June 2006 New Food Rollout

This month's debutantes include Birds Eye Steamfresh veggies; Wishbone Salad Spritzers; Kellogg's Granola Munch-ems and Special K Snack Bites; 100 calorie packs from Frito-Lay; Dr Pepper Berries and Cream; McCormick Finishing Sauces.

By Diane Toops, News and Trends Editor

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In the bag - perfectly steamed veggies

Thanks to Clarence Birdseye, frozen foods were introduced to retail customers more than 75 years ago. Birds Eye Foods, Rochester, N.Y., rolls out another revolution in frozen food with the nationwide launch of Steamfresh, frozen vegetables that steam perfectly right in the bag.

Rollout: Birds Eye Steamfresh veggiesSteamfresh heralds steam-in-the-bag cooking, a new concept for U.S. consumers, but it should catch on as steamed vegetables lock in nutritional benefits of vitamins and minerals. It provides an easy way to meet the new daily requirements for vegetables - recommended at 2½ servings per day. Using some patented technology, the fresh frozen vegetables go from freezer to microwave to table in just 5 minutes.

Birds Eye packages its flash-frozen vegetables in a specially designed bag. While microwaving, the bag puffs up under the pressure of the steam created within it. A patented vent releases the steam after it cooks the veggies, leaving them crisp, colorful and tasty.

"Steaming has long been thought of as the gold standard for vegetable preparation because of its inherent health benefits," says Josh Weinstein, senior product manager of Steamfresh. "With the Steamfresh products, consumers will receive perfectly steamed vegetables with such ease and convenience that we believe the Steamfresh portfolio could quickly become a home meal-time staple."

Each 12-oz. package serves about four people and is available in nine varieties: Broccoli Cuts; Super Sweet Corn; Cut Green Beans; Mixed Vegetables; Sweet Peas; Broccoli and Cauliflower; Broccoli, Cauliflower, and Carrots; Broccoli, Carrots, Sugar Snap Peas and Water Chestnuts, and Sweet Mini Corn on the Cob (four ears).

Suggested retail price ranges between $1.69 for plain vegetables and $2.29 for mixtures.



Rollout: Wishbone Salad SpritzersLettuce puttin' on the spritz

Dressing your salad has never been easier or more fashionable. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.-based Unilever introduces a line of Wish-Bone Salad Spritzers salad dressing, the season's must-have salad accessory.

Designed for diet-conscious consumers who wish to regulate the amount of dressing they use, Wishbone Salad Spritzers are packaged in 7-oz. spray bottles with a custom spray nozzle that gives salad lovers more control than ever in adding the finishing touch to their salads. These light-tasting, refreshing vinaigrette dressings are available in three varieties: Italian Vinaigrette Dressing, made with a blend of white wine vinegar, and flavorings; Balsamic Breeze Vinaigrette Dressing, a blend of balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil and garlic flavor; and Red Wine Mist Vinaigrette Dressing, blending cabernet sauvignon with red wine vinegar and oil.

"This is a true innovation in dressing salads," says Dana Emery, marketing director. "The dressing is the final touch that makes a salad delicious. Wish-Bone Salad Spritzers dressings give salad lovers a new way to perfectly dress their salad with 1 calorie per spray."



Kellogg makes granola pop-able

Kellogg Co., Battle Creek, Mich., rolls out Kellogg's Granola Munch'ems and Special K Snack Bites, six single-serve pouches of bite-sized morsels perfect for busy, on-the-go consumers.

All-new Granola Munch'ems in two varieties - Honey Oat and Brown Sugar Cinnamon - are made with whole grains and several essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A and B6, thiamin, niacin, riboflavin and calcium. Each 130-calorie serving pouch provides a wholesome and delicious snack. The triangle-shaped pieces are easy to enjoy on the go - just pop and eat, with no messy crumbs.

"People love the great taste and nutrition traditional granola provides, and they want something that is convenient in today's increasingly on-the-go lifestyles," said Cheryl Dolven, nutritionist for Kellogg Snacks. "With new Munch'ems, consumers can enjoy a great-tasting, nutritious snack anywhere, anytime. We think this will change the way people think about granola and snacking."

For those refocusing their commitment to shape management, Kellogg adds Special K Snack Bites to its popular Special K line. Each 90-calorie pack features clusters of lightly textured, multi-grain Special K cereal with a touch of vanilla or strawberry flavors. Snack Bites also can be incorporated as a snack into the Special K Challenge, the two-week plan to help kick-start consumer's diets and their commitment to a long-term healthier lifestyle.

Suggested retail price is $3.39.



Frito-Lay controls its portions

Rollout: Doritos 100 Calorie PackPortion control is becoming the modus operandi for snack manufacturers. Frito-Lay North America, Plano, Texas, joins the fray with 100 Calorie Mini Bites, portion-controlled offerings of its Cheetos and Doritos snacks.

Varieties include: Baked! Cheetos; Doritos Nacho Cheese; Doritos Cool Ranch and Cheetos Asteroids. The Baked! Cheetos snacks also carry the Smart Spot symbol, which identifies those products that meet PepsiCo's nutrition criteria, based upon authoritative statements from the FDA and the Institute of Medicine.

"Consumers want products that fit in a health-conscious lifestyle, and yet they are unwilling to compromise on taste," says Jeff Swearingen, vice president, shopper marketing. "Our 100 Calorie Mini Bites give consumers 'snack balance' - their favorite brands in convenient portion packaging that takes the guess work out of calorie control."

Suggested retail price for a five-pack box is $1.99.



Berries and Cream joins Dr Pepper line

Dr Pepper fans apparently are passionate about the brand - hundreds professed their love recently by puckering up to kiss a giant can of Dr Pepper Berries and Cream, the latest flavor, at the Dr Pepper Ballpark in Texas.

It's the second flavor Cadbury Schweppes Americas Beverages, Plano, Texas, has added to the brand's Soda Fountain Classics line, which was created to meet consumers' desire for nostalgic flavors reminiscent of simpler times. Soda Fountain Classics were launched in 2004 with Cherry Vanilla Dr Pepper, and it was company's most successful product introduction in more than a decade.

"Consumers like a full-flavor experience in their beverage choice, and our Dr Pepper Soda Fountain Classics have proven to be a tremendous success because they meet that need," says Jim Trebilcock, senior vice president of consumer marketing. "Based on consumer product test results, we expect both Regular and Diet Dr Pepper Berries and Cream will have strong and devoted followings."

Suggested retail price for a 12-pack ranges from $2-4.



McCormick puts sauces in pouches

McCormick and Co. Inc., Sparks, Md., rolls out McCormick's Finishing Sauces, a new line of sauces in microwaveable standup pouches with a 12-month shelf-life.

Each 5-oz. pouch makes two to three servings and can be either microwaved (approximately 45 seconds) or can be poured into a saucepan and heated. Prior to microwaving, the pouch is cut diagonally across a score line printed on the back panel. This enables venting during heating and also facilitates pouring. Leftover sauce can be refrigerated and used for a subsequent meal.

Rollout: McCormick Finishing Sauces

Varieties include: Honey Mustard, Red Burgundy Wine for Beef, Roasted Chicken Gravy with Herbs, Creamy Mushroom and Roasted Beef.

"There are no other wet gravies in flexible pouches in the U.S.," explains Stefanie Woodhouse, product manager, finishing sauce product line. "Typically those types of products are in glass jars."

In order for the standup pouches to be both retortable and microwaveable, Ampac Flexibles Converted Products, a unit of Ampac Packaging LLC, Cincinnati, Ohio, developed a structure without a foil layer that could also withstand the temperature of the retort (250°F). Ampac developed "cool grip" heat seals on either side of the pouch, so consumers can handle the package after microwaving.

Suggested retail price is $1.99 per pouch.

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