BOCA RATON, FLA. — What’s in store from leading brands this year? Convenience with a side of health.
Executives from top food companies offered a sneak peek of forthcoming launches during the Consumer Analyst Group of New York conference, held Feb. 17-20 in Boca Raton. Among the new products are a number of ready-to-eat and ready-to-drink options formulated with ingredients and attributes that align with new consumer perceptions of health and wellness. In bars, beverages, breakfast cereals and beyond, common product claims include gluten-free, high-protein and no preservatives or artificial flavors.
Campbell Soup Co., Camden, N.J., this spring is launching 1915, a range of super-premium cold-pressed juice beverages in varieties that include apple, romaine cucumber, spinach, kale and lemon; carrot, apple, lemon, ginger and coriander; beet, carrot, orange and lemon; coconut water, pineapple, mango, avocado and lemon; and strawberry, blueberry, coconut water, apple, spinach and blackberry.
Product development at PepsiCo also taps into consumer demand for healthier drinks. Products set to launch from the Purchase, N.Y.-based company feature nutrition claims, reduced sugar or ingredients perceived as natural. New launches include Naked Juice smoothies made with almond milk in berry and peach flavors, and a new variety of Starbucks Doubleshot canned coffee beverage with 20 grams of protein, and Propel Electrolyte Water, which has hydrating benefits of Gatorade without the calories.
Mid-year, the Kellogg Co., Battle Creek, Mich., will roll out Kellogg’s Origins, which includes a range of cereals, mueslis, granolas with no preservatives, no artificial colors or flavors and packed with whole grains and fiber.
The company described the product line as “real food prepared simply.”
The J.M. Smucker Co., Orrville, Ohio, is focusing on the growing preference for convenience and better nutrition with the launch of two product lines under the Jif brand. With Jif Bars, the company leverages its protein-rich peanut butter to capitalize on the nearly $5 billion snack bar category. Smucker will become the first national brand to enter the peanut powder category with Jif Peanut Powder in regular and chocolate varieties. The category is projected to more than double over the next three years, according to the company.
WhiteWave Foods, Denver, is entering the fruit snacks category with three differentiated product lines from its Horizon brand, which include organic fruit snacks fortified with DHA (omega-3 fatty acids) as well as a line of dried fruit snacks. The initial fruit snacks line will come in five varieties, two of which will be fortified with omega-3 fatty acids. Flavors in the line will include strawberry, berry, apple, apple cinnamon and coconut.
The company also is introducing Horizon Super Squeeze, a children’s pouch product that combines organic milk and real fruit, according to the company. Additionally, the company is debuting Yulu, an Australian yogurt variety that has a rich texture and features 10 grams of protein per serving. And from the Earthbound Farm brand comes new salad kits, single-serve salad bowls and frozen fruit and vegetable blends.
New from the Hain Celestial Group, Lake Success, N.Y., is a line of chilled soups from the Imagine brand in five varieties: organic kale and potato, organic carrot ginger coconut, organic butternut squash, lemon chicken quinoa, and chicken tortilla.
“Soup will be a big category,” said Irwin Simon, founder, president, chief executive officer and chairman of Hain Celestial, during his company’s presentation at the conference. “You cook with soup; it’s a meal, and it will continue to grow in many, many ways, and I just see the opportunities in fresh, H.P.P. (high pressure pasteurization), which gives you a longer shelf-life, and that’s something we will continue to do.”
From General Mills, Minneapolis, five varieties of gluten-free Cheerios will begin appearing on retail shelves in July. The gluten-free Cheerios will continue to include oats, which are gluten-free but must be handled properly to avoid mixing in with gluten-containing grains such as wheat. The gluten-free Cheerios meet the Food and Drug Administration’s rule for gluten-free labeling, according to General Mills. Only Multi-grain Cheerios needed reformulation. Sorghum and millet, both gluten-free, replaced wheat and barley.“It will drive interest in the Cheerios brand and to the entire category,” said Ken Powell, chairman and chief executive officer, during his company’s presentation at the conference. “This is a first step in broad investment plan designed to renovate our basic portfolio for today’s wellness oriented consumer.”