July 2005 New Food Rollout

Kraft's South Beach lineup, Hot Pockets subs, McCormick's Veggie Steamers, Domino's new sugar container, Yoplait fortified smoothies, Nestea Ice.

By Diane Toops, News and Trends Editor

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Tasty veggies in a snap

With the focus on the new USDA guidelines, Americans are looking for easy ways to add more vegetables to their meals. McCormick & Co., Hunt Valley, Md., introduces McCormick Veggie Steamers, microwave steamer bags with seasonings for fresh vegetables.

They’re available in two varieties: Garlic & Basil and Cheddar Cheese. Just add water and the veggies to the bag and the result is perfectly cooked veggies that retain their flavor, vitamins and freshness -- and are seasoned just right -- in less than eight minutes.

Suggested retail price is $1.69.

Kraft goes on the beach

Kraft Foods, Northfield, Ill., is one of the last major manufacturers to come out with a line of carb/weight-conscious foods, but the company did it well. In an alliance with the South Beach Diet and its creator Arthur Agatston, M.D., Kraft developed a South Beach Diet lifestyle product menu – for breakfast (two cereals, five cereal bars) lunch (four sandwich wraps), dinner (eight frozen entrees and four varieties of pizza), and three meal replacement bars for snacking. They make following the diet easy.

Entrées include: Mediterranean Style Chicken with Couscous; Garlic Herb Chicken with Green Beans Almondine; Savory Beef with Cheesy Broccoli; Beef & Broccoli with Asian Style Noodles; Savory Pork with Pecans & Green Beans; Penne & Chicken in Roasted Red Pepper Sauce; Caprese Style Chicken with Broccoli & Cauliflower; and Cashew Chicken with Sugar Snap Peas.

At the same time, Kraft will recommend existing products that fit into one of the three phases of the diet by featuring a “South Beach Diet Recommended” button on other packages.

The entrees and wraps earn good marks from nutrition experts for their relatively high fiber content (3-9 g and 15 g, respectively), but have been criticized by some for containing too much salt (950 mg or more). That might be a consideration for those with heart disease or high blood pressure.

“My goal is to help change the way America eats, and these great-tasting nutrient-rich products from Kraft are convenient, making it easier to follow The South Beach Diet — whether for a healthy lifestyle or weight loss,” says Dr. Agatston.

Suggested retail price for the entrees is $3.79.

Tea refreshment that chills

Atlanta-based Nestea, a brand of BPW (Beverage Partners Worldwide), a joint venture between Coca-Cola Co. and Nestlé, rolls out Nestea Ice, its newest ready-to-drink iced tea product, in the U.S., initially in the Northeast and Southeast regions.

Available in two flavors -- Lime Iced Tea and Lemon Green Tea, Nestea Ice will be offered initially in 20-oz. single bottles. Delivering a cooling sensation that “instantly refreshes from the inside out,” Nestea Ice was first launched in the Asia-Pacific region, where it lead to double-digit volume growth in the first six months.

"Consumers have reacted favorably to intense cooling flavors in other product categories, and we feel confident that this great new drink will bring new consumers into the tea category here in the U.S," says Brand Manager Geoff Stella. "Nestea Ice is the brand's first new product innovation in several years, and we expect it to appeal to new users who seek a revitalizing tea that complements a dynamic lifestyle."

Suggested retail price is $1.09 to $1.49.

Popcorn back at the ranch

Nottingham, Pa.-based Herr Foods lassos the flavor of sharp white cheddar cheese and a hint of America’s favorite dressing – buttermilky ranch -- in White Cheddar Ranch Gourmet Popcorn to stirrup a savory taste temptation.

Displayed in colorful, eye-catching packaging depicting the bucolic landscape of the Old West, White Cheddar Ranch Gourmet Popcorn is hot-air popped to stay light and fluffy (unpopped kernels are sifted out), and no preservatives are added.

Suggested retail price for a 5.5 oz. bag is $2.39 and 25 cents for a single-serving size.

Sub-style sandwiches straight from the microwave

Forget about driving to your neighborhood sub shop when you’re craving your favorite sandwich. You can experience sub-style sandwiches with soft baked bread straight from your microwave in just two minutes, thanks to Englewood, Colo.-based Nestlé Prepared Food Co.’s Hand-Held Foods Group.

Hot Pockets Subs and Lean Pockets Subs are perfect for lunch (when 51 percent of sandwich consumption occurs) as well as dinner (29 percent) and on-the-go snacking (20 percent). They are slightly larger than the brands’ regular sandwiches, so they will satisfy even the most ravenous appetite.

Hot Pockets Subs (11 oz.) are available in four varieties: Meatballs & Mozzarella, Philly Steak & Cheese, Pepperoni Pizza and Ham ’N Cheese. Lean Pockets Subs, with only 7 g of fat (10 oz.) come in three varieties: Meatballs & Low Fat Mozzarella, Philly Steak & Low Fat Cheese, and Pepperoni Pizza with Low Fat Cheese. Each package contains two sub sandwiches.

“This is one of our largest and most exciting product launches to date,” says Mike Bloom, director of marketing for the Hot Pockets brand. “They combine our expertise in dough-making with innovative technology, so that our consumers can enjoy the warm, comforting taste of soft-baked bread straight from the microwave in just two minutes.”

Suggested retail price is $2.99.

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