Here are some of the new food product introductions registered by Mintel's Global New Products Database this past month around the world.

Interesting potato snack flavours
Consumers are becoming more explorative when it comes to exotic flavours - hence the popularity of ethnic cuisine, and the use of more interesting flavours in food products. For example, we have seen lemon-flavoured chips, pumpkin-flavoured ketchup, vanilla-flavoured cola and even ice cream-flavoured corn snacks. The trend continues with the introduction of wasabi-flavoured ridged potato chips. These have been introduced in the Philippines by Liwayway Marketing Corporation.

Ketchup continues to be a popular flavour for savoury snacks in Canada. Trophy Foods has released its Kool Ketchup Pork Puffs under the Porky's brand, and Christie Crispers Ketchup Flavoured Baked Snacks were announced by Christie Brown. They both offer the signature ketchup flavour and are available on Canadian supermarket shelves.

Chocolate news
The use of biscuits continues in the chocolate confectionery market with Cadbury adding a premium adult twist to the trend. In New Zealand, the company has introduced a new biscuit variety to its Dream white chocolate brand. The new variety (available in 240g tablet and 45g bar formats) contains Italian almond biscotti biscuits, which are traditionally consumed on their own, in desserts or dipped into sweet wine such as marsala. On the other hand, in Germany, Nestlé is targeting children with the use of an interesting flavour for its Choco Crossies brand of chocolate snacks. The new limited edition variety comprises bat-shaped crispy chocolates in a fun bloodorange and pepper flavour.

Lycopene candies
Lycopene, a carotenoid found in tomato products, is renowned for its antioxidant properties and is claimed to protect against the risk of some diseases including cancer and heart disease. Now available in Japan are Morinaga's Small Tomato Candies, which contain 15mg of lycopene derived from Kagome's Lilico branded tomatoes, which are known to contain three times more lycopene than regular tomatoes.

Sweet potato dessert
Potato specialist McCain is attempting to diversify into the dessert segment in Europe while still using its core potato branding. The company has extended its Rosti Snaxs range of savoury-filled potato rosti with the addition of a sweet filled variety. The new variety contains a filling made with a blend of apple, bourbon, vanilla and quark. It is said to be ideal served with a sweet sauce topping. Although McCain may not be synonymous with desserts to European consumers, the brand does market sweet products in other parts of the world, notably in Canada where we have reported on products such as McCain Deep'n delicious frozen cakes.

Spicy Muller milk drink
A spicy kick has been given to a number products lately, particularly chocolate-based lines. Now, this spicy trend continues, this time within the milk category with the German introduction of Mullermilch Lava from leading dairy company, Muller. The limited edition milk drink is made with low fat milk in chocolate, strawberry and chilli flavours.

Vegetable sauce for yoghurt!
In Japan, Kagome is trying a more novel approach to get more vegetables into the diet. The company has introduced a dessert topping sauce in two varieties: one made with carrot and apple; the other with pumpkin and mango. The base recipes also use tomato, red bell pepper and lemon. Both sauces are intended for use on yoghurt, fromage frais, ice cream or pancakes. They are packaged in 150g plastic bottles, each containing 90g of vegetables.

Little plates for toddlers
Nutricia in the Netherlands has introduced a new line of shelf-stable meals for toddlers, in single-serve bowls for microwave preparation. Marketed under the Olvarit Bordjes Menu name, they are packaged in 230g bowls with a flexible cover. The bowl is heated in the microwave, then presented to the child in a plastic holder, with feet to ensure stability. The holder also doubles as a protective cover with its hinged lid with a tamper-evident strip. Recipes are balanced, geared to active toddlers and include varieties such as tagliatelle with tomato & salmon, broccoli with potatoes & pork, apple with chicken & potatoes, and red cabbage with apple & turkey.

Convenient bowl meals for adults
Prepared meals packed in single-serve bowls have proven to be a major area of NPD focus in recent months. The format offers a high degree of convenience -- single-portion, microwaveability -- plus an element of portability to meet the all-important trend towards food on-the-go. Most developments to date have been seen in North America and the more developed markets of western Europe, but an interesting new line has recently also been launched in Thailand. Surapon Foods is using the Easy Meal brand name for a range of seven bowl-packed frozen meals, in varieties including Jasmine Rice with Fried Fish, and Seafood with Tom Yum Fried Rice. All are packaged in microwaveable 300g plastic tubs with a resealable lid, and a plastic spoon cleverly inserted into the lid.

Hot breakfast smoothies
Smoothies have been the subject of much product development in the beverage market, but with no clear definition of what the word means, we have seen it used across a number of categories. Now Quaker has taken its Oatso Simple brand of hot oat cereal and added a twist with the latest extension to the range in the UK -- Oatso Simple Smoothies. These are instant hot oats for children, in smoothie-style flavour varieties: Super Strawberry, Very Vanilla, and Terrific Toffee. While the flavours will appeal to children, parents will be reassured by the product's high fibre content and the fact that it is also fortified with vitamins and iron. A variety pack consists of seven single-serve sachets, presumably one for each day of the week. With the addition of 150ml of milk they can be prepared in a bowl in the microwave in less than three minutes.

Frozen finger foods
In Austria, Unilever Bestfoods is using the Knorr label for the introduction of a new range of frozen finger foods. Marketed under the Apetitos brand, the range is designed to offer tasty, convenient, hot-eating snack foods that can be easily eaten with the fingers. The range includes mini crepes with ham and mozzarella or tomato and mozzarella filling; flaky pastries filled with spinach and sheep's milk cheese or chilli and chicken; and rectangular pastries with a tuna and creme fraiche or chicken and creme fraiche topping. All are designed mainly for preparation in a conventional oven, generally in around 15 minutes from frozen.

Archers Eden sparkling wine
UDV is extending its Archers Schnapps brand into the UK wine market with the introduction of a new sparkling line. Archers Eden combines fruit schnapps and wine and comes in Berry Rose and Citrus White variants. The 5% ABV drink represents the second brand extension for the Archers branded range, after the introduction of the Archers Aqua flavoured alcoholic drink back in 2001.

Anti-aging juice
The Yagua's product portfolio of functional and energy drinks has seen the addition of a new variant with cosmeceutical properties. The company's Beauty Juicer contains a blend of grapefruit, ginger and white cocoa and is enriched with collagen and aloe vera. This all-natural formulation is claimed to make the body younger from within, contributing to the revitalisation of skin, hair and nails. It also helps support the growth of new body cells and is said to be a food for the mind and mood.

Bakery novelties
More on-shelf presence is being given to the traditional croissant through a change in shape. The half-moon shaped pastry is now available in the shape of a slice of toast. New in South Africa is Woolworth's 4 Croissant Toast, butter croissant dough in a square shape that can be conveniently heated up in a toaster and served with a topping of choice.

Another noteworthy product launch in the bakery market relates to interesting flavours. New in Norway from Bakers (United Biscuits) is Ole Brumm-Brod, a loaf of fresh bread with honey and carrot, which is merchandised with Disney's Winnie the Pooh cartoon characters and aimed at children.

Parmalat milk supplement
As supplemental needs can vary from consumer to consumer, in Canada, Parmalat Food has unveiled a supplement in a unique format. Its Nutraplus Nutritional Supplement is made with 2% skimmed milk and is infused with 24 vitamins and minerals. The packaging states that this product is delicious, especially when ice cold.

New low-carb products
In the US, the low-carb trend continues to expand to other market categories, with additions focusing on ice cream. Both Good Humor-Breyers and CoolBrands International have launched multiple lines of low-carb frozen treats. The Good Humor-Breyers line comes under the brand of CarbSmart and includes both ice cream and frozen novelties, while the CoolBrands items are marketed under the Atkins brand label. The CarbSmart line also utilises the recognition of the Klondike frozen novelty brand and uses it to market a low-carb ice cream bar, which, while only having 3-5g of carbs, is suspiciously high in fat (15g) and saturated fats (11g). Another low-carb addition comes from Heinz, which is launching Heinz One Carb Ketchup, with only 1g of carbohydrates per serving. Regular Heinz ketchup contains 4g of carbs per serving.

Leading Brands announces launch of new brand, Soy2O
Leading Brands, North America's only fully integrated premium beverage company, has just announced the launch of its new beverage brand: Soy2O. It is a unique blend of fruit flavoured water and natural soy isoflavones, which are the active ingredient in soy that are linked to many health benefits including lowering cholesterol, reducing the risk of heart disease, and preventing bone loss. Soy2O claims to be crisp and clear in appearance with absolutely no hint that the product contains a healthy 20mg of soy in every 12 oz. bottle. The new drink will launch in four flavours: Blueberry Grape, Peach Mango, Strawberry Guava and Lemon Green Tea.

Altoids chewing gum
The Altoids mint brand from Callard & Bowser-Suchard (Altria) is making a logical brand extension. Soon to debut in the US is an Altoids Chewing Gum available in peppermint and cinnamon varieties. Also, the Chiclets chewing gum brand from Adams (Cadbury Schweppes) is making a reappearance in the US market with the launch of two new sugar-free flavours: Citrus Samba and Strawberry Freeze.

Fun foods for grown-ups
In the US, Altria Group looks to be veering toward adult flavourings of late, instead of those designed to please kids. Soon to launch are Oscar Mayer Snacks to Go, which are described on product literature as being designed for adults. The product consists of a meat and dipping sauce combination or a meat/cheese/cracker combination similar to Lunchables.