February 2007's Best New Products

February's best new food products include a candy and video game fusion from Nestle; shelf-stable chicken breasts from Bumble Bee Foods; flavored oven-roasted peanuts from Diamond Foods Inc,; Newman's Own Organics' breath mints; asian noodles and condiments from Ka-Me; and NutriPals Balanced nutrition bars and drinks from Abbott Laboratories.

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To accompany the noodles, Ka-Me also rolls out improved Southeast Asian Cooking Sauces sans artificial preservatives and MSG in three flavors: Red Curry, Green Curry and Peanut Satay (along with recipe suggestions). The company also debuts three improved Southeast Asian Condiments -- Sriracha Sauce, Sweet Chili Sauce and Fish Sauce -- which are produced in Thailand utilizing local ingredients.

Suggested retail price for the noodles is $2.49 to $2.79, the cooking sauces retail for $2.49 to $2.99, and the condiments sell for $1.99 to $2.99.

Clinical on-the-go snacks for kids

Snack time can draw a battle line between what children really want to eat and what moms know is smart. Abbott Laboratories' Ross division, Columbus, Ohio, which makes PediaSure, introduces NutriPals Balanced Nutrition Bars and Drinks, a new line of convenient snacks created specifically for children's discerning palates … and nutrition needs.

NutriPals Bars, available in S'mores, Strawberry Yogurt, Peanut Butter Chocolate and Peanut Butter & Jelly flavors, contain 5g of protein, 3g of fiber and 21 vitamins and minerals. NutriPals Drinks, available in Vanilla, Chocolate and Strawberry flavors, contain 44 percent less sugar per ounce than the leading kids yogurt drinks.

"Moms recognize that snacking is a prime opportunity to sneak in those important vitamins and minerals that round out a wholesome diet," says registered dietitian Elizabeth Ward, mother of three and author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Feeding Your Baby and Toddler. "New NutriPals provides smart nutrition and can help alleviate parents' worries about their child's snacking by supplying protein and more than 20 vitamins and minerals in delicious and convenient bars and drinks."

Suggested retail price for a six-count box of bars or a four-count box of drinks is $5.49.

Microwaveable quesadillas debut

Ruiz Foods, Dinuba, Calif., introduces El Monterey Grilled Quesadillas -- a popular Mexican sandwich -- in two varieties El Monterey Grilled Quesadilla Chicken and Cheese and Shredded Steak and Cheese.

Each 3-oz. Quesadilla is microwaveable in less than two minutes and was specifically developed in response to the continued demand for convenient, quality and authentic Mexican food.

El Monterey Quesadillas are made with freshly-baked fluffy tortillas prepared in the Ruiz bakery. Still warm, each tortilla is then filled with mild spices, chicken breast or shredded steak, and real cheeses -- resulting in a mouthwatering snack or delicious meal that can be easily prepared. As with all El Monterey products, they contain 0 grams trans fat.

"We believe our El Monterey Quesadillas are right on the mark for the consumer who is looking for a convenient meal solution, whether they want to prepare a quick snack when the kids come home from school or whether they're looking to slice some fresh fruit, or make a salad and serve a quality, great tasting Mexican meal," says Bryce Ruiz, president and COO.

Suggested retail price is $3.49.

Redefining indulgence


Balancing work, family and grocery shopping can add stress to a woman's already-busy schedule. Occasionally, she needs to take a moment to reflect and indulge. Omaha, Neb.-based ConAgra Foods Inc. offers a quick and convenient option with its Swiss Miss Indulgent Collection pudding snacks.

Packaged in four-oz. cups and combining fresh cream and milk to create a rich taste and silky smooth creaminess, varieties include: Creamy Milk Chocolate, Chocolate Vanilla Swirl, Creamy Vanilla, Old Fashioned Tapioca and new Dark Chocolate Bliss.

"The Swiss Miss Indulgent Collection is an option for people who want to indulge in rich taste and quality, but don't have a lot of time," says Sharon McLenahan, vice president of dairy marketing. "The pudding snacks are packaged in portion-controlled cups, making it a quick and convenient way to indulge. Our consumers tell us they want chocolate and our new variety, Dark Chocolate Bliss, is made for the chocolate lover."

A recent telephone survey by Omnibus Research Corp. reveals that pudding isn't just for kids. Four-in-10 respondents (41 percent) without children at home consider pudding to be an indulgence compared to just 33 percent of those who are parents. In fact, a quarter of Americans without kids (24 percent) admit to indulging seven days a week. However, parents also enjoy the positive attributes of indulging. Twenty-nine percent of parents agree that indulging brings feelings of happiness. Sixty-seven percent of women associate indulging with pleasure, and American women are more likely than men to say they deserve to indulge (59 percent compared to 51 percent of men). The survey also confirms women are the true chocolate lovers. Seventy-four percent of females consider chocolate an indulgence compared to 66 percent of men.

Suggested retail price is $2.99 for a six-pack.

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