Best New Products of April 2008

April 17, 2008
The top new food products of April 2008

Low-sodium popping

Orville Redenbacher’s, which claims to be America’s No. 1 popcorn, introduces SmartPop! 30% Less Sodium. All of the brand’s SmartPop! flavors are 94 percent fat free, made of whole grains and have zero cholesterol and trans fat. And with flavors such as Butter, Kettle Korn, Movie Theater Butter, and Organic Butter, popcorn lovers have an alternative to the bland tastes often associated with other reduced-sodium snacks.

According to a recent survey conducted by the ConAgra brand, three out of four consumers who currently don’t buy lower-sodium items said they would purchase a reduced sodium product if it had the same taste as snacks that were higher in sodium. Orville Redenbacher’s guarantees its new SmartPop! 30% Less Sodium tastes just as good as original SmartPop!, or consumers can receive a full refund on their purchase if not satisfied.

“With the new advancements in flavor technology, even we were amazed by how great the new SmartPop! tastes,” says Stan Jacot, vice president of marketing for ConAgra Foods’ popcorn business. “By significantly reducing the level of sodium, the improved SmartPop 30% Less Sodium still offers consumers a great healthful snack that is now even better for them.”

Suggested retail price is $2.69.

Uncle Ben’s gone wild

Mars Food US, a Rancho Dominques, Calif.-based division of Mars Inc., rolls out two varieties of Uncle Ben’s rice made with a combination of long grain and native wild rice combined with all-natural herbs and seasonings. Made with whole grains, they are low in saturated and trans fats, low in cholesterol, a source of fiber (3g per serving) and a good source of many vitamins and minerals.

Turning an everyday meal into something special, Uncle Ben’s Long Grain & Wild Rice Herb Roasted Chicken is made with 100 percent natural flavors and includes chicken and a variety of spices. Uncle Ben’s Long Grain & Wild Rice Sun-Dried Tomato Florentine is made with spinach, tomato and whole wheat berries, providing an exotic variety that appeals to today’s discriminating palates.

Suggested retail price is $1.89-1.99.

Whole grain pizza with vegetarian toppings

Kashi Co., a La Jolla, Calif., division of Kellogg Co., expands its current all-natural frozen pizza family with three new All-Natural Thin Crust Frozen Pizzas. Made with whole grains, the thin crust is complemented by flavorful, vegetarian toppings, making these pizzas a nutritious and easy-to-prepare meal idea.

Kashi All-Natural Thin Crust Frozen Pizzas varieties include:

  • Roasted Vegetable (artichokes, broccoli florets, fire roasted red peppers and onions drizzled with a touch of balsamic vinaigrette complement a tomato-pesto sauce and blend of mozzarella and provolone cheeses)
  • Mushroom Trio & Spinach (topped with shiitake, baby portobello and champignon mushrooms as well as spinach, it features a savory tomato parmesan sauce)
  • Tomato Garlic Cheese (mozzarella and provolone cheeses paired with ripened red tomatoes atop a tomato and herb-infused sauce).

“Our new thin crust pizzas feature a light, crispy crust that’s made with our unique blend of seven whole grains and sesame plus flax seeds,” says brand manager and nutritionist Sarah Lowrey Ceccarelli. “Topped with flavorful sauces and savory vegetable combinations, our pizzas offer a delicious eating experience in every bite, in addition to providing the nutrition of whole grains, fiber, protein and ALA omega-3s.” Ground whole flax seeds provide 260mg of ALA omega-3 fatty acids, complementing the 4g of fiber, 14g of protein and 11g of whole grains in each serving.
Suggested retail price is $5.99.

SoBe enters water category with ‘thriller’ flavors
During the past Super Bowl, Supermodel Naomi Campbell and a cast of SoBe lizards danced through Michael Jackson’s song "Thriller” on its 25th anniversary. It was PepsiCo Inc.’s way of introducing America to SoBe Life Water in five flavors.

Featuring distinctive, bold packaging, each low-calorie flavor -- Blackberry Grape, Pomegranate Cherry, Orange Tangerine, Strawberry Kiwi, and Passionfruit Citrus  -- are infused with antioxidant vitamins C and E, essential B vitamins and healthy herbal ingredients.

PepsiCo's SoBe Life Water plays in the red-hot enhanced water category, and it is one of the brands often credited with launching the new-age beverage category in the 1990s.

Hormel chili in a tray

Chili is a comfort meal that satisfies, but traditional chili isn’t always an option for today’s dynamic consumer lifestyles. Austin, Minn.-based Hormel Foods  debuts Hormel Chili Meals. Ideal for a satisfying lunch on-the-go or snack anytime, these shelf-stable meals come in microwave-ready trays and heat up in only 90 seconds.

Hearty varieties include:

  • Chili ‘n Mac, macaroni, beans and beef in tomato sauce
  • Chili ‘n Penne chili and beans with penne pasta
  • Chili ‘n Spuds, chili and beans with diced potatoes.

According to a recent study by GfK Consumer, a division of GfK Custom Research North America, chili is consumed by 92 percent of U.S. households.

“As schedules become more hectic, time constraints really affect the way we eat,” says Marty Wolesky, product manager. “By offering Hormel Chili Meals in a portable, microwave-ready tray, busy consumers can enjoy chili with a hearty serving of pasta or potatoes anytime.”
Suggested retail price is $2.49.

Haagen-Dazs inspired by global flavors

Haagen-Dazs, a brand of Oakland, Calif.-based Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream Inc. (itself a part of Nestle USA), launches Haagen-Dazs Fleur de Sel Caramel ice cream to its Reserve line, inspired by global flavors.

Exploring the classical tastes of the French shores of Brittany, Fleur de Sel Caramel features Fleur de Sel caramels covered in a chocolaty coating blended into caramel ice cream with caramel ribbons and French sea salt accents. Don’t worry: one deliciously indulgent serving (1/2 cup) contains only 160mg of sodium plus 280 calories.

Other varieties in the Reserve line include Brazilian Acai Berry Sorbet, Amazon Valley Chocolate, Pomegranate Chip, Hawaiian Lehua Honey & Sweet Cream, Toasted Coconut Sesame Brittle and Pomegranate & Dark Chocolate Bar.

Suggested retail price for a pint is $4.99.

Naked Juice intros 100% probiotic juice smoothie

Naked Juice, Azusa, Calif., introduces Naked Juice Probiotic,declaring it to be the first 100% juice smoothie with probiotics, microorganisms which may aid in digestive and immune health. The smoothies also contain a prebiotic, an ingredient used to help stimulate good bacteria that are already in the digestive tract.

All-natural 100% juice with no added sugar or preservatives, Naked Juice Probiotic is available in Tropical Mango, a blend including mango, orange, and pineapple.

Suggested price for a single-serve 10-oz. bottle is $2.99.

Healing teas promote good health

Lynden, Wash.-based Flora Inc. adds four new flavors to its line of Bija Healing Teas to help promote optimal health.
Flavors include:

  • Deep Defense, a blend of astragalus, cranberry, rooibos, peppermint and three types of echinacea formulated to support the body’s natural defense system (94 percent organic)
  • Pure Peppermint,designed for those suffering from digestive disorders, seasonal symptoms and insomnia -- the leaves are certified organic
  • Holy Basil, revered in India for over 5,000 years as a tonic herb, this wild-crafted proprietary blend includes Krishna, Vana and Rama Holy Basil, as well as rooibos to help reduce stress, lower cortisol levels to promote a sense of well-being
  • Soothing Chamomile a certified organic variety of an old favorite used for relaxation.

Bija uses tea bags made from hemp and tree fibers, and the environmentally friendly bags are whitened with hydrogen peroxide, not chlorine. 

Available in health food stores nationwide, Bija Healing Teas are packaged 20 to a box, at suggested retail prices ranging from $6.49-7.99.

S-shaped breakfast treats
Bronx, N.Y.-based the Stella D'oro Co. introduces a line of 100-Calorie items featuring its famous Breakfast Treats in two flavors: Original and Chocolate. Designed using the company's signature "S" cookie shape, each pouch has approximately 18 mini Breakfast Treats.

"We are delighted with the introduction of these great new items," says Chairman Henk Hartong. "The famous Stella D'oro Breakfast Treat was first introduced to the market in the 1950s and we are confident our loyal customers will enjoy this tasty new variety."

Suggested retail price for a box a box of six pouches is $2.99.

The votes are in
For the past four years, Salem, Oregon-based  Kettle Foods  has turned over product development to fans, inviting chip lovers to help select new flavors to join the existing line by voting for their favorites. Inspired by passionate requests for the ultimate hot chip, People’s Choice IV took a spicy turn with five fiery flavor nominees. The theme, Fire and Spice, challenged the company to create flavors that delivered on more than just mouth burn. Kettle Foods responded with a lineup that fulfilled expectations for complex heat made with all natural spices including Wicked Hot Sauce, Mango Chili, Jalapeño Salsa Fresca, Orange Ginger Wasabi and Death Valley Chipotle.

Thousands of Kettle Potato Chip fans flocked to and chose Death Valley Chipotle with its nuanced balance of savory smoke and layered chili flavors, as the winning flavor.

“The Fire and Spice theme exposed flavor loyalists in a variety of camps – the sweet lovers lobbied for Mango Chili, vinegar fans loved the tang of Wicked Hot Sauce while ‘throat’ and ‘nose’ hot folks divided over Jalapeño Salsa Fresca and Orange Ginger Wasabi,” says Kim Sheridan, chief flavor architect. “From the very beginning, though, Death Valley Chipotle’s blend of red chili, cayenne, chipotle and habanero held the lead with its slow, smoky burn.”

Sweet and spicy Wasabi treat

Los Angles-based BrandStorm Inc. rolls out Himalania Wasabi covered Goji berries, a snack combination of dried Goji berries and the hot crunch of Wasabi coating which creates a distinctive sweet and spicy treat that is 100 percent natural, with no artificial color – a rare feat for Wasabi.

A staple for hundreds of years in Japanese cooking, Wasabi (Wasabi japonica) is a semi-aquatic vegetable in the crucifer category that also includes broccoli and cauliflower. The Wasabi plant features a thick stem that is ground into a paste, and served alongside sushi because of its antibiotic and antimicrobial properties that defend against parasites in raw fish. Other benefits claimed by Wasabi lovers include anti-coagulants to prevent harmful blood clots, asthma relief, dental health, and even cancer prevention

Goji berries (Lycium Barbarum L.) have been a secret of Chinese and Tibetan medicine for centuries, and are revered for properties believed to be associated with vitality and longevity. Loaded with nutrients, Himalania’s all-natural Goji berries contain no added sweeteners, no artificial ingredients and are rich in high-potency antioxidant Vitamin C, beta carotene, B vitamins, amino acids, potassium, protein, and polysaccharides.

“Developing a Wasabi coating that lived up to our standards was truly a challenge in a snack food industry so often dominated by artificial colors, flavors and preservatives, but we’re proud of the accomplishment this product represents,” says CEO Thierry Ollivier. “This product is a wonderful complement to the sweeter treats in the Himalania covered Goji berry line, which includes dark chocolate, milk chocolate and yogurt.”

Suggested retail price is $5.99, and are available exclusively at Whole Foods Markets.

Whee! you don’t have to share

Ideal for times when a little bit of the best is just what you are looking for, Haagen-Dazs, a brand of Oakland-based Dreyers Grand Ice Cream Inc., rolls out Haagen-Dazs Snack Size Ice Cream Bars, the same thick, rich mouth watering ice cream bars you love - now available in a convenient 1.85-oz. size containing only 190 calories and you don’t have to share.

Flavors include Coffee & Almond Crunch and Vanilla & Almonds for a suggested retail price of $4.19 for a box of four bars.

Available mid-April, suggested retail price is $1.49.

Little Debbie 100-calorie snacks

Little Debbie, a brand of Collegedale, Tenn.-based McKee Foods, introduces two chocolaty ways to indulge without all the calories: 100-calorie Nutty Bar Singles and 100-calorie Triple Fudge Brownies

They're great for keeping in-line when that family road trip calls for snacks or when the after-school munchies attack for Mom, too.

Little Debbie Triple Fudge Brownies are individually-wrapped brownie squares topped with fudge icing and a stripe. Little Debbie Nutty Bar Singles are also individually-wrapped and each is comprised of three wafers sandwiches around two layers of peanut butter cream enrobed in a chocolaty coating.

Suggested retail price for a box of 12 is $1.59.

Tasmanian Devil hits U.S. shores

If Kakadu, Tasmania and the Barrier Reef seem foreign -- they won’t be for long if chef, author and cooking show host Vic Cherikoff has anything to do with it. These Australian destinations provided the inspiration for Vic Cherikoff DownUnder, a new brand of all natural, Australian made culinary sauces developed specifically for the U.S. discovery consumer and the status cook.

These sauces, which feature indigenous ingredients of the Australian outback are available in the following flavors:

  • Kakadu Wild Fire Pepper Sauce: Earthy, Tangy and Fruity
  • Tasmanian Devil Wing Sauce: Zesty, Spicy and Sweet
  • Barrier Reef Lemon, Lime and Chili Sauce: Aromatic, Citrus and Spicy.

“There are so many wonderful flavors indigenous to Australia yet to be discovered in the U.S.,” says Cherikoff. “I hope my line of sauces will provide the inspiration for the U.S. home cook to go on an exciting new flavor journey”

The Cherikoff line is marketed in the U.S. by Los Angeles-based Essentially OZ Marketing. Visit or call 310-545-8680.

Fun frozen treat

Pennsauken, N.J.-based J&J Snack Foods introduces IceeBits, a new product line of frozen pellets that is sure to please kids of all ages.
Unlike other competitive frozen pellet products, IceeBits do not require special handling and can be shipped at 0-degrees along with other frozen products.

Sold in 5 fl. oz. cups, the kid-friendly flavors include Cotton Candy, Cherry Burst, Blue Raspberry and Cherry Cola.

Gluten free, fat free and Kosher Certified, each cup is coded and ready for individual sale. In addition, each case is coded for Cash-n-Carry sales. Call 888-JJ-SNACK, ext 750 or visit for additional details.

Mexican-inspired line of fresh meats debuts

More consumers on this side of the border are demanding the authentic, bold flavors that are an important part of Mexican culture and tradition. In fact, nearly 1 in 4 homes will prepare a Mexican entree for dinner this week, according to NPD 2007 Eating Trends.

Austin, Minn.-based Hormel is looking to create a destination within the fresh meat section that emotionally resonates with lovers of Mexican food, so it launched Carnicería Hormel, a Mexican-inspired line of fresh meats that contains both slow-cook and quick-cook favorites.

Committed to respecting traditional Mexican cooking methods, Carnicería Hormel makes it easy to prepare flavorful meals with authentic ingredients, while allowing for easy preparation and customization.
Carnicería products include both pre-marinated meats that are slow-cooked as well as options that are ready in minutes.

They include three Quick-cook varieties:

  • Carne al Pastor, a traditional Adobo marinade with pre-diced pork
  • Carne Adobadas, aquick-cook pork steaks marinated in a flavorful Adobo blend (dried chiles, spices, herbs and a dash of vinegar)
  • Carne Asada, defined as “grilled meat,” and one of Mexico’s most popular recipes, consists of thin cuts of beef steak lightly marinated with salt, pepper and citrus

Slow-cook varieties include:

  • Barbacoa Mexican-style barbecue, combining beef with citrus, mild chiles and traditional seasonings
  • Chicken Tinga chicken, tomatoes, onions, select spices and chipotle peppers
  • Carnitas slow-cooked pork, salt, pepper, garlic and orange juice.

Suggested retail price is $4.99 per pound.