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Sara Lee introduces pound cake slices

BY Allison Cerra

DOWNERS GROVE, Ill. — Sara Lee has introduced its latest dessert that is ideal for personal desserts or on-the-go snacking.

New Sara Lee pound cake slices include six slices per package (each slice is individually wrapped) with no cutting required and are available in original and double chocolate flavors. Each serving touts 160 calories and 180 calories, respectively.

“As people’s lives have gotten busier, on-the-go and conveniently-portioned snacking options have gained popularity,” Sara Lee Sweet Goods senior brand manager Kanika White said. “It’s important we understand what people want when it comes to snacking, while not compromising the great taste and homemade quality people expect and love about our Sara Lee Pound Cakes. The new Sara Lee Pound Cake Slices give people the best of both worlds – the ability to snack simply wherever they please, any time of the day.”

Average suggested retail price for Sara Lee pound cake slices varies by region of the country. The product now is available nationwide.

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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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