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Mintel: When it comes to ethnic foods, authenticity is key

BY Allison Cerra

CHICAGO — Among consumers who eat ethnic food at home, two-thirds of them said authenticity is the utmost important ingredient, according to new Mintel research.

In addition to an authentic flavor, ethnic foodies also emphasized that ethnic food should have the following features: all-natural (49%), premium/gourmet or artisanal (49%) and reduced fat (48%) positional claims, which round out the top characteristics that matter in the purchase decision.

"If flavor fanatics are going to spend their hard earned money and time visiting an ethnic restaurant or buying international foods to prepare at home, increasingly, they want it to be the real deal," says David Browne, senior analyst at Mintel. "Therefore, products positioned as such have a greater likelihood of finding favor with consumers."

When it came to what type of ethnic fare made at home, 70% of Mintel respondents said they made Italian food in the past 30 days, while nearly two-thirds (63%) of people have made Mexican food, followed by 46% who made Chinese food and 29% who made fusion dishes, mixing elements from various culinary traditions.

Mintel also noted that interest in specific ethnic fare, including Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine, has increased over the past year.

"Consumer interest in healthy eating and convenience food contributes to the growth seen in the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern categories," Browne said. "The growing popularity of prepackaged hummus and Greek-style yogurt mixed with the deli salad case offering chickpea, tabbouleh and orzo salads is giving this cuisine a healthful and easy edge on the competition."

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Quaker Oatmeal Squares debuts honey nut flavor

BY Allison Cerra

CHICAGO — Quaker Oats is expanding its Quaker Oatmeal Squares cereal to include a new flavor.

The brand said the new honey nut flavor joins the roster of brown sugar, cinnamon and golden maple varieties.

As part of the launch, Quaker Oats is promoting the new flavor on the Quaker Oatmeal Squares Facebook page and encourages users to "like" the page to receive a free sample of Quaker Oatmeal Squares’ newest flavor and can help up to 10 friends earn a free sample of the brown sugar variety.

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Budweiser launches ‘Track Your Bud’ campaign

BY Allison Cerra

ST. LOUIS — Budweiser is letting consumers trace the origins of its beer to one of the company’s 12 U.S. breweries through a new digital campaign that is integrated with Budweiser beer packaging.

"Track Your Bud" allows consumers to scan a QR code on Budweiser packaging via a smartphone — which will download the free "Track Your Bud" application — or visit TrackYourBud.com. Consumers then can enter the "Born On Date" found on bottles and cans and taken on a guided tour of the creation of their individual beer by the Budweiser brewmaster responsible for it.

In addition to its flagship brewery in St. Louis, "Track Your Bud" will showcase Budweiser’s state-of-the-art breweries in Merrimack, N.H.; Baldwinsville, N.Y.; Newark, N.J.; Williamsburg, Va.; Cartersville, Ga.; Jacksonville, Fla.; Columbus, Ohio; Houston; Fort Collins, Colo.; Fairfield, Calif.; and Los Angeles.

"People respect Budweiser for its heritage, full flavor and legendary consistency," Budweiser VP Rob McCarthy said. "Budweiser has a great story, and we want to tell it in a new way that demonstrates the pride, passion and craftsmanship at our breweries that’s been the backbone of Budweiser for generations. There’s a lot of attention to detail that goes into making Budweiser. Track Your Bud gives consumers transparency into how and where the beer is made and the brewmasters responsible for it all. Budweiser is a national brand, obviously, but our geographically diverse network of breweries and agricultural facilities also make us a local beer in so many places all across America, thanks to the people who make our beer and grow the ingredients. Track Your Bud highlights some of those people."

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