January 2006 New Food Rollout

Birds Eye Steam and Serve side dishes; Kraft’s healthier mac and cheese; frozen premium fruit from Dole; Crystal Light for bottled water; Mega M&M's; Pepperidge Farm Chocolate Dipped cookies

By Diane Toops, News and Trends Editor

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Inspirational sides with steamy new technology

Designed to appeal to more sophisticated palates, Birds Eye Steam and Serve is a new premium frozen vegetable line from Birds Eye Foods, Rochester, N.Y. Created by Chef Mark Susz for the at-home chef, Steam and Serve uses breakthrough steaming technology, and the recipes combine unique sauces with elegant vegetable and fruit blends.

Each 10-oz. package serves two to three people and can be prepared in less than six minutes. Steam and Serve varieties include: Asian Vegetables with Roasted Cashews; Beans with a Twist; Italian Herb Harvest Vegetables; Spring Vegetables in Citrus Sauce; Lemon Pepper Vegetables and Carrots and Cranberries.

"Birds Eye is excited to offer consumers the innovative, chef-inspired creations of Steam and Serve," says David Hogberg, executive vice president of marketing and business development. "The unique steamer tray used in the Steam and Serve line further demonstrates our entrepreneurial thinking and commitment to offer high-quality dishes that are exceptional in taste and inspirational in the kitchen."

Suggested retail price is $2.99.

Better-for-you mac and cheese

Northfield, Ill.-based Kraft Foods Inc. rolls out Supermac and Cheese pasta and sauce, a better-for-you twist on a cheesy classic. Supermac products meet Kraft's Sensible Solution nutrition criteria that identify better-for-you choices across its portfolio.

Each serving of Supermac shapes provides an excellent source of calcium, vitamins B1, C, D and E, 8g of whole grain. And when prepared using the suggested preparation instructions (which call for 2 Tbsp. of a 0g trans fat spread and 1/3 cup fat-free milk), they yield just 350 calories, 11g of total fat and 0g of trans fatty acids.

Supermac and Cheese pasta and sauce is available in four varieties featuring shapes that make it fun for kids to eat. Packaging highlights licensed characters from SpongeBob Squarepants, Spiderman and Fairly Odd Parents. A regular Supermac Elbow Pasta and Sauce is also available.

"With Supermac, we took an American favorite, made it more nutritious and kept it delicious," says Lance Friedmann, senior vice president of health and wellness. "That's what parents are looking for today — better-for-you choices that keep the fun in food for kids."

Suggested retail price is 99 cents per box.

Fruitful and nutritious frozen offering

Dole Food Co. Inc., Westlake Village, Calif., rolls out Dole Frozen Fruit — a branded line of fresh frozen fruit in variety of sizes, from 12-oz. to 4-lbs.They're available to retail, club, foodservice and industrial venues.

The first national brand to enter the category, Dole plans to market the line with a compelling nutrition message courtesy of the Dole Nutrition Institute, the company's research and education arm. In addition to its focus on communicating the benefits of a colorful, phytochemically rich, plant-based diet, the Dole Nutrition Institute is highlighting particular nutrient-rich fruits with proven health benefits as part of its new Superfoods Program.

More than a dozen fruits will be offered: from colorful antioxidant-rich berries to Dole's signature tropical fruits, including Tropical Gold pineapple. All Dole Frozen Fruit products are 100 percent natural fruit, frozen at the peak of ripeness, washed and ready to eat.

Produced in the Dole facility in Atwater, Calif., varieties include: Blueberries; Wild Blueberries; Raspberries; Mixed Berries; Marion Blackberries; Whole Strawberries; Pineapple Chunks; Mango Chunks; Tropical Island Blend (mixture of Tropical Gold Pineapple, mangos, peaches, strawberries and honeydew); Dark Sweet Cherries; Sliced Peaches; and Mixed Fruit (peaches, strawberries, pineapple, honeydew and red seedless grapes).

"Dole has a strong commitment to nutrition education,” explains David H. Murdock, chairman and CEO. "By providing our customers valuable nutrition information, we give them the tools they need to choose foods wisely. Dole can help improve the American diet by leading the effort to educate and motivate people to eat more fruits and vegetables as part of a well-balanced eating plan. Dole Frozen Fruit supports that mission by providing people with a nutritious and easy way to eat right every day.”

Suggested retail price for 12-oz. is $2.99 and $2.79 for 16-oz. (The 12-oz. offerings are primarily berries hence the cost differential.)

Shaking up the bottled water category

With bottled water consumption at an all-time high, Parsippany, N.J.-based Crystal Light, a Kraft Foods brand, introduces Crystal Light On The Go, handy, dandy individual packets that turn a 16.9-oz. bottle of water into a flavorful sugar-free, 5-calorie drink with zero grams of carbs. Just pour, shake and go.

Varieties include: Lemonade, Raspberry Ice, Iced Tea and Peach Tea.

"We know consumers realize that water is good for them, but they are often bored with the taste,” says Brand Director Kimberly Snead. "By providing them with a way to ‘wake up' their bottled water, they receive all the benefits of drinking water and get the great, refreshing taste of Crystal Light.”

Suggested retail price for 14 packets is $4.59.

Adult-sized M&M's

According to Masterfoods USA, Hackettstown, N.J., the U.S. food, snack and petcare operations of Mars Inc., anything more would have been too big and anything less too small, so M&M's Chocolate Candies introduces Mega M&M's a perfectly big treat made especially for adults. Mega M&M's come in Milk Chocolate and Peanut varieties and feature a new look with eye-catching metallic packaging incorporating the bigger-size candies.


The new version of the iconic color-coated candies are on average 55 percent bigger than original M&M's and come in six new hues that appeal to adults: maroon, teal, blue-gray, beige, gold and brown.

Following tremendous consumer demand for the limited-edition "ogre-sized” M&M's created in conjunction with last year's "Shrek 2” movie release, the brand is adding the bigger-sized candies to the permanent line.

"Mega M&M's are a great example of how we continue to evolve one of America's favorite brands,” says Martyn Wilks, vice president of snack foods. "We listen to what our consumers want and continually work to deliver all the taste and fun associated with M&M's in new and different ways, which keeps the brand fresh and relevant.”

Suggested retail price for 12.6 oz. is $2.79 and. $4.15 for 19.6 oz.

Cookies dip into decadence

Pepperidge Farm, Norwalk, Conn., launches three varieties of Chocolate Dipped cookies — the ultimate in indulgence.

Varieties include: Chocolate Dipped Chocolate Chunk, a crispy cookie filled with dark chocolate chunks and dipped with chocolate; Chocolate Dipped Chessmen, a rich, buttery cookie bottomed in chocolate; and Chocolate Dipped Soft Baked Dark Chocolate Brownie, a soft, chewy chocolate cookie full of chocolate chunks and then dipped in more chocolate.

"New Pepperidge Farm Chocolate Dipped cookies are perfect for anyone who is looking for the ultimate, indulgent reward," says Michael Simon, vice president and general manager of snacks. "By adding extraordinary, rich chocolate to the unique and distinctive cookies consumers already love, these new cookies provide a treat for chocolate lovers everywhere."

Suggested retail price is $3.49.

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