Functional and regional

Some of the intriguing new product launches identified by Product Scan Online reveal that both regional and functional foods are proving increasingly popular worldwide. In Finland, Nutana is exploiting the nutritional appeal of peanuts with the launch of Nutana Nuttolene Peanut Loaf, described as a meat alternative, vegetarian loaf made from peanuts, reports Food Business Review Online. While peanuts are recognized as a high-protein alternative to red meat, this bread format is quite unusual, and its packaging in a metal can is also unique. Fattoria Petrini launched Petrini Plus Olio Extra Vergine di Oliva in Italy. It contains added vitamins - D3, K1 and B6 - and is said to aid the absorption of calcium by the bones, helping prevent osteoporosis. In Germany, Lidl Stiftung & Co. began distributing Italian-themed Crusti Croc Pasta Potato Chips. Unusually formed into multi-colored pasta shapes, they come in two Italian style pasta flavors -- Arrabiata (tomato and chili) and Bolognese. In the U.S., Seeds of Change launched Organic Ready-to-Heat Side Dishes, which specify where their main ingredients are from. Uyuni Quinoa & Whole Grain Brown Rice contains quinoa from the Bolivian town of Uyuni. The rice dishes come in six varieties, using ingredients from a variety of Latin American and Indian districts, and their regional focus could help bolster the authenticity of the line and enhance its premium status. Another functional food to be launched in the U.S. by Mars early in 2008 is Dove Beautiful, a new chocolate bar which claims to help maintain healthy looking skin, with the inclusion of "skin nourishing" vitamins C & E, biotin and zinc, as well as flavanols, to help hydrate the skin from within. Foods that make you look good is a growing trend among baby boomer women. And I predict products of this type will soon be marketed to baby boomer men. Functional bread products are also reaching the market with increased regularity. Baker Organic has introduced an organic bread product in the U.S. that contains green tea and goji berries. Sold under the Baker Organic brand, the bread is marketed for its high antioxidant properties and healthful fiber and wholegrain content. Green tea and goji berry flavored bread is definitely one of the more unusual functional breads to have hit the market.