HEALTH

Kraft keeps innovation flowing with 40-plus new products

BY Jason Owen

 NORTHFIELD, Ill. — Kraft will introduce more than 40 new products in 2013, the company stated. This is the first comprehensive new products launch since Kraft became an independent public company in October. In keeping with the company’s initiative to offer consumers good, better and best choices, Kraft is using its iconic brands and successful new platforms to deliver innovation across multiple categories. While some new products are hitting store shelves now, others debut in early 2013.

"Bland and boring do not cut it anymore," said Barry Calpino, Vice President, Breakthrough Innovation, Kraft. "We’re seeing an all-out quest for fun, passion and adventure in food and beverages as people embrace a multitude of global and regional flavors. Culinary experimentation is ‘in,’ so everyone wants the flexibility to customize their food. Our latest innovations are fun, great-tasting products that meet those needs and are in sync with today’s lifestyles."

The Bolder, The Better
Whether inspired by global cuisine, local street foods, farmers markets or restaurant trends, Kraft is intent on satisfying flavor fanatics. In 2013, peppers of any kind take center stage while bacon continues to sizzle. New Miracle WhipDipping Sauces offer unexpected yet distinctive tangy flavors: Smokin’ Bacon Ranch, Kickin’ Onion Blossom and Sassy Sweet Tomato. Bagels now will benefit from a "schmear" of Philadelphia Spicy Jalapeno Cream Cheese, while fruits, graham crackers and pretzels will welcome two new additions to the Philadelphia Indulgence Spread line -Cinnamon and Dulce de Leche Caramel. And string cheese will no longer be just a kids’ snack, thanks to Cracked Black Pepper, Italian Style Pizzeria and Sweet BBQ varieties on both the Kraft and Polly-O String Cheese brands. Also on the snacking front, Planters NUT-ritionPeanut Butter will add a robust Cherry Chocolate flavor. Fiery notes like Chipotle BBQ, Tomato & Chili Pepper and Cracked Peppercorn add some heat to the A.1. Dry Rubs and A.1. Marinade Mixes lines. Kraft Anything Dressings adds a citrus twist with Zesty Lime Vinaigrette – a refreshing addition to salads or as a marinade for meats and seafood. Even beloved Oscar MayerBologna experiences a flavor makeover with the addition of Jalapeno and Bacon options, which provide affordable variety to everyday sandwiches.

Flexible Meal Choices
Convenience counts as consumers want fast but flexible meal options that don’t skimp on taste. Oscar MayerCarving Board Pulled Meats are leading the way. This new line combines succulent spice blends with pulled pork that has been slow smoked with natural hardwood to lock in the real meat flavors. A resurgent Velveeta brand expands to include on-trend Cheesy Casseroles in Chili Cornbread, Chicken Pot Pie and Shepherd’s Pie varieties. The Velveeta Cheesy Skillets Dinner Kitsfranchise will build its "liquid gold" platform with three new flavor combinations: Jambalaya, Chicken Parmesan and Ultimate Cheeseburger Mac with 2% Milk Cheese. Adding to its successful 2012 launch, Kraft Fresh Take cheese and breadcrumb mixwill help cooks transform everyday chicken, pork or fish with three more tasty choices: Smokey Mesquite BBQ, Spicy Chipotle Cheddar and Classic Four Cheese.

Simpler Ingredient Lines
Finding a wholesome balance for some consumers is no longer just about calories. It also includes looking for simpler ingredient lines. So Kraft will be adding to its Oscar Mayer Selects brand. Oscar Mayer Selects Chicken Breast Franks are made with quality cuts of white chicken breast meat, that are hardwood smoked and have no artificial preservatives.

Customization Continues
Individuality matters when it comes to food and people want to be able to whip up a custom-made food experience. Kraft helped pioneer the customization trend by launching the portable liquid water enhancer category in 2011 with MiO. Look for new options in early 2013, including Cherry Blackberry. In addition, Crystal Light Liquid will debut with six refreshing flavors – Mango Passionfruit, Strawberry Lemonade, Blueberry Raspberry, Iced Tea, Peach Bellini and Pomtini – and no artificial flavors and zero calories. When it comes to hot beverages, customizing your brew is as easy as a touch of a button with the Tassimo on-demand system. And now the delicious taste of Tim Hortons coffee, including decaf and latte, is available in T Discs. For those looking to add their personal touch to baked goods, Cool Whip Frosting is an innovation worth celebrating. This new frosting is available in the freezer aisle, perfectly whipped to spread easily on cakes, cupcakes and more. To spur even more culinary creativity, the rapidly growing Jet-Puffed MallowBites marshmallows line is expanding to include fruit-flavored, ice cream cone shaped and brownie bite mini-marshmallows which are perfect for snacks, dipping or hot chocolate. For a hearty snack, Planters NUT-rition Sustaining Energy Mix will come in three varieties that include ingredients such as honey roasted peanuts, crunchy honey soy clusters with soy protein and wholesome roasted almonds.

"Our newest products demonstrate how an innovative spirit is taking hold in today’s Kraft," said Calpino. "New products and expandable platforms will help us fulfill our mission of being North America’s best food and beverage company. In 2013, we’re capitalizing on several trends — bold flavors, better-for-you choices, flexible meals and customizability — to win with both customers and consumers."

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Ohio becomes 25th state to adopt NPLEx

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON — The Consumer Healthcare Products Association last week applauded Ohio Gov. John Kasich for signing into law House Bill 334, an anti-methamphetamine bill authored by Reps. Terry Johnson, R-Portsmouth, and Danny Bupb, R-West Union. With the new law, Ohio now becomes the 25th state to adopt real-time, stop-sale technology known as the National Precursor Log Exchange.

"Ohio now joins 24 states that have adopted real-time, stop-sale technology," stated Scott Melville, president and CEO of CHPA. "Not only does the proven system stop illegal sales of popular cold and allergy medicines, it also ensures that law-abiding consumers continue to have access to the medicines they rely on for relief from cold and allergy symptoms," he said. "Passage of this important legislation is a significant step in Ohio’s battle against meth production and a victory for law enforcement officials, retailers, doctors and consumers."

NPLEx is a tool that enables retailers to block unlawful attempted purchases of cold and allergy medicines containing pseudoephedrine that exceed daily or monthly limits established by the 2005 Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act. Prior to NPLEx, retailers had to manually record PSE purchases in a hand-written logbook.

 

 

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Survey: DXM abuse among high school students holds steady at just under 5%

BY Michael Johnsen

BETHESDA, Md. — The National Institute on Drug Abuse last week released the 2012 Monitoring the Future survey, finding that 5.6% of high school seniors abused over-the-counter cough and cold medicines containing dextromethorphan, a rate that has held relatively steady over the past five years. Abuse of DXM products was reported to be 3% among eighth graders and 4.7% among tenth graders, bringing the overall average to under 5%.

"The results of this year’s Monitoring the Future survey do indicate there may be some decline, and our StopMedicineAbuse campaign remains committed to increasing parental awareness about this troubling teen behavior,” stated Scott Melville, president and CEO for the Consumer Healthcare Products Association. “Abuse of over-the-counter cough medicines often flies under parents’ radars, which is why the makers of these medicines will forge ahead in our efforts to educate parents about this abuse and encourage them to monitor their medicines and to talk to their teens about dangers of abusing all medicines, including OTC cough medicine," he said. 

This year CHPA partnered with the Partnership at Drugfree.org to launch a social media campaign to influence teens directly. Using YouTube videos and a Facebook app, the campaign reaches teens who are likely triers looking for information on how to abuse DXM and conveys the health risks and social disapproval associated with OTC cough medicine abuse. "In the first five months, our content has been viewed over 750,000 times and shared over 32,000 times," Melville said. 

The Monitoring the Future data revealed a mixed report regarding prescription drug abuse. Twelfth graders reported non–medical use of the opioid painkiller Vicodin at a past year rate of 7.5%. Since the survey started measuring its use in 2002, rates hovered near 10% until 2010, when the survey started reporting a modest decline. However, past year abuse of the stimulant Adderall, often prescribed to treat ADHD, has increased over the past few years to 7.6% among high school seniors, up from 5.4% in 2009. Accompanying this increased use is a decrease in the perceived harm associated with using the drug, which dropped nearly 6% in the past year — only 35% of 12th graders believe that using Adderall occasionally is risky. 

The survey continued to show that most teens who abused prescription medications were getting them from family members and friends.

Cigarette smoking continued at its lowest levels among eighth, 10th and 12th graders, with dramatic long–term improvement. Significant declines were seen in lifetime use among eighth graders, down to 15.5% from last year’s 18.4%, compared to nearly 50% at its peak in 1996. Significant declines were also seen in 10th grade lifetime use of cigarettes, down to 27.7% from 30.4% in 2011. Peak rates for 10th graders were seen in 1996 at 61.2%. For some indicators, including past month use in all three grades, cigarette smoking remains lower than marijuana use, a phenomenon that began a few years ago.

The survey also measures several other kinds of tobacco delivery products. For example, past year use of small cigars was reported at nearly 20% for 12th graders, with an 18.3% rate for hookah water pipes.

Abuse of synthetic marijuana (also known as K–2 or Spice) stayed stable in 2012 at just over 11% for past year use among 12th graders. While many of the ingredients in Spice have been banned by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, manufacturers attempt to evade these legal restrictions by substituting different chemicals in their mixtures. Another drug type – inhalants – continues a downward trend. As one of the drugs most commonly used by younger students, the survey showed a past year use rate of 6.2% among eighth graders, a significant drop in the last five years when the 2007 survey showed a rate of 8.3%.

For the first time, the Monitoring the Future survey measured teen use of the much publicized emerging family of drugs known as "bath salts," containing an amphetamine–like stimulant that is often sold in drug paraphernalia stores. The data showed a relative low use among 12th graders at 1.3%. 

Monitoring the Future survey, an annual survey of eighth, 10th, and 12th–graders conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan, was carried out in classrooms around the country earlier this year, under a grant from the NIDA, part of the National Institutes of Health.

Overall, 45,449 students from 395 public and private schools participated in this year’s Monitoring the Future survey. Since 1975, the survey has measured drug, alcohol, and cigarette use and related attitudes in 12th–graders nationwide. Eighth and 10th graders were added to the survey in 1991. Survey participants generally report their drug use behaviors across three time periods: lifetime, past year and past month. 

 

 

 

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