This week’s selection of new products that caught the eye include the first vegan baby-food brand from Nestlé, and plans for a vegan KitKat, and salad dressings from Litehouse. 

Lotus Bakeries-owned Bear snacks moves into ice lollies

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The Bear fruit snacks brand, now owned by Belgium-based Lotus Bakeries, has entered the frozen category with the launch of ice lollies in the UK.

Bear Lollies, made with natural fruit puree and pure apple juice with no added sugar, will launch in UK retailer Waitrose on 15 March in Mango or Strawberry, with other major retailers to follow. 

Bear products are still manufactured by Urban Fresh Foods, a business Lotus acquired in 2015 and which is housed under the latter’s Nutrition Foods division. 

Jo Agnew, the marketing director at Urban Fresh Foods, said: “It’s our ambition as a brand to clean up kids snacking across a number of categories and frozen is the next step for us. Although there have been moves in the right direction for the category of ice lollies, there is still a way to go in terms of offering shoppers more nutritional choices. 

“The launch of Bear Lollies taps into the demand of parents for treats that are made with natural ingredients and have no added sugar, whilst still delivering taste and fun.”

The lollies come in a pack of five carrying a RRP of GBP2.50 (US$3.50).

Litehouse launches yogurt-based dressings Purely Balanced

Litehouse, the salad dressings and herbs business in the US, has rolled out a new brand of Greek yogurt-based dressings – Purely Balanced.

The Litehouse Purely Balanced salad dressings are gluten-free and have no added sugar or fructose corn syrup. They are free-from preservatives, sweeteners and artificial colours or flavourings, with 45 calories per serving.

Five varieties will be available in Kroger and national grocers from 14 March: Garden Ranch, Tzatziki Ranch, Garlic Caesar, Cilantro Lime and Basil Lemon carrying a suggested retail price of US$3.49 for a nine-ounce bottle.

Serenity Kids rolls out grain-free puffs

Serenity Kids, a manufacturer of baby foods in the US, has introduced what it claims is an industry first in rice- and grain-free snack puffs.

The Grain Free Puffs are made from “nutrient-rich” cassava root, organic vegetables, grass-fed beef bone broth and olive oil, with zero sugar.

Three flavours are available in Whole Foods Market stores across the US and online at Serenity Kids: Carrot & Beet with Olive Oil; Broccoli & Spinach with Bone Broth & Olive Oil; and Tomato & Mushroom with Bone Broth & Olive Oil.

All are gluten-free, non-GMO and the vegetable components are USDA Organic Certified.

Serenity Kids was founded by husband and wife team Serenity and Joe Carr. The company is based in Texas and also makes baby squashes, purees and meals.

The Grain Free Puffs retail between US$4.99 and $5.49.

Mrs. Carr, who is the company CEO, said: “This unique product line is an essential alternative to rice puff snacks currently in the market. This line of Grain Free Puffs is a natural extension of our pouches. We wanted to keep providing nutrient-dense, healthy options for babies as they grow up. They can snack on these puffs anytime throughout the day without parents worrying about the ingredients.”

Nestle reveals plans for vegan KitKat

Global food giant Nestlé has revealed it will be launching a vegan version of its KitKat confectionery bar in 2021.

The new product – called KitKat V – will be launched later in the year in several as yet unnamed countries. Initially it will only be available through KitKat Chocolatory, a direct-to-consumer platform, and “selected retailers” to test the opportunity for a wider roll-out.

KitKat V was developed at Nestlé’s UK confectionery research and development centre in York in northern England, the original home of KitKat.

Alexander von Maillot, head of confectionery at Nestlé, said: “One of the most common requests we see on social media is for a vegan KitKat, so we’re delighted to be able to make that wish come true. I can’t wait for people to be able to try this amazingly tasty new KitKat. This is a product for everyone who wants a little more plant-based in their life.”

The company has already launched plant-based alternatives to dairy made from rice, oat, soy, coconut, pea and almonds across categories. 

KitKat V is certified vegan, and made from 100% sustainable cocoa.

And also from Nestlé…

Nestlé chooses Belgium for first vegan baby-food range

Nestlé has rolled out its first vegan baby-food range covering meals, snacks and desserts, with Belgium chosen for the initial launch.

NaturNes Bio is 100% organic and plant-based, with no added sugar, colours or preservatives.

The meals combine vegetables, cereals and legumes and come in three varieties: Broccoli, Split Peas & Quinoa; Leeks, Red Lentils & Quinoa; and Tomatoes, Zucchini, Red Lentils & Bulgur. 

The desserts come snacks are made with coconut milk and fruit puree and are available in Mango & Kiwi and Apple & Pineapple. 

Colruyt and Delhaize will stock the full range, while the snacks/desserts will be carried by Carrefour.

Upfield takes Violife plant-based cheese brand to France

Upfield, the plant-based spreads and cheese business, is taking its Violife brand to France.

The Netherlands-based company, which was formed in 2017 by private-equity firm KKR when it acquired Unilever’s spreads business, will launch the four-strong range in French retailers in April following the first roll out in Belgium in February.

In turn, Upfield acquired the Violife brand when it bought Greece-based Arivia in 2019.

The line-up consists of Violife Emmental Mozzarella in a grated format priced at EUR2.69 (US$3.26) for a 200-gram pack.

Emmental Cheddar in original and smoked at EUR2.69 and EUR2.99, respectively, for 200 grams.

Emmental Greek Cheddar (200g) for EUR2.69.

And Violife Creamy Spread in either Original or Garlic & Herbs (200g) at EUR2.39.

All are 100% vegan, non-GMO and free-from soy, gluten and nuts.

Mars adds white chocolate variant to Snickers Hi Protein bars

US confectionery giant Mars has added a white chocolate version to its Snickers Hi Protein snack bar range targeted at the sports nutrition sector, along with a whey protein powder.

The Snickers Hi Protein White Chocolate bar contains 20 grams of protein and provides 233 calories, while the Snickers Hi Protein White Chocolate Caramel and Peanut flavour whey protein powder offers 21 grams of protein and 144 calories per serving.

Michelle Frost, general manager at Mars chocolate drinks and treats, said: “The white chocolate variety of Snickers has proved hugely popular in our confectionery business, and continues to be named on social media as one of the key flavours that consumers would like to see in a protein product. We are seeing white chocolate variants being introduced into a number of grocery and impulse markets.”