Smart Balance Inc., Paramus, N.J., makes it possible to incorporate the heart-healthy benefits of two types of omega-3 fatty acids (long-chain EPA/DHA and short-chain ALA) into your diet with four new Smart Balance Omega Buttery Spreads.
Naturally free of trans fats, hydrogenated oils and palm kernel oil, varieties include Smart Balance Omega Buttery Spread, Smart Balance Omega Buttery Spread Light, Smart Balance Omega Buttery Spread with Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Smart Balance Omega Buttery Spread Light with Extra Virgin Olive Oil. They also contain added vitamins A, B6, B12, D and E.
Most American diets are high in omega-6 fatty acids but deficient in omega-3s. Evidence continues to build that omega-3s promote a healthy cardiovascular system and reduce the risk of heart disease. Smart Balance oil blend, developed by nutrition scientists at Brandeis University, has been shown to help improve the ratio of “good” to “bad” cholesterol.
“A lot of science goes into these products,” says Steve Hughes, president and CEO.
“But science doesn’t necessarily make things taste good. We’re equally committed to the flavor half of the equation.”
Smart Balance Buttery Spreads have won “Best Taste” awards from the American Culinary Institute three years in a row.
Suggested retail price is $2.35.
Fire-roasted tomatoes in a can
Responding to the ongoing demand for natural foods, Hunt’s Tomatoes, a brand of Omaha, Neb.-based Con Agra Foods Inc., introduces two new, 100 percent natural, must-have pantry items: Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes and Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes with Garlic. Both new varieties – gently roasted over a real open fire – pack a great smoky, Southwestern flavor ideal for adding flavor to everyday meal favorites or creating new, upscale culinary dishes.
Hunt’s Tomatoes have triple the health benefits of raw tomatoes. That’s because just one-half cup of canned tomatoes contains more than three times the lycopene (an antioxidant that may help prevent heart disease) found in one medium, uncooked tomato. According to scientists, the body absorbs more lycopene from cooked tomatoes than from raw.
Hunt’s two new offerings also are on par with America’s surging interest in cooking. According to a survey commissioned by Hunt’s, 76 percent of Americans say they cook “very” or “somewhat” often, and 36 percent confess to cooking more this year than last. More than half of baby boomers (54 percent), who lead this movement, feel they often cook meals that rival restaurant offerings, and 87 percent are interested in incorporating healthy and all-natural ingredients in their cooking. This passion for experimentation, coupled with a desire for natural ingredients, is leading to a zest for more sophisticated dishes.
“Food is a way for people to connect and share an experience, and tomatoes are at the heart of many dishes,” says Cat Cora, chef, cookbook author and star of “Iron Chef America.” “Creating a memorable meal starts with using the best ingredients. I rely on Hunt’s canned tomatoes because of their premium quality and the fact that I can enjoy fresh tasting, vine-ripened summer tomatoes all year – especially during the fall and winter months when fresh produce is scarce.”
Suggested retail price is $1.09-$1.39 per can.
Ghirardelli raises the dark bar
America's obsession with premium dark chocolate is intensifying, a trend marked by rising sales and an appreciation for richer, darker and more sophisticated flavors. To satisfy the cultured palates of dark chocolate enthusiasts, the San Francisco-based Ghirardelli Chocolate Co. adds three new flavors -- Midnight Reverie, Evening Dream and Mint Bliss -- named for distinct and pleasurable everyday moments, to its popular Intense Dark product line launched in 2006.
Dark chocolate lovers nationwide are indulging themselves at a record pace. The category has grown 49 percent from 2003 to 2006, with sales reaching nearly $1.2 billion last year, according to Mintel Intl., which projects continued growth of dark chocolate in the coming years.
"As chocolate lovers' tastes for dark chocolate become more developed, Ghirardelli will continue to create new flavors to satisfy and intrigue their more sophisticated palates," says Fabrizio Parini, senior vice president of marketing. "The expansion of the Intense Dark line will provide a complete range of high cacao percentage dark chocolate products from the milder, more rounded 60 percent Evening Dream, which contains Madagascan vanilla through Mint Bliss (60 percent cacao) to the ultimately intense 86 percent Midnight Reverie."
Suggested retail price is $2.99.
To top or dip no longer the question
No longer are pretzels stuck on the dipping-only side of the snack table. Town House Flipsides, the perfect marriage of the cracker and the pretzel, can hold toppings from cheese to chocolate to any of your favorite spreads and dips. They’re the work of Kellogg Co., Battle Creek, Mich., and the Keebler Elves.
Available in Original and Cheddar flavors, Town House Flipsides is the pretzel cracker that party hosts can rely on for any occasion. Yes, now you can enjoy the versatility of a cracker with the taste of a pretzel.
“Pretzels and crackers are two great snacks to serve when entertaining; however, pretzels are hard to top and crackers do not have the taste that pretzel lovers enjoy. Town House Flipsides address both needs,” says Raj Joshi, senior director. “They give consumers a truly revolutionary snacking experience and initial taste-test results indicate that consumers have flipped for Town House Flipsides.”
Suggested retail price is $3.59.
Lean Pockets debuts whole grain varieties
The whole grain trend continues to sweep the nation. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends eating three or more servings of whole grains per day. However, for many, finding easy ways to incorporate whole grains into their diet can be challenging.
Nestle Prepared Foods Co., Englewood, Colo., rolls out seven varieties of Lean Pockets with Whole Grain sandwiches, which contain the same amount of whole grains as one slice of whole-grain bread. Featuring meats, flavorful veggies and delicious sauces, all wrapped in a crispy, whole-grain crust, they contain 16g or more of whole grains per serving as well as real cheese. At 260 calories or less, they contain only 7g of fat.
All varieties, which are wrapped in a crispy, whole grain crust, include: Turkey, Broccoli & Cheese (deli-style thin sliced turkey breast, broccoli and melted cheddar cheese); Turkey & Ham with Cheese (deli-style thin sliced roasted turkey and ham with cheese); Three Cheese & Broccoli (low fat mozzarella, cheddar and Romano cheeses blended with broccoli); Chicken, Broccoli & Cheddar (tender white meat chicken breast, combined with crisp broccoli and melted cheese); Ham & Cheese (ham layered with cheddar cheese); Meatballs & Mozzarella (meatballs smothered with a rich marinara sauce and melted mozzarella cheese); and Supreme Pizza (zesty sausage, pepperoni and green peppers in a marinara sauce smothered with mozzarella cheese).
"We're so pleased to announce that Lean Pockets brand is the only sandwich in the frozen food aisle to feature whole grains," says Marketing Manager Margaret Cate. "Lean Pockets Made with Whole Grain offers a smart and easy way for people to enjoy a healthier sandwich, straight from the microwave in just two minutes."
Suggested retail price is $2.46.
Journey for the senses
Boulder, Colo.-based Celestial Seasonings, a brand of The Hain Celestial Group, takes tea drinkers on a journey for the senses with Saphara, a new line of 100 percent natural whole leaf teas packaged in pyramid tea bags.
USDA Certified Organic and Fair Trade Certified, varieties include: Mango Ginger Decaf Green Tea, White Tea with Schizandra, Tropical Rooibos, Premier Estate Assam, Gen Mai Cha and Blackcurrant Hibiscus.
Saphara features full-leaf botanicals and real fruit pieces that enhance tea flavor, color and aroma. Its silken pyramid bags are specially designed to allow water to flow around and through the ingredients, revealing the depth and complexity of the unique flavors. The packaging is composed of 100 percent recycled paperboard, which includes 35 percent post-consumer material. All printing is done with 100 percent vegetable-based inks for full biodegradability, and the pyramid bags, strings, tags, overwrap and carton are all made from biodegradable materials to minimize impact on the environment.
"Celestial Seasonings has extraordinary equity and expertise in the tea category, so it made sense for us to meet the consumer demand for a premium, whole leaf tea," says David Ziegert, acting general manager. "We gathered the finest ingredients nature has to offer from around the world, and placed them in a high-quality silken pyramid tea bag made from biodegradable material for the ultimate tea drinking experience."
Suggested retail price is $6.99.
Glory Foods expands to new category
Glory Foods, Columbus, Ohio, introduces a new and unique line of Savory Accents Cooking Bases, available in three flavors: Turkey, Ham (both made with natural smoked flavors) and Sweet Honey Glaze.
Created from slow roasted premium cuts of meat, vegetables and ingredients such as peppers, onions, garlic and spices, the bases are available in the fresh produce refrigerated section of grocery stores, positioning them as the only product of its kind featured in the fresh produce area.
“Our goal is to put out seasoned Southern-style, flavorful, ready-to-eat foods,” says Jeff Hollenback, director of research and development. “When people cook greens from scratch, they start with ham hock or smoked meat, but what was missing out there was a stock with the base note flavor of ham. We added all the ingredients you normally add to greens safely right into the base. It took about seven months to develop the bases and a while to tweak them, and we ended up with Savory Accents Cooking Bases.”
The bases make it a snap to cook traditional seasoned and flavored Southern-style vegetables, especially greens. Cooks can add an extra, Southern-style flavor boost to many recipes that typically use bouillon, broths, soup bases or water.
“We are proud that on a serving-by-serving basis, there is less sodium. Focus groups said we did a good job, and it is more economical to use our base rather than making it from scratch,” adds Hollenback. “As our founder Bill Williams said, ‘We don’t want to make your Sunday greens; we want to make your Tuesday greens.’”
Suggested retail price is $5.99.
Ice cream float in a bottle
More than 110 years after the ice-cream float was first consumed, Plano, Texas-based Cadbury Schweppes Americas Beverages introduces A&W and Sunkist Floats to recreate all the rich, creamy, frothiness of a real ice cream float in a bottle.
Available in convenient 11.5-oz., vintage soda-shop-inspired glass bottles with twist-off tops, A&W and Sunkist Floats, the first-of-their-kind, deliver a real float experience without all of the fuss.
"For years, beverage makers have tried to crack the code and develop an indulgent drink that tastes like a homemade float," says Andrew Springate, vice president of marketing. "The A&W and Sunkist Floats are indulgent treats like nothing consumers have experienced before. One pour and your taste buds will be amazed - no work, no hassle."
Suggested retail price is $1.79 for a single serve bottle and $5.99 for a 4-pack.
Kellogg explores new territory
Battle Creek, Mich.-based The Kellogg Co. hits the trail with the launch of Nutri-Grain Fruit & Nut Bars, bursting with ingredients for natural energy any time of day. They’re a good source of fiber (3g), only 120 calories per serving and 3.5g of fat.
Chock-full of peanuts grown in the Virginia-Carolina region, California almonds, whole-grain oats and real fruit pieces, they are available in two flavors -- Berry & Almond and Cranberry, Raisin & Peanut.
"With this latest addition to the product line, Nutri-Grain is taking the brand into new territory, creating a trail-mix granola bar that can be enjoyed any time of day," says Doug VanDeVelde, vice-president of marketing and innovation. "New Nutri-Grain Fruit & Nut Bars combine the heritage of the Nutri-Grain brand with the popularity of granola-based snacks in a delicious way using natural, premium ingredients consumers demand."
Suggested retail price is $3.39 per six-bar box.
Tantalize your tastebuds
Straight from the kitchen of Chef Rick Bayless (Chicago’s Frontera Grill and Topolobampo and host of PPS’s “Mexico – One Plate at a Time”), Frontera Foods Inc., Chicago, introduces All Natural Chipotle Black Bean Chili Mix, everything needed to make great tasting chili in no time at all. Simply add browned meat or vegetables to the mix, heat and serve.
Made with 100 percent natural ingredients -- roasted tomatoes, garlic, Mexican oregano and Frontera’s spice blend -- the mix is chock full of tender black beans and is seasoned with chipotle chiles for a smoky flavor.
Suggested retail price for a family size jar (six cups of chili) is $8.99.
Purple reigns supreme
Bolthouse Farms, Bakersfield, Calif., introduces Acai Berry with Blueberry to its Bom Dia (good morning in Portuguese) Juices line.
Acai is the newest superfruit in the increasingly popular food category, which provides benefits beyond basic nutrition. In fact, studies have shown that this little purple berry is one of the most nutritious and powerful foods in the world. Bolthouse has developed a proprietary process to retain more of the nutritional aspects of the acai while eliminating the gritty texture, normally found in the pulp of this berry.
Bolthouse built Bolthouse do Brasil, its own manufacturing plant in the city of Belem, located at the mouth of the Amazon River, to provide its U.S. beverage operation with high quality acai. In addition to planting its acai operation in Brazil and employing local harvesters at fair wages, Bolthouse do Brasil is helping to bring vitality and life back to Brazil through humanitarian relief projects including: Sanitary Water Supply Program, Free Daycare Facility, Free Boat Driveshaft Covers, Children's Annual Holiday Party, New Grade School and Sustainable Harvesting Practice.
DHA-enhanced frozen baby food
New York-based Plum Organics, the leading frozen organic baby food brand, launches its first DHA-fortified flavors, especially created to promote healthy eating from the first spoonful. Varieties include Pumpkin Banana (Stage One – infants six month and older), Mango Muesli (Stage Two – nine months and older), Black Bean Tomato Ragout (Stage Three – 12 months and older), all of which include 20mg of decosahexaenoic Acid (DHA), and Harvest Vegetables with Turkey (Stage Three).
“We believe that introducing babies to a variety of complex flavors in their early stages can help develop an adventurous and healthy taste for food later in life,” says Gigi Lee Chang, president and founder. “We’re proud to provide parents with a diverse selection of nutritious and flavorful organic baby food through our new original DHA-fortified and Stage Three recipes.”
Packaged in two 4-oz. re-sealable, microwavable containers, Plum Organics are flash frozen to retain nutrients, flavor and texture. They are available at Wild Oats, Whole Foods, Wegman’s, Shaw’s and other natural food retailers.
Suggested retail price is $3.49 to $3.99.
Bethlehem, Pa.-based Just Born Inc. re-launches Mike and Ike Zours. The gluten-free and kosher candies come in five flavors: Sour Cherry, Sour Lemon, Sour Green Apple, Sour Watermelon and Sour Blue Raspberry.
“We are pleased to broaden the Mike and Ike brand to include a sour fruit-flavored variety,” says Kara Borneman, assistant brand manager. “Zours candies have always had a dedicated fan base since being introduced in 1999 and will attract new consumers with its eye catching packaging. In addition to the new flavor variety, the product is being re-launched in yellow swirled packaging with metallic accents.”
Suggested retail price ranges from 25 cents to $1.59 depending on the size of the package.