Hit it, Chewy
New years tend to bring new resolutions, or at least fresh attempts at keeping past ones. Such is likely the reasoning behind the assortment of weight management/-loss products that enter the marketplace in the early portion of every year. This year, however, several introductions have set themselves apart by positioning themselves beyond merely weight control. Fiber enrichment is one such effort, though its benefits extend beyond gut health and do contribute to satiety.

Indeed, fiber has been a trend unto itself, as Americans begin to realize how short they come of recommended levels. The Institute of Medicine suggests Americans over the age of four eat at least 25g of fiber every day. However, the institute also finds nine in 10 consumers fall short of that goal.

General Mills’ Fiber One 90 Calories Chewy Bars tries to address the shortcoming by adding 5g of fiber to a consumer’s diet. The product has only 2.5g of fat and, as the name indicates, 90 calories.

Song of the South
Heart health has emerged as a prime positioning for any number of product launches in recent years. In fact, entire campaigns have been waged against sodium, for example, based precisely on the notion of protecting the heart. Now, one company has introduced a heart-healthy line, but with a positioning that many regard as fairly niche.

Allens Inc.’s has added gluten-free to the heart-healthy trend for its Allens’ Southern Style range of vegetables and side dishes. The 23 varieties in all include such varieties as Hoppin’ John, Seasoned Black Beans, Seasoned Blackeye Peas, Seasoned Cabbage, Seasoned Collard Greens, Mixed Greens and Turnip Greens, promising the entire line to have “traditionally seasoned Southern flavors.” By the way, Hoppin’ John is a Southern U.S. rice-and-beans dish, with black-eyed or field peas, rice, chopped onion and sliced bacon.

Italian Style
When celiac disease is first diagnosed, many find it somewhat surprising that Italy, the land of pasta and pizza, actually is something of a gluten-free paradise. The country mandates testing for the disease, and those who test positive receive a number of benefits: a monthly stipend for gluten-free food, as well as extra vacation time to shop for and prepare their food. It even is law that gluten-free foods be available in all schools, hospitals and public places. The Italian rice dish risotto can be a staple on celiac menus, and one U.S. company is bringing the entrée to a gluten-free snack.

Risotto Chips from New York Style were inspired by the slow-cooked Italian rice dish and are all-natural and free of gluten. The thin, crispy chips promise to be a healthy snack option as well, each offering 11g of whole grains.

Made with whole-grain brown rice, Arborio rice flour, whole-grain corn flour and sesame seeds, the snack comes in such varieties as Spicy Marinara (with the flavors of tomato, onion, green and red pepper), Parmesan & Roasted Garlic and Sea Salt.

Alice in Waterland
For its latest foray into the world of water, SoBe is turning to a vegetarian vampire as a spokesperson. Ashley Greene (better known toTwilightfans as Alice, one of the series’ veggie vampires--that is, no humans on the menu) is helping promote the launch of Lifewater’s newest flavors by posing inSports Illustrated’s annual swimsuit issue, though not wearing a swimsuit.

Her “intricately hand-painted SoBe skinsuits” were allegedly inspired by the new Cherimoya Punch and Strawberry Dragonfruit flavors of SoBe Lifewater. The beverage’s two newest zero-calorie varieties are infused with vitamins, minerals and herbal ingredients and sweetened with a zero-calorie, all-natural sweetener from the stevia plant. Both flavors boast vitamins C, E, B6 and B12, along with ginseng root extract.pf