Adding inulin to cottage cheese
Glenview, Ill.-based Kraft Foods is on a new product rollout of vast proportions. Expanding its Healthy Living initiative are Breakstone's LiveActive (pronounced liv-ak-tiv) Cottage Cheese for Digestive Health and Knudsen LiveActive Cottage Cheese for Digestive Health, both with prebiotic fiber.
Prebiotics are often non-digestible fibers that serve as a food source for good bacteria (called probiotics) in the gut. The balance of good bacteria in the gut may help keep the digestive tract running smoothly and may help support the body's natural defenses.
Although consuming prebiotics may be a new concept for many Americans -- 78 percent declare they are unfamiliar with the term -- these fibers are important to helping ward off bad bacteria and infections. The prebiotic fiber in this cottage cheese is inulin, a natural substance derived from sources like chicory root. What's more, LiveActive Cottage Cheese provides more dietary fiber (a low-fat 4 oz. serving contains 3g) and none of the added sugar found in yogurt.
"Maintaining a healthy digestive system is essential to a person's health and well-being," says Jason Hecker, brand manager for cottage cheese. "Kraft is dedicated to meeting the growing demand for nutritional benefits in food products, and LiveActive Cottage Cheese is just one example of how we are working to provide healthier options for our consumers."
LiveActive Cottage Cheese is the first of several digestive health products Kraft launches this year. Available now are Kraft LiveActive Cheese Sticks and Cheese Cubes with probiotics. And coming in September is Breakstone's and Knudsen Live Active Cottage Cheese with pieces of real fruit.
Suggested retail price for four 4-oz cups is $2.59.
Chinese dinners at home
With Chinese cuisine being the most widely eaten restaurant food in the U.S., Minneapolis-based General Mills rolls out Wanchai Ferry, its first Chinese Dinner Kits.
The kits also build on the international brand presence of Wanchai Ferry, a frozen dumpling business in Hong Kong founded in 1985 by Madame Kin Wo Chong, "The Queen of Dumplings." Research teams in China, Europe and the U.S. took three years to develop the kits.
Packaged in bright red Chinese take-out containers, the kits enable consumers to make authentic Chinese cuisine at home. Simply add the cooking oil and fresh chicken for each kit, which contains jasmine rice, sauce (in vacuum-sealed pouches), seasonings and a specialty ingredient, and in less than 30 minutes, you have a meal for a family of six. Varieties include: Sweet and Sour Chicken, Spicy Garlic Chicken, Kung Pao Chicken and Cashew Chicken.
Suggested retail price is $4.79.
Coca-Cola gives Dasani a Plus
According to ACNielsen, vitamin-enhanced water is the growth leader in the water category -- larger than the flavored and sparkling water categories combined. Atlanta-based Coca-Cola North America> launches a line of Dasani Plus vitamin-enhanced flavored water beverages for health-conscious consumers.
Packaged in distinctive 20-oz. single serve PET bottles with a clear shrink-wrap label, the zero-calorie line is available in three varieties: Refresh + Revive (kiwi strawberry flavor with 10 percent of the RDI per serving of vitamins B3, B6 and B12), Cleanse + Restore (pomegranate blackberry flavor with 10 percent of the RDI per serving of vitamins E, B3, B6 and B12, plus 1g of fiber) and Defend + Protect (orange tangerine flavor with 10 percent of the RDI per serving of vitamin E and zinc).
"The time was right to build on the success of the Dasani brand and its great taste promise and to create the fresh-tasting enhanced water Dasani Plus," says Gloria Garrett, Coca-Cola North America vice president-hydration. "For consumers already seeking the added health benefits that vitamins and minerals provide, a nutrient-enhanced Dasani water with zero calories is a Plus."
Price is competitive within the enhanced water category.
Del Monte debuts energy drinks
According to Beverage Marketing Corp., the energy drink category has grown 60 percent from 2005 to 2006 to about $2.6 billion. Now there is a new kid on the block. San Francisco-based Del Monte Foods launches Bloom Energy, its first energy drink, and one formulated especially for women.
Drinking one can is a convenient way to get a full serving of fruit, 100 percent of vitamin C and five B vitamins. It is a good source of calcium and vitamin D and is naturally caffeinated (about 75mg) with antioxidant-rich white tea extract, providing a gentle boost of energy.
At only 100 calories per 10.5 oz. can, it is available in three flavors: Wild Berry, Cran Raspberry and Mango Passionfruit.
"Our goal is to provide women with a delicious alternative to the average caffeinated drink, while offering essential ingredients that will energize, refresh and enable them to feel good about what they are drinking," says Barry Shepard, senior vice president, marketing and innovation.
Suggested retail price is $1.99 a can or $6.99 for a four-pack.
A slower-melting Popsicle
Popsicles are synonymous with summer for kids (and kids at heart). Unilever USA's Popsicle brand, Green Bay, Wis., debuts Popsicle Slow Melt ice pops, a new taste treat to the line.
Unilever officials would not explain the slow-melt technology, but the Charlotte Observer credited it to "a proprietary recipe ... It's really antifreeze proteins, also known as ice structuring proteins," which food processor have been adding to some ice creams for a while to make them creamier.
Fat-free, low in calories and a good source of vitamin C, Popsicle Slow Melts just got cooler with the addition of Natural Colors and Flavors and real fruit juice in three flavors: Cherry, Strawberry/Kiwi and Lemonade.
"Ask anyone to think about summers when they were growing up, and Popsicle products were likely a part of their memories," says Director of Marketing Julio Del Cioppo. "Kids love to see their tongue turn red when they eat a cherry Popsicle, but moms -- particularly those with smaller kids -- have told us they melt too fast. With the introduction of Popsicle Slow Melt, some of our pops will be longer lasting and cause less mess."
Suggested retail price for a 20 pack is $3.99.
Bigger, healthier Kettle corn chips
Perfect for summer picnics and barbecues, Salem, Ore.-based Kettle Foods gave Kettle Tortilla Chips a makeover and the results are muy bueno!
The chips are larger (better for dipping) and made with organic corn, healthy oils (free of trans fats), yummy enhanced flavors and all-natural seasonings. The makeover also includes bigger bag options. New varieties include: Black Bean (loaded with black beans, garlic and onion), Chili Lime (spicy red chili combined with citrus), Blue Corn, Yellow Corn and Multi Grain.
"We hope our tortilla chips inspire what we call 'Margarita Moments,' those times when friends and family bond with each other over good food and drink," says Michelle Peterman, vice president of marketing.
Suggested retail price is $3.99-4.29 for an 18-oz. bag and $2.79-2.99 for an 8-oz. bag.
An open and closed case for bacon
Oscar Mayer was the first to bring home the bacon when the company introduced packaged, sliced bacon in 1924. The Kraft Foods unit of the same name, based in Madison, Wis., rolls out Oscar Mayer Center Cut Bacon in the new Stay-Fresh Reclosable Tray, an easy-to-store bacon package that keeps the last slice of bacon as fresh as the first.
It took 80 years, but bacon is no longer difficult to open, messy to handle and cumbersome to store. "We listened to people's concerns about traditional bacon packaging and designed the Stay-Fresh Reclosable Tray to help solve those issues," says Beth Goeddel, Oscar Mayer senior brand manager. "We think our new packaging is the 'best thing since sliced bacon' and are thrilled to provide an innovative and practical solution that sets the standard for bacon product packaging."
Suggested retail price is $3.99.
Cranberry fusion juice blends
Lakeville-Middleboro, Mass.-based Ocean Spray launches a new twist on cranberry by blending cranberries with fellow antioxidant powerhouse fruits pomegranate and grape for a healthy duo of juice offerings.
Available in Cranberry and Pomegranate 100% Juice, with no added sugar, artificial colors, preservatives or flavors, each 8-oz. glass provides a full serving of fruit and a full day's supply of vitamin C to help strengthen the immune system. Diet Cranberry Grape Juice is made with real fruit juice and contains just five little calories.
Suggested retail price for a 64-oz. bottle is $3.59. Diet Cranberry Grape Juice is available in a one-liter bottle at the suggested retail price of $1.99.
Barilla Plus for kids
Bannockburn, Ill.-based Barilla America introduces Barilla Plus multi-grain pasta to the National School Lunch Program.
A good source of protein, fiber and ALA omega-3 fatty acids from ground flaxseeds (providing 360mg per 100g serving), Barilla Plus is available in six shapes -- Spaghetti, Thin Spaghetti, Angel Hair, Penne, Rotini and Elbows.
Because of its unique formulation, which includes a high-quality protein-rich mixture of lentils, chick peas and egg whites, USDA approved the pasta, which may be served as both a meat alternate and bread alternate in the school program.
"Barilla is committed to providing children with high-quality foods that provide balanced nutrition," says Catherine Terry, foodservice brand manager.
Cinnamon chips debut for foodservice
Hershey, Pa.-based Hershey's Food Service rolls out Hershey's Cinnamon Baking Chips, bite-size baking chips to enable foodservice operators (and processors) to take advantage of the growing demand for cinnamon flavor. The chips are perfect for cookies, cakes, muffins and other baked goods and offer the potential to increase profit margins.
Cinnamon, which enhances both sweet and savory recipes, ranks as the second most often used flavoring after pepper in North American kitchens. Since Hershey's Cinnamon Chips were a big success with our staff (they smell and taste great), we were disappointed that they are not yet available for home cooks.