Be it green tea yoghurt, red bean ice cream sauce, alcoholic milk or frozen soup, new product development in the food industry goes from strength to strength. Here Mintel introduces some of the more innovative product launches it tracked in the last month.

The addition of new flavours (limited edition and otherwise) and formats to well established brands has done much to innovate the chocolate confectionery market. These developments help maintain interest in a brand, and sometimes even add an element of fun. Past successes have included chunky formats (notably KitKat Chunky), crunchier formats (for example, Snickers Cruncher), and simply the addition of different flavours (for instance, KitKat Mint, Orange Crunchie).

The most recent interesting extensions have been picked up in Asia. In Japan, the KitKat brand from Nestlé has now appeared in a banana variety. In Singapore meanwhile, Mars’ Snickers brand is now available in an almond variety.

Ice cream

Streets Ice Cream, the Australian subsidiary of Unilever, has come up with a new twist on the best-selling Magnum stick ice cream brand. Launched there, just in time for the coming summer season is Magnum Let’s Mango!, a product that appears to offer the indulgence of the original Magnum line with the refreshment qualities of the company’s Solero fruit sorbet product. Let’s Mango! comprises mango-flavoured ice cream made from real fruit (1% mango), covered in white chocolate.

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Another interesting flavour addition for ice cream is pear – a flavour not commonly found in the market. New in the Swedish impulse ice cream sector from GB Glace (Unilever) are Päron Splitt, pear-flavoured ice lollies with a pear-flavoured ice cream centre. Also of interest within the ice cream market is the Chinese launch of Colour Mix Party from YiLi Food. It is a pot ice cream, which offers consumers a choice of three separate sauce accompaniments within the one pot: strawberry, red bean and chocolate. The four-compartment pot (a larger one holding the ice cream, and three smaller ones for the sauces) is packaged within a carton.

Beauty yoghurt

In Brazil, Nestlé has introduced Molico Beauty, a fat-free yoghurt containing aloe vera, an ingredient commonly associated with health and beauty issues. The product is also claimed to be a good source of vitamins A, D and E and contains a small amount of oat bran for fibre. It is available in raspberry and orange varieties, in sleeved packs of four 130g plastic pots. The packaging features graphics that would look more at home on a skincare product, as a way of emphasising the product’s appeal to young, beauty-conscious and health-conscious women.

Green tea, a healthy ingredient that has been popular for a number of years, is making an appearance in the European yoghurt market. New in Italy from Parmalat is Kyr Pineapple & Green Tea yoghurt. It is further positioned as healthy in that it contains bifidobacterium Bb12, L acidophilus, fibre and vitamins. It is available in sleeved glass jars with foil seals.

Alcoholic milk

An extra kick is being added to the milk market in Israel. Tara Dairies has introduced Xtra Mooood, a 2% ABV flavoured milk range in flavours such as Chocolate Orange, Chocolate Coconut and Vanilla Pina Colada.

Soup developments

Findus is attempting to shake up the small and undeveloped frozen soup segment in the UK. It has introduced under its Feeling Great! sub-brand, the Soup ‘a’ Meal range said to be packed with vegetables and perfect for cold Autumn lunchtimes or as a light evening meal. For added convenience, the soups can be microwaved in the bowl in which they are packaged.

The “Wellness” buzzword that tends to indicate goodness and health continues to be popular and has appeared in the soup category in Switzerland. Nestlé has launched a Wellness instant soup range there under the Maggi brand that includes a creamy tomato and basil variety.

McCain toasted sandwich

McCain, best known in the UK for its potato products, has become a real innovator in recent years, continuously extending into new markets. We have seen microwaveable chicken wings, nuggets, pizzas and even garlic bread. Now, it has introduced in the UK what is claimed to be the country’s first microwaveable toasted sandwich. It has a cheese and ham filling and offers consumers a quick way of preparing a toastie without the mess and inconvenience normally associated with this snack.

A drink with a difference

In Finland, Ilmajoen Osuusmeijeri has adopted a more health-oriented approach for its new product. New under the Avidus brand is Hedelmäcockail, a chilled fruit cocktail drink based on whey, with 2% alcohol by volume. In this case, the company claims that the product’s whey content is almost 90%, but by fermenting whey lactose to alcohol, the typical whey flavour has been removed.

The new cocktail is low in lactose (0.2g per 100g), has 0% fat, and contains antioxidant vitamins A, C & E plus flavonoids. The alcohol content is mentioned in the nutritional statement, but the front of pack is flashed more prominently with the antioxidant message and 0% fat. Apart from whey, added ingredients include fruit sugar and fruit concentrate (orange, pineapple, pear, apricot and passion fruit).

Health drinks for women

There has been a wide range of beverage options that have been introduced as of late, but none similar to this one from Happy Planet Foods. Its Happy Planet Organics Herbal Fruit Drink is created by women, for women and is claimed to infuse a light tangy juice with eight nurturing herbs and two B vitamins. It is on the shelves of health food stores across Canada.

Upside down 7 Up

Cadbury-Schweppes is following up the success of the Make 7 Up Yours ad campaign in the US with a whole new drink. dnL, which is 7 Up spelled backwards and upside-down, is a reportedly green, caffeinated, fruit-flavoured soda. It will be available in 20-ounce plastic bottles in select markets beginning in November 2002 and will be available nationally in January 2003. The product, targeted at teens and young adults, will be marketed through sampling and grass roots advertising.

Expert Analysis

Future Innovations in Food

This report looks at the changing trends in innovation and the effect these will have on the product launch landscape, small and large manufacturers and the food market
overall. It analyzes the product life-cycle, new product launches and the opinions of executives in all the leading global food manufacturers to give an accurate picture of new product development (NPD) now and in five years.


Dressing for popcorn

Those who already enjoy the sweet, salty mix of kettle corn might delight in this new product launch in the US. Kettle Corn Popcorn Glaze from Back to Basics Products, available in Blue Raspberry, Sweet Butter, Strawberry, Grape, Red Hot Cinnamon, and Caramel, is supposed to dress popcorn up in flavour. We think this item can be enjoyed by grown-ups looking for a twist on an old snack, and by kids, who love anything sweet.

By Mintel