November 2006 New Food Rollout

This month's best new food products include fruit parafaits from Dole Food Co. Inc; Roasted Vegetable Ritz from Kraft Foods; Crunchy Nut Sweet and Salty Granola Bars from Kellogg Co.; Hershey's Cacoa Reserve; Betty Crocker Seasoned Skillets from General Mills and Ball Park Top It!'s from Sara Lee Food and Beverage.

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No need to feel guilty

Westlake Village, Calif.-based Dole Food Co. Inc. rolls out Dole Fruit Parfaits, which combine fruit layered with creme to create a low-fat, low-calorie, sweet treat that serves as a convenient snack or dessert.

Each package of four servings is available in three flavors - Apples and Caramel Creme, Peaches and Crème and Pineapple and Crème. This grab-and-go snack is packaged in a convenient container that does not require refrigeration.

Snacking occurs once or twice daily for more than 60 percent of women, according to a recent survey on decadent indulgences and snack preferences among women in the U.S. The poll of 1,000 women was conducted by Insight Express for Dole. The survey also revealed that eating a decadent snack - defined as a sweet treat - outscores a trip to the spa, a manicure and exercising as a favorite indulgence. Although women report feeling happy when indulging, approximately 35 percent of respondents admit to sometimes feeling guilty about indulging in snacks. Other findings include: Indulgences are important to 85 percent; approximately 75 percent eat up to four times per day, including snacking; and nearly 40 percent keep their caloric intake for a snack to 200 calories or less, while 20 percent snack on 200 calories or more.

Surprisingly enough, the other 20 percent claim to not count calories at all. "When it comes to snacks, it's important to consider nutritional, caloric and fat content, as well as serving size," says Dr. Nicholas D. Gillitt, research chemist, Dole Nutrition Institute. "Dole Fruit Parfaits offer a more nutritious choice when it comes to guilt-free, decadent-tasting snacks with approximately 115 calories per serving, no trans fats and 25 percent of the RDA for vitamin C."

Suggested retail price is $2.49.

Puttin' on the (veggie) Ritz

Kraft Foods, Northfield, Ill., rolls out Roasted Vegetable Ritz Crackers, the first flavor introduction of the classic cracker since 2003.

Made with tomatoes, red and green bell peppers, onions, parsley and carrots (which are roasted right in the cracker), Roasted Vegetable Ritz are just as flakey and buttery as the Original Ritz and are perfect with cheddar cheese, cream cheese, spinach dip, ranch dip or even soup. The vegetable-flecked crackers also make tasty mini sandwiches for the kindergarten crowd.

The crackers are packed in four stay-fresh sleeves, so any you don't scarf down immediately will stay fresh.

Suggested retail price for a 15.5-oz. box is $3.39.

Craving sweet and salty snacks?

Battle Creek, Mich.-based Kellogg Co. introduces a sophisticated mix of sweet-and-salty with Kellogg's Crunchy Nut Sweet and Salty Granola Bars in two varieties - Chocolatey Peanut and Chocolatey Almond.

Containing 5g of protein each and a good source of vitamins and minerals, the bars feature unique layers of visible nuts and chewy granola that deliver a delicious crunch and just the right touch of chocolatey indulgence.

"Our research shows there is a growing number of people who love the delicious and somewhat contradictory sweet-and-salty taste combination," says Jane Ghosh, Kellogg's director of wholesome snacks marketing. "In the past, their best alternative was to concoct their own snack mixes. Crunchy Nut bars fill a defined need for those craving a snack with this distinctive taste combination."

The sweet-and-salty granola category is outpacing growth of the overall granola category by a ratio of 5-to-1. Furthermore, the sweet-and-salty granola bar category is already the third best selling in the granola category.

Suggested retail price for a box of six bars is $3.39.

Hershey opens the premium chocolate Reserve

Hershey, Pa.-based The Hershey Co. delves into premium chocolates and drinking cocoa this month with the national launch of a line of Cacao Reserve by Hershey's.

"Cacao Reserve is an exciting platform taking Hershey to the mass premium segment," says Lina Yang, brand manager, adding, "We expect to be there in a big way."

Cacao Reserve by Hershey's includes a range of premium chocolate products in single-serve and take-home bars, truffles and drinking cocoa. The line of chocolate bars includes: Premium Milk (35 percent cacao); Premium European-style milk chocolate; Premium Milk with Hazelnuts (35 percent cacao); Extra Dark (65 percent cacao); and Extra Dark with Nibs (65 percent cacao). Cacao Reserve by Hershey's premium drinking cocoa is available in Classic Mayan and Mildly Spiced Aztec.

Also available are four premium chocolate bars made with cacao beans from individual countries of origin. The single-origin collection includes: Java, Indonesia (32 percent cacao); Arriba (50 percent cacao); Santo Domingo (67 percent cacao); and Sao Tome (70 percent cacao). The line also features Cacao Reserve by Hershey's Truffles in milk and dark chocolate.

Suggested retail price ranges from 99 cents to $2.89 for instant consumable items and $1.99-$3.29 for 3.5 oz. take-home bars. The premium drinking cocoa product line includes a five-count take-home box priced $1.98 to $2.49.

Potatoes seasoned for the season

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