Cola liqueur
Most liqueurs tend to be flavored with fruit and sometimes herbal blends. Past novelties have included fig liqueurs and a creamy liqueur with birch leaves and other herbs.  Now cola is featured in a new liqueur in Spain. It has been launched by Locores Almendralejo and is called Liacola.

Drinks packaging
There have been a number of recent packaging novelties for beverages. Coca-Cola soft drink cans available in "Fridge Mate" paperboard boxes in Australia, to be put in the fridge, which are said to make the cans easily roll out of the box.  Fanta Orange soft drink cans (again from Coca-Cola), this time in South Africa, which have a UV glow.  Convenient, Dextro Energy bottled drinks in the Netherlands from Unilever Bestfoods, that give the option of a regular screw lid or a sports lid (which is held on the side of the bottle).

Beer flavors
Lemon and beer are complementary flavors, and it is interesting to see big players launching such blends.  Past examples are Grolsch with its 2.5 low alcohol lemon beer in the Netherlands; and Lowenbrau with a Radler branded line in Germany with a touch of lemon.  Now, again in the Netherlands is a Heineken low alcohol line called Lingen's Lemon. Another more interesting flavor has also been added to beer in the Netherlands.  That is, pink grapefruit to the Grolsch brand.

Coca-Cola juices & water
Coca-Cola, renowned for its carbonated brand, is making more inroads in the water market.  It has already developed its BonAqua, Crystal and Kinley brands.  Now, new in Belgium is Aquana Sportwater that is more than just water.  It has a lemon flavor and added vitamins E, B3, B5, B8 and minerals.  The company is also involved in the juices market with brands such as Minute Maid and Hi-C.  Last year, the company also launched a novel orange juice and skim milk blend in Spain called Sol Fil, packaged in cartons and cans.  The Son Fil brand is now also being used in Colombia, although with a slightly different product.  In Colombia it is simply an orange drink with natural juice, and is packaged in plastic bottles.

Confectionery trends
Interesting flavor, ingredient, character merchandising and cross-branding trends dominate the confectionery market this month.  In Australia, the Dairy Milk tablet brand from Cadbury gets another limited edition flavor; with coconut flakes.  Harry Potter merchandising has begun outside of the US, in preparation for the film's UK debut in November 2001.  Launches announced so far relate to confectionery with chocolate and/or sugar candies from Mars and retailer Marks & Spencer.  In the US we are gearing up for the 2002 Winter Olympics with the launch of confections, many featuring the three mascots of the games, Powder the Hare, Coal the Bear, and Copper the Coyote, as well as the traditional ring logo of the games. They have been introduced by Kencraft.  In Germany there are three novelties.  Alfred Ritter appears to be cooperating with rival Nestle.  It has added a limited edition Smarties (Nestle brand) chocolate bar to its Ritter Sport.  Turbo Gum from K-Fee is a new energizing gum with coffee and guarana, with three pieces said to be the equivalent of half an espresso cup.  And Wrigley has chosen Germany for the launch of a new flavor addition, Blackcurrant, to its Airwaves vapor release chewing gum.  The chosen flavor, unsurprisingly, is also popular in the cold relief market. Also of interest are new Valda sugar-free and fiber rich sweets in Brazil from Laboratorios Canoone, said to regulate the digestive system.

Milk with carrots!
Many wonderful flavor combinations have been spotted in Asia, such as sweet potato & green tea biscuits, and orange & basil seed drink mixes.  Another one joins the growing list.  New in Hong Kong from Trappist Milk Dairy is a carrot flavored ready-made milk to be served hot or cold.

Good-for-you cheese
Functional cheeses are slowly catching up with the rest of the dairy category.  Added ingredients sometimes help divert attention from its high fat content.  New in Finland, from Valio is a light (17% fat) Edam cheese with lactobacillus and intestinal benefits.

Dream milkshake
More well known confectionery brands continue to enter the milkshake market.  We are all familiar with Galaxy, Milkyway and Mars chocolate milks.  Now in Australia, the Cadbury Dream white chocolate brand is also being launched as a milkshake by Brownes Dairy.

Ice Cream or fromage frais?
Interactive product launches are becoming more popular, especially for children.  In Germany, Danone has introduced a fromage frais in its Frucht Zwerge range, which can be frozen in its pot, to create an ice cream.  It comes with domino-shaped handles to be inserted into the fromage frais. Furthermore, once finished with, the domino handles can be used to play the game.  Another fromage frais ice cream launch has come from Yoplait Dairy Crest in the UK using the Petits Filous brand.

Ice cream with confectionery links
Confectionery appears to be having more links with the ice cream market. We are already familiar with Smarties and M&Ms topped ice creams.  Now sugar confectionery is getting more involved.  In the Netherlands, Friso has launched under the Friso brand, ice cream in a novel, dual compartment individual pot.  The bottom pot encloses a bag of Fruittella crispy jelly sweets for topping the ice cream.  In the UK, Trebor Bassett has launched Jelly Babies (confectionery brand) ice lollies with a jelly center, for kids.  Also in the UK, Monkhill Confectionery is introducing in July, under the JoJo's brand, miniature sweets (eg jelly beans, fizzy fruit gums), designed to be eaten with ice cream.  They come in individual sachets for sprinkling.  In Germany, we report on Dr Oetker children's stick ice creams with a bubblegum flavored white coating.

Other novel ice cream launches include:
"Pearl" and milk tea take-home ice cream in a tub from Meiji in China Children's ice lollies enriched with calcium, from Sainbury's in the UK Orange & cranberry juice ice lollies, again in the UK from retailer Tesco.

Top your own pizza with sauce
A more exotic touch is being given to pizzas in France through the use of a sauce accompaniment.  New there from Sodebo is Pizzeriades du Monde, a range of ready topped pizzas which come with separate sauce cachets for extra flavoring.  They are available in Indian, Mexican and Moroccan varieties.  Also within ethnic meals, we report on novel "sandwiches" made with naan bread, and filled with Indian dishes such as Balti, Korma, and Tikka Masala.  It has been launched unsurprisingly by Patak's, one of the UK's leading Indian food specialists.

Fishy popcorn inspiration
Fish has received inspiration from the popcorn market.  New in Australia from Simplot under the Irvin & Johnson brand is Popcorn Fish.  It comprises nuggets of battered fish.  The nuggets not only resemble popcorn, but are also packaged in popcorn-style paperboard containers, presumably to encourage consumption as a snack.

Yowie ventures into spreads
Yowie, the Cadbury's milk chocolate characters are venturing into the sweet spreads market.  New in Australia from Cottee's Foods is a Yowie apple & blackcurrant spread made from real fruit and presumable targeted at children.

Bakery formats & flavors
Bakery highlights focus on novel formats and flavors.  Within the Baking Ingredients & Mixes sub-category, we report on the Australian launch of miniature M&Ms from Mars, specifically positioned as a baking ingredient. In Breads, the health trend continues.  Sainsbury's has launched a new allergy-friendly range, Well Being, that includes wheat-free breads.  Also in Breads in the UK is a new white but wholemeal sliced loaf from Allied Bakeries under the Kingsmill brand.  It is a white bread but also made with one-third wholemeal flour.

In the Biscuit market we have two novelties.  In New Zealand, Fantastic Snacks has added sweet and fruity flavors to its traditionally savory rice crackers range.  These include pineapple and banana.  There appears to be a continuing shift between sweet and savory rice crackers.  The Rispinos brand from Uncle Ben's was originally launched in sweet flavors such as toffee, and has now moved to savory varieties including cheese.  In the UK, McVitie's (United Biscuits) is attempting to extend into the growing snacking market.  It has introduced mini format Hob Nobs biscuits in 40g foil bags to encourage impulse purchases.

Pie shapes for kids
Foods in fun shapes are a hit with children.  We have seen such developments for fish, meat nuggets, confectionery etc.  Now the idea has been taken on board in the pie market.  In Australia, Patties Bakery has introduced Farmyard Friends, microwaveable, beef patties shaped as cows, pigs and other farm animals.

Tapas add innovation to UK meals
Tapas could be the next big thing in the UK meals and related markets. Ideal for sharing, the tapas trend is just starting off over here with two retailer introductions and a branded range.  We reported on the Marks & Spencer line, called Share the Taste in May 2001.  Retailer Sainsbury's now joins in with a meat tapas selection containing sliced Serrano ham, chorizo and pork.  The branded range has been launched by S&A Foods.  It is the first time the company has introduced its own branded range, called Perween after the company's founder, Perween Warsi, and it includes products such as meatballs in tomato sauce and sweet peppers & olives.

Cereal bar competition heat ups
The cereal bar market is dominated by breakfast company Kellogg.  It has recently added a line using its original Con Flakes brand.  The product in question has been launched in Belgium and has a chocolate flavor. Competition in the UK market is getting more intense, with an entrance from Cadbury.  It is called Brunch Bar and is said to be Cadbury's first line which is not mainly chocolate.  It is made with oats, honey, bran flakes and either hazelnuts or raisins.

Oh Boy!
Triangle Multi-Media, the Palm Springs-based purveyor of a variety of products catering to the gay community introduces in the US, Pride Cola, a super-caffeinated cola flavored with spices, fruits, and vitamins that will be positioned as an "erotic cola".  It will be available in markets in gay communities beginning in August.

Carbonated coffee
Iced coffees were all the rage a few years ago, but now there is a new cold coffee concept in the US, Coffee Soda.  New from Nordic Drinks is Ganjachino Caffeinated Coffee Soda, a vitamin-fortified soda that has the flavor of "a gourmet cappuccino".  It is available in convenience stores.

A less mess Manwich?
Fernando Foods introduces a sandwich in two hand-friendly forms.  Packed in plastic sleeves, Original and Supreme, Hunt's Manwich Sloppy Joe Sandwiches are wrapped in flatbread and can be heated in the microwave or oven.  They retail frozen in supermarkets.

Branded oxygen water
Capitalizing on the Williams sisters tennis success, Venus and Serena, along with their father Richard, are introducing SerVen Rich Oxygen Enriched Water in the US.  Bottled by AquaClara, it contains 800% more oxygen than other bottled waters.

Pickle juice drink!
Some people like to use the pickle juice left over when all the pickles are gone to put in tuna salad or to use otherwise in cooking or baking.  But to drink?  That is what the folks at Goldin Pickle think.  The company is selling in the US bottled dill pickle juice, billed as "a sports drink with a bite".  It is also fortified with vitamins C and E.  The company says that dieters use it, as the sodium content is quite high and acts like a diuretic.

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