When chocolate cravings hit, adults , especially women -- don't have to feel guilty thanks to Battle Creek, Mich.-based Kellogg's, which has rolled out Krave snack bars nationally. With nearly half the fat of leading candy bars, Krave is a good source of protein and calcium, 11 essential vitamins and minerals and 50 percent of daily value of antioxidants (vitamins A, C and E). According to a recent survey of women by Kellogg's, 47 percent named chocolate as the food they crave and six out of 10 described chocolate as the food they "love." Other findings include: More than three out of four women say their chocolate cravings worry them. Their biggest worry is weight gain (82 percent); "the later the greater" when it comes to what time of day women crave chocolate , 58 percent say that evening and late night is when they crave chocolate the most. Additionally, 64 percent said they buy the most chocolate in their household, and 53 percent confess they eat more chocolate than anyone else in their family. Krave bars are available in two flavors , Chocolate Delight and Chocolate Peanut. Suggested retail price is $2.99 for a six-count box.Turning the dipping sauce category upside down
Thanks to food pleasure seekers, national dipping has more than doubled since 1990, with 40 percent of Americans dipping into various and flavors at least once a week. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.-based Hellmann's and Best Foods rolled out Hellmann's Dippin' Sauces, the first national brand of sauces that goes beyond chip dips. Available in Rockin' Ranch, Honey Mustard Madness and Totally BBQ varieties, Dippin' Sauces can change the mood of food at a moment's notice. Vegetables, salads, sandwiches, meat, french fries -- they're great on chips too , the possibilities are nirvana for creative consumers who like to play with their food or add additional flavors. "We decided to let American bring dipping home by creating sauces whose texture and flavors are ideal for dipping the widest variety of popular foods," says Michael Cobb, senior brand manager. Suggested retail price is $2.69 per 14-oz. bottle.
Laying odds on natural and organic
PepsiCo'sPlano, Texas-based Frito-Lay division has struck gold with the launch of its Natural line of snacks including: Tostitos Tortilla Chips made with Organic Blue Corn; Tostitos Tortilla Chips made with Organic Yellow Corn and Tostitos Organic Salsa, Frito-Lay's first snacks made with organic ingredients. The line also includes: Natural Lay's Potato Chips with Sea Salt, Natural Lay's Country BBQ Potato Chips, Natural Reduced Fat Ruffles Chips and Natural Cheetos White Cheddar Puffs. They taste great and have a super mouth feel, and all of the Natural snacks are made with organic ingredients certified by the USDA-accredited certifying agency Oregon Tilth. Cooked in trans fat-free oil (sunflower oil), the snacks also contain less salt than regular brands. "We are seeing a growing consumer demand for organic snack choices," says Tracy LaRosiliere, vice president of marketing. "This Natural snacks line brings America's favorite snack brands to those people who know and enjoy snack foods made from the all-natural and organic world." Suggested retail price is $2.99.
Popping good time
Valparaiso, Ind.-based Family Time Snacks Inc. has developed a clever patented microwaveable box, called the Perfect Popper, unlike anything else in the industry. The space-saving package stores flat, snaps open unfolding into a cube roughly 10 inches on each side. Microwave, fold back the top and it's a ready-to-eat package. No more messy bags. No need for a separate bowl, and the popcorn tastes great. "We know that popcorn is eaten by 62 percent of U.S. households, and 80 percent of those prefer microwave popcorn," says Ron Leskiw, vice president of marketing. The corn is grown in the ancient lake bed soil at the center of the Southern great lakes, and is grown from a hybrid close to the original popcorn that was planted in northern areas by Native American for thousands of years , one ear to a stalk. Perfect Popper contains a generous 4-oz. serving of popcorn and the company uses ultra fine salt, which adheres better. Family Time is produced by its sister company Great Lakes Packaging, which also does private label and co-packing in the state-of-the-art plant formerly owned by Orville Reddenbacher. Suggested retail price is $1.19 to $1.49.
Marinating easy as ABC
Finally had an opportunity to try Pittsburgh, Pa.-based H.J. Heinz Co.'s EZ Marinader -- a ready-to-use liquid marinade in a flavor-seal marinating bag and the first new Heinz brand rolled out in the U.S. in 20 years. It's as easy as ABC! First, open the flavor-seal bag, which has a zipper closure. Next, drop in your favorite meat, poultry, vegetables or fish. The pouch has a foil lining for strength, so it doesn't leak. Then reseal the bag and you're ready to grill, bake or saute in as little as 30 minutes. That's it! There's no mess, no fuss, and clean up is a breeze -- just toss away the bag. EZ Marinader is available in three flavors: Jack Daniel's Mesquite (my favorite), Classico Garlic and Herb, and Mr. Yoshida's Teriyaki. Each 12-oz. bag is large enough to accommodate 2 to 3 pounds of meat, poultry or similar-sized serving of vegetables -- enough to feed a family of four. "With EZ Marinader, consumers can have a level of convenience never before experienced in the category," says Aaron Schwartz, brand manager for Ketchup, Condiments and Sauces at Heinz North America, the innovators behind EZ Marinader. "By pouring on the flavor while eliminating the mess and clean up, EZ Marinader takes marinating to a whole new level of taste and convenience. Simply put, if you like marinating, you'll love EZ Marinader." Suggested retail price is $2.99
Ruiz steps up the crunch
Dinuba, Calif.-based Ruiz Foods rolled out Cruncheros , a new line of crunchier offerings with a more complex texture to complement the more traditional flavor profiles in its traditional Mexican products. "We understand it is our consumer who has made Ruiz Foods the overall category leader in frozen Mexican food, so we really value and listen to their opinions," says vice chairman Kim Ruiz Beck. "Their feedback indicated a strong desire for a great-tasting product that isn't soft." Batter dipped and lightly deep fried, the hand-made Cruncheros are available in six flavors: Chicken & Cheese Taquitos, Southwest Chicken Taquitos, Taco Beef & Cheese Taquitos, Cream Cheese & Jalapeno Mini Fried Burritos, Nacho Cheese & Beef Mini Fried Burritos and 3 Cheese Grilled Chicken Quesadillas. Suggested retail price is $3.99.
Folgers cans coffee cans
It took several years and millions of dollars to retool Cincinnati-based Procter & Gamble's Folger's coffee can factory in New Orleans, but expectations are that its new containers will save money in the long run and appeal to convenience-minded consumers. The new containers are 39-oz. plastic AromaSeal containers that keep ground beans airtight. Eliminating metal cans means no jagged edges and no can opener. Pulling off a plastic seal opens it. The lid is airtight and clamps onto the easy-grip, resealable plastic container and coffee is poured out through a one-way valve. And, as an added bonus, the plastic container can be put into the dishwasher for reuse by hobbyists. Suggested retail price is $7.49.