August 2005 New Food Rollout

Performance beans from Jelly Belly; Stouffer's creates a bistro; Dove flies to new categories; Coke's new Zero; keeping Chips Ahoy fresh; Herr's buttermilk ranch popcorn.

By Diane Toops, News and Trends Editor

Performance jelly beans

Jelly Belly Candy Co., Fairfield, Calif., introduces Sport Beans, jelly beans formulated to energize the body during exercise - and to help fend off a jelly belly. Positioned to compete in the $3.2 billion energy category (sports drinks, energy bars and sports jells), each 1-oz. serving contains 25 g of carbs, 20 percent of the RDA for vitamins C and E, and 120 mg of electrolytes to boost energy and prevent dehydration, and the beans make portion control a breeze.

Slightly larger than traditional-size jelly beans, flavors so far are Lemon Lime and Orange.

"Today's active adults and teens are exercising harder than ever and are looking for optimal performance at play and in competition," says Pete Healy, vice president of marketing. "We've heard from marathon athletes for years about how they use Jelly Belly beans for the carbohydrates they need to sustain energy and finish a race, so we developed a fun candy with additional nutrients the body needs during exercise."

Suggested retail price for 1-oz. single servings is 99 cents.

New option from Powerade

Powerade Option, a new low-calorie sports drink from Atlanta-based Coca-Cola Co., is a great alternative for consumers seeking hydration with fewer calories. Plus it expands the Powerade franchise by attracting new consumers into the sports drink category.

Sweetened with a blend of sweeteners including sucralose, Powerade Option provides electrolytes and B-complex vitamins at comparable levels to regular Powerade, but contains fewer carbs and 80 percent fewer calories per serving than Gatorade. In fact an 8-oz. serving contains only 2 carbs and 10 calories.

Available in Strawberry, Black Cherry and Lemon flavors, Powerade Option is packaged in new, easy-to-grip 20-oz. bottles in singles and six-packs and 32-oz. bottles.

Suggested retail prices are competitive with other sports drinks.

Curb your eating out

Americans love to eat out. In fact, 75 percent of us dine away from the home at least once a week, according to a recent Gallup poll. We want flavorful food, which is evident by the fact that curbside pick-up is the fastest growing segment of casual dining.

Now you don't have to get in your car to pick up dinner; just open the freezer for a restaurant meal at home. Nestlé Prepared Foods Co., Solon, Ohio, debuts Stouffers Corner Bistro Meals, a six-SKU line --  Seafood Scampi, Monterey Chicken, Grilled Rosemary Chicken, Garlic Chicken Pasta, Chicken Carbonara and Sesame Chicken -- of tasty and sophisticated restaurant-inspired meals.

"We asked our consumers what mouth-watering meals would make them want to rush home for dinner and then challenged our chefs to create that perfect recipe," says Christine Dahm, director of marketing for Stouffer's. "Our chefs responded with flavorful, satisfying dinners - like those you'd find at local restaurants."

Suggested retail price is $3.99.

Hunt's in the thick of it

For the 97 percent of American households who like to slather on the ketchup, Omaha, Neb.-based ConAgra Foods Inc. jumps into the thick of things with a thicker Hunt's ketchup.

"Americans told us they value thickness in ketchup and use it as one of their barometers of taste. We delivered our thickest formula ever, just in time for the summer grilling season," says Valerie Sheppard, vice president of Hunt's marketing. "We want people to try Hunt's again for the first time. We're confident that, given the chance to taste our new ketchup, people will love its new thickness and great taste. And we're backing our commitment up with a guarantee."

In TV spots, the ketchup does not drip when put in a strainer. Ketchup-lovers are encouraged to "Pour it on Thick," complemented with a print mail-in taste guarantee certificate.

"In recent years, we've brought new ketchup fans into the Hunt's family, and our ketchup has been known for its taste," Sheppard said, noting that volume sales grew nearly 3 percent and market share increased over the past year to solidify Hunt's position as one of the leading national ketchup brands. "Now, with its new thickness, we're confident Hunt's will become the favorite ketchup for millions more Americans."

Hunt's also has an upside down squeezable bottle with a vacuum-action Always Clean Cap that makes it easy to squeeze out as much Hunt's Ketchup as needed. The patented Easy Grip bottle is ergonomically shaped to fit easily in big and little hands. No waiting, no shaking.

Suggested retail price is $1.33 for 24 oz., $1.89 for 36 oz. and $2.39 for 46 oz.

Extending Dove to new categories

Savor the moment. Masterfoods USA, Hackettstown, N.J., a division of Mars Inc., introduces three indulgent product lines to its Dove premium chocolate decadent franchise: Dove Pint Ice Cream, Dove Cookies and Dove Smooth Milk Chocolate with Caramel Miniatures.

"These new products, as well as our "My Moment, My Dove" marketing campaign, will make Dove synonymous with everyday indulgence, allowing consumers to have the best chocolate experience regardless of snacking, preferences," says Martyn Wilks, vice president and general manager of snack foods.

Topped with a rich layer of Dove Chocolate ganache, the ice cream is available in nine superpremium flavors: Chocolate & Brownie Affair, Unconditional Chocolate, Give in to Mint, Irresistibly Raspberry, Beyond Vanilla, Caramel Pecan Perfection, Vanilla with a Chocolate Soul, Toffee Caramel Moment and Cappuccino Chocolate Thrill.

Dipped in Dove chocolate, the cookies (8 per package) are available in three Classic Chunk varieties - Beyond Chocolate Chunk, Chocolate Walnut Rendezvous and Chocolate Walnut Oasis - and three Contemporary varieties (15 per package) - Milk Chocolate Moment, Mint Chocolate Serenade and Toffee Chocolate Tango.

Each individually wrapped Dove Smooth Milk Chocolate with Caramel Miniatures also contains an inspirational message inside the wrapper.

Suggested retail prices are $3.79 for Dove Ice Cream, $2.99, for Dove Cookies and $3.29 for an 11-oz. package of Dove Smooth Milk Chocolate with Caramel Miniatures.

Lucky's first line extension

With a little help from General Mills, Minneapolis, Lucky the Leprechaun, spokescharacter for Lucky Charms cereal, unveils his first line extension in 40 years: Chocolate Lucky Charms cereal.

Chocolate Lucky Charms combines scrumptious chocolate taste with whole grain oats to create a magically delicious cereal for kids and adults. Like regular Lucky Charms, Chocolate Lucky Charms contains Lucky's eight magical charms: hearts, shooting stars, horseshoes, clovers, blue moons, pots of gold, rainbows and balloons. It also features the great taste and nutritional benefits of regular Lucky Charms and is a good source of calcium and whole grain and 11 other essential vitamins and minerals.

"Lucky Charms has been a family favorite at the breakfast table for 40 years," says Jon Horn, associate marketing manager. "With the introduction of Chocolate Lucky Charms, we are excited to offer a new breakfast experience with the same colorful fun of Lucky's magical marshmallows in a delicious new chocolaty cereal."

Suggested retail price for a 14.25 oz. box is $3.97.

A new diet Coke (not with sucralose)

Coca-Cola North America, Atlanta, rolls out 20-oz. bottles of Coca-Cola Zero - the flavor of the Real Thing, minus the calories -- and kicks off an ad campaign with the tagline, "Everybody Chill." Sweetened with a blend of aspartame and acesulfame potassium, (ace-K), Coca-Cola Zero contains zero calories and zero sugar.

"Coca-Cola Zero is exactly what young adults told us they wanted --real Coca-Cola taste, zero calories and a new brand they can call their own," says Dan Dillon, vice president-diet portfolio, Coca-Cola North America.

Eager consumers who couldn't wait for the launch bid on sample packages on E-Bay. Proceeds went to charity, after the winner paid $2,750, considerably more than its suggested retail price of $3 for a six-pack of 20-oz. bottles.

Ahoy! Keep your cookies fresh

Nabisco, East Hanover, N.J.-based brand of Kraft Foods Inc., launches Chewy Chips Ahoy! and Chocolate Chewy Chips Ahoy! cookies in a clever package. Using patent-pending Snack 'n Seal technology, it consists of a peelable and resealable strip on top of the package, designed to keep cookies fresh long after opening.

You don't open the bag at the end; you peel up the resealable strip - about 9 in. long and 4.5 in. wide. Grab a cookie (or three) and seal it by pressing down on the package. It works perfectly over and over again.

"According to ACNielsen in-home testing conducted in 2004, we found that consumers, particularly moms, are constantly searching for convenience and ease when it comes to snacking," says Jeanine Maresca, brand manager. "Snack 'n Seal technology offers consumers the cookies with the added benefits of resealability, freshness and on-the-go convenience.

Suggested retail price for a 15-oz. package is $3.39.

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