Going Global -- February 2010

Innocent, a smoothie company, has launched a range of vegetarian prepared meals in the UK. These high-fiber meals are served in a microwavable “pot” and contain chopped vegetables, whole grains and sauces; they also are low in fat and sodium. Varieties include Thai Coconut Curry, Tuscan Bean Stew, and Pea & Broccoli Rice.

Specially formulated to be eaten with warm milk, a new variety of cereal has been launched under the Special K brand in Portugal and Spain. The whole-grain cereal is said to have only 2.5% fat per serving and be rich in vitamins B and C. Market research suggests 57% of consumers in Portugal prefer to eat their breakfast cereals with warm milk, a statistic that has risen in the past few years, while only 27% prefer cold milk. This regional effort is interesting, because it is trying to open up new markets for an established product; the cereal is suitable for consumers who wish to have a warm, low-fat breakfast that may be healthier than a traditional, cooked breakfast.

According to GNPD, Japan has been especially active in the salty snack category, being second only to the U.S. for its number of salty-snack launches in the last decade. In Japan, Calbee Foods recently launched Jagabee, a salty purple potato stick snack. This product follows the trend toward colored foods that are linked to specific ingredients and health benefits. Japan has been particularly innovative in creating these types of products, having seen a cycle of launches with colored foods linked to specific ingredients in the preceding years. Traditionally, similar products have not relied on specific health claims, but more on consumer perception and understanding of the nutritional benefits of popular ingredients (such as antioxidants in blueberries or lycopene in tomatoes). In this instance, the purple potato is rich in anthocyanins (naturally derived from the purple skin of the potato), an antioxidant said to help blood circulation. Jagabee purple potato is packaged in a convenient, vacuum-packed, air-tight board cup with top.

Information in this column is from the Global New Products Database, the premier source of global product intelligence, published by Mintel International Group; 351 W. Hubbard, 8th Floor; Chicago, IL 60610; call: 312-932-0600; fax: 312-932-0474; or e-mail mhollihan@mintel.com. pf