Innovation still going strong

Related tags Green tea Global new products Caffeine Coffee

The latest round-up from Mintel's GNPD reveals that innovation in
the food and drink industry is still going strong. Evidence that
innovation remains a number one priority for food manufacturers is
all apparent in the latest review from Mintel's Global New Products
Database (GNPD).

Evidence that innovation remains a number one priority for food manufacturers is all apparent in the latest review from Mintel's Global New Products Database (GNPD).

Breakfast cereal companies are not only diversifying into "on-the-go" snacking formats but they are also continuing to launch new shapes and formats within breakfast cereals to maintain interest and encourage home consumption.

The latest new format is an extension of the Kellogg's Frosties brand (sugar frosted corn flakes). The brand has already appeared in a number of new flavours (chocolate, cinnamon, honey and toffee) with some new shapes (chocolate clusters in Germany), but it has now changed format again with the French and Belgian introduction of pillow shaped cereals (made with oats, rice and wheat) filled with chocolate and topped with a 'tiger stripe' design. A reference to 'Tony the Tiger', the brand's cartoon character emblem.

From breakfast to beer. According to Mintel, a continuing development in the beer market is the emergence of 'spirit beers' - essentially beers blended with a touch of spirit such as whisky, vodka or even tequila. A trendmainly evident in Europe and predominantly developed by niche companies. This trend has apparently moved to Australia where it has been taken up by mainstream company Carlton & United Breweries.

The product in question is called Cold Shot and is a 6 per cent ABV beer and vodka blended drink. The product - described as being made with the refreshing taste of Carlton Cold and the smooth finish of imported, triple-distilled vodka - was developed following research that suggested consumers no longer have one drink of choice, tending to switch from beer, wine and spirits, and pre-mixed spirits.

On to the dynamic market of energy drinks. Although no longer available on the market, Mintel highlighted an Australian development of a controversial new energy drink labelled as "energy with opium". Now banned, the new product - a citrus flavoured energy drink with crushed poppy seeds - had been introduced by Naughty Boy. Australian authorities are currently undertaking investigations to determine if it contains anyillegal drugs. Beverage formulation with a difference !

Turning to the doyenne of the energy drink market, Red Bull, it would appear that the brand has given an interesting twist in the Philippines. The origins of Red Bull lie in Asia where it was introduced in Thailand in the late 1970s. It is now available throughout most of Asia where it is made by TC Pharmaceuticals. New to the Philippines is Red Bull branded Baroko, a canned ready-to-drink coffee drink made with a concentrated blend and added milk. The coffee element maintains the brand's energy giving positioning. The product is expected to fair well in Asia, where ready-to-drink milky cold coffee is an established market.

Demand for green tea in the UK seems to have calmed down. Perhaps it is time for another variety to take centre stage. White tea, a rare tea made only from the first spring shoots and with the highest antioxidant content of any tea, could be its super premium replacement.

New white tea varieties have recently been introduced by speciality tea companies such as Dragonfly Teas and Clipper Tea. In addition, the variety has also made appearances in toiletry products which could help increase consumer awareness of the little-known variety.

And what other perfect accompaniment to a cup of tea than a tea-tasting sweet. In Asia where antioxidant green tea is used to flavour and enhance the taste of many a food product (from sweet biscuits to ice cream and prepared meals) Mintel reports on new marshmallows with a jelly-like green tea filling. They have been introduced in the Philippines by Sam's Garden Foodstuffs and highlight the versatility of green tea as a foodstuff ingredient.

According to GNPD popular cooking herbs such as rosemary, thyme and oregano are making an unusual appearance in the chewing gum market. New in Italy from Boiron are Homeodent Clorofilla sugar-free chewing gum pellets formulated with this range of herbs.

Fancy a Chupa Chups ? Holders for Chupa Chups lollipops are becoming more inventive and practical. Past novelty but practical examples have included Kit Pop inspired by the Swiss army knife (with fold-out ruler, magnifying glass et al). The latest is Light Pop in Italy which is a working torch together with swivel head, on-off and flashing switches.

All things 'sport'-themed remain popular in the realm of food and drink, giving a sense of energy and vitality. And what of man's best friend ? According to Mintel, this has now been expanded into pet food. For example, new in the Netherlands from Vitakraft are Beef-Stick Sport for dogs, comprising beef stick snacks with lamb,vitamins and L-carnitine - said to give dogs added bounce !

Moving on to nutraceuticals,WNutraceutics is launching ZoCal, an appetite-suppressing lozenge as a form of weight control. The product contains Benzactin AC (benzocaine)- an ingredient usually used to treat mouth sores and tooth pain - to dull taste perception.

At the other end of the scale, children in Canada can now experience sweet and savoury in one spoonful of ice-cream with the release of Orange and Blue Raspberry Fruit Shivers. According to the manufacturer Nestlé, the ice pops, made with real fruit juice, have both a sweet and sour taste.

Food manufacturers keen to jazz up the dinner table for children continue to launch playful foodstuffs. Mott's Magic Mix-Ins Apple Sauce from Mott's North America, now come with coloured crystals-Green Apple, Mystery Fruit, and Watermelon-to change the colour of the individual apple sauce pots. The Sunday pork roast will never be the same again.

Further information about GNPD​ can be obtained from Mintel​.

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