Rollout: Bitsy bites, hip dips, protein power

January's product debuts show that while low-carb is on the down-trend, protein sources remain popular. Snacks are being packaged with portion control in mind.

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Fun on a bun gets easier

Recovering from the holiday cooking frenzy, moms can get a break with new Manwich Heat & Serve, from Omaha, Neb.-based ConAgra Foods.

Manwich Heat & Serve is the original Manwich sloppy joe sauce but adds the convenience factor by including fully cooked ground beef. Just pop the resealable tub into the microwave for six minutes and the joe is ready to pack copiously on a bun.

It’s super convenient for families that eat on different schedules because the container goes from microwave to refrigerator and back to microwave for junior soccer players to enjoy after the rest of the family has left the dinner table.

“Consumers have looked to the Manwich brand since 1969 to provide great-tasting sloppy joes,” says brand manager Todd Holscher. “Manwich Heat & Serve delivers that great familiar taste while also providing a quick-and-easy mealtime solution for families with hectic schedules and whose members may eat in shifts.”

Suggested retail price for an 18-oz. container, found in the refrigerated section of the supermarket, is $4.99.

Nabisco rolls out portion-controlled snacks

With the holidays over, most Americans are taking down the trimmings … as well as trimming themselves down. Kraft Foods’ Nabisco unit, East Hanover, N.J., provides consumers with an easy solution for tracking their calorie intake by controlling snack portion sizes with New 100 Calorie Packs, proportioned varieties of some of Nabisco’s favorite brands.

“Keeping track of calories can be very challenging, especially for busy people who could use a little help in managing what they eat,” says Joy Bauer, registered dietitian and author of “The 90/10 Weight-Loss Plan.”

Containing only 100 calories, 0–3 g of total fat and no trans fat, varieties include: Oreo Thin Crisps, Chips Ahoy Thin Crisps, Wheat Thins Minis, Kraft Cheese Nips Thin Crisps and Nabisco Mixed Berry Fruit Snacks.

“As one of the world’s leading food companies, we are committed to meeting today’s consumer needs for foods that taste great and fit an active lifestyle,” says Kathy Parker, senior director, new products, biscuit division, Kraft Foods. “With great tasting, portion-controlled products, in convenient on-the-go packaging – and with 20 Oreo Thin Crisps for 100 calories – it can’t get any easier or tastier than that!”

Suggested retail price is $2.69.

Salads go nuts

John B. Sanfilippo & Son Inc., Elk Grove Village, Ill., rolls out Fisher Salad Buddies, small cans of natural, unflavored, unsalted nuts to sprinkle on salads and other foods.

Available in the salad dressing aisle and conveniently packaged in 3.5-6.0 oz. cans with an easy-to-use shaker top, varieties include Slivered Almonds, Pecan Pieces, Walnut Pieces and Sunflower Kernels.

Natural raw nuts enhance flavors rather than overpower them, as flavored salad toppings often do. Salad Buddies are great sprinkled on salads, tossed into pastas or used as a topping for casseroles.

Or, add them to your children’s lunch boxes as a snack, since nuts are an excellent source of essential vitamins and minerals including protein, vitamin E, potassium and iron. In fact, according to the FDA, “Scientific evidence suggests but does not prove that eating 1.5 oz. per day of most nuts, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease.”

Suggested retail price is $2.49.

Bumble Bee stakes out dinner

Yea to San Diego-based Bumble Bee for pioneering the extension of tuna into a dinner occasion with the launch of Prime Fillet Albacore Steaks, individual servings of 100 percent natural, grilled albacore tuna steak packaged in easy-open, vacuum-sealed pouches. Now consumers can serve a hot seafood entrée in 30 seconds (microwave) or 10 minutes out of the oven. Varieties include Lemon & Pepper, Mesquite Grilled and Ginger & Soy.

“More than 50 percent of canned tuna consumption today is in the form of a sandwich, with another 20 percent consumed as tuna salad,” says Christopher Lischewski, president and CEO. “Prime Fillet Albacore Steaks offers today’s busy consumers – from moms through professionals to college students – the chance to enjoy albacore as a seafood dinner with just a few minutes preparation and little to no fuss.

“The tuna steaks are high in protein and vitamin B and provide omega-3 fatty acids – whose benefits include strengthening the immune system, reduced risk of heart disease and hypertension, as well as improved mental health,” Lischewski adds.

Incidentally, Thunnus alalunga or albacore is the premium species of tuna and the only species that may be referred to as “white meat tuna.”

Suggested retail price is $2.99 per 4-oz. pouch.

Chili for those chilly nights

On a chilly winter night, there’s nothing quite as satisfying as bowl of hearty chili. Bush’s Best, Knoxville, Tenn., premieres Bush’s Homestyle Chili, the first heat-and-eat chili on the market in see-through glass jars. Now you can take a look at the premium ground beef, tomatoes, vegetables and beans that are chopped, diced and seasoned with Bush’s blend of spices and slow cooked.

Available in four varieties – Original Beef Chili with Beans, Original Beef Chili without Beans, Chunky Beef Chili with Beans and Hot Beef Chili with Beans – Bush’s Homestyle Chili is packaged in 15-oz. reusable glass jars.

Aside from good taste, there’s another reason to bean up. A study of 700 people ages 70-plus, conducted by the International Union of Nutritional Sciences and the World Health Organization, found that for every three teaspoon increase of beans (legumes) consumption daily, lifespan was increased by 8 percent.

Suggested retail price is $2.39.

Dips to dress up your crackers

Are you looking for a new way to dress up your crackers? Take a dip down the cracker aisle with Kraft Cracker Dips from Kraft Foods Inc., East Hanover, N.J.

Packaged in 11-oz. jars, savory Kraft Cracker Dips contain only 3 g of carbs per serving and can be enjoyed with your favorite crackers to celebrate any occasion including a toast to the New Year. And you won’t have to spend hours dicing, slicing or pureeing ingredients; just twist off the lid, pour into a microwavable bowl, heat and serve.

Kraft Cracker Dips are available in two varieties: Cheese & Salsa, a spicy blend of Kraft cheese, diced tomatoes, green and red peppers, onions and jalapeno peppers, and Zesty Cheese & Bean, a combination of Kraft cheese, black beans and fiery jalapenos.

“New Kraft Cracker Dips offer consumers a tasty way to dress up their crackers,” says Anne Park, brand manager, cracker complements.

Suggested retail price is $2.49.

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