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‘Simple’ foods gain momentum, Innova Market Insights finds

BY Allison Cerra

CHICAGO Post-recession consumers are seeking simple foods with natural ingredients, according to new data by Innova Market Insights.

The market research firm found that the amount of products that use words that represent “back-to-basic” have increased. Innova Market Insights tracked 987 new products using the words “simple,” “simplest” or “simplicity” in 2009, compared with 467 in 2008.

Use of the words “pure,” “purity” or “purely” grew from 3,013 in 2008 to 5,705 in 2009.

The researcher tracked 2,137 new U.S. products marketed as “natural” or “preservative free” in the first four months of 2010, up slightly from the 2,052 products tracked in the corresponding period in 2009, and dramatically up from the 1,155 recorded in the January to April 2008 period.

Products boasting such claims may be increasing because more consumers are seeking alternatives that take the guesswork out of reading nutrition labels, Innova Market Insights suggested.

“The simplicity trend creates a new challenge for the ingredients industry, as manufacturers look to shorten the length of ingredient labels,” noted Lu Ann Williams, head of research at Innova Market Insights.

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Tornados kicks off another Facebook challenge

BY Allison Cerra

DINUBA, Calif. Ruiz Foods’ Tornados brand announced this month its Facebook-based promotion “Flavor Challenge 2.0,” in which the brand’s fans can submit flavor ideas in eight different categories.

The top flavor in each category wins a year’s supply of Tornados — a convenient snack filled with grilled meats, melted cheeses and bold flavors wrapped in a crispy crust — and a Tornados-wrapped microwave.

Tornados Facebook fans can submit flavors in any of up to eight “flavor categories.” Categories open for submissions are:

  • Asian Fusion
  • Backyard BBQ
  • Kick-It Up (Spicy)
  • American Classics
  • Teen Snack Attack
  • Around the World
  • Early Bird (Breakfast)
  • Sweet Tooth (Dessert)

Tornados are available in retail grocery stores nationwide.

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A ‘Passage to Thailand’ without leaving home

BY Allison Cerra

COLLINSVILLE, Conn. A line of simmer sauces designed to spice up a meal has made its market debut in the United States.

Passage to Thailand simmer sauces are a part of a simple, three-step meal solution that satisfies the needs of the time-starved consumer. Add the sauce to meat, seafood or vegetables, simmer and serve over rice for a gourmet meal in less than 20 minutes. The line consists of four different, all-natural sauces, each a recipe of traditional ethnic cuisines created to deliver authentic, restaurant-quality flavor and made only from fresh, natural ingredients. The line includes pad thai, thai basil and sweet chili, as well as tom yum and red thai curry sauces. With spices sourced directly from various regions of Thailand and southeast Asia, each product is gluten-, MSG-, preservative- and GMO-free.

“The growing ethnic diversity in our U.S. population, and a resurgence in cooking driven by chef-hosted programs, has grown the market for ethnic foods to a record high,” said Passage Foods’ Mark MacKenzie. “The ethnic food market is a $2.2 billion retail industry in the United States, and [is] expected to expand an additional 20% over the next four years, with Indian and Thai foods showing the largest increase in consumer demand.”

In addition, the Asian/Indian restaurant segment has seen double-digit growth for the last four years, and although retreating some recently, the number of ethnic grocery offerings has expanded as more people try cooking Thai, Indian and other ethnic foods at home.

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