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October 2006 New Food Rollout

Sept. 26, 2006
Grip-n-Dip Chicken Strips for kids from ConAgra; Coca-Cola's Dasani and Powerade go grape; Oscar Mayer Fast Franks from Kraft Food; "pure" juices from Tropicana; stand-up taco shells from General Mills; and Corelli brand pasta sauce in a box from The Kroger Co.

By Diane Troops, News & Trends Editor

Chicken strips are child’s play

While moms are on a mission to serve convenient yet nutritious foods, kids just want to play and have fun. Both can accomplish their goals with Kid Cuisine Grip-n-Dip Chicken Strips from Omaha, Neb.-based ConAgra Foods.

Kid Cuisine has solved the problem of mealtime boredom with new Grip-n-Dip Chicken Strips, the 14th Kid Cuisine meal option. These chicken breast strips are easy to grip and dip into the included barbeque sauce. Combined with a portable fruit smoothie dessert made with real strawberries, this meal is nutritious and tasty. It may even have kids running to the dinner table. And with a microwavable cook time of five minutes, moms will love this tasty new meal, too.

A recent online survey conducted by Weekly Reader on behalf of Kid Cuisine reveals 91 percent of kids admit it is difficult for their parents to get them to the table, and they would more likely sit down and finish a meal if they participated in the decision-making process around mealtime.

Other findings include: 43 percent contend that having foods that require some interactivity would help them finish their meals more frequently (this feeling is strongest among kids ages 7-9, with 52 percent saying that having fun meals with special sprinkle packets and dipping-and-dunking sauces would help them to finish their meals); 77 percent of kids say their mom decides what they eat most of the time; and 44 percent say they would likely finish their meals if their moms added different kinds of tasty foods to the mealtime mix. When asked the foods they like “a lot,” kids listed pizza, chicken strips, macaroni and cheese and cheeseburgers — all choices offered by Kid Cuisine.

“Kid Cuisine is a great mealtime savior for stressed, time-starved moms because it provides delicious and convenient fun food kids enjoy eating,” says John Plaso, marketing director. “They’re made with real, quality ingredients from a variety of food groups such as white-meat chicken and cheese, so moms will feel good about serving these complete meals.”

Suggested retail price is $2.29.

Dasani, Powerade go grape

Everything is coming up royal purple at Atlanta-based Coca-Cola North America, with the introduction of its Grape Collection,featuring the appealing flavor of grape.

Grape is the newest flavor to join the Dasani line up of naturally flavored water beverages, which are lightly sweetened with Splenda, to provide a water beverage without calories or carbohydrates.

Powerade Grape and Powerade Option Grape, sweetened with a blend of sucralose, ace-K and high-fructose corn syrup, provide electrolytes and B-vitamins at levels comparable to regular Powerade, with only 10 calories per 8-oz. serving.

Dog in a blanket

Here’s one of those “why didn’t I think of that?” innovations. Oscar Mayer Fast Franks from Kraft Foods, Northfield, Ill., are already in the bun. No boiling or toiling, you just unwrap the individually wrapped dog and bun, pop it in the microwave for 35 seconds and it’s ready to eat (other than the mustard).

Hot dogs come in a specially designed microwavable paperboard tray that uses Graphic Packaging's QuiltWave active microwave packaging to heat the bun so it's soft and warm, while at the same time fully warming the hot dog.

"QuiltWave active microwave packaging's exceptional performance is due to unique laminated quilts, or pockets, which expand when exposed to microwave energy and provide closer contact with the food product," explains John Gerstner, senior account executive at Graphic Packaging. "This hot surface immediately next to the food drives away moisture and heats the bun just right to an exceptionally fresh taste and texture, right out of the microwave."

Oscar Mayer Fast Franks come in a 9-oz. package of three and are great for lunch, after school, after work or any time you want a tasty all-in-one snack.

Suggested retail price is $2.99.

Tropicana heads to the produce aisle

Chicago-based Tropicana Products Inc., a division of PepsiCo Inc., introduces Tropicana Pure, a line of 100 percent fruit juices available next to their fresh fruit counterparts in the produce section.

“We’ve been Starbucked and Paneraed,” says Jim McGinnis, vice president of marketing. “That means consumers across many categories are trading up to higher quality and better taste, and Tropicana Pure will provide that enhanced juice experience."

With no added sugar or artificial flavors, Tropicana Pure debuts (in clear one-liter bottles) in four nutrient-rich blends: Pomegranate Blueberry, Mango Orange, Triple Berry, and Valencia Orange.

“Growth in juices, even though it's small, is occurring outside the breakfast day part," says industry analyst Harry Balzer, vice president at NPD Group. "In other parts of the day where we have beverages there is now potential to make that juice."

"Tropicana Pure is the first leading brand to enter the super premium juice category, one of the fastest growing categories in the produce section," adds McGinnis. "Research shows that a trusted brand like Tropicana will bring new consumers to the category, further fueling its growth."

Suggested retail price is $3.79.

A stand-up taco

Minneapolis-based General Mills introduces Old El Paso Salsa and Nacho flavored Stand 'N Stuff taco shells. Pair them with new sauces Old El Paso Taco Toppers, and each family member can create his own bliss.

Stand 'N Stuff taco shells (10 to a box) are easy to fill, serve, hold and eat. No more tipping tacos — Stand 'N Stuff shells stand alone. Stuff the shell with your favorite combination of meat, lettuce, tomatoes and cheese. Add that final touch of zesty ranch or mild taco sauce, along with a dollop of guacamole — all without fear of tipping over your perfect, made to order creation. Available in two flavor varieties — Mild Taco and Zesty Ranch — Taco Toppers sauces' inverted, easy-squeeze bottles offer a no-mess way to add the final touch to your taco masterpiece.

“Our new nacho and salsa flavored shells offer fun, tasty alternatives to plain corn shells," says Luis Sanchez, Old El Paso marketing. “Pair these new flavored Stand 'N Stuff shells with Taco Toppers sauces to bring even more flavor options to a meal.”

Suggested retail price for the taco shells is $1.89, and sauces retail at $2.49.

Spaghetti sauce in a box

Cincinnati-based grocer The Kroger Co. has introduced a line of Corelli brand pasta sauces in a shelf-stable aseptic box, the same one that tried to make a dent last year carrying Hormel and Stagg chili.

The super premium sauces include: Marinara, Roasted Garlic, Tomato Basil and Five Cheese. All contain fresh ingredients including authentic parmesan-reggiano and pecorino cheese and no dehydrated spices.

They are made by an Italian processor, Columbus S.r.l., and are packaged in Tetra Recart packaging from Tetra Pak Inc., Vernon Hills, Ill.

The lightweight, 13.8-oz. package size creates a new sub-category in the pasta sauce section by offering a smaller-size option for singles or two-person households. No utensils are needed to open the package, it’s recloseable, non-breakable, easy to store, and maintains the ingredients without preservatives. Tetra Pak’s technology also protects the food inside from undesirable color changes caused by light during distribution and retail display.

“Kroger customers are looking for better, more convenient food choices for their families," says Nick Hahn, director of corporate brands for Kroger. “This type of packaging gives customers more options, and Tetra Recart's innovative approach enables us to significantly improve packaging efficiencies."

Suggested retail price is $1.49 to $1.79.