Rollout: Late summer new product debuts

From printed potatoes to sultry salt, we profile products crafted creatively 

By Diane Toops, News & Trends Editor

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A message in every bite

Cincinnati-based Procter & Gamble Co. soon will roll out Pringles Prints, an innovative snack that features a unique, fun design printed on every crisp. The proprietary technology, from the brand that invented the stacked chip category, allows P&G to customize the crisps by printing words and images in colors. Blue or red food colors, which don’t alter the taste of the crisp, are used for the design. This is the first application of this technology in the U.S.

For now, Pringles Prints will be available in Original flavor only in two sizes — canister and Snack Stacks (a portion control size ideal for the lunchbox). In the future, new printing colors, designs and images will be available. P&G is using the technology to make the snack experience both fun and educational. Pringles Prints Fun Facts, Animal Facts and Jokes were placed in regional markets in June and July.

P&G is partnering with Hasbro, a leader in children’s and family leisure time entertainment products, to use Trivial Pursuit Junior trivia content nationwide in August. Pringles Prints will feature 2,400 fun trivia questions and answers from six different Trivial Pursuit Junior categories (Today & Tomorrow, Music, Movies, Nature, Yesterday and Whatever) randomly printed on the potato crisps.

“Pringles is the leader and founder of the stacked crisp category and now we’re taking it to a whole new level,” says Jamie Egasti, vice president of P&G’s North America Snacks Division. “With the introduction of Pringles Prints, we have developed a new way to delight consumers by adding fun and excitement to one of kids’ favorite lunchtime snacks while delivering incremental volume growth for our customers.” Pringles Prints and Snack Stacks have a suggested retail price equivalent to other Pringles products of similar size.

Enjoy Mardi Gras anytime, anywhere

Bringing home New Orleans-style fun and flavor has just gotten a lot easier. McCormick & Co., Hunt Valley, Md., and its recently acquired division Zatarain’s, a New Orleans tradition since 1889, introduced six Zatarain’s Ready-to-Serve flavored rice dishes that go from pantry to plate in just 60 seconds.

Varieties include: Jambalaya, Red Beans & Rice, Yellow Rice, Long Grain & Wild Rice, Chicken & Herb Rice and Perfect White Rice. All varieties come in 8.8-oz. microwaveable pouches, so they require no preparation, there’s nothing to add and no cleanup. It’s a speedy and convenient way to serve perfect rice every time.

“We’ve taken some of the most authentic New Orleans flavors and turned them into ultra-convenient side dishes, so people can enjoy them anytime, anywhere,” says Laurie Harrsen, spokesperson for Zatarain’s. Suggested retail prices range from $1.59 to $1.89.

Hershey delivers carb options

In August, Hershey Foods Corp., Hershey, Pa., delivered an alternative to consumers who want to moderate carbohydrate intake with the roll out of Hershey’s Carb Alternatives, miniature chocolate candies that deliver great taste, but with half the sugar carbs. The miniature treats are available in four varieties including Hershey’s Chocolate with Almonds, Hershey’s Kisses, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and KitKat.

“Consumer interest in foods with reduced carbohydrates is very significant,” says Thomas Herquist, senior vice president and chief marketing officer. “We are excited to introduce a product that not only meets the needs of consumers looking for reduced carbohydrate options, but that also gives consumers the great chocolate taste for which Hershey is famous.” Suggested retail price is $1.99.

Betty Crocker pours it on

Minneapolis-based General Mills has created a new option in the frosting category with the introduction of Betty Crocker Pour & Frost. Designed for the microwave, it’s the first frosting that is pourable and ready to spread. What’s unique here is that you don’t even have to wait for the cake to completely cool, so no more crumbly cake creations for that special birthday party.

“It’s the frosting that makes a cake look and taste delicious,” says Mike Paul, marketing manager. “However, consumers will wait two to three hours for the cake to cool, often waiting overnight, before they frost the cake. With Pour & Frost, consumers won’t have to deal with a crumbly cake when trying to frost too soon.”

Pour & Frost is available in three varieties – Vanilla, Chocolate and Milk Chocolate. Both chocolate flavors are made with Hershey’s Dutch Cocoa. Suggested price is $1.79 for a 15-oz. tub.

This salt is a kick in the buds!

Chicago-based Morton Salt is zinging up the salt category with Hot Salt. A mix of salt, red peppers and the smoky hot flavor of chipotle, the savory Hot Salt makes it possible for consumers to easily add flavorful heat to chicken, potatoes, burgers, salads and more. 

“We designed our new Hot Salt product for the segment of consumers that loves spicy food; for those who want to kick-up their dishes,” says Earl Thorne, director of advertising, sales promotion and grocery marketing. “We have been thrilled with our taste testing results – people love this product.”

With America’s expanding palate, hot and spicy foods are becoming more sought out fare. DDB Worldwide Communications Group’s Lifestyle Study, the nation’s largest on-going life style study, which has been conducted since 1975, validates the trend. Of the nearly 3,600 adults surveyed, 75 percent expressed interest in new, different, hotter fare. Morton’s new Hot Salt answers this “warming trend” with a product that’s familiar, yet progressive. Suggested retail price is $2.45.

Family-serve frozen meals for your Crock-Pot

ConAgra Foods Inc., Omaha, Neb., introduced Banquet Crock-Pot Classics, the first frozen meal designed and created for Crock-Pot slow-cooking. It takes just five minutes of prep time: pop the ingredients (meat, vegetables, potatoes and sauces) into your Crock-Pot in the morning and come home to the inviting aroma of a slow-cooked, home-cooked meal.

Crock-Pot Classics is a great idea because slow cooking is on the rise; in fact, more than 80 percent of U.S. households own a slow cooker and 20 percent of families use it on a weekly basis, notes an NFO World Group Appliance Study. That translates to 4 million slow-cooked meals per day or 1.5 billion meals a year. The line also solves the eating-at-different-times conundrum. When Junior gets home late from soccer practice, dinner is still hot.

Varieties include Beef Stew, Chicken and Dumpling, Chicken with Redskin Potatoes and Vegetables, Creamy Chicken with Pasta, Herb Chicken and Rice and Stroganoff with Beef and Noodles. Each Classic (60-plus oz.) variety serves four to five people (or one hungry teenage boy).

“Consumers know they can get delicious food when they cook with their Crock-Pots,” says John Hanson, vice president of marketing for Banquet. “Additionally, they don’t have to worry about what’s for dinner at the end of the day. But those same consumers wanted more convenience, so we made slow cooking even easier for them.”

ConAgra secured exclusive rights to use the Crock-Pot name on products developed for the slow cooker, and will jointly promote the new line with the Holmes Group Inc., which holds the Crock-Pot trademark. Suggested retail price is $5.99.

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