The Spice of Life
As consumers continue to embrace foods with a spicier flavor profile, manufacturers and restaurants are adding more of these options to their menus. Wendy’s added a spicy chicken sandwich some months back, and now a chicken specialist is introducing its take on the concept.

Chick-fil-A announced it will expand its test of the new Spicy Chicken Sandwich in its California restaurants and is considering adding the offering to its menus across the nation. Previously, the sandwich had been available in Baltimore, Md., and Jacksonville, Fla., but it will now be available at all 32 of the chain’s venues in California.

A spicy version of the restaurant’s signature, hand-breaded chicken sandwich, the new offering is seasoned with a fiery blend of peppers, but otherwise served like its original sibling: pressure-cooked in peanut oil and served on a toasted, buttered bun with two pickle chips.

With Venom
Energy drinks are proving to have a steady selling power, with the number of consumers more than doubling over the last five years and sales increasing 400%, according to Mintel. A recent Mintel report values the energy drinks market at $4.8 billion, as its percentage of stomach share has grown even outside its trademark teenage demographic.

Mintel finds 35% of teens regularly consume energy drinks (a rise from the 19% reported in 2003), and the popularity among adults has grown from 9% in 2003 to 15% in 2008. As such, it should be no surprise that energy drink manufacturers are expanding their offerings to include new flavor options.

Venom Energy, for instance, from Dr Pepper Snapple Group, now features fruit punch and mango flavors, under the names Death Adder and Killer Taipan, respectively. They join Black Mamba (regular) and Mojave (low-carbohydrate/low-calorie).

Adding Sparkle
Ready-to-drink teas have seen a surge in introductions, largely riding the wave of green tea’s popularity. According to Information Resources Inc., the segment has enjoyed an annual growth rate of 16.5%, between 2006-2009. Now, one group has combined a pair of popular beverage concepts in one offering.

The Pepsi-Lipton Tea Partnership has introduced Lipton Sparkling Green Tea, the first sparkling beverage to emerge from the partnership. Blending fruit flavors, green tea and lightly sparkling water, the drink promises to be rich in flavonoid antioxidants and is available in two flavors: berry, and strawberry kiwi (both a diet and regular version).


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* Omega Protein was named recipient of the 2009 Friend of the Sea Award, as a result of its dedicated efforts toward sustainability and environmental stewardship at Friend of the Sea Day in Brussels, Belgium.
* MicroThermics®, with clients in more than 25 countries, and millions of processing time on their processors, is celebrating its 20-year anniversary in 2009.
* Jean-Marc Rotsaert was appointed president of AAK USA.
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