Fruit with a Kick

Bloom Energy is a new, fruit juice-based energy drink from Del Monte--the company’s first venture into the energy drink market. Each lightly carbonated beverage has 100 calories per 10.5oz can and delivers a full serving of fruit as well as vitamins B, C and D, calcium and a boost of antioxidants. They are also naturally caffeinated, using white tea extract and guarana. Every can has about as much caffeine as a cup of coffee (74mg). The drinks are available in three flavors: Mango Passionfruit, Cran Raspberry and Wild Berry. According to Del Monte, the beverages are targeted towards women looking for a healthier energy drink, and it even incorporated the “spread good energy” tagline into the product’s marketing campaign--suggesting that these beverages provide a more natural source of energy than competing energy beverages.

It's Good to Concentrate

Traditionally, most liquid beverage concentrates have been positioned toward children, while products for adults tended to be available as dry powders and mixes. Some exceptions are family-positioned powdered drink mixes. Ferolito Vultaggio & Sons’ AriZona brand departs from this rule with the launch of a liquid iced tea concentrate clearly targeted at a more adult market. This format offers added convenience, as smaller containers are easier to store and take up less space. These concentrates also allow dilution to taste--some consumers might want their tea stronger, while others would add more water. The cans come in a pack of four, each making two quarts. Moreover, the products appeal to consumers looking for more natural beverages to quench their thirst, as they are 100% natural, free from preservatives, artificial flavors and coloring. Both ginseng and honey (added flavors) have a strong healthy reputation, and green tea is also widely known to be rich in antioxidants.

Wrap it Up

Pre-made sushi wrappers have been on the market globally for quite some time, although the concept is a bit new to the U.S. These wraps, made from soy, are sold by Yamamotoyama. What is unique about them is that they come in a variety of flavors (and colors) and that they are positioned as being for parties or for communal enjoyment (thus the name, SushiParty). The package provides one sheet each of five different flavors: Turmeric Yellow, Sesame, Paprika Orange, Pink, Original and Spinach Green. The variety-pack concept is something different from standard sushi wrappers sold in 10-sheet or 20-sheet quantities of just one flavor. With bright colors and graphics and strong messaging, the packaging clearly communicates the product’s attributes and health qualities.

More than a Mint

It is not enough these days for a lowly mint to just freshen breath. More companies are introducing products with a wide variety of additional benefits. Some care for teeth, others offer no calories and still others send a “hint” to recipients of the package of mints that they need to address the issue of their breath.

As a result, it seems like everyone is getting into the mint game. Now, Hershey Foods has expanded its Ice Breakers’ line to include a range of mints, all with various benefits and all with fun graphics. The line includes Restore (with antioxidant vitamins in a pomegranate flavor), Center (with antioxidants and ginseng), Lift Your Spirits (antioxidants, vitamin C and green tea) and Energy (with caffeine).

Açaí of Relief

Unique and unusual flavors come and go, often based on the whims of consumers. Those flavors that have staying power are those that tend to offer some sort of additional benefit or ones that can be applied to a number of categories. Pomegranate has been one such flavor that has moved into a number of categories and also offers a strong health positioning (substantial antioxidant content). Açaí, a fruit native to Brazil, offers similar benefits--thus the steeply increasing numbers seen in this table. Expect to see more products containing açaí move into additional categories in the next year, as the flavor becomes more established.

In other countries, interesting products of note have focused on unique package concepts and very unusual formulations. In terms of formulations, in Canada, retailer Sobeys has introduced a box of eight frozen hamburgers that are formulated with Brazilian açaí berry. They are low-fat, but it is unclear exactly what the benefit of the açaí berry is in the burger. Another unusual formulation (especially to U.S. palates) is a drink from Nutrition & Sante under its Gerble line in the Netherlands. This drink is a soy-based drink that is made with cereal. Given the formulation, it is positioned as a breakfast drink and is aimed specifically at women over 50 years old.


A product designed for older consumers is sold in the Netherlands. Perfect Age tea is made with red algae extracts to cleanse the body. The company claims the product helps slow the aging process.

From a packaging standpoint, several products stand out. In France, La Fermiere offers a yogurt that has a fruit topping. That is nothing new, but the package is designed so that consumers unmold it from the plastic tub onto a plate. When they do that, the fruit layer flows over the rest of the yogurt, and the result is a unique dessert positioning for this line.

A truly unique and new positioning for a mainstay product has appeared in the U.K. PepsiCo has added unique information to its Walkers Cheese & Onion Crisps. Labeling provides information on the product’s carbon footprint (meaning how much energy was expended to produce and ship the product). This is a first of its kind, and expect to see more.

Older consumers are always on the lookout for convenient ways to improve their health and prolong their lives, especially with products enjoyable to consume. In line with this, in Japan, Mercian released Black Wine, a line of functional wines targeted at seniors. The wines are promoted as containing grape-derived resveratrol and GABA, two ingredients increasingly being added to foods and beverages for their functional health benefits. GABA is becoming more widespread due to its mood-improving qualities (it is claimed to induce relaxation and “balance” the brain), as well as its ability to stimulate higher levels of human growth hormone, which has anti-aging, fat-preventing and muscle-building benefits. Resveratrol is also claimed to have anti-aging and life-prolonging effects in addition to anti-cancer, anti-viral, anti-inflammatory and neuro-protective benefits. For those who are not too keen on wine because of its characteristic bitterness or acidity, these wines are mild and have concentrated grape sweetness and flavor. The Black Wine contains three times more resveratrol than the company’s regular red wines, and the Golden Wine contains eight times more GABA than the company's regular white wines.