May 2005 New Food Rollout

This month's intros include Ritz-y snacks, Swift breakfasts, a Pagoda-ful of egg rolls and a Select brew. Also, sugar sees the Lite, Nestle splashes about and Peanut Chews are Just Born.

By Diane Toops, News and Trends Editor

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Ritz Chips BBQ

May is National Barbecue Month, and Nabisco, East Hanover, N.J., is celebrating with the launch of Ritz Chips Barbecue for a flavorsome snacking experience. According to the Snack Food Assn., barbecue is the most popular snack flavor of college men and the second most popular flavor among Americans.

Baked not fried, Ritz Chips Barbecue contain 6 g of fat, 40 percent less fat than regular fried potato chips, and the irregularly shaped chips make them perfect for dipping or munching. Packaged in a stay-fresh foil 9-oz. bag, they have a peel-off tab for convenient resealing.

“Barbecue is one of the most popular flavors in America, so we thought the tasty flavor of Ritz Chips and barbecue seasoning would make the perfect snacking combination,” says Adam Coacher, brand director.

Suggested retail price is $2.99.

Good stuff breakfast in seconds

Consumers say they want to eat breakfast quickly during the week but want to savor it on the weekend. Swift & Co., Greeley, Colo., helps out with a line of fully-cooked breakfast meats with a special blend of spices that accommodates both in seconds.

Varieties, which don’t require refrigeration, include: Swift Premium Pork Sausage in an 8-oz. resealable standup pouch that holds 10 links. It’s available in both Original and Country Flavor; Swift Premium Pork Sausage Patties six in the same type of pouch offering 9-oz. of both flavor varieties; and Swift Premium Pork Bacon Strips with 15 strips per 2.2-oz package. It’s available in both Original and Maple flavor. I tried the bacon in a BLT, and it was delicious. And for those of you who like to experiment, try a bacon and peanut butter sandwich on Russian Rye bread; now why didn’t I think of that.

"Bacon and sausage are only as good as the stuff they're made from," said Bill McClellan, vice president of customer development for Swift & Co. "That's why Swift Premium makes our sausage with only pure Swift Premium pork with no fillers added, and our bacon is made using the freshest, highest quality pork for indulgent bacon flavor."

Suggested retail price is $3.39.

Asian for any occasion

Perfect finger food, small plates or appetizers are a delightful way to share new taste experiences. Minneapolis-based Pagoda introduces four new varieties of Asian Sensations, a line of frozen Asian-inspired snacks, perfect for munching, mini meals or casual entertaining.

Produced by Schwan’s Consumer Brands North America Inc., a division of The Schwan Food Co., varieties include: Southwest Chicken Egg Rolls (four to a package); Thai Style Chicken Mini Crisps (eight to a package); Crab Rangoon (eight to a package); and Pizza Mini Egg Rolls (eight to a package).

“Asian Sensations offers consumers the great taste of Asian-inspired snacks for any occasion,” says Tom Bierbaum, director of marketing. “Ethnic-influenced foods are a growing part of mainstream snacking, and Asian Sensations is offering consumers the next revolution in hot snacking.”

Suggested retail price is $2.89.

Sweetener that measures and bakes like sugar

Many Americans are reducing their calories and carbs but don’t want to give up dessert or true taste. Sugar Lite from Equal makes that possible with a blend of real sugar and no-calorie sweeteners in a baking product that offers the convenience of cup-for-cup measurement like sugar. It contains half the calories and half the carbs, bakes like sugar, tastes great and fits into a healthier lifestyle.

Sugar Lite from Equal, produced by Chicago-based Merisant Worldwide Inc., bakes, browns and provides volume to baked goods like sugar. It's formulated with larger crystals, so there’s no need for cumbersome conversions. By substituting the same amount of Equal Sugar Lite for sugar, cakes, cookies, breads, muffins and brownies can be made simply.

"People looking for simple things they can do to help lead healthier lives can swap Equal Sugar Lite for sugar and makeover -- or bakeover -- their favorite recipes," says registered dietitian Lael Edelstein, who supervises Equal's test kitchens.

Equal Sugar Lite also offers ingredient options for the more than one million people diagnosed each year with diabetes, as well as the estimated 135 million U.S. adults classified as overweight. Sugar Lite from Equal is available in bags equivalent in sweetness to 2 lbs. and 4 lbs. of sugar.

Suggested retail prices range from $4.29 to $4.39 for the 2-lb. equivalent and $7.69 to $7.79 for the 4-lb. equivalent bags.

New waters with a splash of flavor

Poised to expand rapidly in the U.S. and expected to be worth $800 million in sales by 2009, according to Beverage Marketing, the flavored bottled water market is splashing onto supermarket shelves.

Nestle Waters North America Inc., Greenwich, Conn., rolls out Nestle Pure Life Natural Fruit Flavored Water Beverage, a line extension under the Nestle Pure Life trademark.

Available in four splashy natural flavors -- Lemon Splash, Orange Splash, Raspberry Splash and Strawberry Splash -- it’s a non-carbonated water beverage with zero calories and zero carbs that is sweetened with Splenda sucralose.

"Some 74 percent of Americans regularly consume bottled water, and this new beverage provides the best of both worlds. It’s an exciting, flavorful alternative to plain water and a healthier alternative to soda and other sugary beverages," says Angela Vradenburgh, senior marketing manager. "Consumers are looking for healthier options and Nestle Pure Life Natural Fruit Flavored Water Beverage is the perfect option because it combines the goodness of pure refreshing water with the delicious taste of real fruit."

Suggested retail price for a six-pack of half-liters is $2.27 to $2.89, and a 32-count half-liter variety pack with all four flavors is $9.99.


Peanut Chews

A regional favorite since 1917, Peanut Chews were purchased from the Goldenberg Candy Co. in 2003 by Just Born Inc., Bethlehem, Pa. In April, Just Born will share the treat with a national rollout.

“We have made some exciting improvements to the packaging graphics and to the Milk Chocolatey product, while being very careful to preserve the unique taste of the Original Dark candy that made Peanut Chews so popular and created so many loyal fans,” explain Ross Born and David Shafffer, cousins and co-presidents.

Peanut Chews are available in two varieties -- Original Dark and a reformulated Milk Chocolatey variety, which has a creamier tasting coating and softer center.

Suggested retail price varies from 65 cents for a 2-oz. bar to $1.79 for a 14-oz. bag.

Crisp with no aftertaste

Beer drinkers across the country will toast Anheuser-Busch Cos., St. Louis, for the launch of Budweiser Select, a "new kind of beer" that is brewed for a "crisp taste with no aftertaste."

“Consumer response to Budweiser Select has been great,” says Don Meyer, director of Budweiser Select marketing. " ‘Crisp taste with no aftertaste’ delivers a true consumer product point of difference.”

Packaged in a unique “pinch neck” bottle with eye-catching graphics, Budweiser Select has only 3.1g of carbs, 99 calories and 4.3 percent alcohol by volume per 12-oz. serving. It was developed using two-row and roasted specialty malts for a rich color. The beer spends approximately twice as long as regular beers in the brewhouse, where grains are milled, mixed with water and mashed. A blend of aromatic domestic and imported hops provides the balance and flavor.

Budweiser Select is priced on par with Budweiser and Bud Light.

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