Rollout: May 2007's Best New Products

This month's new product rollout features bistro flatbreads from Stouffer's; a groundbreaking, sugar-free stick gum from Wrigley; Diet Coke Plus, a sparkling, calorie-free beverage with vitamins and minerals from Coca-Cola; Hershey's Antioxidant Milk Chocolate; a new instant oatmeal that feels like cold cereal from Quaker Oats; Hormel's Natural Choice line of deli meats; and Kellogg's Special K Chocolatey Delight.

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Restaurant-inspired flatbreads debut

Solon, Ohio-based Stouffer's, a Nestle brand, launches Corner Bistro Flatbreads, a line of restaurant-inspired crispy, seasoned breads topped with unique flavor combinations, ready in a few minutes in the oven or microwave.

Corner Bistro Flatbreads are available in four varieties: Chicken, Bacon & Spinach on a Basil and Garlic Seasoned Flatbread(grilled chicken, bacon, spinach and red onions with an alfredo sauce, topped with a blend of Italian cheeses); Steak Fajita on a Smoked Chipotle Seasoned Flatbread (grilled steak strips with sweet peppers and onions in a smoked Cheddar sauce, covered in mozzarella and Cheddar cheeses); Shrimp and Roasted Garlic on an Herb Seasoned Flatbread (shrimp and roasted garlic topped with mozzarella, Parmesan and Romano cheeses over roasted garlic sauce); and Margherita on a Basil Parmesan Seasoned Flatbread (diced garden tomatoes, basil, garlic, and red onions in a tomato olive oil sauce, topped with mozzarella cheese).

"The increasing popularity of Corner Bistro Entrees and Panini compelled us to offer more casual-eating options for consumers," says Christine Dahm, director of marketing. "Like the rest of our line, the new flatbreads are inspired by dishes offered in today's most popular restaurants."

Suggested retail price is $3.99.

Gum that dazzles the senses

This summer, Chicago-based Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co. will introduce 5, a groundbreaking, sugar-free stick gum with mouth-freshening, long-lasting flavors combined with invigorating sensations "you can feel as you chew."

Available in Rain, a tingling spearmint flavor, Cobalt, a cooling peppermint flavor, and Flare, a warming cinnamon flavor, 5 debuts in a 15-stick envelope package, a first for the gum category.

"Teens, who are constantly seeking opportunities to experience something out of the ordinary, are also the most frequent gum chewers of any age group and account for one-third of all gum chewed in the U.S.," says Martin Schlatter, chief marketing officer. "In our testing, teens and young adults told us they love everything about 5 -- from the unique tingling, cooling or warming sensations that accompany its delicious and especially long-lasting flavors to its bold graphics to its sleek, revolutionary packaging. 5 delivers an amazing new gum experience."

Suggested retail price is $1.49 for individual packs and $3.49 for a three-pack.

A diet Coke with vitamins

Coca-Cola North America, Atlanta, launches Diet Coke Plus, a sparkling, calorie-free beverage with vitamins and minerals.

Sweetened with Splenda, each 8-oz. serving provides a good source of niacin (vitamin B3), vitamins B6 and B12, zinc and magnesium (it provides 15 percent of the daily value for niacin, B6 and B12, and 10 percent of the DV for zinc and magnesium).

"Consumers, including Diet Coke drinkers, are increasingly looking for more beverage options, and we wanted to offer them the convenience of a calorie-free beverage that is a good source of several essential vitamins and minerals, and one that delivers on the great taste they have come to expect from us," says Katie Bayne, senior vice president, Coca-Cola Brands.

Diet Coke lovers need not worry. "The millions of current Diet Coke devotees across America shouldn't be concerned - America's No. 1 diet sparkling beverage is staying just as it is," Bayne adds.

Diet Coke Plus will be available nationwide in a variety of packages, including 20-oz. PET, 12-oz. cans and a 12-oz. PET trial package.

Antioxidant-rich milk chocolate

Consumers have gotten the message dark chocolate contains healthful antioxidants, more than in milk chocolate. But Hershey Co. Hershey, Pa., wants milk chocolate lovers to get the same benefit. Expanding its Goodness Chocolate portfolio, Hershey debuts Hershey's Antioxidant Milk Chocolate, which features 260 mg of flavanol antioxidants per 40 g serving vs. 110 mg in the leading dark chocolate.

The company also premieres Hershey's Whole Bean Chocolate, made with the whole cocoa bean to create a mildly sweet, smooth chocolate lower in sugar and high in fiber and antioxidants. One 40 g serving contains 7 g of fiber and 180 mg of flavanol antioxidants. And to help consumers identify higher levels of natural flavanol antioxidants, Hershey designed a distinctive antioxidant seal, which is found on the packaging of all Hershey's Goodness Chocolate products.

"Consumers are very interested in the goodness benefits of chocolate, including the antioxidants found naturally in dark chocolate," says Michele Buck, senior vice president and chief marketing officer. "This interest is driving explosive growth in dark chocolate. Now, Hershey's Antioxidant Milk Chocolate and Hershey's Whole Bean Chocolate bring the goodness benefits of dark chocolate to the broader milk chocolate category."

Suggested retail price for Hershey's Antioxidant Milk Chocolate 3-oz. bars is $1.99, and a 4.2-oz. pouch of Hershey's Whole Bean Chocolate retails for $2.99.

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