Red Baron to the rescueIn order to meet the busy lifestyle needs of today's consumer, Schwan's Consumer Brands, a division of Marshall, Minn.-based Schwan's Sales Enterprises, has raised the slice for a convenient eat-on-the-run snack with Red Baron Stuffed Pizza Slices.Each slice can be prepared individually because of a one-of-a-kind susceptor with a triangular, vented design that makes the product's crispy crust possible. The susceptor (or crisping sleeve) snuggly encloses the frozen stuffed pizza while it is in the microwave (two minutes) and the contents don't spill out. It's a snap and the pizza is very flavorful. Schwan's developed the unique, patent-pending design at its new $12 million R&D Center in Marshall, which is designed to facilitate new product launches by fusing high-level technology with culinary expertise."Red Baron Stuffed Pizza Slices are the most significant and innovative of Red Baron's products to date," says national brand manager Darci Eckermann "Offering consumers a unique and convenient way to enjoy their favorite pizza will fuel significant brand growth by enhancing Red Baron's profile in the snack and hand-held categories. It also fulfills our ongoing quest to provide new and delicious meal solutions for moms and families on the go." Available in six varieties: Pepperoni Pizza, Five Cheese & Tomato Pizza, Italian Sausage & Pepperoni Pizza, Supreme Pizza, Italian Sausage with Roasted Red Onions Pizza and Roasted Garlic Chicken Pizza each one is wrapped in a crust garnished with Italian cheese and herbs.Suggested retail price is $2.99 for a package of two slices. Berry pleasing Cheerios Nearly one out of every two households (47 percent) purchased a Cheerios product last year. In fact, if all the Cheerios made in one year were placed end to end, they would reach the moon and back nine times. So it's no wonder that Minneapolis, Minn.-based General Mills has rolled out two varieties of Berry Burst Cheerios: Berry Burst Cheerios Strawberry and Berry Burst Cheerios Triple Berry (strawberries, blueberries and raspberries).Fresh fruit has been freeze-dried so that when milk is added to the cereal, the fruit rehydrates. Freeze-drying maintains the original appearance, texture and nutrition of the berries. And thanks to the berries, consumers will find a new, naturally sweetened flavor added to their favorite little "o.""Our research shows that consumers love the taste of real berries with their Cheerios," says Tom Nientimp marketing manager. "Cheerios Berry Burst offers a lively and flavorful way to enjoy this classic combination."Suggested retail price is $3.69. Blueberries are considered a "true blue" food. The berry gets its color from a high level of a water-soluble pigment called anthocyanin.From A to Z with CampbellCamden, N.J.-based Campbell Soup Co has added 40 percent more letters to its classic Vegetable soup, known by millions as "Alphabet Soup." A favorite since 1899, Vegetable soup was one of the first varieties introduced. Letters were added in 1915 and kids have been spelling their names in the soup ever since. In 1969, the soup officially became known as "The Alphabet Soup" -- a moniker that remains on the label to this day.Campbell has developed a new technology that results in soups with dramatically improved flavors, colors and textures. The vegetable line is first, but plans are to overhaul all Campbell's condensed soups in the next three years. A new cold blending technology allows Campbell to put more ingredients in each can. In addition to adding 40 percent more letters to Vegetable (Alphabet), 20 percent more beef has been added to Vegetable Beef and more vegetables are in each of the 10 vegetable varieties. "The cold blend process enables Campbell to uniquely deliver truer flavors, tastier ingredients and brighter, clearer, more delicious broths to our consumers," explains Michael Ferry, business director for Campbell's condensed soups. "This dramatic quality improvement will make consumers think about condensed soups in a whole new way." In addition to Vegetable (Alphabet) and Vegetable Beef, improved varieties include: Vegetarian Vegetable (Alphabet); Minestrone; Beef with Vegetables and Barley; Old Fashioned Vegetable; Chicken Vegetable; Hearty Vegetable with Pasta; Southwest-style Chicken Vegetable and California-style Vegetable.Next year, the Fun Favorites line and Chicken Rice varieties will also be improved. All varieties are available in 10 1/2 or 10 -oz cans.Suggested retail price is $1.02. Improved Campbell varieties will carry a label burst that reads "Better Than Ever...More Vegetables."Rice to the occasionOakland, Calif.-based Thai Kitchen, a division of Epicurean International, has brought the taste of Thailand's signature dish Pad Thai to store shelves in a convenient shelf-stable kit that includes a package of noodles and a package of sauce.Available in two varieties: Original Pad Thai and Pad Thai with Chili, the rice noodles are made in Thailand from rice flour and water. They are 100 percent natural, wheat-free, gluten-free, egg-free, cholesterol-free and fat-free. The sauces are made with authentic seasonings and flavors (sometimes unavailable in U.S. supermarkets).One does have to soak the noodles, and provide egg, tofu, meat or seafood and , if desired, vegetables and/or peanuts, but the whole kit and caboodle takes only 15 minutes to prepare and is very tasty. Believe it or not, the cook does have to know how to use a frying pan.Suggested retail price is $2.50 - $3.00. Taking bubble gum to the ExtremeThose wacky scientists at Yorkville, Ill.-based Amurol Confections Co. will be sure to please the pint-sized consumers they love to relate to. Bubble Tape Extreme bubble gum has spun out a limited edition (from April through Aug. 2003) of four additions to its flavor lineup: Extreme Sour Lemon-Lime, Extreme Freeze Cherry, Extreme Sweet Cotton Candy and Extreme Fruit Raspberry.They are challenging kids with, "How much can you handle?" in terms of extreme intensity of flavor. So these little thrill seekers will love the six feet of bubble gum available in each flashy silver-colored round container. Suggested retail price is 89 cents.Sweet nutty crunch Stamford, Conn.-based Lincoln Snacks Co. has introduced Poppycock Just the Nuts!, a snack that includes almonds, cashews and pecans, all smothered in Poppycock candy glaze. In fact, the line extension of Poppycock is so full of nuts; there wasn't any room for the popcorn."For more than 40 years, consumers have known Poppycock as the nuttiest gourmet popcorn," says vice president of marketing Jim Gerbo, "Just the Nuts! is a logical extension of the brand. The glaze adds a sweet crunch to our premium nuts."Available in 9-oz., 20-oz., and 32-oz. canisters, the caramelized snack is irresistible.Suggested retail price is $3.99 to $7.99.