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Spicing up snack time

BY Barbara White-Sax

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — Sabra Dipping Co. has added a new Grab N Go pack featuring Sabra’s Homestyle Medium Salsa and Tostitos Bite Size Rounds tortilla chips to its lineup of popular Grab N Go fresh snacks.

The new product marks the first time Sabra has offered its refrigerated salsa in a single serving size. Sabra salsas are made from hand-selected tomatoes that are combined with chunky vegetables, herbs and spices. Suggested retail on the new product is $2.99.

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‘Heat-and-eat’ meals cook up new recipes, sales

BY Barbara White-Sax

In the current economy, microwavable single-serve meals may be the answer to consumers’ decreased restaurant use. “These meals occupy the spot between homemade and restaurant meals,” said Harry Balzer, chief industry analyst and VP at NPD Group. “They represent food
service redefined.”

Balzer said since restaurant visits peaked in 2000, consumers may be looking to shelf–stable microwaveable meals and frozen meals to replace those restaurant dining occasions. “Frozen handheld meals, such as hamburgers and sandwiches, have become an important part of consumers’ nighttime meals,” he said.

Microwaveable packaged dinners have been the fastest-growing segment in the shelf-stable entrée category over the last few years, according to consumer research group Mintel International, but heated promotional pricing has caused dollar sales to dip. Giant supermarkets, for example, recently promoted Hormel Compleats at two for $4.

Mintel predicts that the category’s future depends on the introduction of more premium “heat-and-eat” meals that appeal to a wider taste- and health-driven audience. Manufacturers, said a report from Mintel, are introducing “better-for-you entrées made of all-natural ingredients, added vegetables and balanced nutrition. Other marketers are creating restaurant-inspired dishes made with premium ingredients to address the need for better taste.”

“Innovation really helps to keep this category fresh,” said Kellie Benning, product manager for Hormel Microwave Meals. “People have grown accustomed to comfort foods, but also want to become
more adventurous.”

Hormel’s new Compleats Cheesy Pasta line, which will hit shelves this month, features six new products that Benning said reflect the “company’s innovation and new capabilities moving into 2013.”

Barilla also has entered the market this past summer with a line of five microwavable meals. The single servings of pasta and sauce are ready to eat in 60 seconds, and retail for $3.29 for a 9-oz. serving.

Benning said drug stores should expect more upside for the category. Retailers, she said, can maximize category sales by creating a destination where meal solutions can be grouped together. “Retailers are dedicating more space to this category. Endcap or secondary displays are key in order for the drug store to capitalize on the category,” she said.

Mintel found that consumers are interested in high-fiber and high-protein products and whole grains, and consider reduced sodium to be a primary concern. “The industry has a ways to go in terms of upgrading its nutritional profile,” said a recent report from the market research firm.

 

 

The article above is part of the DSN Category Review Series. For the complete Grocery & Pantry Buy-In Report, including extensive charts, data and more analysis, click here.

 

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Foco coconut water introduces five new flavors

BY Jason Owen

NEW YORK — Vasinee Food, the leading importer of Foco 100% Pure coconut water in the United States, is now introducing Foco in five tropical fruit flavors: pineapple, mango, pomegranate, pink guava and lychee.

Foco 100% Pure coconut water has received excellent reviews for its sweet, pure, refreshing taste. With the addition of these all-natural, tropical flavor splashes, the brand now offers consumers more ways to "Go loco for Foco," as its new advertising slogan suggests.

"These flavor introductions are a natural extension for Foco," said Nina Vatthana, president of Vasinee. "We believe we have the purest, best-tasting coconut water on the market because we use single-source, young green coconuts grown on specific plantations in Southeast Asia, controlled by us. The result is a coconut water with consistently great taste characteristics and nutrient levels, but is never made from a concentrate. So the five tropical fruit flavors we’ve added simply enhance Foco’s already superior taste."

Like the original, the five flavored Foco coconut waters will be distributed in a 500-mL Tetra Pak carton. They’ll also be low in calories (only 50 calories per serving, with Mango at a low 60 calories), nutrient-rich (five essential electrolytes) and offer excellent, all-natural hydration properties. Coconut water is often called a better hydrator than water and is an excellent sports recovery drink.

Vatthana also points out that each tropical fruit flavor was carefully chosen to complement the delicious taste of Foco 100% Pure coconut water. Pineapple offers a refreshing alternative to a pina colada without the extra calories; mango pleases with an aromatic, bold flavor; pomegranate is light and sweet, with just a hint of tart; pink guava is fragrant, fresh and crisp; and lychee lives up to its billing as the most exciting of exotic fruits.

FOCO 100% coconut water in tropical fruit flavors is being supported with a comprehensive advertising and point-of-sale merchandising campaign that builds on the brand’s memorable themes, "Go loco for FOCO" and "heavenly hydration." The product website, GoLocoForFoco.com, features full product details, a retail store locator and distributor contact information.

Vasinee’s Vatthana believes that the tropical flavor additions to the rapidly growing Foco 100% Pure coconut water line strengthen its chances of taking even more market share. "We’ve been selling coconut-based food products successfully for 25 years, and we’ve put together a great team behind the Foco tropical flavors launch," Vatthana said. "We think consumers are going to be asking for Foco by name wherever they buy this healthy beverage category." She added, "We don’t call it ‘heavenly hydration’ for nothing."


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