Food industry as creative as ever

Related tags Ice cream Milk Chocolate Dairy products

The latest visit to Mintel's Global New Products Database shows
that there is no risk of any slowdown in the number of innovative
and unusual food products being launched across the world, with
cheesy ice cream just one of the new items to hit the shelves in

The food and drink industry is both highly innovative and extremely diverse, as recent product launches highlighted by Mintel's Global New Products Database​ (GNPD) show. Among the products to hit the market this month are aphrodisiac cayenne chocolate and cheesy ice cream.

Marzipan hot beverages​ Whether you have a weakness for double decaffeinated skimmed macchiato, vanilla cream Frappuccino, Choccaccino or a straightforward latte, coffee tastes have moved quickly since the days of the omnipresent cup of 'regular' coffee. The latest flavour addition is marzipan, with the Finnish launch of marzipan cappuccino, an almond flavoured cappuccino drink. Also available are Marzipan Tee, an almond flavoured tea and Marzipan Trinkschokolade, an almond flavoured hot chocolate drink. They are packaged in 220g paperboard boxes containing 10 x 22g individual sachets.

Aphrodisiac cayenne chocolate​ Before meeting with his conquests, the famous lover Casanova is said to have consumed chocolate for its aphrodisiac qualities. A modern Casanova could certainly rely on Plamil Foods' organic cayenne chocolate tablet, also new in Finland. This smooth, dark chocolate tablet (70 per cent cocoa) is backed up with a unique hot cayenne flavour, renowned for its many therapeutic properties and also described as a potent aphrodisiac.

Snickers with sunflower seeds​ The Snickers countline from Mars has again appeared in interesting varieties outside of the UK (a leading market for the brand). Last year, the GNPD reported on the launch of Snickers Almond in Singapore, and now in Russia it has extended further with the introduction of Snickers Mad Mix with sunflower seeds and caramel.

Cheesy ice cream​ The Asian ice cream market yet again surprises western consumers by using savoury ingredients in an otherwise sweet treat. The latest savoury addition is cheese. New in the Philippines from Nestlé is Puto Bumbong comprising a macapuno ('mutant coconut') flavoured ice cream with rice cake and cheese bits! One for the true ice cream aficionados only…

Ice cream branded toffees​ More often than not, confectionery brands extend into ice cream format (this has recently happened in South Africa for the Frutips sugar confectionery brand). It is therefore interesting to now see the reverse, with ice cream brands appearing in confectionery. For example, new in India from Hindustan Lever (the local arm of Unilever) are Wall's Max ice cream branded toffees in strawberry & cream and mango & cream flavours. The original flavour, Wall's Max ChocoMax Toffees, was first launched back in 2001.

Cornetto reformats​ Staying with ice cream, the Cornetto cone ice cream brand from Unilever is reformating into a sandwich version. New for the South African summer, Unilever company Ola has introduced Cornetto San'wich, chocolate ice cream in a soft biscuit sandwich. This move represents a real extension innovation for the Cornetto brand, although Mintel has already spotted some other non-cone formats in Asia, such as Cornetto branded pot ice cream.

A healthier oil?​ Archer Daniels Midland and Japan's Kao Corp. are together launching the United States' first cooking oil designed to help consumers "maintain a healthy weight". The oil, branded as Enova, is a blend of soy and canola oil and contains the same amount of fat and calories as traditional oils, but is metabolised differently in the body. The company says that the product should not be considered a "functional" food, but instead be looked at as simply a switch to something healthier than what consumers are using now. Launching first in Chicago and Atlanta markets, it is scheduled to go nationwide in 2004.

Popcorn smarts​ Also in the US, Smart Balance, a line of cholesterol-lowering, heart-healthy dairy products, such as cheese and margarine/butter spreads, is now branching out into snacks. GFA Brands, the manufacturer, is now offering Smart Balance Popcorn. Available in Movie Palace Extra Butter and Light Butter varieties, the products have no hydrogenated oil or trans-fatty acids and contain a patented oil blend that improves cholesterol.

Low purine beer​ Japan's Kirin Brewery has launched Tanrei Alpha (ABV 5.5 per cent), which has been created in response to consumer demand for a low purine beer. Purine, a type of nucleic acid, is found in many food items and part of alcoholic drinks, especially in foods with many cells such as dried fish, prawns and animal livers. Beer also contains purine from malt. Purine is a real problem for some people as it raises the level of uric acid in the blood, causing gout - a condition two million people in the UK and 590,000 people in Japan are believed to suffer from. The company has cut down the purine content by 90 per cent in comparison to regular beer products by a patented 'selective removal method', which takes away as much purine as possible while maintaining the smooth aftertaste. The product also contains a small amount of beer flavour to balance the taste. Launched on 5 February with a suggested retail price of 145 yen, it is also available in a larger 500ml can, retailing for 195 yen.

Energising yoghurt​ Fortification remains key within the yoghurt market with many lines now available that are enriched with all kinds of "good for you" ingredients. These can vary from vitamins to minerals, and even beneficial plant and flower extracts (e.g. Onken's recent BioWild line). The latest vitamin fortified yoghurt is also positioned as being energising. The new Energise line has been introduced in the UK by retailer Tesco and is made with energy-giving cereals and vitamins. Flavours include Banana and Peach & Apricot.

For more information about the Global New Products Database, contact Anne Bourgeois at Mintel International, 18-19 Long Lane, London, EC1A 9PL, United Kingdom. Telephone: +44 20 76064533; fax: +44 20 76003327; e-mail: eqvtrfh@zvagry.pbz​ or naaro@zvagry.pbz

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