ReportersNotebook — Consumables, 3/14/11

SUPPLIER NEWS — Juicy Fruit has expanded its sugar-free gum offerings with new mystery-flavored Juicy Secret gum. The gum builds on the 2009 launch of Juicy Fruit’s foray into sugar-free treats with its pellet gum, available in parent company Wrigley’s Big E-pak. Juicy Secret will be available in a 15-stick slim pack nationwide.

Ocean Spray is getting bubbly. The juice brand said its new sparkling juice drinks will be available in two original and diet flavors, cranberry and pomegranate blueberry. The juices are made with 70% real fruit juice and no added sugar, artificial colors or preservatives. A serving of Ocean Spray sparkling juice is 90 calories, while Ocean Spray diet sparkling juice is 10 calories per serving.

Natural Snacks has introduced a kettle-cooked potato chip line for its Michael Season’s brand. The new kettle-cooked potato chips are available in five flavors, including lightly salted, unsalted,
honey barbecue, sea salt and balsamic vinegar, and jalapeno. Each flavor includes all-natural ingredients and is wheat- and gluten-free. The chips have a suggested retail price of $1.19 for 2-oz. bags and $2.99 for 5-oz. bags.

RETAIL NEWS — Safeway introduced its new SimpleNutrition program, an in-store shelf tag system that makes it easier for shoppers to find nutritionally better items among foods and beverages. Green shelf tags highlight up to 2-of-22 different nutrition and ingredient benefits, such as “gluten-free,” “organic,” “sodium-smart” or “made with whole grains.”

INDUSTRY NEWS — While some ethnic cuisines have become mainstream, such as Italian and Chinese food (see Buy-In), some niche-ier ethnic food products are enjoying growth in the marketplace, according to Mintel’s Global New Products Database.

Mintel found that new food items that contained “Caribbean” in the product description realized a 150% increase from 2009 to 2010. In addition, Japanese and Thai cuisine products rose 230% and 68%, respectively.

Mintel suggested that the rise in product launches could be attributed to the fact that consumers now have more outlets that offer such ethnic food products. In fact, 26% of ethnic food lovers said they were introduced to the cuisine by TV programs, newspapers or magazines that featured cuisine from other countries.

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