July 2006 New Food Rollout

Four new Bulls-Eye barbecue sauces; infused skewers flavor from the inside; Coca-Cola’s Vault; Hormel Natural deli slices; ConAgra’s Ultragrain becomes a home flour; Hamburger Helper microwave singles.

By Diane Toops, News and Trends Editor

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Bull's Eye Raging Buffalo BBQ sauceFour new flavors for the grill

Kraft Foods Inc., Northfield, Ill., rolls out four new Bulls-Eye Barbecue Sauce flavors in time for the conquerors of the coals, barons of the burners and the sultans of smoke. Backyard barbecuers have four more options as well as the opportunity to win a backyard BBQ ensemble valued at $10,000.

New Bulls-Eye Barbecue Sauce flavors include: Steakhouse BBQ with A.1. (infused with the distinctive flavor of A.1.), Smokin' Chipotle BBQ (spiked with the kick of chipotle peppers), Raging Buffalo BBQ (laced with a fiery twist of wing sauce) and Sweet & Sticky BBQ Rib Sauce (extra-thick sauce charged with a shot of apple cider).

"At Bull's-Eye, we know that serious grillers get serious respect,” says Brendan Honan, senior brand manager. “That's why we're launching four new sauces and a search for America's unsung backyard heroes – the biggest, boldest, best barbecuers around. The 'Can You Go Pro?' contest, ending July 31, will shine the spotlight on America's kings of the grill, and two grand prize winners will receive the ultimate, custom-built barbecue setup." (www.bullseyebbq.com).

Suggested retail price is $2.29.



Skewers flavor from the inside

This one’s an interesting story in a couple of ways. Callisons Inc., Lacy, Wash., primarily takes mint oils and further processes them into flavors for chewing gum and toothpaste. Last summer, company executives asked employees for suggestions for new products. The winner: Seasoned Skewers.

Callisons stuck close to its knowledge base by taking natural oils and herbal extracts and infusing them into barbecue skewers for the company’s first retail product. Seasoned Skewers come in six flavors: Honey Bourbon, Citrus Rosemary, Thai Coconut Lime, Indian Mango Curry, Mexican Fiesta and Garlic Herb. Slide onto them chicken, beef, pork, fish, seafood, even baked potatoes and other vegetables and toss them on a barbecue grill and the powerful flavors enter the cooked food from the inside out.

While launched for summertime grilling, for which they seem to be ideally suited, Seasoned Skewers are not limited to the grill nor to summertime. They can impart their flavor through slow-roasting, oven baking or pan-searing.

So far, they’re available at Target, Williams-Sonoma, Whole Foods and similar stores at $7.99 for a packet of 10 skewers (www.seasonedskewers.com).



Hybrid energy soda from Coca-Cola

Coca-Cola's Vault Zero sodaTargeted to young adults, Vault and Vault Zero (a no-sugar version) are rolling out nationwide from Atlanta-based Coca-Cola North America. Though not part of that demographic, I returned to Coca-Cola’s booth at FMI every day for a sample. I can attest that its tagline – “The Taste. The Quench. The Kick.” – is right on.

Not a soft drink or an energy drink, Vault is a first-of-its-kind hybrid energy soda that delivers the best attributes both categories have to offer. It features a bold citrus taste with less carbonation than most sodas and the high-octane refreshment of an energy drink – but no taurine, guarana or the other exotic ingredients that are common in them.

Now available in 20-oz. and 1-liter bottles featuring a raised “diamond plate” pattern to provide an easier grip, Vault grows to nationwide distribution also in 2-liter bottles and 12-oz. cans.

“Vault helps take things to the next level by combining attributes from traditional soft drinks and energy drinks to provide young adults with the taste, refreshment and energy boost they’re seeking,” says Stuart Kronauge, director -- flavor brands. “Vault is a groundbreaking hybrid in much the same way sport-utility vehicles combine the most desirable features of cars and trucks. Vault offers the best of both worlds in one appealing package.”

Suggested retail price is 99 cents for the 20-oz. bottles.



Brown bag lunches get a nutritious makeover

Hormel Foods, Austin, Minn., gives brown bag lunches a nutritious makeover with the launch of Hormel Natural Choice Deli Sandwich Meats, 100 percent natural sandwich meats with no preservatives, added nitrites or nitrates, artificial colors or flavors and added MSG. Plus, they are gluten-free and low in sodium.

Available in 9-oz. packages, varieties include: Oven Roasted Deli Turkey, Smoked Deli Turkey, Honey Deli Turkey, Honey Deli Ham, Cooked Deli Ham and Smoked Deli Ham.

How does Hormel protect against harmful bacteria in Natural Choice Deli Sandwich Meats? By using innovative, high-pressure water-based pasteurization called Truetaste technology, a USDA-approved process that doesn’t compromise the meat’s great taste, texture, appearance or nutritional value.

“More than ever, people are very interested in identifying healthful, real food that will promote good nutrition,” says Jackie Newgent, an independent dietitian. “In fact, according to ACNielsen research, 95 percent of all grocery shoppers say they are looking for natural products to improve the health of their families.”

Suggested retail price is $3.89.



Whole-graining of the home oven

ConAgra Foods, Omaha, Neb., debuts Healthy Choice All-Purpose White Flour with Whole Grains. The launch combines two innovative brands: Healthy Choice and Ultragrain, the revolutionary new whole-wheat flour that bakes and tastes like white flour but contains 9g of whole grain per serving.

Healthy Choice brand Ultragrain flourAvailable since 2004 only to commercial food manufacturers, Ultragrain flour is a great option for mom’s home cooking and baking and a simple way to add more whole grains without sacrificing cooking performance or flavor for even the most finicky eaters (kids).

With higher levels of fiber, minerals, B vitamins, phytonutrients and antioxidants, the flour compares favorably in taste with traditional refined all-purpose white flour, which typically has none of the bran and germ in whole wheat. Healthy Choice flour is made with 30 percent Ultragrain flour blended with enriched refined white flour.

Mixing Ultragrain with other flours already has emerged as an effective strategy for getting consumers to purchase and eat more whole grains. In fact, Sara Lee's fast-selling Soft & Smooth Made with Whole Grains white bread and ConAgra Foods' popular The Max school lunch pizza have used Ultragrain flour blends. Scores of other products, including Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Crackers, Lightlife's Smart Menu vegetarian entrees and ConAgra’s Kid Cuisine meals and El eXtremo burritos have enhanced their nutritional profile significantly and lost none of their flavor, nor favor with moms, kids and other consumers.

"This flour strikes the perfect balance, with the taste most Americans want and the whole-grain nutrition they know they need," says David Palfenier, president, ConAgra Foods Grocery Foods. “Americans will be flipping for whole grains as never before." And he adds, “Ultimately, a lot more Americans will get closer to the recommended amounts of whole grains in their diets than do today with refined flour or 100 percent whole-wheat flour.”

Suggested retail price is $2.29 for a five-pound bag.



Be-‘tween’ meal option

Hamburger Helper, a brand of Minneapolis-based General Mills, rolls out Hamburger Helper Microwave Singles, snack-size pouches geared for hungry tweens and teens.

Varieties include Cheeseburger Macaroni, Cheesy Beef Taco, Stroganoff and Cheesy Lasagna. The pouches contain everything to prepare a single-serving snack or meal but the bowl. Just add water, stir and microwave for approximately five minutes. Yes, even the shelf-stable ground beef is in there.

“Now consumers may enjoy Hamburger Helper anytime and anyplace where there’s a microwave handy,” says Tim Goldsmid, Hamburger Helper marketing. “We created single-serve portions to provide families with a convenient option that parents can trust and kids can feel empowered to make on their own. We’re proud to be the first to market with this innovative product that provides consumers with more choices between meals, at lunch time or for a quick dinner on the go.”

Suggested retail price for four packages is $3.29.

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