October 2005 New Food Rollout

New products from Schwan's/Red Baron, Pepperidge Farm, Europe's Best fruits; spray flavors from celebrity Chef David Burke; an energy drink from Anheuser-Busch; a PepsiCo milk.

By Diane Toops, News and Trends Editor

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Balance of crispy and tender crust

Regular thin crust pizza is the most popular crust, preferred by 61 percent of Americans, followed by thick crust and deep dish tied for second (14 percent) and extra thin crust (11 percent), according to NPD. Using a propriety formula that delivers a fresh-baked taste, Schwan's Consumer Brands North America Inc., Marshall, Minn., introduces Red Baron Gold Edition Thin Crust Pizza with zero trans fats per serving.

Delivering a golden, crispy and tender crust straight from the oven to the table in less than 20 minutes, the new Red Baron pizza is available in six varieties: Ultimate Pepperoni; 5 Cheese; Supreme; Meat Trio; Italian Sausage and Pepperoni, and Mozzarella Tomato and Basil. Each variety includes a sauce specifically created to perfectly complement the aged cheeses and robust toppings to enhance the overall flavor profile.

"When developing Red Baron Thin Crust, we wanted to create the best thin crust pizza on the market," says Bryan Olson, brand director. "We added the finest ingredients to our unique crispy and tender crust to create something special."

Suggested retail price is $5.49.


Whimsical offering from Pepperidge Farm

Norwalk, Conn.-based Pepperidge Farm introduces Whims cookies, a unique line of bite-sized cookies in two varieties: Crispy Waves (crispy-thin snacks) and Crunchy Clusters (combinations of cookie ingredients all rolled up into bite-sized poppable clusters).

They are packaged in a unique canister by Sonoco, which fits in a car's cupholder and allows for easy opening and reclosing. When the canister sits on the retail shelf, package graphics are reversed on each side so it can be stacked either right side up or upside down, a retailer's dream.

Whims are available in six flavors -- three Crispy Waves: Chocolate Chip, Mint Chocolate Chip and Toffee Chip; and three Crunchy Clusters: Chocolate Chocolate, Chocolate Cashew and White Chocolate Pecan. Each package holds 5.3 oz. of Waves snacks and 5.6 oz. of Clusters treats.

"Consumers are more selective than ever about their cookie choices," says President Jay Gould. "For some, cookies have become an indulgence, so people want to make sure they're enjoying the very best. "

Suggested retail price is $3.49.


Getting to the essence of the matter

Celebrity Chef David Burke of restaurant davidburke&donatella, New York, debuts Flavor Sprays, liquid extracts containing water, salts, emulsifiers and natural and artificial flavors. All contain zero calories, zero fat, and zero carbs, and the sweet sprays contain Splenda.

Classic flavors include Parmesan Cheese, Pesto, Ranch, Smoked Bacon and Tomato Basil. Coming soon are Balsamic, Buttery, Sour Cream and Onion. Exotic flavors include Hot and Sour, Ice Blue Salt, Memphis BBQ, Pepper City and Teriyaki. Soon to debut are Mustard, Sausage and Peppers and Wasabi. Kids could have fun experimenting with Sweet and Sinful flavors, such as Banana Split, Chocolate Fudge, Cookies and Cream, Marshmallow, Mochaccino, Raspberry Bubblegum, Root Beer Float and Strawberry Shortcake. On the drawing boards are Birthday Cake, Chocolate Crumb, Cola Float, Key Lime Pie and Pretzel Dough, along with a variety of fruit flavors.

"We are living in a health-conscious society where people are constantly searching for a way to a healthier lifestyle," says Burke.

Available only online at www.flavorspraydiet.com, the suggested retail price for a 2-oz. can is $5.95.


A fruitful endeavor

There's no denying the surging popularity of fresh fruit. But how can consumers get that great fresh taste once the window for local fresh berries has closed? In the freezer case, of course. Montreal-based Europe's Best (www.europesbest.com), Canada's leader in the frozen fruit category, launches a line of frozen fruit in the U.S., the taste and nutritional content of which rivals fruit freshly picked from the orchard.

Europe's Best picks its fruit (all around the world) when fully ripened; the fruit is then washed and individually quick frozen (IQF) at the source and packaged in convenient 21-oz. standup, resealable pouches within hours after harvest. Its proprietary flash freezing process prevents loss of nutrients and seals in natural flavors, so no sugar, preservatives or coloring agents are added. The fruit retains its flavor for up to 24 months.

Varieties include Sunburst Mango, Select Raspberries, Woodland Blueberries, Country Strawberries, Harvest Fresh Cranberries,Tropical Blend, 4-Field Berry Mix, Summer Fruit Salad, Aloha Gold Pineapple and Sliced Strawberries.

"Growth in the fresh and frozen fruit categories has just been phenomenal," says George Kyres, president and CEO. "Much of that increase has been a result of the exploding popularity of smoothies, which are a $1 billion business at retail in the U.S. Interest in making smoothies at home, coupled with the numerous studies supporting the antioxidant and other health benefits of berries, seems to have sweetened the taste of fruit for consumers."

Kyres also is passionate about combating childhood obesity. "Everyone talks about obesity, but we've done something about it by tripling consumption of fruits in Canada in the past two years," he says. "Customers use our fruit in their cereals, smoothies and yogurt. We even increased the consumption of milk in Canada by incorporating our fruit for healthy milkshakes. The fruit is naturally sweet, so kids really love it." He adds, "Our mission in the U.S. is to encourage children to eat fruit everyday and to make it fun for them. Kids can create different colored drinks -- purple by using 4-Field Berry Mix or pink colors with Select Raspberries. The 21-oz. bag (larger than what is presently available in the U.S.) is a perfect size for one-week's fruit consumption for a family of four."


Suggested retail price is $2.99 to $3.99.


Anheuser Busch goes full Tilt

Anheuser-Busch Inc., St. Louis, has been on a new product rollout and its latest entry is Tilt, an innovative malt beverage featuring an assorted blend of caffeine, guarana and ginseng and packaged in sleek, individual 16-oz. silver cans containing 6.6, 6 or 4 percent alcohol by volume based on state laws.

Tilt is brewed with two-row malt, natural grains, hops, yeast and water and is infused with raspberry flavor, caffeine, guarana and ginseng at Anheuser-Busch's Cartersville, Ga., brewery. It's fermented at cold temperatures and allowed to develop natural carbonation as it slowly matures.

"From happy hour to a night out at a club, contemporary adults are looking for innovative beverages that fit into their fast-paced, highly social lifestyles," says Pat McGauley, vice president, innovation/new products. "Tilt was developed with this in mind because it is suited to a variety of drinking occasions."

Suggested retail price is competitive with similar products.


Healthy chillin'

Purchase, N.Y.-based PepsiCo Inc. introduces in select markets Quaker Milk Chillers, a line of noncarbonated flavored milk beverages, a growing category estimated at $2.5 billion this past year, which targets teenagers and young adults.

Packaged in 14-oz, single-serve plastic, Quaker Milk Chillers are made with 2 percent reduced-fat milk and fortified with calcium and seven essential vitamins. Flavors include Chocolate, Strawberry and Vanilla. They are sweetened with a blend of natural and no-calorie sweeteners including sucrose, sucralose (Splenda), and acesulfame potassium. They have a similar nutritional profile to plain 2 percent reduced fat milk and qualify for PepsiCo's "smart spot" symbol because they contain 45-50 percent less sugar than the leading flavored milks and are an excellent source of calcium.

Produced using leading-edge aseptic technology, Quaker Milk Chillers have a six-month shelf life, which is significantly longer than most flavored milks and plain milk products (which can range from two weeks to three months).

"Many people want the health benefits of milk but they don't like the taste of plain milk," says Chad Dick, director of marketing innovation, Pepsi-Cola North America. "Quaker Milk Chillers enable them to get many of milk's nutrients in the form of a great-tasting beverage without all of the calories and sugar found in most flavored milks. So when it's time for a snack, we hope people will reach for Quaker Milk Chillers rather than a cookie or a candy bar."

Suggested retail price is $1.49-$1.59.

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