New Food Product Rollout: February 2008

This month's new product rollout features omega-3 buttery spreads from Smart Balance; heart-healthy fire-roasted tomatoes from Hunt's; new dark chocolate from Ghiradelli; pretzel crackers from Town House; and whole grain Lean Pockets from Nestle.

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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.”

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