a hot summer evening than a cookout in the backyard with family and friends. A staple of that summer cookout is a hamburger, yet pre-packaged burgers generally are very similar. Birchwood Foods has found a way to make its hamburgers stand out with the introduction of its Disney Mickey Burgers. Kids throughout the country will take notice when their burger comes in a familiar shape—Mickey Mouse’s head.

The product can be found in the freezer section, and each package comes with eight patties made with 100% beef. Each burger contains 16g protein per serving, and the ground beef is 85% lean. It retails in a 24oz pack with Disney stickers inside. The company also is introducing Pirate Burgers shaped like a flag. Each Pirate Burger package comes with free press-on tattoos. This simple concept could lead to sales at the register—and an entirely new type of burger, personalized to the individual consumers’ shape preference.

Free Time

Globally, consumer interest in gluten-free products has exploded in the last few years. This trend crosses category and country boundaries, with Europe leading the way. In the U.S., manufacturers’ responses to the desire for gluten-free products are in the form of new product introductions. In 2006, gluten-free new product introductions doubled from the year before. Through June 2007, manufacturers are on target to launch more than 600 gluten-free new items. These new product launches are most prevalent in the snacks and bakery category, similar to global gluten-free new product category trends. However, the baby food category was the third highest category globally for gluten-free new product launches, yet in the U.S., the category has not yet reached the top 10. This would be a category to watch in the next few years, as new parents become more educated and concerned about food allergens in their children’s food.