Rollout: May 2007's Best New Products

This month's new product rollout features bistro flatbreads from Stouffer's; a groundbreaking, sugar-free stick gum from Wrigley; Diet Coke Plus, a sparkling, calorie-free beverage with vitamins and minerals from Coca-Cola; Hershey's Antioxidant Milk Chocolate; a new instant oatmeal that feels like cold cereal from Quaker Oats; Hormel's Natural Choice line of deli meats; and Kellogg's Special K Chocolatey Delight.

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Restaurant-inspired flatbreads debut

Solon, Ohio-based Stouffer's, a Nestle brand, launches Corner Bistro Flatbreads, a line of restaurant-inspired crispy, seasoned breads topped with unique flavor combinations, ready in a few minutes in the oven or microwave.

Corner Bistro Flatbreads are available in four varieties: Chicken, Bacon & Spinach on a Basil and Garlic Seasoned Flatbread(grilled chicken, bacon, spinach and red onions with an alfredo sauce, topped with a blend of Italian cheeses); Steak Fajita on a Smoked Chipotle Seasoned Flatbread (grilled steak strips with sweet peppers and onions in a smoked Cheddar sauce, covered in mozzarella and Cheddar cheeses); Shrimp and Roasted Garlic on an Herb Seasoned Flatbread (shrimp and roasted garlic topped with mozzarella, Parmesan and Romano cheeses over roasted garlic sauce); and Margherita on a Basil Parmesan Seasoned Flatbread (diced garden tomatoes, basil, garlic, and red onions in a tomato olive oil sauce, topped with mozzarella cheese).

"The increasing popularity of Corner Bistro Entrees and Panini compelled us to offer more casual-eating options for consumers," says Christine Dahm, director of marketing. "Like the rest of our line, the new flatbreads are inspired by dishes offered in today's most popular restaurants."

Suggested retail price is $3.99.


Gum that dazzles the senses

This summer, Chicago-based Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co. will introduce 5, a groundbreaking, sugar-free stick gum with mouth-freshening, long-lasting flavors combined with invigorating sensations "you can feel as you chew."

Available in Rain, a tingling spearmint flavor, Cobalt, a cooling peppermint flavor, and Flare, a warming cinnamon flavor, 5 debuts in a 15-stick envelope package, a first for the gum category.

"Teens, who are constantly seeking opportunities to experience something out of the ordinary, are also the most frequent gum chewers of any age group and account for one-third of all gum chewed in the U.S.," says Martin Schlatter, chief marketing officer. "In our testing, teens and young adults told us they love everything about 5 -- from the unique tingling, cooling or warming sensations that accompany its delicious and especially long-lasting flavors to its bold graphics to its sleek, revolutionary packaging. 5 delivers an amazing new gum experience."

Suggested retail price is $1.49 for individual packs and $3.49 for a three-pack.


A diet Coke with vitamins

Coca-Cola North America, Atlanta, launches Diet Coke Plus, a sparkling, calorie-free beverage with vitamins and minerals.

Sweetened with Splenda, each 8-oz. serving provides a good source of niacin (vitamin B3), vitamins B6 and B12, zinc and magnesium (it provides 15 percent of the daily value for niacin, B6 and B12, and 10 percent of the DV for zinc and magnesium).

"Consumers, including Diet Coke drinkers, are increasingly looking for more beverage options, and we wanted to offer them the convenience of a calorie-free beverage that is a good source of several essential vitamins and minerals, and one that delivers on the great taste they have come to expect from us," says Katie Bayne, senior vice president, Coca-Cola Brands.

Diet Coke lovers need not worry. "The millions of current Diet Coke devotees across America shouldn't be concerned - America's No. 1 diet sparkling beverage is staying just as it is," Bayne adds.

Diet Coke Plus will be available nationwide in a variety of packages, including 20-oz. PET, 12-oz. cans and a 12-oz. PET trial package.


Antioxidant-rich milk chocolate

Consumers have gotten the message dark chocolate contains healthful antioxidants, more than in milk chocolate. But Hershey Co. Hershey, Pa., wants milk chocolate lovers to get the same benefit. Expanding its Goodness Chocolate portfolio, Hershey debuts Hershey's Antioxidant Milk Chocolate, which features 260 mg of flavanol antioxidants per 40 g serving vs. 110 mg in the leading dark chocolate.

The company also premieres Hershey's Whole Bean Chocolate, made with the whole cocoa bean to create a mildly sweet, smooth chocolate lower in sugar and high in fiber and antioxidants. One 40 g serving contains 7 g of fiber and 180 mg of flavanol antioxidants. And to help consumers identify higher levels of natural flavanol antioxidants, Hershey designed a distinctive antioxidant seal, which is found on the packaging of all Hershey's Goodness Chocolate products.

"Consumers are very interested in the goodness benefits of chocolate, including the antioxidants found naturally in dark chocolate," says Michele Buck, senior vice president and chief marketing officer. "This interest is driving explosive growth in dark chocolate. Now, Hershey's Antioxidant Milk Chocolate and Hershey's Whole Bean Chocolate bring the goodness benefits of dark chocolate to the broader milk chocolate category."

Suggested retail price for Hershey's Antioxidant Milk Chocolate 3-oz. bars is $1.99, and a 4.2-oz. pouch of Hershey's Whole Bean Chocolate retails for $2.99.


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Making hot oatmeal crunchy

Many consumers like a warm bowl of oatmeal in the morning, but stop short of a full-blown love affair because they also like the crunchy texture of cold cereal. Now, Chicago-based Quaker Oats has a solution for those who feel torn between their two loves.

Quaker Oatmeal Crunch is the first instant oatmeal that comes with a packet of crunchy clusters (made of whole grain rolled oats and rolled wheat) consumers can stir in to achieve a new texture and taste experience. Providing a full serving of whole grain Quaker Oats -- the first whole grain recognized by the FDA to help reduce cholesterol -- Oatmeal Crunch is low in fat, provides 4 g of protein, calcium, vitamin A, iron and B vitamins, and 3-4 g of fiber depending on the flavor.

It's available in four flavors: Apples & Cinnamon, Maple & Brown Sugar, Mixed Berry and Magicolor, which includes color-changing pieces that magically appear when hot water is added, a kid-friendly option for moms who are looking to add fun to a wholesome breakfast.

"Consumers have told us there is something exciting when crunch is added to foods," says Regan Ebert, vice president of marketing. "New Quaker Oatmeal Crunch is a reinvention of oatmeal that makes it the ideal choice for people who crave a crunchy start to their day, but don't want to miss out on the wholesome nutrition of hot oatmeal. Whether they're off to school or work, people of all ages will love this exciting new twist."

The suggested retail price is $3.69 per box.


Hormel expands natural meats

Hormel Foods, Austin, Minn., adds a variety of options to its Hormel Natural Choice line of 100 percent natural meats with no preservatives. New are Roast Beef Deli Sandwich Meat; Oven Roasted and Grilled Chicken Strips; Original and Lower Sodium Uncured Bacon and Canadian Bacon.

They contain no artificial colors or flavors, no added nitrites, nitrates or MSG and are gluten-free, low in fat and trans fat-free. The products also feature recyclable outer packaging.

Rather than using preservatives, Hormel Natural Choice products use a new, USDA-approved, pressure-based pasteurization process called Truetaste technology. After the meat has been sliced, sealed and packaged, the product is placed in a pressure chamber, where it is surrounded by water. The process exerts up to 87,000 lbs. of water pressure per square inch, which kills bacteria and seals in freshness and the true flavor of the meats, according to the company.

"We are proud to be the leader in providing consumers and their families with great-tasting meats that have no preservatives," says product manager Ryan Vossler. "People are seeking more natural food options, a need that will continue to grow … and a need Hormel Foods intends to fulfill across categories."


Chocolate fix without the guilt

Women's best weight-management intentions can be derailed easily late in the evening while watching TV, so Kellogg Co. Battle Creek, Mich introduces Kellogg's Special K Chocolatey Delight cereal, a small indulgence without the guilt.

Featuring lightly toasted rice cereal flakes with decadent chocolatey pieces, Special K Chocolatey Delight (an option in the Special K Challenge weight management program) satisfies a chocolate craving and provides a lower-calorie option snack. A serving and half cup of fat-free milk contains 160 calories, which compares favorably to 344 calories in an average snack (according to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey), eaten after 6 p.m.

"We know from talking with women that they want simple tips and tools, not rules, to help them meet their weight-management goals," says Alan Gravely, vice president of health and wellness marketing. "Special K is committed to providing weight-loss solutions that work the way women want them to, by offering real foods, like new Special K Chocolatey Delight cereal, that help them meet their weight-loss goals without feeling deprived."

Suggested retail price is $3.89.

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