Reduced-calorie Reduction
The 100-calorie package has become something of a mainstay on store shelves, as consumers embrace the ease of portion control. However, as with many trends, there is always the desire to improve on the notion.

As a result, Yoplait has launched a line of 50-calorie yogurts. The four flavors--strawberry, vanilla, peach and Key lime pie--also boast no fat and 5g of fiber. While the 50-calorie serving may be one trend, the product does target another: fiber requirements.

The Institute of Medicine advises 25g of fiber a day, but most Americans fall far short of that goal. The new Yoplait product provides 20% of that recommendation and also promises to be a good source of calcium and vitamins A and D.

The product also features a “Hungry Girl Seal of Approval.” “Hungry Girl” has a website and daily newsletter that promotes and recommends low-calorie snack options.

Dove Right In
Premium confections have increasingly turned to augmented flavors in recent years, as upscale chocolate lines, particularly, have added flavors to their offerings. Ghirardelli added an entire range of flavors to dark chocolate a couple of years ago and has now introduced Luxe Milk Chocolate to its line, in such flavors as Luxe Milk Almond, Luxe Milk Hazelnut, Luxe Milk, Luxe Milk Crisp (with crisped rice) and Luxe Milk Duet (a blend of milk and dark chocolate).

Mars Snackfood U.S. has also expanded its range of premium chocolate. As Thomas Pinnau, vice president of Indulgence, Mars Snackfood U.S., explains, “Our customers are passionate about real, authentic silky smooth chocolate but also want to explore new flavor combinations, in addition to the solid milk chocolate that they know and love.” Mars’ Dove line has been expanded to include Dove Silky Smooth Milk Chocolate with Peanut Butter, the brand’s first such offering.

De-energize
Energy drinks have emerged as a standout in the beverage category. In fact, Datamonitor finds the trend is global, with total revenues of $12.7 billion around the world in 2008. In this crowded segment, manufacturers are turning to an increasing diversity of energy-boosting ingredients. One company is attempting what could be considered the antithesis of energy drinks.

Innovative Beverage Group is targeting consumers looking to relax in a hurry with Drank, a beverage promising relaxation benefits. Drank has what is termed an “extreme relaxation formula,” combining melatonin, valerian root and rose hips. Now, the brand is joining the energy shot segment with Drank Deuce, a 2oz version of its namesake, promising relaxation with 16K/cal, 4g of carbohydrates and 4g of sugar per serving.

Peter Bianchi, chief executive officer, explains, “Drank Deuce was a natural evolution and a direct answer to customer demand for something smaller, with fewer calories. Plus, the product is highly portable, and under the specified liquid limit for airport security, which makes it the perfect travel companion, when crossing multiple time zones.”

Less is More
The NPD Group finds organic is the top food trend expected to grow over the next decade, outpacing restaurant meals eaten at home and light offerings. The debate about “natural” as compared with “organic,” however, may well be confusing consumers. Nevertheless, as consumers attempt to grasp the nutritional benefits of “natural” vs. “organic”--if, in fact, there are any--manufacturers continue to launch products geared to that natural consumer.

Alouette, for example, is well-known for its distinctive line of cheeses and specialty cheese products. Now, the company has eliminated all artificial flavors, colors and preservatives from its line of soft, spreadable cheeses and claims it is the only brand to offer 100% all-natural spreadable cheese flavors, including Garlic & Herbs, Spinach Artichoke, Sundried Tomato & Basil, Peppercorn Parmesan and Light Cucumber Dill, to name a few. pf