Rollout: November 2003

New products from Hershey, Kellogg, General Mills/Pillsbury and rapper Nelly (that's right)

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Swooping into a new realm

Hershey, Pa.-based Hershey Foods will swoop into a new realm -- changing the shape of chocolate -- with the launch of Hershey's Swoops. Slices of curve-shaped solid chocolate (similar to canister chips), Swoops will be available in December in four popular Hershey flavors , Hershey's milk chocolate, Reese's peanut butter, Almond Joy and York peppermint candies. "Hershey's Swoops is an exciting new product innovation," says Chuck Kuklic, market manager, Hershey's Franchise. "We changed the shape of the chocolate industry with Hershey's Kisses chocolates 97 years ago and now we are doing it again with Swoops." Swoops are packaged in a 3.78-oz. canister and contain three on-the-go cups, each with six slices of chocolate. They will primarily be marketed to 18 to 24-year-olds, who have an insatiable desire for convenience, portability and innovation. Then again, how could anyone of any age resist? Suggested retail price is $1.99.

Scouting out breakfast

Former Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and Campfire Girls all remember the ecstasy of scary tales accompanied by the fun of making s'mores over the campfire. They also remember the resulting burnt tongues and sticky fingers. Battle Creek, Mich.-based Kellogg Co. makes the s'mores experience a whole lot easier and safer with new Kellogg's Smorz cereal, made of rich, chocolatey grahams and chocolate-swirled marshmallows.In fact, this delicious combination brings the flavor of chocolate, graham cracker and marshmallow indoors year-round. "Families no longer need to wait for campfires and roasting sticks to enjoy the great taste of s'mores," says Jenny Enochson, director of marketing communications. "They can enjoy the taste they love and share camp stories anytime of the year with a bowl of Smorz cereal at the breakfast table." Suggested retail price for a 10.5-oz. box is $2.84.

Bad rap for rapper?

Rapper and Universal Records recording artist Nelly and his company, St. Louis, Mo.-based Team Lunatics has launched Pimp Juice, named after his hit tune "Pimp Juice" from his 2002 multi-platinum album, Nellyville. Pimp Juice is a bright neon green, non-carbonated energy drink with a pleasant tropical flavor. Packaged in a slim, elegant gold and silver 8-oz. can, it contains 10 percent apple juice and 100 percent of vitamins C, B6, B12. It also contains riboflavin, niacin, panothenic acid and Taurine, a conditionally essential amino acid that aids the body in its absorption of nutrients needed for optimal mental and physical performance. Pimp juice gets its boost from Guarana, an all-natural tropical ingredient, which produces a stimulating effect similar to caffeine. Even though portions of the sale go to Nelly's non-profit organization, 4Sho4Kids, which awards college scholarships to deserving kids, the name of the energy drink has stuck in the craw of some conservative groups , Project Islamic Hope, the National Alliance for Positive Action, and the National Black Anti-Defamation League, all of whom want the product banned because it sounds offensive. Word meanings change all the time, so, for all those naysayers out there, we asked Nelly to clarify what he means by pimp. "Pimp Juice is anything that attracts the opposite sex," explains Nelly. "It could be money, fame or straight intellect. Pimp Juice is color blind; it works on all creeds and kinds." Suggested retail price is $1.99 to $2.49.

Goodie! Portion-controlled baked rolls and biscuits

Heating up the baked goods section of the freezer case, Minneapolis-based General Mills' Pillsbury brand has rolled out three new products in its Home Baked Classics line , Soft White Dinner Rolls, Crusty Sourdough Dinner Rolls and Extra Large Easy Split Biscuits. Like the other Pillsbury Home Baked Classics, the rolls and biscuits go straight from the freezer to the oven, with no thawing or proofing required, and the resealable bags offer portion control. Just pop out the number you need and freeze the rest. Accounting for $730 million of annual supermarket sales, the frozen baked goods category has risen dramatically over the past two years. Between Jan. 2001 and Jan. 2003, the frozen dinner roll segment grew 68 percent and sales of frozen biscuits were up 230 percent, according to ACNielsen. Suggested retail price for all varieties (10 to a package) is $3.09.

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